January 9, 2020 / By Emily Harrison
This week we catch up again with Emily Harrison from Our family Gap year to hear about their visit to the Barossa Valley, SA. Read how she and her husband managed to enjoy their wine and have happy kids too!
From Adelaide, we headed into the Barossa Valley where we spent a few glorious days exploring the area and all its delights, basing ourselves in the lovely little town of Greenock. There are so many wineries, breweries and eateries in the Barossa Valley, but as we are travelling with two kids, we decided to make our shortlist of places to visit based on how kid-friendly each venue was. I’m very glad we did as we found some fantastic wineries and eateries that we may not have visited otherwise.
Our first stop was Whistler Wines. Family owned and run, it has a beautiful cellar door set amongst rolling green hills and huge old trees. With lights hanging between the trees and wooden tables set up on the grass, it would be a magical place in the evenings. The cellar door has a kids corner with colouring and toys, as well as an outdoor playground with swings, cubby house and more.
The kiddies had a ball playing while hubby and I tasted a variety of wines from two different ranges—one range is made up of more traditional style wines that are rich and bold, perfect for cellaring (although the ones we tasted were amazing as they were), made by the wine-maker father; the other is a younger, fresher range that is ready to drink now, made by the wine-maker son.
Both ranges were fantastic, but as we’re travelling in a caravan, cellaring isn’t really an option so we opted for a couple of bottles from the ready to drink now range. Our tasting experience was made all the more enjoyable thanks to Kelsey, one of the wine-maker’s daughter-in-laws, who talked us through the wines and shared the history of the vineyard with us. The wines are also organic and biodynamic, which was an extra plus for us.
Maggie Beer’s The Eatery and Farm Shop
We couldn’t visit the Barossa Valley and not stop in at Maggie Beer’s café and farm shop. I love Maggie Beer’s food philosophy – eat real, clean, good quality food, and indulge yourself every now and again. We decided to treat ourselves to the chef’s choice lunch—a three course sharing meal which was light, fresh and super tasty—and the kiddies happily drew pictures and coloured in while we ate, thanks to the lovely waitress who gave them paper and pencils.
We explored the Farm Shop, and the kiddies loved flicking through the collection of Maggie Beer recipe books. We ended our visit with a walk around the farm to see the turtles in the dam, the quince trees, and the pheasants and ducks. This place is a must when visiting the Barossa, and I’d love to come back one day for a cooking class.
The second vineyard on our list was Pindarie Wines. Set on a beautiful property there was plenty of green grass for the kiddies to run around on, a huge haystack for them to climb and a lovely little bush playground that kept them entertained for ages. The tasting room is the old horse stables, beautifully renovated with a fireplace and comfy old armchairs, and a huge deck that overlooks the vineyard. The wines were delicious and we had a lovely time chatting about wine, rainfall and grapes with the lovely lady who took us through our tasting. If we’d had a bit more time I would have enjoyed a glass of wine on the sun-drenched deck, soaking up the views and breathing in that fresh, Barossa Valley air.
We popped into Provenance—a large building that houses a collection of food, wine and coffee vendors—for lunch at Ember Pizza. There was a lovely grassy area outside with bats and balls for the kiddies to play with, although it was a tad too windy when we visited so the kiddies entertained themselves with the colouring books we always keep in the car—you never know when you’ll need them, but they sure are handy to have! Hubby and I shared a delicious beetroot salad and potato, rosemary and taleggio wood-fired pizza (amazing), and I tried the Budburst Gin (beautifully refreshing) from the Barossa Distilling Company next door.
The Kalleske cellar door was a short walk from our campsite in Greenock, and they happened to have a lovely ‘wines by the grass’ event on while we were there. Kalleske specialise in organic and biodynamic wines, and we had a lovely evening eating good food, drinking good wine, listening to live music and chatting with some fellow campers. It was a little cool but still a lovely evening all round.
Greenock has quite a few other cellar doors, including Murray Street Vineyard and Ballycroft Vineyard and Cellars, as well Greenock Brewers and a lovely little café called El Estanco with a short but delicious sounding menu and fantastic coffee. We also found a street library, and had a lovely morning ambling around town admiring the old stone houses and beautiful rose gardens.
Travelling with kids we often joke that this gap year is actually a playground tour of Australia, and the Barossa Valley was no different. Luckily, there was a fantastic playground at Centenary Park in Greenock that kept the kiddies occupied for hours, and we also popped into the Barossa Bush Gardens to explore the labyrinth. The kiddies had a ball following the path to get to the centre, although at the pace they were going it made me a little dizzy!
Barossa sculpture park and lookout
We had a quick stop at the Barossa Sculpture Park to stretch our legs and enjoy the view over the Barossa Valley – an endless sea of green vines and blue sky as far as the eye can see.
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