A one-hour drive from Adelaide, you can choose a meandering route to Nuriootpa through the beautiful Barossa ranges, or for a more direct approach, the Northern Expressway will deliver you swiftly to your destination. Whichever route you choose it’s an easy drive and you’ll be checking in to your accommodation before you know it!
Day 1: Discover Nuriootpa – a great culinary destination
It would be ideal to arrive in Nuriootpa late morning – but there’s no need to rush, as the drive is much shorter than you might think. In fact, if you’re coming from Adelaide, why not take the scenic route east and plan to pull over whenever something catches your eye along the way. A sneaky stop in at the Mount Pleasant Bakery will afford you a delicious vanilla or apricot slice, the magnificent 300 to 500 year-old Herbig Tree at Springton provides an intriguing glimpse into both indigenous and early European history of the Barossa and the drive along the route lined with towering Eucalypts will be great for your soul. When you arrive in Nuriootpa, we recommend a drive through the main street to acquaint yourself and – importantly – chose from a number of locally owned cafés for an introductory coffee. What better way to prepare yourself for a Barossa stay?
There are plenty of accommodation options for a couple’s romantic getaway. Choose from vineyard accommodation at Kaesler Cottages, stay at the Vine Inn Barossa for a central location in the heart of the town, or a spa ensuite cabin at Big 4 Barossa Tourist Park, with excellent access to the linear park trail.
Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to start your journey of food and wine discovery, and an ideal start is to pick up the local Nuriootpa and surrounds trail map, and let it lead you to deliciousness! A car is optional as there are so many experiences close enough to walk to. We recommend you choose a central location such as Provenance Barossa, park the car and then explore on foot from there (you’ll find out why a bit later on!).
Located in a magnificent homestead surrounded by iconic vineyards, a visit to Elderton Wines is a quintessential Barossa experience, and as winners of a ‘Best of SA Wine Tourism’ award, you’ll know you’ll receive a wonderful welcome from the Ashmead family and their team. Make sure you book ahead into one of their Wine Tourism Experiences, and plan to settle in for a while. Once you’re ready for lunch, a short stroll will bring you to the very funky First Drop Wines. Select a glass of wine to accompany plates of tapas, cured meats and fresh cheeses. Reflecting owner John Retsas’s proud Greek heritage, this the perfect light lunch before you continue your Nuriootpa culinary discovery. Continue your wine experiences for today with a visit the iconic Penfold’s Barossa, where you can blend your own wine souvenir, the ‘boundary-pushing’ Yelland & Papps duo of Michael and Susan (by appointment) or Kaesler Wines, surrounded by manicured lawns and shady trees.
By now you’ll be ready for a lazy late afternoon / evening, so head back to the car at Provenance Barossa, where this local precinct stands ready to deliver range of delicious culinary experiences. You might start with a locally roasted coffee at Bean Addiction, or perhaps a cleansing ale at Stein’s Taphouse and then head across to Steiny’s Traditional Mettwurst tasting room. Owners Tash and Scott use small batch artisan crafting techniques to make quality Mettwurst, one of the Barossa’s famous smallgoods, and a true taste of our region.
And then, all that is left is to wander over to the Barossa Distilling Co and settle in with a G & T overlooking the botanicals garden, accompanied by mouth-watering wood fired pizza, topped with local and sustainable produce from Ember Pizza (right next door). If it’s a balmy night, the alfresco tables will fill with locals and visitors alike, reminiscent of a local town square or you might prefer to sprawl out together on the adjacent lawns and watch the starry display. Ember offers an amazing range of wines from up-and-coming and hard to find local winemakers – so you might be popping back to their bar once or twice before it’s finally time to call it a night, and head back to your accommodation.
Day 2: Explore the great outdoors
When you’re ready, grab an empty backpack to serve as your picnic basket and start your day at Fleur Social with one of Ryan’s seasonal single origin coffees – brewed with passion, Barossa Coffee Roaster beans and local Jersey Fresh milk. After yesterday’s food and wine indulgence, a light breakfast selected from their revolving cast of toasties, fresh baked muffins or pastries sounds ideal, and – as a proud Canadian – Ryan’s selection of bagels is chef’s kiss perfection. Maybe even slip one into your picnic provisions, as today is dedicated to exploring the great outdoors and you might work up an appetite. Ryan also brews a mean Kombucha – so that could also go into your provisions for the day (we think you’ll find Sarah’s extraordinary flowers hard to resist as well…)!
Across the road from Fleur Social you’ll see the grand nineteenth century silhouette of Coulthard House standing as a quiet reminder of early European settlement, its grounds home to pioneer relics that speak of an entirely different era. (If your visit happens to coincide with the fourth Saturday of the month, Coulthard Gardens comes alive with its regular Meeting Place Market.)
We recommend that you spend the rest of the morning exploring one (or more) of Nuriootpa’s excellent trails – a great place to start is the Barossa Bushgardens where volunteers have lovingly created a showcase of local Barossa biodiversity. Open to the public from dawn to dusk, pedestrian access is from the Coulthard Reserve walking trail off Penrice Road. Keep an eye out for the 400-year old River Red Gum, and sculptures and artworks from local artists. Not far from the Bushgardens is the serene Bush Chapel – a great place for a rest, and a time of reflection. And if you have the energy, you might like to finish up with a stroll along the gentle shared trail through Nuriootpa Linear Park, which will bring you to the much-loved Nuri ‘train park’, home to a retired steam engine and a landmark for the town.
