Vineyard cottages, historic homesteads and classic hotels offer perfect bases from which to immerse yourself in the Barossa Valley's wine and food culture.
By Sue Gough Henly
The beautiful Barossa Valley, just a one hour drive north of Adelaide, is perhaps Australia's most famous wine region, renowned for its big, bold, shiraz-based wines. Picturesque spired churches dot a landscape patchworked with vines, farms and villages that still retain their German heritage. Quaint vineyard cottages, hotels and classic Australian homesteads are among the distinctive places to stay.
Boutique luxury: The Louise
The Louise offers five-star boutique luxury overlooking a vineyard-dotted valley with views of the Barossa Ranges. Each of the 15 large, well equipped suites has a private courtyard and expansive travertine marble bathroom. Dine in the hotel's superb Appellation restaurant, which offers seasonal local tasting menus designed to complement the hotel's exceptional wine list. Indulge in The Louise's bespoke guided tours, private wine tastings and cooking classes to get a real insider's view of the Barossa. There's a swimming pool and fitness centre and you can use the hotel's bikes to explore surrounding wineries. Suites from AUD$604 a night.
Local farmhouse: Orchard House
For an immersion in the Barossa Valley's food culture, stay in a beautifully restored two-bedroom farmhouse surrounded by a 100-year-old orchard. It is owned by Australian slow food trailblazer and celebrity cook Maggie Beer. The farmhouse has a state-of-the art kitchen in which you can cook up a feast from the produce, fruit and herbs on site plus what you discover at the Barossa Farmers Market. Maggie's popular Farm Shop is just a five minute walk away. Whole farmhouse from AUD$515 a night for two people.
Spa resort: Novotel Barossa Valley Resort
If you are looking for a complete resort experience with tennis courts, outdoor heated pool, spa, adjacent golf course, and even a basketball and volleyball court, book a room, suite or apartment at the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort at the southern end of the valley. At the spacious Cellar Kitchen restaurant share plates of tasty seasonal specialties from the Barossa Valley courtesy of local chef and farmer Saskia Beer (Maggie Beer's daughter), who also leads guided tours of the Barossa Farmers Market among other culinary offerings. Enjoy free Barossan wine tastings each evening. Rooms from AUD$209 a night.
Historic homestead: Kingsford
For an upscale Aussie Outback experience, stay in a classic 1856 Georgian homestead on the outskirts of the Barossa Valley. There are seven spacious suites in this beautifully restored sandstone homestead, which is so pretty that it was once used as the set for a popular Australian television show called McLeod’s Daughters. Relax in a claw-foot bath in a private bush setting, go for a walk to look for kangaroos, kookaburras and parrots, or swim in the new pool. Suites from AUD$430 a night.
Cottage beside the vines: Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage
Luxuriate in this award-winning, beautifully restored 19th century one-bedroom cottage surrounded by gardens and vines. It evokes the heart and soul of the Barossa. Owners Sharyn Rogers and Peter Milhinch play close attention to every detail, from supplying the finest local foods and providing underfloor heating and wood fires, to giving insider tips for exploring the region. Go on a personal tour of their vineyard with Peter and dine at one of Barossa’s finest restaurants, Hentley Farm, next door. They'll even drive you home. Entire cottage from AUD$750 a night.
Retreat in converted church: The Kirche
If you fancy spending the night in one of Barossa's quaint village churches, look no further than The Kirche, which has been tastefully converted by legendary Barossa winemaker Charlie Melton and his wife Virginia. Relax in this stylish two-bedroom retreat, not far from the township of Tanunda, which has a wood fireplace in a spacious living room, fully equipped black granite kitchen, barbecue and vineyard vistas. Entire retreat from AUD$515 a night for two people.
Hosted country retreat: Abbotsford Country House
Enjoy a peaceful night's sleep in one of just eight spacious, individually decorated suites at Abbotsford Country House, set on 20 hectares (50 acres) of farmland not far from the town of Lyndoch. Each suite in this luxury bed and breakfast accommodation offers wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. The superb a la carte country breakfast features local produce. Suites from AUD$395 a night.
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