The Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s most gorgeous places, with rolling hills, a fascinating history, and more vineyards than you can possibly stagger between. But with so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start – or which spots you can’t possibly miss.
This handy guide highlights the very best of the region, from cellar doors to opportunities for a cup of coffee. Tackle the route in a single day (total driving time is just under an hour) or take your time and spread it out over a couple of days. You may want to take turns at being the designated driver.
In terms of the wines you’ll want to look out for, make room for bold shirazes, smooth cabernet sauvignons, and GSM blends of grenache, shiraz and mourvèdre. If white wine is more your style, you’ll love the region’s traditional rieslings and semillons, as well as its more recent forays into Rhône white varieties such as viognier and marsanne.
This picturesque little village was once the terminus of the Barossa Valley railway line. It still has many of its original heritage buildings, including the original police station and 19th century churches. On Saturday mornings, Angaston plays host to the Barossa Valley Farmers Market, showcasing the bounty of the region – a great place to buy fresh fruit and coffee beans to take home with you, or simply enjoy the sights and smells. Look out for the Barossa Valley Cheese Shop, too. Yalumba Winery is one of the prettiest vineyards nearby, with wines to match. Pop in for a tasting or take a seat in the Wine Room to enjoy a glass of something cold with one of their platters.
Set aside an hour to stroll along the Heritage Trail through Tanunda. It’s the easiest way to get a sense of the town and the history of the region – maps are available at the visitors centre. Along your way, you’ll pass galleries, cafés and gift shops worth stopping for a mosey. (Darlings Cafe is a good option for a pick-me-up coffee.) There’s a wealth of vineyards in the area to choose from, but our favourite in town is the grand Château Tanunda. On your way out, keep your eyes peeled for St Hallett, whose wine flights get some extra sparkle from artisanal chocolate pairings.
The tiny town of Marananga is home to seriously punchy shiraz. Here, you’ll find such greats as the Barossa Valley Estate and Tscharke’s Place, both of which offer tastings to visitors. Their selections aren’t huge, but that’s no bad thing: These vineyards have mastered what they do (and it leave you some appetite for other places along the route.)
It’s a hamlet (population about 350), but it’s also an unmissable vineyard: Seppeltsfield is one of Australia’s oldest wineries, where you’ll find an iconic sparkling shiraz among other spectacular offerings. Book in for an underground tour of their heritage-listed cellars or stay above ground at the café, where they offer light lunches and cheese platters. This is a vineyard worth making time for, with some of the region’s most interesting wines.
Ready for one more vineyard? Penfolds is the place to go in Nuriootpa, with their revered Grange the one to ask for. Alternatively, if you’re up for more or are starting afresh on a new day, tackle the 8km Nuriootpa Wine Trail on a bicycle. (The last couple of kilometres may be a little wobbly.) If you’re all wined out, make like Charles and Camilla and head to the Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. It’s a smorgasbord of Australian-made temptations with almost everything available to try. The team is on hand to provide demonstrations on cooking with their Verjuice and Vino Cotto. Across the deck, the Farm Eatery showcases the region’s seasonal produce in a menu that changes daily.
Mengler's Hill Lookout Sculpture Park
End your journey by heading to the Mengler's Hill Lookout Sculpture Park, near Angaston. It’s a pretty drive on the way up, but nothing compared to what awaits you at the top. Time your journey for sunset for the most magnificent views over the sculptures. This is a wonderful way to see the whole of the Barossa spread out before you, and look back over everything you’ve experienced. After that, it’s probably time to enjoy some shiraz and perhaps dinner at the Vintner's Bar and Grill. You’ve earned it.