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It is true, I adore wine and all the good things that go with it, like good times with loved ones and friends, gourmet cheese platters, elegant wine cellar-door buildings and the experience of tasting different types of wines. So this was the reason I visited some of the Barossa Valley’s finest wineries in South Australia during our recent caravan trip.
Geographically the Barossa Valley is located a mere 60kms north-east of Adelaide, and encompasses towns such as Tanunda, Angaston and Nuriootpa, and an array of first-class wineries offering tours and cellar-door tastings.
It is possibly one of Australia’s and the world’s most recognisable wine regions with a winemaking tradition dating back to 1840. The Barossa is home to the most unique varietal style of Barossa Shiraz and there are around 550 grape growers who supply high quality grapes to more than 170 wineries in the area.
After navigating our way through the city of Adelaide we found the Sturt Highway and drove as far as Gawler, where we veered off into the heart of the Barossa Valley, travelling through the towns of Lyndoch, Tanunda and eventually Nuriootpa. We decided to stay at the Big4 Barossa Tourist Park on the northern side of the town.
It’s a huge caravan park with loads of cabins and shady caravan sites located adjacent to the town’s two sports ovals. We chose a grassy site but there are gravel sites available as well. The eastern side of the park is bounded by the North Para River and the northern side by bush gardens and walking trails. We found it to be a perfect location and not too far out of town.
We grabbed some brochures and maps from the Caravan Park reception area and sat down with the map trying to plan an itinerary for the next two days. It seemed like an insurmountable task as there were so many wineries to visit over a vast wine region.
Of course if we’d been smart enough we could have just completed the Nurioopta Wine Trail as that was already planned for us on one of the brochures we picked up. But I decided I wanted to see some of the grand estates and more well known wineries in the region.
Alternatively you can get on an organized wine tour with one of the local companies, or do a cycling tour from the Barossa Cycle Hub in Tanunda at the Barossa Visitor Information Centre. Otherwise you can pick up a map of the Seppeltsfield Road wine trail or the Bethany to Angaston wine trail from the visitor information centre, where all the planning is already done for you.
We carefully designed an itinerary that took us on a circuit surrounding Nurioopta that took in the town of Angaston, Yalumba Estate, Chateau Tanunda, Jacob’s Creek, Peter Lehmann wineries, with a stop at Mengler Hill Lookout and Sculpture Park. At the completion of the tour we returned to Nurioopta and enjoyed a refreshing ale at the local Pub – Stein’s Taphouse.
Australia’s oldest family-owned winery is located in Angaston and features beautifully landscaped gardens, framed by the Wine Room and historic Clocktower. It is one of the only wineries in Australia with it’s own cooperage where you can see artisan coopers at work crafting wine barrels.
Once we departed Angaston we descended towards the valley floor via Mengler Hill, where we glimpsed spectacular views of the patchwork of vineyards below us. The lookout here provides a bird’s eye view of the entire Barossa Valley and then a few steps down you can amble through the unique sculpture park.
Such an incredible sight in the town of Tanunda is this 125 year old collection of grand blue stone buildings, with extensive gardens, croquet lawns, and vineyards that stretch forever. Here you can do tours, old vines tastings and even partake in a croquet, wine and cheese experience if you wish!
South of Tanunda we turned off the road into a bushland setting with gorgeous gum trees and a trickling creek until we reached the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre. This very modern building surrounded by vineyards, features benchmark environmental design that blends in with the landscape.
Within the Centre, we sampled Jacob’s Creek wines in a casual atmosphere and I tried a new wine blend called Prosecco Spritz, which was delicious! Afterwards we learnt about the region’s history and heritage in the interpretive gallery. There is also a popular restaurant called Our Table which offers contemporary Australian food matched to wine recommendations. Otherwise you can lull about on outdoor beanbags on the extensive lawns or stroll through the vineyards. It was such a pretty place to pass a few hours.
On the second day we planned an itinerary that took us further south to the town of Lyndoch and the Barossa Chateau and 1847 Wines/Chateau Yaldara Estate. After spending the morning here we headed for the Barossa’s crown – Seppeltsfield. Here we stopped for lunch and a look around the extensive estate. Afterwards we drove down some little country lanes to a boutique winery called Hentley Farm, before driving back onto the highway for a visit to Wolf Blass – the most northerly winery in the Barossa.
Located on Lyndoch Hill is this charming chateau and estate covering an impressive 25 acres, boasting over 22 acres of dedicated rose garden with 5kms of pathway. Inside the chateau there is an incredible gift shop, wine tastings, cafe and decadent high teas.
There is also a private collection of some of the finest European porcelain in Australia in the chateau. My husband had to drag me out of here as there were so many gorgeous things to look at!
This elegant chateau and winery is on the banks of the North Para River near Lyndoch at an old flax mill dating back to 1867. It offers wine tastings in the chateau and a beautiful riverside restaurant, offering relaxed all-day dining.
The drive out along Seppeltsfield Road is an experience in itself with a picturesque 10 kms of road lined with tall palms. On the side of the road you can stop to see the Seppelt Family Mausoleum also located up a palm fringed avenue on top of a rise overlooking the vineyards.
The Seppelt Estate Winery offers a range of guided tours, wine tastings, Fino Restaurant, the Jam Factory artist studios, gallery and gift shop, and extensive green park with picnic tables. We purchased a gourmet food platter at Benno’s Kiosk and found a spot in the shade to devour the delicious feast!
After we left Seppeltsfield we wound our way through more vineyards and up some narrow country lanes to Hentley Farm. This winery is a boutique, single-vineyard estate housed inside an old stone farmhouse with a charming aura. Next door situated in the intimate and elegantly restored stables, set amongst the vines, is the restaurant that is widely renowned as being one of the finest in the Barossa Valley.
This was probably one of my favourite wine tastings as it was set in intimate surrounds with amazing views, however we did have to pay $10 per head for the pleasure.
After you’ve had your fill of fine wines and food there are several other things to do in the region:
This is just a small sample of things to do in the Barossa Valley. There is so much more to do if you have the time and money. There are hot air balloon or helicopter flights over the Valley, Winery tours in classic Daimlers, sporty Mustangs or by horse and carriage, Farmer’s Markets, and Cooking Schools. If you have kids in tow here are the best Barossa Wineries to visit with kids.
For me the Barossa Valley was all about the wine and the elegant chateaus and wineries. But for others it may involve a combination of fine dining and tastings of the region’s wines. For whatever reason you want to visit the Barossa Valley it will leave a lasting impression that will not only please your palate but also give your eyes a visual feast.
For more reading on Australian Wine Regions see Best Wine Regions of Australia
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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