Thursday, November 2, 2017

Exploring South Australia – The Barossa Valley

South Australia is a unique part of a unique country. It’s one of the parts Australians are always interested to see. Aussie tourists, when traveling like to see the real Australia, and South Australia has quite a few places that fit the bill. The Barossa Valley is one of them. Barossa Valley attracts Australia’s fussy domestic tourists.

The Barossa was colonized by German settlers in the 1840s. These were Prussian Germans, and they called the area New Silesia, setting up the original basis of the Barossa’s wine industry. Other settlers from Cornwall in England soon followed. From these beginnings came a legendary Australian region.

The Barossa is in the northeast of Adelaide, on the other side of the Adelaide Hills. This is more than a picturesque area, both historically and today. In this part of Australia, sheltered areas are the fertile, reliable parts of the bush, and even the tough Australian bush plants prefer them. It was an excellent choice of a site for demanding plants like grapevines, and the soil, after over a century of careful land management, is very trustworthy for wines.

With the vineyards came the lifestyle. South Australia’s Mediterranean-like climate is perfect for wines, but it’s also good for the real vineyard region lifestyle. In colonial Australia, the big rural landholdings only started in the mid 19th century, and each new “baron” of agriculture had their own ideas about how to live. In the Barossa, the result was what you see today- Classic, opulent wineries, with a few functional concessions to modern industry needs.

The Barossa as a whole is a an exercise in regional good taste, both in wines and lifestyle. Nothing is garish, and everything is good quality. Barossa Valley hotels include the archetypal old pubs, very well maintained, with excellent food.

Barossa also has a “village culture”, quite reminiscent of Europe, particularly Germany. If you’re looking for alpacas, puppets, traditional ice cream, or the real Australian bush, it’s all there, including the local stories and legends. The Barossa is a miniature world, a latter day version of 19th century Europe, but with the Australian setting.

There are very few places in Australia which still have this unique regional character, and they’re all different. The Barossa has earned its reputation, even by the demanding standards of Aussies looking for the authentic Australian character. This is the sort of place anyone could spend months exploring, while forcing themselves to drink excellent wine and eat great food while they’re at it.

If you’re looking for a real holiday in a fascinating place, start with the Barossa. Adelaide is literally minutes away, and the fabulous Adelaide Hills, another iconic South Australian area, are right next door. Getting around is easy, and you can literally commute between all these fabulous places.

The name of the game in the Barossa is “Have fun and explore!” Like many others, you may find yourself going back year after year.