Barossa Valley South Australia

5 fabulous things about the Barossa Valley (that don’t involve wine)

Who doesn’t love wine? A lot of people actually. It might be because they love Vodka, or Beer, or a multitude of Gin and Tonics after one of those days at work. They might have an aversion to alcohol (those lucky buggers must save a shitload on Friday nights), or love the thrill of being the only sober person in the room at the office Christmas party (which I imagine would come with some pulling power if they’re handy with a camera and at peace with blackmail). But despite all their fun traits, our wine-averse friends and loved ones can put a bit of a dent in our plans when it comes to getaways in regions that are famed for their wineries and wine-tastings. Unless you’re going to South Australia’s Barossa Valley of course, where there’s a lot more than wine on the agenda, and therefore, so much more fun to be had. Here are our personal favourites:

1. Degustation Menus Galore Whether it’s a degustation lunch at Hentley Farm wines, or a fancy dinner at Appellation, there are numerous gastronomic delights on offer at wineries and restaurants across the Barossa. Enjoy expertly-crafted dishes that tantalise the tastebuds and presentation that awes, all within the beautiful surroundings of rolling hills, gorgeous vineyards and beautiful valleys.

2. Antiquing Head to nearby towns like Tanunda and Agnaston for old-school trinkets at bargain prices. Antique stores in the region are perfect for scoring period pieces at the fraction of the price of their city counterparts. Think vintage posters and art, old cutlery, napery and crockery and all the gadgets and gizmos of by-gone eras. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need – the stores are a shopper’s paradise.

3. One AMAZING farmer’s market Quite possibly the best farmer’s market I have ever been to, the Barossa Valley Farmer’s Market is an excellent display of small-town communities coming together to support each other’s livelihoods and hobbies. The offerings are diverse and delicious: piles and piles of fresh fruit; jars of jams, marmalades and chutnies made with local produce; punnets of ripened-just-right berries; deli meats and cheeses personally prepared by locals; and dried fruit and nuts without any nasty additives. It’s also a great place to socialise over a cup of hot tea or coffee, or enjoy the famed bacon and egg breakfast rolls (the bacon was the best I ever had that I had to track down where it was stocked in Sydney*). Before you head home, there’s always the option of buying a take-away treat – be it a Barossa Valley Ice-Cream company cone (with a range of delicious flavours on offer, like candied balsamic with roasted strawberry or pear and verjuice) or a brownie, sweet tart or savoury pastry for afternoon tea.

4. Cooking Classes Sometimes you want to go out for an amazing meal just so you don’t have to make one for yourself. And sometimes the food is so amazing that you can’t go on unless you know how to make it so you can replicate the feel-good experience at home. Thankfully, the great talents at the Barossa Valley’s cafes and restaurants are catching on to this and a few are now offering cooking classes to locals and visitors alike. Whether it’s how to make fresh pasta and an easy (but delicious) sauce to go with it at Casa Carboni (make sure you stock up on his hand-made nougat also), cooking with verjuice at Maggie Beer’s, or learning the traditional methods of cooking great food with the Food Luddite program – there’s a class that will definitely help you hone in on your kitchen skills while having a good time in the process.

5. Awesome opportunities for R&R Hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, horse riding and visiting galleries and look-outs are just some of the activities on offer for those who just want a little bit of a time-out from their busy schedules. Prefer to hang out at a top-notch resort instead? The Louise is a state-of-the-art five-star resort experience that takes luxury to new heights. Have a long bath (or an outdoor shower) then relax in your huge bed with a book or DVD borrowed from reception’s library and just let all your stresses melt away.

 

Sarah Ayoub was a guest of South Australia Tourism

Photos courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission

TravelSarah Ayoub