By Melissa Keogh
South Australia’s Barossa Valley is the heart of the big, bold shiraz, quaint bed and breakfasts and more restaurant experiences than your trouser waistline can handle.
It’s a region that prides itself on producing some of the world’s best wines, and is scattered with cellar doors, cafés, restaurants, gourmet trails and visitor experiences showcasing gastronomic delights.
The Barossa Valley attracts a high proportion of interstate overnight visitors (35% of all visitors) and generates $190 million in visitor expenditure (Tourism Research Australia, 2017).
But with many towns, including Angaston, Lyndoch, Nurioopta, Tanunda and Williamstown, to explore it can be hard to decide which places to hit first.
Here’s a guide for the best wine tasting, gin sipping and cheese grazing activities to indulge in, plus something a little spooky and out of the ordinary. Hint: Ghosts in Kapunda!
1. Venture along Seppeltsfield Road
A must see for first-time Barossa visitors, Seppeltsfield Road is one of the most renowned stretches of road in the region and is lined with tall palm trees dating back to the 1930s.
The tourist hotspot Seppeltsfield is a must-visit, featuring a winery and cellar door, Fino restaurant, café, art gallery, craft workshops and studios and the Vasse Virgin skin care factory all in one.
Give yourself a couple of hours to explore the entire Seppeltsfield estate, including a complementary wine tasting or premium wine flight at the cellar door, and a wander around the European-style gardens.
Those wanting to indulge in something a little fancy can venture over to Fino Restaurant for a long-lunch experience while those after more relaxed, casual vibes will enjoy regional cheese platters, toasted paninis, and snacks at Benno’s Kiosk and picnic grounds.
Also, explore JamFactory shop for beautiful SA and Australian-made artworks, sculptures, vases, jewellery and homewares, and the contemporary craft and design studios. Make sure you stop by Barry Gardner the knife maker’s (mesmerising to watch) workshop.
2. Explore Angaston’s main street
Angaston is a charming and well-kept country town with a small main street that will occupy you for hours.
Start by fueling up on coffee and Italian pastries at Casa Carboni in the morning (or enrol in a cooking class!) before cheese tasting and stocking up on haloumi, brie, camembert, feta and other cheesy delights at Barossa Valley Cheese Company next door.
Sit back and relax with a bowl of pasta at the cosy Wanera Wine Bar nearby and walk it off by wandering past the quaint cottages and old buildings including the magnificent grey marble town hall on Washington Street.
Finish off the afternoon by enjoying a glass of shiraz at Saltram Wines, a 160-year-old estate with old charm at the entrance to Angaston on the Angaston to Nuriootpa Road.
3. Stock up on the sweet stuff at Barossa Valley Chocolate Company.
One of the Barossa’s newest and exciting destinations, Barossa Valley Chocolate Company opened just before Easter and is an all-in-one chocolate factory, cellar door, café and ice creamery.
At the centre of the facility is a mesmerising chocolate wall, inspired by the Venchi Cioccolato e Gelato in Florence, while visitors can also take wonder in watching the chocolatiers at work through a glass viewing area into the factory itself.
The range of sweet treats is extensive and includes the classics milk, dark, white and the newer Ruby chocolate, while unique additions include a salted caramel and cider truffle, as well as a signature truffle infused with sparkling wine.
The chocolate company is also home to Benni’s Café, which has a menu heavy on local produce, a cellar door showcasing Vineyard Road wines and a serene outdoor deck.
Wine lovers can take part in a specially-curated chocolate and wine pairing, while chocolate making classes will be introduced in the near future. A great visitor experience for families and people of all ages.
4. Spend an afternoon at Provenance Barossa
A food and wine lover’s delight, Provenance is best explored with a couple of hours to spare. The blend of Barossa businesses includes Penfolds wine sales and cellar door where visitors can taste what the region is famous for – the world-renowned Grange – as well as other premium drops.
There is also artisan coffee roaster Bean Addiction to explore and Steiny’s Traditional Mettwurst’s new tasting room to check out. Stein’s Taphouse will satisfy beer drinkers with 14 craft beverages to choose from on tap, and over 80 more in cans or bottles.
Last but not least there’s Home of the Brave wine and tapas room at The Provenance where you can fill up on delicious tapas matched with drops of your choice from First Drop Wines.
There’s a lot to explore at The Provenance, you might need more than one occasion to experience it all!
5. Choose SA at the Barossa Farmers Market
Chat to local producers about how their food is grown and made, stock up on fresh produce and treat yourself to something special, such as a bottle of olive oil, a pack of freshly roasted coffee or blended tea, a tub of honey, or a selection of smallgoods.
The Barossa Farmers Market is a community produce market running every Saturday (7.30–11.30am) undercover in the Vintners Sheds, Angaston. Check the website on Friday afternoons for an update on stallholders who will be present.
Head for the Breakfast Bar for a coffee by Bean Addiction and munch on a breakfast burger before browsing the stalls, many of which offer samples to try before you buy. The market is a good way of getting a taste for many local food producers and beverages in the one spot.
6. Get spooked on the Kapunda Ghost Crime Tour
Kapunda is an old mining town just outside of the Barossa and is regarded as the most haunted town in Australia. It’s also home to the most haunted pub in the country, the North Kapunda Hotel.
History buffs and those into a bit of paranormal activity will be in their element, while those who are easily spooked may not!
The Kapunda Ghost Crime Tour will take you on a three-hour tour around Kapunda and into some of the town’s most haunted buildings including the North Kapunda Hotel and the Chapel Street Theatre which was once a church.
Your tour guide will recount stories from Kapunda’s famous haunted past, share tales of locals who met unfortunate endings and notorious cases that will send chills down your spine.
Held every Friday and Saturday night, the ghost tour departs from the North Kapunda Hotel and will take you into dark, gloomy places (which is all part of the fun!) including the pub’s basement which was once a morgue.
You’re not guaranteed to see a real ghost or feel a ‘presence’, but you are encouraged to record on your mobile phone and to take pictures, as technology may pick up things your eyes won’t! Spooky.
Editor’s note: highly recommend fuelling up on a chicken schnitzel at the Kapunda North Hotel beforehand!
Header image by Drea Chong.
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