Winter is the perfect time to visit the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Known world-wide for its fantastic red wine industry, nothing beats relaxing near a log fire, sipping a hearty Shiraz.
With 87 cellar-doors, wine lovers will sample all that the region has to offer. But, it's not all about the wine - seasonal and local food is sure to impress.
Planning a long weekend in wine country? Here are some little-known experiences you can add to your to-do list:
1. A picnic at the lake at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop
In 1979 Maggie and husband Colin opened their farm shop, offering the delicious treats to the public. The property has certainly grown from then, and now includes the Farm Shop, the Farm Eatery, Gin School and accommodation. Back in the early days, visitors could buy picnic snacks - including the iconic Pheasant Farm Pate, and Maggie's quince paste. Picnic food can still be purchased and enjoyed on the banks of the lake, a long, lazy and indulgent way to spend the day.
2. How wine glasses change the taste of wine, available at St Hugo - but you have to ask for it
I didn't believe it until I tried it. Sipping on a sharp, but sweet Riesling at St Hugo out of the narrow Riesling glass made the flavours sparkle. I could taste the citrus notes clearly. However, when the same wine was poured into a wider chardonnay glass, it tasted different - less sharp. St Hugo runs a number of wine tastings, wine and food pairings, and tours - but this experience was something different, and gave me an appreciation for appropriate glassware.
3. Massage at Endota Spa - Novotel Resort, Barossa Valley
A travel tip I learnt a while back was to book a relaxing massage soon after arriving at your destination. Being treated to a custom massage at Endota Day Spa as soon as I arrived in the Barossa Valley set the tone for a relaxing, indulgent weekend. The massage came complete with soothing aromatherapy including the signature blend essential oil - bliss.
4. Taste your birth year at Seppeltsfield
In 1866, plans to build a new bluestone cellar were started by Seppeltfield owner Joseph Seppelt. Twelve years later, in 1878, Joseph's son Benno completed the stone cellars and pledged to lay a single barrel of tawny port in the cellar, not to be bottled for 100 years. This tradition of laying down a barrel of the finest wine from each vintage continued every year following and still continues today. The Centennial Cellar now comprises an unbroken lineage of every vintage from the current year back to 1878. A living museum of Australian winemaking history. Visitors can taste port from the barrel laid in their birth year. As well as being syrupy and smooth, the port from my year of birth was also quite rich. Apparently, there's no link between me and the port of the same age.
5. The best burger in town
Appellation at The Louise offers some of the finest dining in South Australia. With an excellent food and wine pairing menu, the food is always seasonal, and locally sourced. However, a favourite among Barossa locals, and for those in the mood for a hearty burger, Bar Louise makes an outstanding burger, as well as amazing doughnuts - an absolute must.
Newshub travelled as a guest of the South Australian Tourism Commission. Air New Zealand now flies direct from Auckland to Adelaide.