Day ONE: Marananga – Slow Down
After a final check of essential items – walking shoes, chargers, a favourite magazine or two – you’ll be on your way. There’s less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide city or Adelaide airport via the marvellously efficient Northern Connector and the exit to Seppeltsfield Road will arrive sooner than expected. The change of scenery will be dramatic – you’ll exchange the highway for a country road flanked by vast expanses of vineyard – and as the historic avenue of palms rises ahead of you, you’ll be glad you planned for an early afternoon arrival to allow time to explore this gorgeous region.
Hundreds of Canary Island palms will guide you for the next few kilometres, until the gleaming white spire of Gnadenfrei Church marks the entrance to Marananga. You’ll want to pull over at the ‘photo point’ to capture these stunning views, and then right outside the church, alongside its historic school bell, you’ll get your first reminder - ‘Marananga…Slow Down’.
It won’t be difficult to find your accommodation – the difficulty will have been in choosing where to stay in the first place! The Louise is perfect for your romantic getaway, an idyllic luxury vineyard retreat surrounded by hundreds of acres of vines, providing absolute privacy. Marananga Cottages offer a charming retreat in the heart of the village, only a few steps from local cellar doors. The Villas - Barossa harmonise unique architectural design with simplicity and warmth, creating a peaceful, secluded Barossa retreat. Cross the threshold, take a deep breath of country air and absorb the offerings of your space – luxurious linens, a bathtub that beckons and deep sense of peace.
You have time…plenty of time…to take a slow walk along Seppeltsfield Road together. Watch out for local wildlife, you’ll find a mob of kangaroos interspersed amidst the vineyard rows, their cute faces studying you with a curious gaze. Pairs of exquisitely coloured parrots use the vines as a race track, with impressive displays of precision flying. And a chorus of magpies is certain to serenade you somewhere along the way. If you time it right, you’ll witness a staggering Marananga sunset, with flaming orange and pink streaks fading to midnight blue behind the striking silhouette of palms.
There’s time for a glass of wine back at your accommodation, before strolling to Appellation at The Louise, where an extraordinary regional dining experience awaits you. The talented team at this renowned restaurant are all about fresh ingredients which is reflected in the fact that 85% of their menu comes from within the Barossa Valley. Devour thoughtfully curated dishes paired with boutique local wines while you watch the sun set over the surrounding vineyard.
As you sink into bed, take a moment to switch off all alarms, and give yourselves the luxury of a long sleepin…and slow down…
Day Two: Marananga village x foot
You’ll wake to the sounds of birdlife, perhaps a tractor rattling past, or maybe just a stillness that you haven’t experienced for a long time. Those magazines you slipped into your suitcase, a steaming cup of freshly-brewed coffee, or a half-finished book are the perfect accompaniment for a lazy lie-in. At your own pace, enjoy a generous breakfast of free range eggs, sourdough and delicious local produce.
Today is dedicated to exploring Marananga by foot – and your first destination is Two Hands, its cellar door located in a beautifully restored 19ᵗʰ century stone cottage, with an adjoining settler bakehouse. You’ve booked a Two Hands vineyard experience, and a luxury Land Rover Defender is waiting to chauffeur you to their spectacular vineyard site, the Holy Grail.
You’ll be delivered to the grand entrance of Barossa Valley Estate, set amongst Australia’s largest perennial gardens, designed by renowned landscape architect, Paul Bangay. Choose a table in one of the gorgeous alfresco garden rooms, enjoy a Rosé and regional produce platter for lunch, and lose yourself for a while in the breath-taking beauty.
Enjoy the easy stroll back to Marananga and your accommodation to take time for body and soul. Relax with a therapeutic soak in the bath, take a quiet moment for reflection or drift into an afternoon nap.
With a myriad of iconic wineries and cellar doors within a lazy amble, more intimate options for tasting await.
You’ll wander by the old Marananga schoolhouse and its memories of laughter and play and on to the heritage home of a Barossa winemaking legend, Greenock Creek Wines. Nestled in native gardens the cellar door is an intriguing mix of nostalgia, memory and familiarity. Friendly faces and an endearing enthusiasm for the art of winemaking belie a serious history of awards and accolades earned through hard work, honesty and authenticity.
Woven through tales of colonial settlers, vineyard innovations, mysterious origins and all manner of myth and legend, the wines of Greenock Creek will tell the story of Marananga through their character and style. You’ll leave for the next leg of your wander a little older, a little wiser and with new friends and tales of your own, a feeling that time has slowed and a promise delivered upon.
