A LONG WEEKEND IN ADELAIDE AND THE BAROSSA VALLEY
Adelaide has finally grown up and shed her ‘city of churches’ moniker. Cool cafés, hip bars, and 21st century pubs have done away with the dingy old locals and replaced their tastes with designer beers, fine wines, and fancy restaurants with magnificent menus to match the modern makeovers.
We arrived on a sunny Saturday morning for a three-day discovery tour. After checking in to the centrally located Hilton Adelaide, we headed out to discover what the city had to offer.
The first port of call was the Adelaide Markets, only a moment’s walk from our hotel. After indulging in the local produce, we waddled out and attempted to discard some calories, jiving to some of the many buskers plying their trade in Rundle Mall, before unearthing some more of the hidden gems of Adelaide’s surrounding streets. It was here that we found a wide variety of retro shops, beauty and hair salons, restaurants, cafes, and some very cool bars indeed.
Following a much needed caffeine hit, we made our way up to the Adelaide Hills, to Deviation Road Winery, located just 15 minutes from the CBD, for an afternoon of wine, dancing, and the gorging of enormous pizza and cheese platters.
We discovered this little gem courtesy of our friends who live in Adelaide. They had invited us to experience the postcard perfect winery and vineyard and we ended up having the maddest few hours. There’s plenty of room for the kids to play, and the adults to play up – highly recommended!
As our first day came to a close, we relaxed with a delicious (and romantic) Hilton Adelaide room service dinner and movie night.
The next day we hired a car and organised a self-driving day tour to the renowned South Australian wine region, the Barossa Valley.
There are several different routes to the Barossa Valley from the Hilton Adelaide and we chose the Onkaparinga scenic route, which took us past Birdwood and our first stop at Handorf, a German influenced town with a charming European feel.
After refuelling with coffee, cake, and fresh strawberries, and a spot of window-shopping, we continued on our journey. The route took us through some of the most beautiful Australian landscapes we’d ever experienced. Our only other stop before the first vineyard was to check out a massive gum tree which (legend has it) had a German family called the Herbigs living inside its 500 year-old semi-hollow trunk for two years in the 1800s – a fleeting yet interesting visit.
Not long after this and we found ourselves pulling into the first of the day’s designated winery stops, Henschke, to get down to the serious business of tasting the local fermented grapes.
The English manor and setting of this winery were like something out of a fairytale. Moments later and the chardies, pinots, merls, and sauv blancs were being poured, much to the glee of our discerning palates.
The Henschke winery has been producing classic wines in this region since 1862 and, as the saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding.” A quintissential Barossa Valley experience.
On our way to the next winery, surrounded by vineyards, we stopped in for lunch at the delightful South Australian Company Store restaurant. We cut a swathe through a variety of the local produce, before motoring on to our next winery, Seppeltsfield.
Set in opulent grounds with manicured gardens, Seppeltsfield is one of Australia’s largest and oldest wineries, and the wines here are as good as the real estate. With just enough time to sneak in another quick visit, we continued on to the charming, family owned Elderton Wines for our final stop.
Having just experienced three of Australia’s premier wineries, and a lazy drive back to the Hilton Adelaide (with plenty of new bottles), we decided to stay in and enjoy a blissful night’s sleep.
The following morning we borrowed a couple of courtesy bikes and set out to work off the wine and cheese binge from the day before. We cycled 15 kilometres along the bank of Torrens River to one of Adelaide’s most famous beaches, Glenelg. The return trip turned out to be even more pleasant, in a taxi!
As our weekend wound down and the wine wore off, we realised that Adelaide had surpassed everything we had ever imagined it to be.