Weekend away in the Barossa? Check out our guide to this great valley!
Sample a drop of the Barossa Valley
With its fertile farms, quaint little villages and rolling hills crammed with some of Australia’s most famous wineries, the 25-kilometre-long Barossa is a compact valley, however it still manages to produce over 20% of the nation’s wine. Offering tastings, festivals and a wide range of outdoor activities, it’s a top place to visit no matter which way you look at it.
Bike, drive or walk it
Drag out the lycra (maybe..) and explore the Barossa on two wheels with a self-guided trip or via a guided cycling tour, where you can easily smash out the kilometres in a day, with the odd detour through artisan coffee makers, boutique breweries and privately owned vineyards.
Feeling a little lazy? A scenic road trip along the Barossa Scenic Heritage Drive will have you looping through historic towns with lovely sounding names like Cockatoo Valley, Mt Pleasant and Eden Valley. Linger in the local galleries, shop for antiques or just stuff your face en route with creamy cheeses and a taste test or two of this area’s to-die-for wines.
Or walk off those indulgences with a trek through a variety of conservation parks (the Hale, Kaiserstuhl and Sandy Creek parks all have decent bushwalking trails), where you can spot a western grey kangaroo or two. And if you’re really keen, hike through the Wallowa Mountains, a sweat-inducing adventure that will reward you with spectacular views of the Barossa Valley amid a chorus of lorikeets.
Butchers, bakers and winemakers
Yes, it’s internationally famous for its wines, but the Barossa also produces its fair share of fabulous food as well. Explore the area via car or bike, where you can fill the picnic basket with handmade cheeses, smoked sausages and freshly baked bread. All easily washed down with a glass or two from some of the area’s renowned winemakers including Jacob’s Creek and Penfolds, of course.
Stop in at one of the country’s oldest wineries, Seppeltsfield, where you can sample one of the world’s most collectable drops, the Para 100 Year Old Vintage Tawny, and if you’re keen to totally nerd-out, hop aboard a segway tour of the place.
For a boutique beer experience, visit the Barossa Brewing Company in Greenock and for some tasty take-home morsels, pop into Truro for home-grown olives and Angaston for creamy nibbles at the Barossa Valley Cheese Company.
Weird trees and whispering walls
Get up close and personal to this gem of a town, with a fossick for gold, opals or diamonds at the Mountain Crawford Forest Reserve, a historic mining area near Williamstown. Or failing any sparkly finds, hire a bike or hitch a ride on a mountain pony for a day’s adventure (watch out for the mine shafts!), before heading to the Lyndoch Lavender Farm for a totally sweet end to the day.
And if you’re after some weirdness, check out a family tree with a difference. The Herbig Tree in Springton is a large, hollow red gum that actually served as the home of German pioneer, Johann Herbig, his wife Caroline and two of their children. Thankfully Mr Herbig could afford to build a proper house before the other fourteen of his rug rats came along!
And while on the strange-ish path, a short drive to Williamstown will have you at the Barossa Reservoir’s Whispering Wall. A natural phenomenon created by the parabolic effect of its construction, whisper at one end of the thing and you’ll be heard more than 100 metres away. Hours of fun for those that like to hear the sound of their own voice.
Flights and festivals
Feeling especially adventurous? There’s no better way to see the beauty of Barossa than from the skies – and in a hot air balloon. As the sun rises over the horizon, hold on to your basket (and your breakfast) and prepare to take in the panoramic 360˚ views of the patchwork vineyards and the kaleidoscopic colours of the Barossa ranges.
If you’re in town in April, hang around for the Barossa Vintage Festival. No, it’s not a celebration of hard-to-find antiques or retro fashion, but Australia’s largest and longest running wine tourism event. And September’s Gourmet Weekend is worth a day trip as well, where the best of the Barossa’s food and wine offerings are showcased in two scrumptious days.
Freshen up your shop
One of Australia’s most loved foodies, Maggie Beer owns a Farm Shop in the Barossa. Grab a bottle of her famous Verjuice, sample a fresh cider from the orchard or taste test your way through shelf upon shelf of divine delicacies.
Hit the Barossa Farmer’s Market early for an amazing collection of stallholders selling everything from homemade sauces and olive oils to fresh F&V, herbs and specialty breads and pastries. A bunch of Barossa legends also frequent this place, offering homemade butters, fresh preserves and deliciously authentic German cakes.
Road trip it to the Peninsula
Take a two or so hour road trip from the Barossa and you’ll find Adelaide’s wonderful coastal playground, the Fleurieu Peninsula, a magnificent stretch of coastline full of secluded beaches, craggy cliff tops and the winding serenity of the Murray River.
Spend a lazy day at a historic pub, nibble on some fish ‘n’ chips beachside or sip on a cheeky shiraz from of the area’s many cellar doors (McLaren Vale is a must). If you love to shop, spend an afternoon fossicking among coastal antique stores or check out Strathalbyn on the banks of the Angas River for one-of-a-kind knick-knacks.
Crave some outdoorsy stuff? Walk off that wine tasting with a 500-metre trek to the top of the Bluff in Victor Harbor (and abseil down if you dare), nab a surf at Seaford or swim, fish and canoe your way along the majestic Murray River.
And finally, get back to nature with a scuba dive at Rapid Bay, a walk through the Deep Creek Conservation Park with its Kangaroo Island views, or book a whale watching tour off Port Elliot. Sea lions and dolphins are an added bonus!