Most people might think that a visit to the Barossa Valley region of South Australia is just about the wine. Sure there are lots of wineries for you to visit. But if you look a little deeper when exploring the Barossa Valley you will find stunning scenery, historic villages and delicious food.
The area known as the Barossa Valley is located just an hours drive north east of the South Australian capital – Adelaide. The largest town in the area is Tanunda. In the surrounding area you will find the smaller villages of Lyndoch, Angaston, Nuriootpa and Bethany, to name just a few.
The whole area is steeped in history. The first settlers arrived in around 1842, with many of them being of German descent. That influence, can still be seen in the area today.
Our first stop was in the village of Lyndoch. We found a great spot to park right on the edge of the Village Green. Here you will find a lovely garden area, a walking/cycle track, picnic area and clean toilets. We enjoyed wandering up the small main street and checking out some of the old buildings and foodie spots.
Lyndoch boasts two pubs and a variety of coffee shops and restaurants. The Reis Creek Cellar Door can also be found there.
Located just a couple of kilometres out of town is the gorgeous Lyndoch Lavender Farm . Featuring acres of lavender spread out across the hillside, it also has outstanding views of the valley and vineyards below. At the time of our visit the lavender had just been harvested, but it would be a truly spectacular sight when in full flower.
Lyndoch Lavender also has a gorgeous gift shop and cafe. I couldn’t resist sample a Chocolate and Lavender Melting Moment Biscuit and also purchased some lovely lavender soap.
Tanunda is the perfect spot to base yourself, when exploring the Barossa Valley as it is so centrally located. Our visit to the area was part of the Follow the Sun Relay. We stayed at the Discovery Parks Barossa Valley and found this to be a great spot to stay.
The area has a strong European heritage as a result of the early German settlers who came to the area in the mid 1800’s. Many of the original ironstone cottages still exist, as well as beautiful churches and old farm buildings. A walk down the main street will give you the opportunity to admire some of these up close, as well as do a spot of shopping.
To experience first hand the history of wine making in the area, then a visit to Chateau Tanunda is a must. One of the Grand Wine Estates of the Barossa Valley, it is hard to believe that this glorious building was condemned just a few years ago. The daily tour of the Chateau is well worth taking to get a behind the scenes look at a fabulous piece of Barossa Valley history.
Located just out of Tanunda is the Mengler Hill Sculpture Park. The views of the valley below are just outstanding. Dotted along the hillside are a number of quirky sculptures. These sculptures were originally created as part of the Barossa International Sculpture Symposium.
Angaston was possibly one of my favourite spots that we visited in the Barossa Valley. It had the small town, old world feel that I love. With lots of lovely old buildings, shady trees and plenty of cafes and pubs, Angaston has something for everyone.
As I wandered around I found the First Angaston Cemetary. With graves dating back to 1847, it was an unexpected piece of local history and very well preserved.
The main street has a variety of different shops to browse in and lots of cafes and bars. Discovering the Barossa Valley Cheese Company made my day. They have a range of delicious cheeses, including Brie, Camembert, Feta and Haloumi. Tasting boards are set up in the centre of the shop so you can try before you buy.
All the cheeses are made on-site by chief cheese maker Victoria McClurg. A viewing window allows visitors to see the cheese making process as it happens.
Angaston is another spot in the Barossa Valley where ironstone buildings feature heavily. The Town Hall, Angaston Hotel and the Angaston Uniting Church are all wonderful buildings. But the one that caught my eye the most, was the now abandoned Laucke (Flour) Mill. Hopefully one day someone will see it’s potential and restore it to its former glory.
Nuriootpa, or ‘Nuri’ to the locals is located just a few kilometres from Tanunda. Here you will find plenty of cafes, including several coffee roasters.
But one stop at ‘Nuri’ that you won’t want to miss is Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. For anyone who doesn’t know, Maggie Beer is an Australian culinary icon. Amongst other things, Maggie has created a range of gourmet foods that are all pretty much to die for.
Her farm shop is the best place to sample pretty much everything in her range. Her pickles, pate and fruit pastes are just some of my favourites. There are also a range of wines available to taste from Beer Brothers Wines and Pheasant Farm Wines. Grab a glass and sit at the bar that looks over the dam where we could see turtles swimming in the clear water. A perfect way to spend an afternoon.
At Maggie Beer’s there are also daily cooking demonstrations where you can learn how to cook with some of her products. When the demonstrations are not taking place, you can don an apron and get your photo taken on the set where her television show is filmed.
If you would like to eat at Maggie’s, coffee and cake is available in the Farm Shop or you can dine in The Eatery, Maggies on-site restaurant.
We loved our time Exploring the Barossa Valley and we really only skimmed the surface. It is a place that you could easily spend two or three weeks exploring. It is a great spot for food and wine lovers, as well as families. We will definitely be back!