Drive among the pretty churches and remnants of German and English settler history as you visit the cellar doors of world-renowned vineyards and you could be forgiven for thinking that here, tradition is king – but a dynamic new breed of winemakers and food artisans are breathing fresh new life into the region. Here's how to make the most of your weekend escape in the Barossa Valley.
Take a peek into Penfolds’ Barossa engine room and taste premium wines, including the world-renowned Grange. The cellar door experience can be crowded so book into a tour for a personal experience. A Taste of Grange offers the chance to discover the philosophy and spirit of what is arguably Australia’s greatest wine with a one-hour tasting selection. Make Your Own Blend is a tour that takes guests into the winemaker’s laboratory and lets them blend a wine from grenache, shiraz and mourvedre, just like Penfolds’ own Bin 138. You even get to take your creation home in a personalised bottle.
Barossa Daimler Tours
John and Libby Baldwin moved to the Barossa in the early 1980s, picking grapes and working on bottling lines before starting Barossa Daimler Tours, so they know their stuff about the region. They also know their stuff about cars, choosing to host their tour guests in two rare and immaculate 1962 Daimler limousines that were used for royal tours of Australia in the 1960s. Book into one of their tour and accommodation packages if you want the hassle of planning your Barossa getaway taken care of, or get picked up from your accommodation for a half-day or full-day trip. Go for the complete package and you’ll have the Daimler to yourself to take in famous wineries.
Barossa Balloon Adventures
If you want an adventure – but not an adrenaline rush – a serene hot-air balloon trip across the Barossa might be for you. Take a one-hour flight with Barossa Balloon Adventures and you’ll float across the valley, watch the sun come up over the Barossa Ranges, maybe spot a kangaroo bouncing away below or even drop down to say g’day to vineyard workers toiling in the vines. Second-generation balloonist Justin Stein has 23 years’ flying experience and an impeccable safety record. Wake early for pick-up by the Barossa Balloon Adventures van, test the wind and watch the team set up the balloon before a gentle take off. A meditative hour later and you’ll help pack up the balloon like a big sleeping bag before enjoying a gourmet breakfast.
Barossa Bike Hire
A guilt-free food and wine tour awaits with Barossa Bike Hire. Ride off the calories while enjoying the Barossa’s beautiful scenery on one of a fleet of well-maintained bicycles. Hire a hybrid path or mountain bike, take a map, helmet and bike lock, and ask for a backpack or cooler bag for storing supplies and surprises picked up along the way. Discuss your route with Barossa Bike Hire’s Louis before setting off – some areas include hills so you might like to forget that whole calorie thing and pick up a KalKhoff electric bike to be the winner of your tour de wine.
Barossa Unique Tours
Whether you were born to be wild or are a touch more mild, a Barossa Unique Tours’ trike adventure will get your motor running as you take in the Barossa’s sights from the back of a bright yellow or red custom-built trike. Host Tony Tscharke, a local who grew up in the Barossa and has made wine here and in California, provides commentary throughout the ride via in-helmet intercom. A variety of tours are available – you can choose your own cellar doors or ask Tony to share his favourites, and explore local produce from soft cheese to traditional smoked meats and micro-brewed beer or cider. As befits a Barossa trike, there’s room for a case of wine in the back.