There is more to discover at Heritage Wines, a few steps across the road, and just up the rise Tscharke’s Wines are infused with Damien’s passion for all things sustainable. With wine purchases realised, make a mid-afternoon meander to Seppeltsfield Rd Distillers for a light refreshment (or two), don’t be fooled by their four-legged security system, they’re happy to see you.
Become familiar with old traditions that have been brought back to life in this hamlet through the art of distillation.
Stroll up the hill to three75 bar + kitchen for mouth-watering comfort food, seriously satisfying cocktails, and uninterrupted views of our brilliant wine valley. At this neighbourhood bar, you’ll work your way through a menu of savoury snacks, delectable burgers, and oozy desserts. Three75 serves the kind of food you want to pick up with your hands and lick off your fingers.
Follow your feet back to your bed, make it an early night and this time you’ll definitely need to set your alarm…
Day Three: Seppeltsfield Road x bike (and balloon)
Your sunrise flight will give you a perspective of Seppeltsfield Road like no other, as the balloon floats low across the vine canopies, and skims the tops of towering Eucalypts. Your pilot Michael from Barossa Valley Ballooning is a local, and he’ll call out a few cheery morning greetings to neighbours below. You’ll sense both incredible stillness and exhilaration and memories of this magical experience will linger with you long into the future.
You’ve had a very early start to the day – so there’ll be no judgement if you sneak back to bed for a nap after your flight…
There’s another version of slow waiting for you, with Louis from Barossa Bike Hire delivering bikes to your doorstep (e-bikes if the gentle hills seem a little daunting). It seems only fitting to follow this avenue of palms, and reflect on the hopes and dreams discovered along this road. Take time, take photos and take home memories.
There’s a world of discovery awaiting at Seppeltsfield Wine Estate, where you’ll be lost in a place where old meets new and masters of creation can be discovered down every path. Immaculately tended gardens lead to the creative wonderlands of Jam Factory Art & Design studio and Vasse Virgin olive oil skincare house.
Resident artisans demonstrate their crafts, and if you’ve booked ahead, there are opportunities to learn from a master. The Seppeltsfield cellar door is part living museum – home to the world’s longest and unbroken lineage of single vintage tawny starting 1878. You can savour a century old fortified straight from the barrel – it’s as slow as it gets.
It’s lunchtime, but there’s no need to leave. The team at Fino curate share plates reflecting both regionality and seasonality, with a wine list that supports small batch, hand-crafted wines.
Excellent coffee is the order of the day at Octeine, as well as light lunch options that are best enjoyed in the expansive picnic grounds, with kookaburras laughing in the palms above.
The hills are conquered, the sun is setting and your room awaits. Opt for a light dinner in, perhaps room service, some sneaky take away, or a simple platter of Barossa goodness from the abundant provisions in your accommodation. All enjoyed with a glass in hand.
Day Four: Discover Seppeltsfield Road & Beyond
You could get used to the local alarm tone – a fusion of magpies, galahs and noisy miner birds that seeps into your consciousness. It’s your final day, but there’s no need to rush. Discoveries await over the horizon and you want to be sure you savour all that is ahead.
Your driver has arrived and will be your host for the day. Tony Tscharke of Barossa Unique Tours has a range of vehicles to suit your tastes – a custom Trike, a head-turning 1966 Mustang convertible, luxurious Jaguar or Jeep. His local knowledge is amazing, and your tour will be customised for you. Not far from Marananga the road leads to Whistler Wines, Rolf Binder or the gorgeous deck at Torbreck Vintners, before you wind up the dusty driveway to David Franz. Select your lunch from an extraordinary selection of cheese and charcuterie – some that David has crafted himself. The intimate interior of the cellar door is a work of art in itself, and the stunning panoramic views from the deck will make it hard to leave.
And now, for a palate-cleansing ale – you’ll be personally delivered to The Greenock, where the glasses are as tall as the stories when you find a local at the bar. There’s plenty to choose from the tavern menu, including a fantastic selection of local wines.
The pace of your arrival is now a distant memory, and a gentle acceptance that this is the speed at which life should always travel has settled upon you. As you journey back from the village of Greenock towards Marananga the ripple of moonlight flows across the Great Terrace vines of Seppeltsfield illuminating silent palms that forever remind of the Marananga mantra…”Slow Down”