South Australia’s Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s oldest and finest wine producing regions.
By Kris Madden
The Barossa is one of the world’s great wine growing areas, with more than 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors. Seven generations of grape growers and winemakers have established this fertile land as one of Australia's top wine regions with consistently outstanding vintages over the past 160 years. Tour the Barossa by bicycle, motorbike, vintage car, hot air balloon or helicopter, and wine and dine your way around some of Australia’s finest restaurants. A world of gastronomic delight awaits in this picturesque cluster of villages, rolling hills, stone churches and vineyards.
- Visit wineries and cellar doors
- Dine on gourmet local produce
- Stay in luxury among the vineyards
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Top things to do in the Barossa
Visit wineries and cellar doors
The Barossa is home to the biggest names in Australian wine, including world-renowned Penfolds, Henschke Cellars, Wolf Blass and Jacob's Creek; along with a host of emerging boutique and artisan winemakers producing the next generation of Australian wines. One of the country's oldest, Seppeltsfield, is the only winery in the world to release a 100-year-old single vintage wine each year: the Para 100 Year Old Vintage Tawny. The Taste Your Birth Year tour allows you to sip a fortified wine made the year you were born. You can also taste wine made during important moments in history. Sample more than 20 small producers at the Barossa Small Winemakers Centre at Château Tanunda.
Follow the Butcher, Baker, Winemaker Trail
While the Barossa is world-famous for its amazing wines, it's also renowned for its seasonal produce, artisan food producers and award-winning restaurants. The Butcher, Baker, Winemaker Trail is perfect for a day of exploring by car or bike. Pick up a map and picnic hamper at the Barossa Visitor Information Centre and add to your basket with gourmet food stops along the trail. Find freshly baked bread at Apex Bakery, handmade cheese from the Barossa Valley Cheese Company, traditionally smoked sausages from Schulz Butchers and a relish or two from Zimmy’s Barossa Valley Produce. Top it off with a bottle of wine from one of the wineries on the trail, which include Penfolds, Jacob's Creek and Seppeltsfield.
Dine in the Barossa
There's no shortage of acclaimed restaurants in the Barossa, among them Hermann's Restaurant in the historic mansion of Chateau Yaldara winery, where fine dining comes with lovely views of the North Para River. The Louise offers luxury accommodation among the vineyards, as well as one of Australia's finest regional dining experiences at Appellation Restaurant. Menus showcase seasonal produce grown in the restaurant’s kitchen garden complemented by an exceptional wine list. The Louise also offers bespoke guided tours, private wine tastings and cooking classes.
Meet the locals
Come Saturday morning and you will find local chefs, foodies and winemakers up early to source the very best from Barossa Farmers Market. There's an amazing array of stallholders selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to herbs, specialty bread and pastries, honey and olive oil, to freshly roasted coffee. A must-visit in the Barossa is Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, with one of the Australian food scene's most loved characters at the helm. Her shop stocks a range of homemade sauces, condiments, olive oils, jams, preserves, pickles and a whole lot more.
Up and away in a beautiful balloon
Join Balloon Adventures in the calm of dawn and share in the excitement as you help prepare the huge balloon and float over the picturesque villages and vineyards of the Barossa Valley. Toast your return to earth with fine sparkling wine and a gourmet breakfast at the Langmeil Winery.
Bike the Barossa
Combine sublime Barossa scenery with a hit of exercise on two wheels with Barossa Bike Hire. They'll give you a map and suggestions to make your own way, or join a guided cycling tour such as the one-day Barista, Brewer, Wine Cycle Tour, an easy, flat 17 kilometre (10.5 mile) ride through sections of privately owned vineyards, visiting artisan coffee makers, wineries and boutique breweries. Alternatively, local operator Segway Sensation offers the chance to pilot an electric Segway at Seppeltsfield Winery.
Follow the Barossa Heritage Trail
Learn more about the Barossa's rich heritage on the Barossa Heritage Trail, a driving route that loops through historic towns such as Nuriootpa, Tanunda and Bethany between Angaston and Gawler. You will also pass through towns with delightful names such as Eden Valley, Mount Pleasant and Cockatoo Valley. In each town, there is a number of fascinating self-guided heritage walks, fully outlined in a map available from the Barossa Valley Visitor Information Centre. It's only 38 kilometres (23.6 miles) or a 30 minute drive between Angaston and Gawler, but depending on how long you want to linger in the local art galleries and antique shops in the towns, you could make it a full day trip.
Visit nearby national parks
Once you’ve had your fill of fine food and wine, it might be time to walk it off in one of the national parks surrounding the Barossa Valley. Hale Conservation Park, Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park and Sandy Creek Conservation Park all offer bushwalking trails and the chance to spot native Australian animals. In the Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park, there are two great walks: the one hour, two kilometre (1.25 mile) Stringybark loop through the forest; and the more challenging Wallowa hike for experienced bushwalkers, a 9.4 kilometre (5.8 miles) four hour return walk. The reward is spectacular views over the Barossa Valley, sightings of western grey kangaroos and the sounds of native birds such as honeyeaters, rosellas and lorikeets.
Go for the festivals
Any time of year is an exciting time to visit the Barossa, but even more so during one of the many festivals held in the region. The Barossa Vintage Festival in April celebrates the end of the grape harvest and vintage. It's Australia's largest and longest running wine tourism event and marks its 70th year in 2017. The Barossa Gourmet Weekend in September showcases the best of the Barossa's wine and food offerings, with winemakers and producers hosting a series of special events to welcome the spring.
How to get there
The Barossa is approximately 70 kilometres (43 miles), or just over an hour drive, north of Adelaide. Many operators run wine and food tasting tours of the Barossa.