This Barossa Valley wine tour from Adelaide is a great way to explore this renowned wine-producing region. You have the flexibility to adapt the standard itinerary according to your personal interests. Transport, commentary and wine tastings are all included. There are a variety of restaurant options for lunch (own expense). Duration: 10 hours (approx.)
Remember AFL and would-be pop star Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson’s I’m an individual?
I had a Jacko flashback recently as I headed out of Adelaide towards the beautiful Barossa Valley with Ambler Tours. We’re all individuals, yet when it comes to day tours, the one-size-fits-all approach generally prevails. Not in this case. Yes there’s a standard Barossa Valley wine tour itinerary, which guests are more than welcome to adhere to (and many guests actually do prefer it that way).
Others want more flexibility and the opportunity to spend longer at the places that interest them most, while skipping those that don’t. Makes total sense, and with its small group sizes, Ambler Tours is happy to accommodate. It’s what makes their Boutique Barossa Valley wine tour from Adelaide such a great option for exploring this beautiful part of Australia. I ask my affable host Roger how it works.
‘We stop at a café along the way for a coffee and a quick chat about how the tour will run,’ says Roger. ‘In some cases, clients have given me a list of places they want to see prior to the tour, but quite often we’ll go through the options on the day and take it from there.’
In this instance Roger is taking two clients out on their third tour this week and it’s a packed itinerary. I’m lucky enough to be tagging along for the ride.
The Barossa is possibly Australia’s most famous wine region. It’s located 70 kilometres north-east of Adelaide and is best known for its shiraz, reislings and chardonnays. While the valley is home to industry heavy hitters like Jacob’s Creek, Peter Lehman and Grant Burge, it also has plenty of single estate vineyards that provide a more intimate cellar door experience for those who want it. The gourmet food offering is also pretty extraordinary. It’s the combination of both that makes this boutique Barossa Valley wine tour from Adelaide so special.
Ambler’s comfortable eight-seater comes complete with complimentary Wi-Fi and bottled water. As we make our way out of Adelaide, Roger shares some of the history of this beautiful city. I learn for example that the founding fathers established the signature parklands around the city as a buffer against shotgun attack as much as for aesthetic reasons.
The city streets soon give way to the winding roads of the Adelaide Hills, a noted wine-producing region in its own right. Here we make our first stop on these Barossa Valley wine tours from Adelaide. The Big Rocking Horse & The Toy Factory at Gumeracha offer an amazing range of handmade wooden toys and the unique opportunity to scale the world’s biggest hobby horse for some pretty awesome views.
Further on, the curved dam wall of the Barossa Reservoir, also known as the ‘Whispering Wall’, provides the opportunity to whisper sweet nothings to those standing at the other end, some 144m away. The sound really does travel the length of the wall. Just remember, in this case, if you can’t say something nice — don’t say anything at all.
We are soon on the outskirts of the Barossa itself, and to be honest, it’s not what I expected. I had visions of lush green rolling hills and babbling brooks. It’s actually extremely dry but with that rugged parched beauty that only the Australian countryside possesses. Gnarled vines carpet much of the landscape, some of them 150 years old. The leaves are yellowing for autumn, melding in perfectly with the earthy tones of the dry landscape.
We stop for morning tea and a meander around the Lyndoch Lavender Farm & Cafe. The farm grows over 90 varieties of lavender, many of them flowering in spring and summer, so time your visit if you want to see them in full bloom. The lavender scones on offer are absolutely sensational.
Maggie Beer is a name most Aussies will recognise and Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop is a very popular local attraction. Browse the gourmet products on offer or visit the pheasant enclosures. The brightly coloured birds look far too pretty to eat.
For our first winery visit we head for Seppeltsfield Winery. It’s one of the valley’s oldest wine estates, dating back to the 1870s. It’s always popular with guests on these Barossa Valley wine tours from Adelaide and understandably so. The rows of date palms lining the laneways around the historic property are an enduring testament to the philanthropic nature of the Seppelt family, who managed to keep workers employed during the Great Depression of the 1930s with tasks such as planting the palms when wine production had slowed to just a trickle.
Even if you are not up for a tasting, Seppeltsfield is worth a visit just to stroll the grounds. Visit the Jam Factory — an onsite gallery and shared workspace for artisans — including potters and leather workers.
Our final stop of the day is a boutique winery by the name of Rockford Wines. Of special significance here are the original grape presses, which are still in use. The stone cottages and historic setting make this a really great spot to head to for a tasting. Superb.
All in all, this Barossa Valley wine tour from Adelaide is a fabulous day out — and one where you’re treated as an individual, rather than just another passenger.
Adam travelled as a guest of Ambler Tours.
Additional images: Bigstock
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.