The Ultimate Barossa Valley Travel Guide
The Barossa Valley is famous for being one of the world’s best wine regions. Traditionally founded by German and Cornish settlers, the Barossa region is one of South Australia’s most popular destinations. It’s compact size makes it the perfect weekender destination, and its proximity to Adelaide, South Australia’s capital city, means the logistics are super easy.
Because the Barossa is so close to home for us, we’ve been many times. Sometimes as a day trip, other times for a night or two. We’ve also experienced adults-only getaways and precious family time here. There really is an option for everyone.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands often referred to as the Barossa Valley: the Peramangk, Ngadjuri, and Kaurna peoples. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded and pay our respects to the elders past, present, and emerging.
How to get to Barossa Valley (and get around while you’re there)
The Barossa is about 60 kilometers north-east of Adelaide, so it will take you just under an hour to get there (depending on the route you take and the traffic). The most direct route is via the Northern Expressway. However, if you feel like a leisurely, scenic drive and have time to spare, you can detour through the Hills – stop in Chain of Ponds at the winery, and Birdwood for the National Motor Museum, before taking tree-lined back roads into the Barossa.
Strictly speaking, you don’t need a car as you can book tours, but I think it’s preferable and so much easier. If you’re coming from Adelaide and you’re not local, hiring a car is your best bet. We like Europcar best as we can earn frequent flyer points and they often have great deals. Rentalcars.com also have some great deals and are worth checking out.
Things To Do In Barossa Valley
There are so many attractions in the Barossa Valley that don’t involve wine. Here are a few of my favourites.
Hot air ballooning
If you’re prepared to get up early, a hot air balloon ride is an incredible way to experience sunrise. Popular operators such as Barossa Valley Ballooning and Balloon Adventures offer a champagne (sorry, sparkling white wine) breakfast after the flight.
Make sure you wear layers – it can get chilly up in the air. Also make sure you take a hat/beanie and wear decent shoes – you’ll be taking off and landing in a paddock, and standing under a burner.
If you’re looking for a more thrilling way to take in the Barossa’s beautiful scenery, why not do it from the air?
From short scenic flights to getting around all day and “dropping in” for lunch, a helicopter tour is a super fun way to experience the Barossa. Find out more at the Barossa Helicopters website.
Cheese lovers (hello!) be sure to make a stop at the Barossa Valley Cheese Company on Murray Street in Angaston. It’s just like a winery cellar door, but with CHEESE!
Or, for something really fun, book the Barossa Cheese and Wine Trail pack – this package gives you a bunch of cheeses and a map, and sends you in search of the right wine to pair with your cheese.
Maggie Beer’s farm shop and restaurant
Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop has to be one of my favourite places in the Barossa, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t absolutely love it.
Sample just about everything they make at Maggie Beer in the farm shop – from their famous pâté (the Pheasant Farm one is the most famous, but there’s a delicious mushroom one for vegetarians) to chocolate caramel spreads and vino cotto.
Enjoy a coffee on the deck overlooking the dam – most days you’ll be lucky enough to spot a bunch of turtles!
For lunch at The Eatery, you really need to make a booking as it’s so popular. But with good reason! Trust me, you’ll have an absolutely amazing lunch.
For more information and to make a booking, click through to Maggie Beer.
The Whispering Wall is a curious feature, and it’s one the kids will get a kick out of.
The wall itself is unassuming at best (some might say ugly), and it’s function is to create a dam. However, due to the parabola effect (look it up) it echoes sound along the wall. This means you can say something at one end of the wall, and someone at the other end of the dam can hear you perfectly.
You only need to go here once, but it’s a fun stop – especially if you have little ones to entertain.
Wine and Gin Tasting
Choosing wineries, distilleries, and breweries to try can be daunting – there are just so many options!
Below are some of my absolute favourite options.
Something to bear in mind is your group size – as a rule of thumb, if there’s more than eight of you, book ahead to make sure each winery can accommodate you.
