First, let’s talk base camp. You can’t go past the Williamstown Caravan Park, with a swimming pool, BBQs, cosy fire pit and all the modern amenities, it’s the perfect home away from home for your family during your adventures.
To get started, take the central route to Williamstown from Adelaide, an easy 60-minute drive via Gawler. It’s a great opportunity to pick up a picnic lunch from the Gawler South bakery and stop in at Clonlea Park to feast and stretch your legs. Clonlea Park is a huge hit with kids young and old alike, with a smaller playground area adjacent a serious skate park. There are also walking trails along the river if you prefer a slower pace.
After lunch check in at your accommodation and then it’s off to explore. The Whispering Wall is a must-see Barossa destination and it’s right here in Williamstown, at the northern tip of the Barossa Reservoir. This engineering marvel – built between 1899 and 1903 - will fascinate the kids, as words whispered on one side of the enormous structure can be clearly heard at the other side, more than 100m away! It’s a picturesque and awe-inspiring, surrounded by native bushland – keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos and echidnas. Don’t forget to take a family selfie; just make sure you hang onto your phone!
A short drive along Goldfields Road brings you to the Barossa Goldfields, where the nineteenth century goldmining and prospecting past of the Barossa is still visible. 778 kilograms of gold was produced by this area in less than twenty years, and the Barossa Goldfields Trail is a great way to explore. There are a number of well sign-posted walking trails, all with information and interpretative signage and if you happen to be there on the fourth Sunday in September you’ll stumble upon the annual re-enactment day. You’ll be able to pan for gold, watch blacksmithing demonstrations and enjoy billy tea and damper.
But for now, it’s time to wind up a day of learning from the past and start to look forward to tomorrow – packed with adventure.
Dinner tonight is with the locals – check out the Williamstown Hotel for a hearty pub meal and then head home under the canopy of stars for a good night’s sleep.
Rise and shine! Begin your day of adventure with an energy tea or healthy smoothie from Blitz on Queen Street. Then it’s time to hit the water. Today is dedicated to exploring the South Para and Warren Reservoirs – fantastic recreational spaces in the heart of Williamstown where you can go kayaking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and more. It’s a stunning part of the Barossa, with towering native bushland, clear water, the freshest of fresh air and nothing but the sound of your own footfall and abundant bird song above – the perfect place to slow down, immerse yourselves in nature and make fantastic memories.
You can choose between challenging mountain bike trails and an invigorating hike, or take a slower route, with gentle, steady kayaking across the Reservoir. Pack a picnic lunch and make a full day of it.
You can either bring your own equipment or seek out a local to help. Louis from Barossa Bike Hire will deliver bikes and all the safety equipment to your accommodation, while Matt from Barossa Outdoors offers e-bikes or can meet you at the water’s edge with everything you need, including great double kayaks that are perfect for families. He can even take care of the picnic!
After a full day out in the fresh air, there’s nothing better than a home cooked BBQ dinner back at your accommodation. Sit back, look up and take in the Milky Way. You’ll sleep well tonight!
For the seriously keen, a pre-breakfast walk is on the menu, at the gorgeous Hale Conservation Park, just 1km from the Williamstown Caravan Park. Hale Conversation Park is a great combination of rugged bushland, traversed with excellent walking trails and plenty of supporting signage. The trail is suitable for families with children across the spectrum of ability and enthusiasm, with a number of loops to choose from across varying terrains. Keep a keen eye out for echidnas snuffling across the path.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to lunch at Horizonat1837 where contemporary Australian cuisine meets exquisite Barossan produce. If you are after more casual fare, head to Baker Street Bakery, which lends itself perfectly to a post-brekkie treat to take in hand as you stroll along the riverbank and take in the intricate Williamstown heritage mural that tells the story of the early European history of the southern Barossa.
From here, we’re off to Para Wirra Conservation Park, a fantastic family destination, with accessible facilities all encased in a restorative, natural bushland setting. There’s a BBQ area and picnic tables – patrolled by the resident emu families! – bush oval, toilets and even a beautiful Nature Play Forest set amongst the blue gum forest. Over 100 species call the Conservation Park home, so keep your camera at the ready, and feel yourself relax as the quiet serenity of the bushland washes over you.
You can easily spend a day exploring this gorgeous destination, so don’t forget to pack plenty of water and of course the lunch provisions you picked up earlier will come in handy!
As the shadows begin to lengthen, it’s time to pack up the bikes and the walking boots, and meander back into Williamstown for afternoon tea at Linfield Road Wines. Their platters of local produce are the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up, paired with their range of handmade wines and giant lawn games for the kids. Relax into a comfy chair and let Steve and the team look after you as the afternoon whiles away.
It’s time to head home, but there’s space for one last adventure. The Rocky Paddock campground in Mount Crawford Forest is home to striking pine plantation vistas, like an enchanted forest and is a brilliant place to go exploring with kids. They’ll be entranced by the landscape and beautiful, natural rocky outcrops. Check out the campgrounds as a great excuse to plan a return camping trip – the perfect way to explore the other villages, townships and trails that make up the beautiful Barossa.