My Aussie adventure earlier in the month started in Adelaide in South Australia. Two of my friends were getting married there, so a whole bunch of my pals flew over and rented out an AirBnb for a few days for the festivities. Well I couldn’t go ALL the way to Adeliade and not see the Barossa Valley so I made sure we planned a visit during the short time we were there.
But the thing is, it wasn’t that easy… You see, for a start there were 13 of us to organise. Also, there was only one day we could all make it. And on that day, two of our friends were groomsmen and had suit fittings in the morning, so it was actually only a half day.
I was all like – don’t worry guys, I’m a travel pro, I got this.
Lol JK, not at all easy to do.
It turns out there are NO half day tours of the Barossa Valley that leave from Adelaide. Because it’s an hour and a bit to drive each way so it severly limits how much time you get there. Ugh.
But I eventually found a solution, booking a private, personalised tour with a tour company. That way it’s just my group of friends, we can leave when we want and go where we want. And it was actually loads cheaper than the proper itinerary-based tours. We booked with Bums On Seats Tours on a 13px Personal Tour for AUD $725 – approx £33 each. Not too shabby right?
To make the most of our time, we made sure we ate before we left so we didn’t have to stop for lunch and waste valuable wine-tasting time, and set off at 12.30pm.
The way these personalised tours work is you can specify anywhere you want to go in advance or just leave it to Paul, the driver/guide. Well the TripAdvisor comments showed that this guy knew what he was talking about so I decided to leave it to him to plan.
Although our Adelaide-dwelling pal recommended a winery and we asked to fit it in last minute. And Paul was happy to move stuff around to make it work. I like that, I like it when things are flexible.
So anyway, here’s what we got up to on our whistlestop tour of the Barossa Valley!
Firstly, the drive up through the Adelaide Hills was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be with Paul cracking jokes and pointing out Koalas in trees. Then, the first stop was Kersbrook Hill Wines.
Now, I don’t know if it’s because we were all sober at this point but I found this winery super interesting. The guy behind the bar clearly knew everything there was to know about wine and took us through SO MANY different varieties – prosecco, whites, reds, rose and even cider!
The cider was 19834576% my fave thing about Kersbrook Hill Wines, it was delicious and easy to drink and I even purchased a couple of bottles before we left. I can’t recommend this winery enough, kids.
Our second winery stop was Te-Aro Estate in Williamstown. Now this one was nice beccause we got to sit down on a big table rather than stand at the bar and the owner explained family stories that related to each of the wines we tasted – nice touch I thought.
But to be honest the guy wasn’t as informative and passionate as the guy at Kersbrook Hill Wines. Once he realised we were there to taste the wine and not to buy in bulk he seemed to not take that much interest in us!
We only stayed at this one for a short amount of time though because we managed to get a last minute spot at the winery our Adelaide-dwelling pal had recommend – Rockford Wines.
Now I knew why our pal had recommend this one because he had brought round a bottle of wine the night before from this place. It was a sparkling red wine. Yep you read that right. It’s not something I had tried before but it is REALLY delicious. So we tried a bit more at Rockford Wines and a few of my pals bought a bottle each.
There were also some really great fortified wines here, one of which I tried drinking through a timtam on the recommendation of the woman conducting the tasting. Classy af, I know. (Tbf I don’t think she expected me to have timtams in my bag… Of course I did.)
The location of Rockford is really pretty too with cobbled paths and cottages. Thumbs up for this one.
We tried 12 wines in total here – wowza were we tipsy at this point…
I thought this would be it but we actually managed to visit a fourth winery! Chateau Dorrien was our last stop on our tour of the Barossa Valley.
Although we arrived 20 minutes before they were closing so it was quite a fast-paced tasting! There were a few wines to taste, as well as some mead, but to be honest at this point we were being typical Booze Britain and just downing them to fit in as many as possible before the end of the tour. We’re just the worst.
But I really enjoyed tasting their flavoured fortified wines – a Chocolate Port, a Blackcurrant Liquear and a fab Rum and Raisin Port (Buccaneer) that I ended up buying a bottle of. YUM.
I also liked that this one was in a nice location with the vineyard visable from the front of the winery – very pretty.
By this point the wineries were closed and we made our way back to Adelaide, stopping briefly to look at some kangaroos nearby!
Despite only having a half day, I was pleasantly surprised at how many wineries we managed to visit on this tour. The full day Barossa Valley tours normally only visit 4 or 5 and we managed to do 4 in a half day! I think the difference is the full day tours tend to stop at local produce shops and a look-out point and also stop for lunch. So it pads out the day. But it’s good to know that if you’re boozy Brits that just want to taste some nice wine, it can be done in this short space of time.
I was also shocked at HOW much wine we tasted.
I figured we would try 4 or 5 wines per winery but honestly, they all PLIED us with wine. I had thought that because these Cellar Door Tastings are free to the public it would just be a quick tasting but there was so much to taste. But to be honest, it’s a selling tactic that worked because all 13 of us came away with purchased items.
Overall I would recommend Bums On Seats for giving us everything we wanted from this trip in a short space of time. Plus, mega-cheap compared to the other tours out there, super value for money.
Also Kersbrook Hill Wines and Rockford Wines were totally amazing and I would recommend adding them to your itinerary if you do a DIY tour of the Barossa Valley.
We were all really happy with how the day turned out and ended it with a big ‘ol order of Domino’s Pizza back at the house and a very tipsy game of Uno. Best. Day. Ever.
Have you been wine-tasting before? Have you visited the Barossa Valley? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!