A big decision awaits for the afternoon…a round of golf, or a bike ride…it’s up to you. Barossa Valley Golf club is a 5-minute drive from Nuriootpa, and a great way to spend an hour or two. The golf course also acts as a sanctuary for flora and fauna, so it’s likely that kangaroos will accompany you at a few tees, and you may be privileged to see some rare local bird life.
If cycling wins over golf, then Louis from Barossa Bike Hire will deliver the bicycles of your choice to your accommodation. The nearby hamlet of Light Pass is an easy ride, around 7 - 8 kilometres return. Home to the historic Luhr’s Cottage Museum, and several beautiful 19th century Lutheran churches, you’ll get a peek into European village life in the 1840’s. You might want to break your ride at Gibson Wines, where the family will welcome you with warm hospitality. A selection of local cheese and produce is available for you to create your own lunch platter (and BYO picnics are welcome). Maybe this is the time to bring out whatever you slipped in your backpack at Fleur Social over breakfast…and finish off with a game of Finska or bocce. If your legs will take you – don’t miss the very luxe Tomfoolery Cellar door, or head back to Nuriootpa via Ubertas Wines and snuggle up in one of their leather couches for a while.
Of course, if you’d rather let someone do the thinking (and navigating) for you and learn a few local tips – then book Barossa Bike Hire’s Barista, Brewer Wine cycle tour for an absolutely fantastic guided cycle experience through the cafes, breweries and Cellar Doors of Nuriootpa.
You may be ready for an early night – and a casual meal among the locals at Billy Jacks at Vine Inn Barossa will hit the spot. Or, if a relaxed dinner back at your accommodation sounds delightful, visit the Barossa Larder at Barossa Fresh and select from their staggering range of local and imported cheese and charcuterie and build your own Barossa tasting experience at your accommodation.
Day 3: The best of Barossa produce and a romantic sunset tour
By now you’ll have realized that the Barossa’s love for food is immense – so today is dedicated to exploring some of the best of the Barossa’s produce (and stocking up for the trip home). You’ll start on the main street of Nuriootpa, visiting some Barossa icons:
Linke’s Central Meat Store has been a Barossa tradition for three generations, and this will be your first stop. Its interior is like an Aladdin’s cave of smallgoods, and very hard to resist. Mettwurst (there it is again), Biersticks, Barossa-cured ham, alongside Dill Cucumbers, Beetroot Relish and Pickled Onions. Graham Linke’s Lachschinken is a delicacy, and legendary within the Barossa.
Across the street, another branch of the Linke family owns Linke’s Bakehouse & Tearooms; a wonderful blend of Barossa tradition and sophisticated providore. The bakery section reflects the generous baked goods known across the Barossa – the deliciously sweet Bienenstich, Deutsche Kuchen, Honig Kuchen and more. And a beautifully curated providore section invites you to take home delicately wrapped biscuits and baked goods, local condiments and coffee, and Barossa made stoneware. This would be an ideal place for lunch, with a menu of freshly filled rolls, hearty, homemade soup and matriarch Sharon Linke’s legendary Beef and Shiraz pie.
Plan to spend several hours at Maggie Beer’s Farm shop to truly savour the experience. Explore the incredible range of products, watch a cooking demonstration, enjoy a wine tasting or sit out on the deck with a coffee and cake. Take the time for the 30-minute trail walk around the lake (we can guarantee that you’ll see turtles, and most likely be surprised by a peacock or two.) The Farm Eatery & Experience Centre offers a diverse range of cooking classes, including vegan, gluten free, Sunday roasts and pickles and preserves, where you can roll up your sleeves and learn a new skill. Or for something incredibly special, become a distiller for a day at the Barossa Gin School at the Farm. (You’ll need to book ahead for all of these experiences.)
Just out of town, there is one final trio of cellar doors that are a must see in any visit to Nuriootpa – Cooper Burns’ delightfully intimate cellar door, Rosenvale with 180-degree panoramic view of the Barossa Ranges, and the gorgeous Atze’s Corner Wines. A stunning way to experience these locations is to take a Sunset Tour with Tony Tscharke, in either a Mustang convertible, custom Trike, or luxury Jaguar. You’ll get to say farewell to the Barossa from the Mengler’s Hill lookout, and then arrive at Atze’s Corner to enjoy a stunning Barossa sunset, sharing a delicious regional platter.
Day 4: Choose your own adventure on your way home
You’ll be leaving this morning with hearts full of the shared experiences of the past few days. However, Nuriootpa is only the tip of the iceberg of the Barossa’s amazing experiences, and who knows – you might be back again soon to explore another corner of the beautiful Barossa region!
As you head home today, we recommend the slow way home along the Barossa’s Bethany to Vine Vale trail. Wine tasting at Calabria Wines, a long lunch at Harvest Kitchen, staggering vineyard views from the Seabook Wines deck…Plenty of reasons to start planning a return trip!