First Drop Wines
First Drop is best known for its Mother’s Milk Shiraz. However, this isn’t their only fantastic wine!
The staff are lots of fun at First Drop – expect a casual, jokey vibe and lots of information about each wine.
First Drop also offers a tapas menu for a casual lunch.
Experience First Drop‘s cellar door at 30-38 Barossa Valley Way, Nuriootpa.
I actually hadn’t heard of Atze’s Corner until recently – a winemaking friend recommended them. And I’m really glad we went!
We enjoyed attentive service (which is difficult with a large group!) and the views from the deck over the vineyards were gorgeous.
Enjoy the view at Atze’s Corner at 451 Research Road, Nuriootpa.
Seppeltsfield Road Distillers
I love this place so much. Aesthetically, think luxury made from shipping containers. Taste-wise, think unique, artisanal gin.
The staff really know their stuff when it comes to gin (and are great to hang out with!) and the vibe is so fun. Relax out on the deck amongst beautiful eucalyptus trees, enjoying cocktails or a tasting paddle while listening to smooth beats. We particularly loved the “breakfast sangria”.
You can find Seppeltsfield Road Distillers at 436 Seppeltsfield Road, Marananga.
Artisans of Barossa
Artisans is a really unique experience on a number of levels.
Firstly, it’s not a winery… It’s actually a co-op. Nine very small family-run brands have come together to provide a cellar door where you can appreciate dozens of wines at once. On top of that, small batch local produce is showcased in their cafe and shop. Artisans is the place to go to support the little guys (my favourite thing to do!)
After this visit, Artisans has become a firm favourite with many members of our group. You can find us here for anything from a quick tasting, to a glass of wine on the lawn playing cornhole, an intimate lunch, or even a morning coffee.
The only “con” we had was that they closed at 5pm and we didn’t want to leave.
Artisans of Barossa is located at 24 Vine Vale Road, Tanunda.
I’ve been coming to Langmeil for years – every year I pick up a few bottles of their Sparkling Shiraz. I try to never miss a vintage!
This gorgeous little cellar door is also a slice of history – you’ll find old blacksmith’s quarters here and other glimpses into Tanunda’s past.
Langmeil‘s cellar door is located on the corner of Langmeil and Para Road, Tanunda.
Rockford is famous in these parts for their Alicante Bouchet (basic people will call this a rose, but it’s a light red you drink chilled!). However, their Basket Press Shiraz is a bucket list wine, and their P.S. Marion port is a favourite after dinner treat in our house.
Rockford’s cellar door is an intimate experience set amongst historic buildings, so call ahead if you’re with more than a few people.
Rockford Wines‘ cellar door is located at 131 Krondorf Road, Krondorf.
Where To Stay In Barossa Valley
Staying a night or two (or three) allows you to truly take in everything the Barossa Valley has to offer.
From boutique luxury, to resorts, to charming BnBs, the Barossa has it all. Here are some of our favourite options.
Rogasch Cottage is a gorgeous two-bedroom cottage built in the 1800s, a five-minute walk from the main street of Tanunda. It makes our list of one of the most romantic South Australian getaways.
Enjoy the spectacular views over a glass of wine in the heated plunge pool or by the open fire. You’ll even have access to the private cellar!
Rogash Cottage’s hosts also offer tastings where they will talk you through many amazing wines.
The Louise features fifteen incredibly spacious private suites, each with its own deck. But our favourite thing about The Louise? Swimming in the infinity pool overlooking the vineyards.
The Louise is closed until September 2022 for major refurbishments, but when it opens it will be even better than ever.
Barossa Discovery Parks Luxury Safari Tents
The Barossa Discovery Park is an excellent family-friendly option. In true Discovery Parks style, it’s equipped with a pool and splash pad as well as bouncing pillows and go karts. The kids will LOVE it here.
