Winter is coming. I’m very excited about this for two reasons: first, I’ve just started Game of Thrones season one so I can finally understand the reference (and interact with society) and secondly because wet, windy and overcast weather is my favourite. Can’t get sunburnt if it’s raining!
It’s also perfect weather to continue exploring South Australia. I’ve grown up in the state but last weekend was the second time I’d been to the Barossa Valley. I know, I know, but when you grow up with McLaren Vale on your doorstep there’s no compelling reason to visit anywhere else.
I’ll happily admit I was (a little) biased. The Barossa has its own unique charm and certainly deserved a visit sooner.
Our first stop was Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop in Nuriootpa. Home of delicious quince paste and dukkah. After a quick dash from the car to escape the rain, we wandered around the tasting room with far more self-control than my jar of nutella ever sees at home, then grabbed a table overlooking the lake.
After a coffee, and the excitement of seeing a peacock in the car park, we headed toward Angaston in search of pretty vineyards and scenery. Along the way, Erin decided she didn’t want to to study to be a radiographer any more, but wanted to move to the country and ride a cute pink tractor instead. Life goals, sorted.
We stumbled across the Barossa Scenic Heritage Drive. Sort of. It took us a couple of attempts and I’m still not sure we were ever on it, but we found pretty vineyards nonetheless, complete with fallen autumn leaves and misty fog.
It was about now when our conversation turned from “aw, look at the cute scarecrows” into “seriously, scarecrows, what the?”. The human to scarecrow ratio was all out of whack (though to be fair the human to quilt display ratio was also concerning).
It probably didn’t help that the sky was overcast and the empty paddocks were looking more and more like scenes from a horror movie. Though when you’re not imagining the scarecrows coming to life Doctor Who style they’re pretty sweet.
A subsequent Google search revealed that all the scarecrows come out to play every year as part of the Barossa Vintage Festival. This makes far more sense, though it’s a shame the scarecrows aren’t there to freak out visitors the whole year round.
After gallivanting around the countryside through Tanunda, Krondorf and Bethany, the first German settlement in the Barossa, we found ourselves back in Angaston for Italian at Casa Carboni which was divine. Sourdough bruschetta with goats curd and olive tapenade to start, then freshly made pasta with capsicums, cracked black pepper and olive oil. Red wine too, of course, which came in curiously shaped glasses.
On recommendation from Casa Carboni, we stopped off at Bar 41 in Williamstown for a cappuccino on the way home. The cafe is one third of a local artisan hub, also home to Winestains, who create handcrafted wine barrel designs, and Dragonfly Antiques. Good coffee and a perfect escape from the wild weather outside.
We decided to continue driving the windy way home, having taken Main North Road on the way up, so continued toward Tea Tree Gully. This took us through Kersbrook, the town worst hit by the Sampson Flat bushfire at the start of the year.
It wasn’t hard to find evidence of the fire. Charred black tree trunks and patches of green regrowth struck an eerie picture. The rain was coming down heavily at this point too. It was a hauntingly beautiful sight. A solemn reminder that fire can both renew and destroy.
All in all it was a wonderful day. It’s such a treat to have the Barossa only an hour away – I’ll certainly be back to see the rest of it soon.