Hubby and I recently got back from our 10th Anniversary holiday. What an incredible holiday! I had such a lovely, relaxing time that I did not want to come back. We spent four days in the Barossa Valley, which is Australian wine country for anyone that doesn’t know. The Barossa is known for their big, bold red though we tried all kinds of wine and bought heaps to bring back with us. I thought I’d write a little record of where we went and what we did for anyone thinking of going.
I won’t really comment on the wine since 1) it was nearly all amazing and 2) everyone’s opinions differ. We bought almost 100 bottles on the trip so we were pleased with a lot of it!
The trip itself is about 8 hours by car from Melbourne. It was a super hot day on the way there so we made a lot of stops along the way. The prettiest one was Pink Lake. It’s a salt lake just on the side of the highway (just out of Dimboola). Such an amazing site! I’ve always been fascinated by coloured salt lakes so I was quite excited when hubby pointed out we were going to drive past one.
After many hours of driving we were almost at our destination and we started coming across wineries. We thought we might as well make a start tasting all the Barossa has to offer and we made a stop at Kellermeister. Kellermeister has some amazing views across the Barossa and a lovely Cellar Door (tasting room) not to mention fantastic wine. We bought quite a bit here! They also offer tasting boards (cheese, salmon or meat) that you can purchase to enjoy with your wine tasting.
Once we arrived at our cottage (we stayed at Stephanette’s), we decided to have an easy night so put together some nibbles and wine and hopped in the spa. What a perfect way to relax after spending all day in the car! I am so glad we booked a place with an outdoor spa. We used it quite a lot!
Refreshed the next morning, we thought we’d explore the Barossa on our bikes. Our plan of action was to visit smaller wineries and places we hadn’t really heard of before to see if we could discover some new gems. First we visited Yelland and Papps. It was such a sweet little location with a lovely garden setup and tasting room in part of a cottage. Next up we went to Basedow’s. Their family history goes back to one of the first wine making families of the Barossa. I could have talked all day to the lovely Maria who served us our tastings.
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at 1918. I loved my Lamb Rack and Lamb Shoulder pie and hubby enjoyed a steak. After dinner we drove around and found this lovely spot to take a picture of the perfect sunset. We ended up next to some wheat fields rather than vines so it doesn’t look all that ‘Barossa’ but was beautiful regardless.
Day two our butts were pretty sore so we stuck to the car. First we drove out to Murray Street Vineyards. Hubby and I are both fans of their wine and this was one of the few wineries we HAD to check out. The location was beautiful, with stone buildings set among the vines. They offer a sit down wine tasting here, which is lovely and relaxing but does make the whole process a bit slower. Next we went to Torbreck Vintners. The lady who served us our tastings really knew her stuff and I loved picking her brain. This was another tasting room setup in a quaint little cottage with gorgeous gardens around it…that seemed to be a bit of a theme and got me totally smitten with The Barossa!
On our way to dinner we decided to go to one more wine session. This time we went to Artisans of Barossa. It’s a bit different to the rest as they showcase wine from a selection of winemakers rather than just their own stuff. They also have a kitchen which opens for lunch and dinner. It was more of a wine bar and would be a lovely place to spend the afternoon.
Dinner was at FermentAsian, an incredible place that serves modern south-east Asian food. The food was exquisite! Fresh little flavour bombs! We had matched drinks with our dinner which did present some odd choices, but it was good to have some alcohol that wasn’t always wine! Their wine list is impressive to say the least, take a look at their cellar above! If you find the list overwhelming, they have a mini list too. The owner was lovely and generous and we had a great night out! We caught the local taxi back to our cottage, which is a very handy service indeed!
Next on the list was Hentley Farm. Yes, more food! They had just opened their new dining room which is wall to wall glass so you feel like you’re eating among the gum trees. Just beautiful! The picture above shows the main entrance to their restaurant.
This was definitely the ‘fanciest’ of all the places we ate at and it did not disappoint. They do that whole thing where you get to meet all of the chefs which I find a bit awkward, but they were all lovely and the food was incredible. Slightly out of the ordinary stuff, but mind-blowingly delicious! One such dish was fresh oysters with passionfruit juice. They are hiding there in the rosemary scented ‘smoke’ from the dry ice. Another dish had shaved cured egg yolks on top. It looked like grated parmesan cheese. The egg yolks are cured in a sugar-salt mix in the fridge, just like gravlax. The dessert was my favourite, a take on liquorice allsorts with a lemon yogurt sorbet, sesame crisps and liquorice puree underneath. I was dying to lick the bowl!
You wouldn’t believe it, but on the way back from lunch we visited yet another winery. This time we went to Two Hands. They have a beautiful back deck with comfy chairs and big market umbrellas. I could have sat here all afternoon!
The time went so quickly, and on our way out we visited one last winery, St Hallett. Another beautiful location and we were yet again spoiled with perfect weather! This was a bit of a lunch stop so we bought a duck tasting board (which I can highly recommend) and a glass of wine and sat out in their garden for a picnic. Then it was off back home (sad face).
It was an incredible holiday and I can’t wait to go back! A few things to note:
- Taking the bikes was a great idea, so if you’re thinking about taking bikes to the Barossa, do it. The paths were lovely to ride on and for the most part it’s all flat. There were a few bits where we were stuck in a headwind that wasn’t so good, but sometimes it happens. The few occasions we had to ride on the road I felt pretty safe. We had fantastic weather, but I imagine it gets very hot in summer (Dec-Feb) which might not be ideal for bike riding.
- Every winery we visited was lovely, so I can’t suggest anywhere to avoid. A couple had modest tasting fees that were either donated or refunded if you made a purchase.
- The cottage we stayed at was lovely too and I would stay there again. We were given local provisions for a cooked breakfast each morning (which we nearly always had).
- Most wineries will ship the wine home for you. A lot were free with a minimum purchase amount too.
- We stayed in Nuriootpa which was fairly central to all the places we wanted to visit. I think staying in Nuriootpa or Tanunda is ideal.
Back to reality now…waaahh!