However, hidden amongst the trees at the back is a little slice of grown-ups only heaven – the luxury safari tents. Featuring a pool, spa, fire pit and outdoor kitchen exclusively for safari tent guests, you’ll have everything you need for a romantic weekend in the tent, with some socialising possible outside.
We recently stayed here and absolutely loved it – come back soon to read our Barossa Discovery Parks Glamping Tent review!
Kingsford The Barossa
Billed as one of Australia’s most exclusive luxury retreats, Kingsford is one for the bucket list.
The Kingsford estate has a rich history, which makes staying here such a unique experience. The property blends modern luxury with historic homestead vibes, making you feel incredibly at home (but also very aware of being on a luxury holiday!)
We particularly love the property’s Kegelbahn – German for ‘skittles’, this is like a private bowling alley but more chic! This property is another on our romantic SA getaways list.
Stonewell Cottages are a luxe option for a romantic boutique escape.
Located around a gorgeous lake, these individual cottages and suites offer complete privacy and a chance to really get away from it all.
Each cottage or suite comes stocked with plentiful breakfast provisions and local wines, chocolates, cheeses and other snacks. Perfection!
Novotel Barossa Valley
The Barossa Novotel is a popular option for a bigger resort-style vibe.
We’ve stayed here several times for weddings, concerts, and even a conference. Rooms are sleek and spacious and we particularly enjoyed the ones looking out onto the pool.
Rooms have also recently been refurbished, giving it a lovely modern feel.
Barossa Airbnbs and Holiday Homes
There are plenty of Airbnb options available throughout the Barossa. We love this option when travelling with kids or as a larger group.
Three holiday homes we’ve personally been to and loved (all in Tanunda) are this one on Julius Street (perfect for families), this one on Murray Street (perfect for large groups), and this one on Bridge Street (for something a bit more fancy).
Where To Eat In Barossa Valley
The Atrium at Hentley Farm
Hentley Farm is the ultimate special occasion experience.
Offering an a la carte lunch, discovery menu, or chef’s table experience expertly paired with wines, you’ll need several hours here to truly savour the experience. Each dish is prepared to showcase ingredients sourced from local farmers or grown in Hentley Farm’s specialty gardens on site.
Just because you’re in the countryside, doesn’t mean you can’t find delicious Asian food. Owned and run by a chef with Vietnamese heritage, the punchy, fresh flavours of every meal at FermentAsian will never disappoint.
FermentAsian focuses on local produce, which I love, and implement ethical and sustainable practices into every aspect of their food.
A team of sommeliers will carefully make sure your wine is perfectly paired.
Located at The Louise, Appelation is a beautiful fine dining option. Enjoy an elegant meal in an intimate venue, expertly paired with Barossa wines. Ingredients are locally sourced, and the Chef’s Tasting Menu changes daily.
This one’s for the adults – Appelation does not accommodate children under the age of ten.
Last time we were in the Barossa, we had roughly 20 people so a set menu at Lambert Estates was the perfect option. They could easily accommodate a group of our size, and they put us on the verandah/balcony (with beautiful views) where we didn’t disturb anyone else but had plenty of room.
We went through a significant tasting as dishes came out, assisted by our gracious host who put up with all of us!
When To Visit
The Barossa is perfect all year ’round in my eyes. However, at the height of Summer (January to March), the heat can be blistering. This is something to particularly to take note of if you’re into reds – hot days in January might not be the nicest time for red wine tasting.
Late March is wonderful in most of SA – still warm and sunny, but the heat starts to become more manageable. Likewise, September through to early December is perfect for sunny long lunches among the vineyards.
Moody Autumn hues and Winter fireplaces in the Barossa will look wonderful on your Instagram feed – keep warm with a bold drop of red wine from any of the incredible wineries. This time of year is also perfect for artsy folks – the Barossa Arts Festival happens in April, as does the bi-ennial Barossa Vintage Festival.
For other amazing getaways in South Australia, read our Ultimate South Australia Guide.
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