From its cellar doors and providores to its secret walls and russet gorges, the Barossa Valley is a living painting you can see, taste, sip and savour.
Hailing back to the days when Lutheran settlers grazed their farm animals, sewed veggie patches, orchards and vines, and fired up their smokehouses, they began the legacy that lives on among Barossa Valley vineyards. Home to some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines from 1843, producing some of the region’s finest foods, and within landscapes fit for expressionists’ easels, the Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s most charming wine destinations. And here is how you can see and taste it:
Embark on the Seppeltsfield Centenary Collection Tour
Drive the magnificent 5-kilometre avenue of 2000 Canary Island date palms to arrive at the citrus fruit-adorned village. You’ll immediately feel the grandeur of Seppeltsfield Estate’s heritage-listed architecture and courtyards. Direct from the barrel itself, taste a premium Tawny tipple from your year of birth on a spirit-lifting tour of the winery’s 1878 Centennial Cellar and homestead. Equally precious will be a tasting of the 100-year-old Para Vintage Tawny that will give your tastebuds a fine smack. Seppeltsfield is the world’s only winery to release an annual vintage (unbroken, since 1878).
Visit Lyndoch Lavender Farm
For almost three decades, Lyndoch Lavender Farm has been producing around 70 varieties of this much-loved perennial herb. The tiered grounds’ fragrant walking trails flutter with butterflies and birds, and farm tours can be arranged in advance. The Lavender Kitchen tempts with gastronomic lavender jams, teas and ice-creams, while the shop offers indulgent bath-time gifts with a tantalising variety of lavender-infused hair and body products, as well as essential oils, candles, linen sprays and wheat bags. You can even find lavender cream for your furniture.
Tell your secrets to the Whispering Wall
Secrets of the valley leak near the Barossa’s gateway of Williamstown. Yes, the Whispering Wall, which spans the width of Barossa Reservoir’s retaining wall, tends to gossip. Words uttered (whispered, even) on one side reach the opposite, more than 100 metres away. A footpath spans the crest, and the acoustics never fail to thrill the kids. Prior to the dam being built, locals relied on a well for drinking water. Its eventual contamination led to the construction of the dam, which hears everything, hiding behind its pretty bushland setting.
Explore Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park
Meander through a pocket of tranquillity in the Barossa Ranges at Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park. The short Stringybark Loop, pocked by echidna diggings, needles through mature eucalypts, sheoaks and native pines. The stringybarks, at one time logged for firewood for local brick kilns, are now protected. The longer 9.4-kilometre-return Wallowa Hike leads you across creeks, and around grass trees, lichen-carpeted granite outcrops, grasslands where western grey roos graze, and to a scenic valley-inhaling lookout. Spot honeyeaters and blue wrens flitting about the foliage, and don’t miss the granite, weather-sculpted Horse Head Rock.
Treat yourself at Barossa Valley Chocolate Company
Delectable naughties of the cacao kind are lovingly handcrafted onsite by deft-handed chocolatiers using premium ingredients from Belgium and the Daintree. As well as dark, milk and white chocolate, the Tanunda-based Barossa Valley Chocolate Company also offers its new ruby chocolate, while local cider and Shiraz infuses their silky pralines. Watch the gourmet treats journey, from tempering to panning, through the chocolate kitchen’s glass walls. Enjoy a wine-pairing experience, or a non-alcoholic chocolate flight with Bickford’s cordials. Then choose from over 250 varieties to devour on the waterside deck at this architecturally designed establishment.
Float above the Barossa Valley vineyards
Soaring the skies for 35 years is balloon pilot, Justin Stein. His aeronautical team are experts at planting you in a basket, firing up the crisp dawn air, and floating you for an hour above the Barossa’s combed vineyards. Your sunrise flight might track kangaroos bounding across the jade greens below, busily growing their reds and whites that come into view before the rising sun. Post flight, a cork-popping gourmet breakfast at Nuriootpa will have you enjoying flavours from some of the region’s top producers. Book your flight here.
Peruse the Barossa Farmers Market
If you’re a self-driving, picnic-loving foodie, your first-stop should be at the Saturday morning Barossa Farmers Market in Angaston. Meet some of the 50-or-so local stallholders offering freshly brewed coffee, freshly baked artisanal breads and freshly harvested organic fruits and salad vegetables. Fresh really is the word. Butcher’s meats and seafood are also offered here. And olive oils, honeys, preserves and condiments, as well as nuts and pastries will be perfect for bringing back to your accommodation.
Step back in time at Barossa Château
Visit the one-time ornamented home of lauded businessman, Hermann Thumm. French-style Barossa Château in Lyndoch offers cellar door tastings, and access to the private collection of vintage wines. Seat yourself for afternoon cream tea and scones or indulge in the Glorious High Tea with sandwiches fit for raised pinkies. View the extensive private 18th century porcelain, art, and antiques gallery beneath extravagant chandeliers. The estate’s 22-acre rose garden will leave the most romantic impression on you. Opened in 2002 by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, it features 5 kilometres of weaving trails between beds of 30,000 roses.
Indulge at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop
Barossa Valley fine food producer and author, Maggie Beer, creates a banquet of gourmet finds at her lakeside farm shop in Nuriootpa. The shelves marinate with her flagship and seasonal delicacies of homemade preserves, jams, stocks and pickles. Join one of her team-led Verjuice and Vino Cotto cooking demonstrations to learn how to jazz up your own cooking. Or book in for lunch at the adjoining Farm Eatery, which also runs cooking classes and a gin school — complete with copper stills.
Enjoy a luxury stay at The Louise
Welcome to redefined intimacy at The Louise in Marananga. This sophisticated mini world of gated courtyards and terraces surround artwork-dressed suites complete with marble bathrooms, outdoor rain-showers, spa tubs, and fireplaces to entice lovers. The Louise is one of the prestigious Luxury Lodges of Australia, complete with fitness centre, spa, sauna, infinity pool and games courts. A round of Pétanque, perchance? And watch this space – the Louise will soon be offering holistic health retreats.
Dine among the Barossa Valley vineyards at Appellation
The Louise’s adjoining Appellation ‘destination restaurant’ is one of the country’s most celebrated regional diners with its own kitchen garden. Deeply connected to local community and the environment, its à la Carte and 5-course menus celebrate organic, biodynamic and GM-free produce, complemented by wine flight tasting menus. Pop into three75 bar to chink to the retreat’s sublime vineyard views.
Looking to explore more of Australia’s wine regions? Start with these: