A holiday or weekend in Adelaide wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Adelaide Hills and the celebrated wineries of the BarossaValley. Some of Australia's finest drops come from this region and thanks to its close proximity to Adelaide, you can see (and taste) plenty in just one day.
The Adelaide Hills are just twenty minutes from Adelaide and are a terrific destination for all travelers – whether you're after a lazy, romantic day sampling wines and taking in views, or a busy day visiting attractions, boutique and antique shopping and getting some outdoor exercise!
Mt Lofty is the highest peak in the Adelaide Hills and offers spectacular views of the ocean, the region and of Adelaide herself. It's reputed to be a tough climb but worth it for the views. While there, nature lovers can visit the Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens and nearby Cleland Conservation and Wildlife Parks for hiking, sightseeing and a coffee in the picturesque Waterfall Gully.
The Wildlife Park is an excellent place for children to engage with Australia's favourite and rarest species. It is one of the few interactive wildlife sanctuaries with 35ha of bush land where big kids and little kids can interact with our native animals. No wonder it's one of Adelaide's favourite tourist destinations!
And it's all just a short, easy drive out of Adelaide, just off the South Eastern Freeway.
From Mt Lofty, take the Mount Lofty Summit road heading to Woodforde Conservation Park and Castambul. Here join the Gorge Road for a spectacular drive through the foothills, featuring quaint towns, wineries and spectacular natural scenery.
Make a stop in Cudlee Creek and sample a drop or two at the historical homestead of Mt Bera Vineyards, or treat the kids to a wildlife experience at the Gorge Wildlife Park.
For car lovers, head north to Chain of Ponds and right onto the Adelaide Mannum Road, to the historical town of Birdwood, home to the historical “Old Mill” and National Motor Museum, Australia's largest collection of vintage, veteran and classic cars and bikes.
But if you can't wait a moment longer to quaff that famous BarossaValley wine, take Little Para road at Chain of Ponds.
Kersbrookis a pleasant historical farming town with ample wildlife and fresh produce. It is also home to Kersbrook Hill Winery, producer of the critically acclaimed Dons Acre Shiraz.
Families and fishing enthusiasts might like to stop at South Australia's watering hole, the South Para reservoir. The picturesque views of the hills and water make it a lovely place for a picnic lunch. It is also home to the curious Whispering Wall where the strange acoustics allow a whisper at one end to clearly reach a listener at the other.
From Williamstown take the Lyndoch Valley Road to CockatooValley where the BarossaValley wine industry begins in earnest.
CockatooValleyis a particularly scenic area, with its picturesque rolling hills and tempting cellar doors. The area includes historical gold mining sites, a lavender farm and row after row of fat grapes that end up as that famous Barossa Shiraz.
Although several grape varieties are grown in the Barossa, it's the Shiraz that takes home all the prizes. Shiraz (or Syrah) grapes are renowned for liking it tough and proving themselves against all odds. The region's poor soil, a mix of clay and loamy, sandy, brown and dark-grey soils may, at first glance be better suited to making bricks than world class wines but the area's long history (since 1842) of award winners tells a different story.
In addition to the terrible soil, the vineyards of the Barossa have developed the Barossa Old Vine Charter – a pedigree of vines that ensures the very best producers live on.
So, surrounded by so many premium drops, how does a wine lover choose which cellar doors to knock upon?
Pick your grape. It's not all about Shiraz. Plenty of exciting new Barossa wines are making a splash on the international tasting scene and most of their makers welcome tasters.
Hentley, Elderton, Glaymond, JB Wines, Kabminye, Marschall, Murray Street, Rusden and Schultz Wineries
All throughout the EdenValley Region
Elderton, Hentley, Grant Burge Wines
Hobbs, Sons of Eden, Langmeil, Lanzthomson, Saltram, Standish, Yalumba
Liebichwein, Seabrook, Yalumba
Spinafex, Murray Street, Torbrek, Yalumba
Barossa Valley Estates, Colonial, Yalumba, Orlando
Hobbs, Peter Lehmann, Torbrek
When in Rome, you may as well taste some Shiraz. It's the wine that made the region famous, so a visit to the cream of the crop is essential – no matter what your budget!
Most recommended Barossa Shiraz under $25:
With all this wonderful wine (and we've barely scraped the surface) and so much beautiful scenery close by, a day trip or weekend away in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley is an absolute must-do for travelers, and the souvenirs are almost as good as the trip!