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A weekend in the Barossa

If you have heard of one Barossan resident, it's likely to have been the effervescent, ever-busy, food-loving Maggie Beer.

But there’s more to the Barossa Valley than Maggie, even though she sort of typifies the region. Warm, friendly, talented – read, multi-skilled – and welcoming. 

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Most people visit the Barossa with one firm agenda in mind. Wine-tasting. No, make that two aims. Food and wine.

Almost any time of year is an ideal time to drop in for a weekend or a few days mid-week. There is something on almost every month in the area. The famous Barossa Vintage Festival, a week-long autumn knees-up of music and dining and drinking, is celebrated as only this place can in April and May.

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The famous Barossa Farmer’s Markets is the place to be every Saturday morning in Vintners Sheds, Angaston. There’s everything from puff pastry to potatoes, honey, olives and lamb – plus noisy chatter and music and good cooking smells. You might even bump into Maggie, as she is a frequent shopper there.

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There are several small towns scattered through the Valley and it is relaxing to just wander through them, supping, sipping  and shopping! Catering to every taste there are dozens of small boutique shops selling everything from designer clothing to baby good, books and baskets.

Angaston, was settled by Cornish miners and other British settlers joined them later, so it is looked on as a more ‘English’ town. Yet it is not as simple as that. The town is named after George Fife Angas who was responsible for sponsoring many of the original Lutheran emigrants to the area.

Today the town is vibrant and full of weekend visitors. Coffee at the South Australian Company Store is a must and you should relax overlooking vineyards before visiting Angas Park Fruits where South Australian dried, crystallised and choc-dipped fruits are a decadent temptation.

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Tanunda is the more German of the towns. Settled by the Silesian emigrants who arrived in the 1840s and whose heritage has given so much to the area, it’s the epicentre for many of the region’s major wineries. Chateau Tanunda, Peter Lehmann, St Hallett and a dozen or so others use this postcode. It’s also the place to come for hearty Germanic breads and sausages.

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But for sheer joy (and some little well-earned exercise after all the wine-tasting!) it's hard to beat an afternoon cycling the path which recycles (!) a stretch of former railway track.

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Jacobs Creek Retreat, the historic Nitschke family settlement on the banks of the creek where wine growing began, has become luxury accommodation.

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The grounds feature pergolas draped with the floppy blooms of tea roses, their sensuous scent heavy in the night air. This is the famous David Austin rose garden. Some visitors come here by day for a tour of the garden, while those less green-thumbed choose to join a sausage making class, led by the retreat’s chef, Wyndham House, and then smoke their creations in the original 160-year-old smokehouse.

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This room channels an Italianate feel – a marble statue, a huge mirror – and it is spacious and cool, ideal for this often hot area.

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Chateau Barossa was the dream creation of owner Hermann Thumm who arrived penniless in Australia then founded Chateau Yaldara in 1947. Later he turned to collecting art and antiques and in 1999, at 88, he created this mansion. Thirty thousand rose bushes were planted in what he hoped would become the finest rose garden in the world. It was opened by the Queen when she visited the Barossa in 2002.

Today, the Chateau houses a cellar door and the palatial rooms behind this are filled with what is said to be one of Australia’s finest collections of 19th-century porcelain, as well as priceless antique glassware, art and furniture. Upstairs Thumm's original apartment is being converted into a palatial bed and breakfast accommodation.

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.....read more


F&T drives from Mildura to Adelaide deviating through the Barossa Valley

 

The Facts:

Where it is: About an hour's drive from Adelaide

How to get there: Self-drive or coach or tours from Adelaide.

When to visit: Year-round

Find out more: Barossa Tourism

 

 


 

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