Cycle Adelaide, Road Ride, Mengler Hill Lookout Loop
Here’s the opportunity to bike ride one of the Tour Down Under’s most famous King of The Mountain climbs, without time constraints or the pressure of competing against 120 of the world’s best riders. Just do it for yourself and the achievement of getting up there – and for the bragging rights at the end,of course.
Although not a long bike ride, the steep, 3km climb up Mengler Hill makes it a good workout for even the fittest rider – and the views from the lookout make it worth the effort. Like any good climb, though, the real reward is the long, sweeping descent down the back of Mengler Hill.
From Adelaide, follow the Adelaide Hills scenic route to Tanunda, or drive straight up Main North Road, the Sturt Highway and Gomersal Road. For a big day out, catch the train to Gawler and ride up Barossa Valley Way through Lyndoch (31km) to the start. By the time you get back to Gawler you’ll know how the pros feel after a day on the Tour.
Food and Drink
There are great cafes in Tanunda’s main street or take a quick detour at the bottom of Mengler Hill into Angaston.
Visit the Barossa Regional Gallery to see the Barossa Vintage Festival art collection and local artworks, together with local and touring exhibitions. Also home to the Soldiers Memorial Gallery and restored 1875 Hill & Son Grand Organ, entry is by gold coin donation.
At the Tanunda start, the views east up to the Barossa Ranges have our destination clearly in sight: look carefully and you’ll see the sculptures at the Mengler Hill lookout. The centre of local tourism, Tanunda is home to the Barossa Wine & Visitor Information Centre, the Barossa Regional Art Gallery - and four Lutheran churches. Pretty good for a small town, and a reflection of the region’s settlement by Prussian Lutherans escaping religious persecution. The most famous is undoubtedly Langmeil which, thanks to the avenue of candle pines below the spire, is one of the most photographed sites in the Barossa.
Out of the town, it’s a gentle climb to Bethany past Chateau Tanunda, its chimney and buildings just visible across the vineyard to the left. Completed in 1890 in the style of a classic French chateau, the buildings and winery have been restored after years of neglect and are now fully operational once again. Bethany itself is the very heart of the Barossa’s history, site of the region’s first settlement in 1842. Twenty-eight families set up home along Bethany Road in a village laid out in traditional ‘hufendorf’ style, each family owning a long strip of land from the main street past their cottage to a common pasture at the back. Many of the early cottages and outbuildings remain, as does Bethany Reserve, originally the village water reserve and now one of the Barossa’s most popular picnic spots.
An undulating stretch takes us up out of Bethany to the Mengler Hill turn off and the climb to the lookout, home to breathtaking views, a Pioneer Memorial and the Mengler Hill Sculpture Park. Created on-site during the 1988 International Sculpture Symposium, the marble and granite sculptures lie on the hillside below the panoramic outlook across and beyond the valley, to the mid-north and the gulf in the distance.
Then it’s onwards and upwards to the top, another 1.4km further on – and then that well deserved descent down to Angaston and back through vineyards across the valley floor to Tanunda.
- 0.0 Leaving the Tanunda band rotunda, turn right and head south along the main street.
- 0.8 Ride under the Jacobs Creek arch and down through the cutting.
- 1.5 Follow Barossa Valley Way to the left alongside the caravan park, crossing Tanunda Creek.
- 1.7 Ignore the right hand turn and continue straight on, signposted to Bethany.
- 2.5 Chateau Tanunda through the trees to the left.
- 3.3 Stop at the train crossing. Watching for traffic entering from the left, continue through Bethany.
- 4.6 Cross the Bethany Creek ford.
- 5.2 Start the climb out of Bethany.
- 5.5 The road steepens and curves left, followed by an undulating section.
- 6.8 At the T-junction, the oncoming road crosses and veers sharply to our left. Give way to all traffic, then cross and continue to the right along Light Pass Rd.
- 7.4 Turn right, signposted to Angaston via Mengler Hill, and start the long climb up to the lookout. Keep to the left, and enjoy the views over the valley.
- 8.7 With the hardest part behind you, turn left and take a breather at the Mengler Hill Lookout and Sculpture Park before continuing up the hill.
- 9.3 A little downhill relief before the last climb to the crest.
- 10.1 The top of Mengler Hill and a rewarding descent. This section is an echidna protection zone, so watch out for them on the road.
- 11.4 The turn-off to Kaiser Stuhl Conservation park on the right, and the start of another rolling section which takes in the highest point of the ride.
- 13.3 The start of the long, sweeping descent into Angaston.
- 15.3 Hurns Rd comes in on the right. This is a heavy vehicle freight route, so take care and stay to the left.
- 17.1 At the T-junction, turn left onto Crennis Mines Rd, signposted to Nuriootpa.
- 18.0 Turn left into Stockwell Rd, signposted to Tanunda.
- 18.3 Turn right into Siegersdorf Rd, signposted to Seppeltsfield.
- 19.5 Turn left into Light Pass Rd.
- 20.6 Stop at the intersection with Vine Vale Rd and give way to all traffic. Cross and continue straight ahead.
- 21.7 Turn right into Magnolia Rd for a long, sweeping finish into Tanunda.
- 24.1 Continue across the intersection, then stop and give way at the railway crossing.
- 24.7 Turn left into Barossa Valley Way and head back into Tanunda.
- 25.8 The ride ends at the rotunda.
26.214 km / 16.289 mi
301 m / 986 ft
300 m / 984 ft
502 m / 1,648 ft