To many throughout the world, it must seem unfair that – in addition to having beautiful beaches and scenery, a warm hospitable climate and adorable fuzzy animals with pouches, Australia also has the best wines. In any country where reds or whites are appreciated, you are bound to encounter Aussie wines proudly adorning the shelves of the best shops, or prominently listed on the menus in fine restaurants. The reason – our wines are truly special.
And many of the best Australian wines call The Barossa Valley home.
The Barossa Valley is made up of several small towns, villages, and hamlets, each with their own unique character and historical significance. A short drive from Adelaide, the region is approximately 40km long by 40km wide and consists of such historic towns as Bethany – the first German settlement in the region, and Kapunda – Australia’s first mining town. Each of the 21 settlements has something to offer, including warm hospitality, natural beauty and of course – delicious wines.
Settlers of the Barossa began producing wines in the early 1800s, and exporting them later in the century. For more than 160 years, the region has been perfecting their techniques, nursing their vines and sharing their successes with visitors.
The 1990 Penfolds Grange Hermitage, listed by Wine Spectator magazine in 1995 as the Best Red Wine in the World, is an example of just one of the many great Australian reds produced in the Barossa Valley. Of course, Penfolds continues their long tradition of producing excellent wines and you can go directly to their vineyard and enjoy samples to determine your favourites.
Perhaps you want to celebrate with some bubbly, but find red wines to be more your flavour. Try tasting a Sparkling Shiraz or Sparkling Burgundy at one of the many wineries in the Barossa, and you will never look at Champagne the same way again.
The beauty of wine tasting in the Barossa is that you will discover many new tastes, textures, and aromas. You can enjoy discovering tiny boutique vineyards and marveling at the big-name producers of internationally acclaimed wines.
Whether for a romantic Barossa Valley getaway, or a fun holiday with a group of mates, the Barossa Valley is the place to be.
Float over the vineyards in a hot air balloon, before enjoying a sumptuous champagne breakfast. Browse a farmer’s market, or get into the excitement of a festival. Bicycle through the Valley or enjoy driving around the region in a vintage car. You may find yourself enchanted by the old stone buildings of these historic towns, or enjoying romantic picnics by the lakes and rivers. Wander into one of the many art galleries, or take a peek in one of the museums to learn more about the area. There are several national parks to enjoy, and many choices of gourmet restaurants as well as simpler fare for exhausted taste buds.
The Barossa Valley is beautiful any time of the year. If you would like to attend one of the many festivals, farmers markets, or special events, check out the Barossa Visitor Guide available at www.barossa.com for dates and details.
The closest major city is Adelaide, which is easily accessible from anywhere in Australia by air, trains, bus, or car. Consider renting a vehicle to drive from Adelaide, as you will then have maximum flexibility to enjoy the sites and visit the vineyards of your choice. If driving is not an option, you can arrive in style on a Barossa Valley Coach (information available at www.bvcoach.com and once in the Barossa, take advantage of the many tours on offer, or use the dial-a-bus service available on weekdays.
Sleeping in the Barossa Valley is an experience that will leave your body, mind, and soul completely refreshed. Enjoy your favourite wine by the fire in a historic cottage before waking up to the scent of 250 roses. Enjoy the tranquil views of a vineyard from your window as you recuperate from your day’s adventures. Gaze at the old stonework of a private homestead as you drift off to sleep, or relax in a spa bath in a mansion or log cabin. Whether it is a quaint bed and breakfast you desire, the privacy of a self-contained cottage, or the charm of a historic vineyard homestead, Take A Break has the options. And for those who prefer the conveniences of modern hotels and motels, there are several from which to choose.
Ideal length of visit
Most people will enjoy spending several days sampling different wines, and exploring the region. To go at a more relaxed pace, and experience the unique, rejuvenating feel of several towns in the Barossa region, consider taking at least a week.
The next time you take a sip of your favourite wine, imagine how good it would taste surrounded by the beautiful vineyards of the Barossa Valley.
About the Author
Kylie-Jane Degeling is a freelance writer who has lived in Adelaide,Yulara (Uluru), Alice Springs and Canberra, as well as five different countries throughout the world. After backpacking around Australia, she worked as a tour guide in Central Australia, before training for her Commercial Pilot License and working as a flight instructor, scenic flight and charter pilot. She later worked as a travelling IT trainer for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which involved spending time in each of their 16 District Offices around the country on a frequent rotating basis.
Having experienced Australia as a backpacker, tour guide, pilot and business traveler, Kylie now enjoys family holidays with her husband Alex and children Jezzy and Jordan. She says, “I have been lucky to see Australia from a variety of perspectives, and as a travel writer can use this experience to inspire others to find holidays they would enjoy.”
Kylie currently works as a travel writer in addition to being a government writer and columnist for two parenting magazines.
To learn more, check out the South Australian Tourism Commission’s site and choose your accommodation from the many options on TakeABreak.