Barossa's new classics
The Barossa is nothing short of iconic, and its tourism industry is diversifying at breakneck speed.
The traditional bakeries and endless rows of vines are still there, and so is the accompanying country hospitality. But there are plenty of new ways to see – and taste – the Barossa.
Words: Lauren Reid
Take to the sky
Photo: Barossa Balloon Adventures
Scaredy-cat alert! That was how I started my Barossa balloon adventure, anyway. By the time we were 5000ft in the air and soaking up the stunning morning light, I couldn’t have felt more comfortable.
That was thanks, in part, to the camaraderie that inevitably develops when a group of 16 strangers are huddled together in a basket in the sky, but mostly it was thanks to the expertise of my pilot, Justin Stein.
No one knows Barossa ballooning like Justin; he’s been ballooning for about 30 years, his father was a hot air balloon pilot before him, and his daughter is keen to join Barossa Balloon Adventures when she’s older.
Getting a bird’s-eye view of the region’s patchwork quilt of vineyards, paddocks, towns and homesteads is the ultimate bucket-list experience.
Flights include a champagne breakfast – which really hits the spot after that 5am start – back at Justin’s new visitor centre in Nuriootpa.
TIP: Don’t stress if you can’t get the perfect photo – chances are, Justin will. Just wait until you see how he manages to get shots of your whole group while up in the air.
Explore on two wheels - or feet.
Photo: Segway Sensations
You may’ve seen them whizzing up and down tourist thoroughfares in Europe, but hopping on a Segway in the Barossa is a whole different kind of experience.
Gravel paths and grassy hills provide an extra degree of difficulty to what can already be a gravitationally challenging experience for the uncoordinated among us.
But never fear! Your instructors – including, in my case, Segway Sensation SA owner Shane Camilleri – are so encouraging, they’ll have you feeling like a ‘seg-spert’ in no-time.
You’d be forgiven for spending most of the tour perfecting your twists and turns, but make sure you take the time to soak up the views and get some photos looking down at the winery from the top of the hill.
Enough with the adrenalin? Take a relaxing amble through Seppeltsfield’s historic buildings and grounds on the daily Heritage Tour, which finishes with a hosted tasting of some of the winery’s top drops.
TIP: Why not spend a whole day at Seppeltsfield? Segway in the morning, tour in the afternoon, a spot of shopping at the Jam Factory gallery and store, and lunch at the award-winning FINO restaurant.
Test your tastebuds
Photo: Josie Withers
If you’re a wine novice like me, cellar door tastings can be daunting. What’s the correct glass-swirling etiquette? Why does this pinot taste so different from the one I tried at the previous winery?
Thankfully, Jacob’s Creek – and my delightful host, Cheryl – were able to answer all my questions as part of my Sensory Food and Wine Experience.
Everything from the lightest white to the heartiest red they had to offer was covered, as well as petite nibbles of different foods to help me learn how the two interact.
Jacob’s Creek’s suite of boutique visitor experiences is about to expand, and I’ll be heading back to try the ‘Blend Bar’, where you can create your own wine blend to take away – and even get a case of it sent to your home to share with friends and family.
TIP: Get your guide to talk you through the winery’s fascinating history and its various guises – from Gramp & Sons to Orlando’s to Jacob’s Creek. Pop into St Hugo, Jacob’s Creek’s neighbour, if you’ve got some spare time.
Hit the open road
Photo: Barossa Unique Tours
If you’re after a little more adrenalin, then Tony Tscharke’s Barossa Unique Tours is for you!
Feel the wind in your hair as you cruise around the Barossa in an iconic 1966 Mustang Convertible or custom trike – or if the weather is wild and woolly, rug up in a luxurious Jeep Grand Cherokee.
I left the itinerary for my Mustang tour completely up to Tony, as I wanted to tap into his local knowledge and get off the beaten track.
With nothing but a vague mention of the kind of wine I liked, Tony improvised the perfect itinerary that helped me continue the wine education I started at Jacob’s Creek.
Wherever we went, Tony had a wealth of facts and figures about the place, and we were greeted like family – a common theme of my Barossa visit, in fact.
For fans of sleek design, I’d recommend including Hewitson Wines in your tour, and for those after a more rustic touch, you can’t miss Seabrook or Flaxman Wines.
If you’re after a foodie pit-stop along the way, Z Wine’s cellar door in Tanunda does mouth-watering platters.
TIP: Whatever you do, make sure you get Tony to include Barossa Cheese Co. on your tour itinerary and try a nibble of the Barossa Geo.
Need somewhere to stay?
The Barossa is full of quaint B&Bs and great family caravan parks, but for a touch of luxury, my pick is the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort.
On-site wine tastings, a gourmet restaurant, stunning views from the pool and endota spa treatments all help you unwind after a jam-packed day of adventures.