5 Reasons to Visit the Barossa Valley
Featured destinations: Australia, Barossa Valley
Published 05 August 2016
Australia’s famous beaches, Great Barrier Reef and outback may be at the top of your list when on an Australia holiday, but I wouldn’t completely overlook the countryside. Sprawling from the red rock centre of Uluru to all corners of the coastline, Australia’s scenic countryside is where you can experience the Down Under of farmers, wildlife and of course wine, of which there are over 100 different varieties of grapes grown throughout. And to experience the best of the Australian countryside and wine regions, the Barossa Valley is a must.
The Barossa Valley is located in the south of Australia, an hour’s drive from Adelaide and a popular place to begin or end a drive along the Great Ocean Road. The valley is famously home to over 150 wineries, but is also beloved for its food, historic villages and generous hospitality. Having spent some time here myself, these are some of my top reasons why you should visit.
Visit world class wineries
Since 1842, wine has been a way of life in the Barossa. Some of the region’s most popular wineries include Penfolds, Peter Lehman, Seppeltsfield, Rockford, Yalumba, Henschke, Two Hands, and Bethany.
As a vino lover, I was keen to visit Seppeltfield which is famed for its Centennial Collection – the world’s oldest, unbroken lineage of tawny featuring every vintage from 1878 until now. I tasted the rare 100 year old Para Tawny and it was exquisite, with a complexity in flavour that lingers on your palette long after your first sip! Seppeltfield remains the only winery in the world to release a 100 year old, single vintage each year so you really do feel like you’re a little part of history when you visit. I took a walking tour through the Tuscan inspired setting featuring beautiful original buildings with lots of Seppeltsfield family history within. We finished with a tasting and I couldn’t resist taking home a bottle of the Sparkling Shiraz.
Other wineries I’ve visited and highly recommend include Bethany, for the breathtaking vista views and Cabernet Merlot blend, and Two Hands where I enjoyed a delectable tasting menu and the most personal experience with the manager even driving us back to our cottage – now that’s Australian country spirit at its finest! You can do the wine trail by hiring a car like we did, by bike if you’re feeling adventurous, or opt for one of the many wine tours on offer.
Taste delicious farm fresh food
There’s something special about enjoying food that has been grown or produced locally and Barossans are hugely famous for their farm to plate dining. For a taste of it, I recommend visiting the Barossa Farmers Market held every Saturday in Angaston. While there’s plenty in the way of food to try, my favourites include the artisan breads, sweet treats, ethical meats including kransky (thanks to the Barossa’s German heritage), olive oils and condiments. On my visit I devoured not just any sausage roll but the best sausage roll I’ve ever tasted – let’s just say chicken and tarragon is a match made in pastry heaven.
If your visit doesn’t coincide with the Saturday markets, you can always visit the gourmet heart of the Barossa Valley by stopping by Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. As Australia’s answer to Mary Berry, Maggie Beer is a beloved celebrity cook and the most famous resident in the Barossa. At her Farm Shop, you can taste all of the products that are produced on the farm, watch demonstrations and dine on the picnic menu. On my visit I opted for the Pheasant Farm Pate Picnic Basket with caramelised onion, freekeh salad and wood oven bread which was perfectly pared with the Beer Brothers Johann Shiraz.
Enjoy a touch of old world
The Barossa has a warm sense of yesterday – from the old township of Tanunda, to the vintage stores in Nuriootpa. A hidden treasure for me was the National Motor Museum, a place for car and antique lovers alike. Set amid the renowned Adelaide Hills, it’s well worth the scenic 40 minute drive from the Barossa.
Now I’m certainly no motor head but I was surprised to find the museum fascinating and a delight for anyone who appreciates fine craftsmanship and old world charm. Established in an old flour mill building in 1964 by motorcycle enthusiast Jack Kaines, the museum has over 400 vehicles on display as well as motoring memorabilia. The collection explores the history of Australian road transport as well as the people, places and stories behind them – from a 1925 Rolls Royce to a 1997 Lamborghini. We easily spent the whole morning there before hitting the road back to the Barossa, stopping off along the way at a winery or too!
See Australia’s nature at its finest
To me, there is nothing more relaxing than being at one with nature and in the Barossa it’s so easy to do that! From the vast vineyards, to the rolling valleys and hills, the countryside is just asking to be explored.
One of my favourite places to experience the Barossa way of life is by visiting the Lyndoch Lavender Farm and Cafe – a hidden gem with amazing vista views across the valley. Nestled in the hills of the Barossa Ranges, the farm is a great spot to relax in the sunshine, enjoy a coffee and pick up some locally produced lavender products and gifts.