Why opt for unforgiving sand and sun when you can escape the summer heat amid the lush, green vines of the Barossa, writes Dilvin Yasa.
When you’re known for a particular set of attributes, how do you get people to see beyond that? It sounds like the battle cry of a jaded supermodel with a degree in biochemical engineering, but it’s also an issue facing one of our country’s top cover girls, the Barossa.
Famous for her incredible terroir and climate that produces some of the finest wines in the world, the Barossa isn’t only a place for the mature, wine-loving elite. Nope, it’s also the ultimate summer getaway for those desiring a foodie, family or outdoor adventure.
Now less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide (thank you, Northern Connector), it’s time to experience some of the top spots that locals swear by, including a few they would have much preferred were kept a secret…
Activities to stay cool indoors
Need a little reprieve from the summer sun? The Barossa is full of dark, stone interiors, cool barrel halls and moody underground cellars. Beat the heat by locking in visits to the following:
Everything happens for a Riesling, or so the saying goes. When better than 2020 to find out if that’s accurate than by putting in the hard yards at Rieslingfreak? Home to 11 different styles of Riesling, the cellar door is a heritage-listed 1860s barn steeped in history and old world charm. Best of all, the dark, cool space provides the perfect tasting room for you to appreciate what could soon become your new best friend.
‘Heading to an underground winery’ sounds so cool and we’re not all that sure you will need anything else to reduce the heat. That said, Brett Grocke, owner and winemaker of Eperosa, the underground winery in question, was recently named James Halliday Wine Companion 2021 Winemaker of the Year. It’s another way of saying you’d be crazy not to match your commitment to sampling his organic wines to his commitment to sustainability.
Nothing says an Australian summer quite like a gin fizz (or let’s face it, just about any other gin cocktail) so why not spend a day mastering the art at a gin distillery? Durand Distillery offers experiential gin-making classes where you can blend botanicals to create your very own signature gin. Actor Ryan Reynolds recently sold his gin business for a whopping $US610 million ($AUD854 million) so it’s something to think about.
Barossa Distilling Company
If you’d much prefer to spend a lazy afternoon immersing yourself in Barossa’s emerging gin movement, there’s no place better than seeking respite from the afternoon sun with a refreshing gin tasting paddle at Barossa Distilling Company. If you listen to your inner Keith Richards (and yes, you absolutely should), you’ll follow this up with some of the best gin cocktails in the region.
Travel to South America through your taste buds and book a table at El Estanco, a newly renovated eatery that prides itself on bringing people together over a wholesome menu with a Columbian twist. It’s just one of the many new angles and styles of cuisine adding to Barossa’s rich food story.
Stelzer Road Supper Club
A change is said to be as good as a holiday and the team behind Stelzer Road Supper Club are putting their money where their mouth is. Offering diners a weekly changing menu, this is the place to go when you want to see – and taste – exactly what local producers are capable of.
A $49 tasting menu in one of the most chic establishments in town? Seeing is believing at The Louise’s three75, where real comfort food, satisfying drinks and an uninterrupted view come together in a holy trinity of sorts. Chef Kyle Johns draws on his South African heritage and Portuguese roots to deliver dishes that are heavy on spice with a minimum amount of fuss.
Fun in the sun
Enjoy the great outdoors away from the unforgiving sand of a traditional beach setting. In the Barossa, it’s all about walks overlooking luscious vineyard canopies and sun-dappled lawns, spectacular sunsets and al fresco lunches. Try:
David Franz Wines
Love the idea of picnicking but not such a fan of sitting on grass? David Franz Wines is the place to go if you want to combine your passion for crisp whites with charcuterie and other artisan treats. You can build your own picnic hamper or platter at the cellar door and enjoy it on the deck attached to the original 1860s cottage, which boasts incredible views over the vineyards. Better yet, why not settle in for a night under the stars at the al fresco wine bar under the plum tree on one of the planned David Franz Nights. Note: keep an eye on Instagram, as the evening events will be weather dependent.
There’s little as spectacular as a Barossa sunset and the best view in the house is from the deck of Seabrook Wines. Nestled at the base of the Barossa’s eastern foothills, home for this winery is an original settler’s cottage home. Indulge in a glass (or two) of rosé or Riesling and order a regional platter to enjoy with your sundowner.
Barossa Sculpture Park
Walkers will be thrilled to find trails aplenty in the region, but Barossa Sculpture Park is considered a must-visit. Overlooking the Barossa, the park is home to a collection of granite and marble artwork from local and international artists and is the perfect place for a morning stroll. Don’t forget to head up to the lookout for views across the Barossa.
Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park
Australian summers and large crowds of western grey kangaroos go together like burgers and beetroot. At Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park, the active among us can enjoy two trails, both of which pass through a variety of scenic landscapes such as rocky outcrops, open grassland and creeks. Sprinkle a heavy side of native wildlife on each and you’ve got the quintessential Barossa walking experience.
Australia’s wine regions have become incredibly family friendly over the years. None more so than the Barossa, which treats little ones to water parks, adventure playgrounds and sneaky chocolate shops to cater to their wildest Willy Wonka desires. Lock in the following:
Discovery Parks Barossa
There isn’t a child alive who doesn’t go crazy for Discovery Parks with their giant bouncing pillows and water parks. Discovery Parks Barossa offers families a range of accommodation options, from powered and unpowered sites to cabins and homes. Those itching to let the grandparents babysit the kids for a couple of nights can even book the adults-only, deluxe safari-style tents. An indulgent glamping experience set in a private area of the park, you’ll have exclusive access to a heated swimming pool and spa, firepit, and BBQ space.
Barossa Adventure Station
Let the kids run themselves ragged at Barossa Adventure Station, an entertainment park that has something for kids of every age group. Will they want to take over the skate ramp or the 1km mountain bike loop? Perhaps they’ll prefer the mega tower and play deck? Take a seat and let them sort it out, content in the knowledge that once they’re done, it’s just a short walk to the cafes and culinary delights of Angaston.
Barossa Valley Chocolate Company
An afternoon of chocolate tasting isn’t a hard sell for anyone – particularly when there’s an icy gelato bar onsite. Pop in to see the fine folk at Barossa Valley Chocolate Company where you can see chocolate being made and indulge in a chocolate tasting experience. Be sure to nudge the kids to bring along their pocket money as they’ll want to shop like crazy afterwards.
Wine + parenting is a match made in heaven and Z Wine goes one step further in this happy marriage by serving up mouthwatering tasting planks for both kids and adults. While the adults enjoy their regional produce matched with wine, kids will enjoy local non-alcoholic fritz, Apex Bakery fairy bread, cheese, milk and orange juice.