Barossa Valley, South Australia
Like its fine wine, the Barossa is mellow, with a robust, complex character and a great deal of lively charm. Only an hour’s drive from Adelaide, the valley was settled in 1839 by dissident German Lutherans fleeing persecution in Silesia and English gentry hoping to make their fortune in the colonies. Two main townships, Tanunda and Nuriootpa, trace back to the European settlers, while Angaston was founded by the English. Some of the settlers planted vines, and two centuries later the valley is a patchwork panorama of vineyards, changing colour from green through spring and summer to a glorious gold and russet as winter approaches. There are more than 100 wineries, with a cellar door, it seems, at every turn in the road - 60 plus at last count.
An excellent way to explore is the Barossa Heritage Trail. Over time you’ll discover the long approach to Seppeltsfield, via an avenue of mature date and fan palms, and the Lutheran churches with their spires as seen from Mengler’s Hill. For the grandest view, rise above it all in a hot-air balloon.
On the southern edge, the green canopy gives way to shades of mauve. At Lyndoch Lavender Farm you’ll find more than 80 varieties of the perfumed herb. While much of the Barossa is under cultivation, there are still vast tracts of bushland, habitat of prolific birdlife. It’s great walking country, and the 1200 km Heysen Trail passes through the length of the valley.