One of the first road trips we made in Australia was in the famous Barossa Valley. From Adelaide we drove for two days along the valley and surroundings, across the Adelaide Hills and between the wine fields, palm trees and pine trees. Such an amazing combination and a stunning experience. It was a road trip with highlights, wine, great views, German villages and Australian icons.
Early in the morning we left Adelaide. Earlier that week we already found out that the nature around the city is simply stunning. Just the way up to Gorge Wildlife Park, not far from the city centre at all, was filled with a lot of curved roads through the hills and beautiful rocks wherefrom you could have lovely views. This morning we headed another direction, but before we would go to the Barossa Valley we decided to make a stop at Cleland National Park in the Adelaide Hills.
Someone in our hostel in Adelaide told us the day before we left that Cleland National Park is a good place to spot wild koalas. Enough reason for me to go there first. We arrived, parked the car and were lucky straight away. Up in a tree we discovered a fluffy koala. The funniest thing was that he was sitting in a tree not even a hundred meter away from a wildlife park where you actually have to pay to see them. We walked a bit further into the park and within five minutes we saw kangaroos and kookaburras. Only the waterfalls you can normally go to in the park were nothing more than tiny streams falling down the rocks. Not that weird if you consider the fact that it was in the middle of the summer without a lot of rainfall. However, our road trip just started and it was a damn good start.
Driving to Tanunda
Because we wanted to go to the south of South Australia after the Barossa Valley, we decided to drive northward first. We took the highway with the plan to drive back the next morning through the valley. The Barossa Valley is very small, particularly for a area in Australia. It’s not even 1000 km² so half an hour later we arrive on a camping spot close to Tanunda, in the far north of the valley. The Barossa Valley is one of the best known wine regions of Australia with a lot of German influences. It’s not surprising that a lot of villages around this region look a bit different than other villages in Australia.
We decided to relax the rest of the day and camped next to a cricket pitch where some people were playing the game at that moment. I don’t understand anything about this typical Australian sport, but it was fun to watch it for a bit. The next morning we woke up and we started our journey with driving towards Tanunda. I straight away fell in love with the scenery that exist of a variety of wine fields, farms, fields with sheep and little villages in hilly areas. It looks just amazing. We took a break in Tanunda to take a shower at the tourist office and after that we had a little stroll around the streets, but in our opinion there is not much to see around here. After an hour we went back to the car to make a little road trip in the valley itself.
Palm trees in the Barossa Valley
If there is one thing I don’t expect that fast around wine fields, it would be palm trees, yet you can find many of them in the valley. Meanwhile we drove a bit back to the north again, towards Nuriootpa, where we took the Seppeltsfield Road to drive along a lot of wineries and apparently palm trees as well. Seppeltsfield Road leads you to the mausoleum of the Seppelt family, that is built on top of a hill surrounded with – well I guess you know it already – wine fields and palm trees. I was even more surprised to see a lot of pine trees as well. The view from the top of the hill is phenomenal. We heard nothing but the wind and occasionally the sound of a car passing by. The Barossa Valley might be a touristy place, but here you could barely find one.
Obviously you can’t go to the Barossa Valley without tasting a bit of wine in one the many wineries around the region. If it was up to me we would visit every single one. But we had to drive and my boyfriend doesn’t really like wine (like whut?!), so we just visited one winery. We ended up at Yalumba Family Vignerons, one of the biggest and oldest wineries in the Barossa Valley. Totally random. There were just so many wineries around that choosing one was a difficult task to do. I tasted a few wines, my boyfriend turned officially into the driver for that day and with a bottle of wine in my hands we left the winery.
This night we slept under the olive trees in a village called Palmer. It was a good day. The Barossa Valley might be really small but you can still drive around for hours and hours to explore every corner of the stunning area. All those winefiels, wow! We were there in the middle of the summer, but I can imagine this place is even more magical during autumn, when the vineyards turn slowly red and the fields get an orange flow. That must be stunning to see.
Back to the Adelaide Hills
After a run in the morning and getting rid of a HUGE spider in one of our chairs (why Australia, why?!), we slowly left the Barossa Valley to drive back to the Adelaide Hills. Here and there we stopped the car to enjoy the view and the valley. There was one more place we wanted to visit before we would go to Second Valley and that was the small village of Hahndorf. This village was founded in 1839 by German immigrants and that makes it the oldest German settlement in Australia.
If I can give my honest opinion: we didn’t like Hahndorf at all. It’s a lovely village to see and you will find a lot of tiny houses, some spots to go for a drink and interesting art, but it is so touristic. It doesn’t feel like an authentic village anymore, if you know what I mean. I can not image one German person would be proud at this. Everywhere you can just get the stereotype German products like bratwurst, schnitzels, pretzels and even lederhosen. Funny fact though: in the ‘German’ supermarket they sold a lot of Dutch products. Suddenly we could buy stroopwafels, poffertjes and licorice if we wanted to (for a lot of money obviously!).
Towards the south
We left Hahndorf with mixed feelings. Our road trip through the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills started just perfect. It was a shame that the last place we visited was kind of a disappointment. Luckily these feelings disappeared as soon as we left the village and continued our way to McLaren Vale, at the coast. The idea that we would see the sea again within a couple of hours made us both more than happy. We had no idea yet that the coastline would be so stunning around that area. The further we drove, the bigger the hills got and the wine fields disappeared one by one. We were on our way to what would be one of the most stunning places we would camp at in Australia.