Planning a holiday in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, Dorothy Veitch looks forward to taking it easy and enjoying some of the finer things in life
Located only 70 kilometres from Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is considered the premier wine region in South Australia, and also lays claim to being the best in Australia. With diverse and layered varieties to suit every taste, it boasts a versatility that rivals any wine region in the world. Red wine is the flagship of the area, with Shiraz leading the way, but the outer reaches of the valley also deliver superb white wines, in particular Riesling.
Life in the Barossa (population almost 25,000) has a certain serenity to it, making it ridiculously easy to slip into a relaxed frame of mind. For an authentic, rustic experience, bed down in one of the many B&Bs available, with some of the best located in sleepy hamlets like Tanunda, Nuriootpa and Angaston.
One of the benefits of the Barossa being so small (912 square kilometres) is that it makes it possible to visit a range of cellars in a short time and there are a number of bus tours available to help you do just that. The wine tour is part of local folklore and with wineries like Rockford’s, Peter Lehmann’s, Langmeil, Chateau Tanunda, Yalumba and Whistler Wines to visit, it’s easy to see why.
Set at the foot of the rolling Barossa Ranges, the region has a rich German history, with the Germans first settling in the area in the mid-1800s. A lot of the culture is still prevalent, with stone cottages and Lutheran churches dotting the picturesque, rural landscape. Be sure to drop by the traditional butcher shops and bakeries boasting age-old, German favourites, like bratwurst, apple strudel and plum cake.
The Barossa’s sunrises have something magical about them, dancing off the Barossa Ranges and settling in amongst the vineyards and paddocks. The best way to make the most of this is from the basket of a hotair balloon, a common sight in the (very early morning sky). For the romantics out there, a Barossan balloon ride might be as good as it gets.
The Barossa is known for its food culture and fancy degustation menus, with cuisines ranging from Asian fusion to traditional German. ‘From farm to table’ is a common theme, and the majority of restaurants pride themselves on using freshly grown local produce, paired, of course, with Barossan wine.
Despite its standing in the world of wine, the Barossa is by no means a one trick pony and the local produce is some of the best in South Australia. Farmers’ markets are the perfect place to immerse yourself in what the region has to offer, with local meats, cheeses and seasonal fruit and vegetables all common fare. The renowned Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop is a must visit for its terrines and patés, as well as its scenic, lakeside location.
Any wine and food connoisseur planning a visit to the Barossa should consider timing it to coincide with either of the region’s biggest food and wine festivals: Barossa Vintage Festival in April and Barossa Gourmet Weekend in September. These festivals offer up all sorts of events, from intimate tastings to competitions and parades, and they are the perfect way to experience the heritage and culture of all things Barossan.