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  • Writer's pictureMadeline Hill

3 Day Road Trip in South Australia

Updated: May 24, 2020

Charles Melton Wines Barossa Valley
The entrance to Charles Melton Wines

South Australia is filled with many hidden gems! We originally booked our flight to visit Barossa Valley, but were pleasantly surprised by the many different wine regions, stunning beaches, and unique pink lakes. Located just a two hour flight away from Sydney, we arrived early in the morning ready to start our road trip!

Day 1.

The best way to start your road trip in South Australia is to relax on one of the many gorgeous beaches. Port Noarlunga is located about 45 minutes East of the airport and makes for the perfect first stop! With beautiful, calm beaches and crystal clear water, it's a must see! Grab a coffee and soak up those impressive ocean views!

Next, enjoy an easy 15 minute drive from the beach to McLaren Vale, the first wine region of the trip. Here, we visited Paxton Winery and Samuel's Gorge. McLaren Vale is known for its sun loving varietals such as Shiraz, Tempranillo, and Grenache. We were taken back by the quality of wines, the impressive landscape, and the 'oh so' unique tasting rooms.

We stopped at Paxton Wines for a tasting! This winery's tasting room is an old sheep shearing shed built in the 1800s and renovated in 2003 to the tasting room it is now! This family owned winery has sweeping views over the Willunga Hills and is a beautiful stop for a picnic. We also learned that Paxton wines is fully certified organic and biodynamic wine producer. We enjoyed our tasting here and left with a bottle of the Tempranillo and Grenache.

The veranda at Samuel's Gorge is the perfect place to relax and the wine was fantastic! We were very impressed by the 2017 Tempranillo and 2017 Grenache. A tasting at this vineyard is a must when in the region. The tasting room is open from 11AM-5PM daily. There is no need for a reservation.

After visiting McLaren Vale, head to Eden Valley. Located about an hour and a half away from McLaren Vale, Eden Valley is filled with smaller wineries known for their Resiling varietal.

We highly recommend a stop at Flaxman Wines. They have an impressive range of small batch wines that you absolutely need to try! Call ahead and arrange your visit. Don't forget to order a delicious cheese platter to accompany your wine. Col, the owner and wine maker will take you through his wines, while you nibble away on your cheeses! We gave this winery bonus points for their friendly dog Gus, who will greet you on arrival. The tasting room is open Thursday - Sunday.

Flaxman Winery South Australia
Our cheese platter from Flaxman Winery

Day 2.

Day 2 we recommend starting with a wine tasting at Charles Melton Winery The view from the patio overlooking the vines, that are almost 130 years old, is worth the visit alone. With a Tuscany like setting, you'll simply enjoy being here. Charles Melton makes incredible wines, including sparkling Shiraz (a specialty of the region). Do the paid tasting ($10) so you can try some of the best wines the region has to offer. Tastings are available from 11 AM- 5 PM daily.

Charles Melton Winery South Australia Barossa Valley
The entrance to Charles Melton Winery.

Our next stop was to Murray Street Vineyards where we had a beautiful tasting on the back veranda. The attention to detail at this winery is exceptional. With sweeping views of the vineyards, it's hard not to enjoy yourself here! We especially loved the 2016 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon. The tasting room is open from 10AM -5PM daily.

Tasting so many wines leaves you with the biggest appetite. Head over to Chateau Yaldara for a relaxing lunch at Hermann's Restaurant. We enjoyed our appetizers of kangaroo Fillets and pickled squid, with homemade bread. The pizza is even made in a wood fire pizza oven. The menu is perfectly created to pair with the Chateau Yaldara wines. Bookings can easily be made online. I highly recommend making a reservation in advance, as this restaurant does get busy.

Chateau  Yaldara South Australia Barossa Valley
The beautiful Chateau Yaldara built in 1947

After lunch, spend some time sightseeing around the Barossa Valley. One of the most famous drives is down Seppeltsfield road. It's so unique to see vineyards on each side of this palm tree lined road. We also made a small stop at Langmeil Lutheran Church.

Our last wine tasting of the day was at Yelland and Papps. This is a small winery owned by a young couple who are changing the scene of wineries in Barossa Valley. The tasting is by appointment only, and allows you to have a one-on-one chat with the wine makers themselves. When talking to Michael and Susan, the wine makers and owners, you can feel their enthusiasm and enjoyment for wines.The focus of their wines was to be vegan centered. This means using no filter for the wines that included egg products or gelatin. The 2014 Shiraz is absolutely divine here.

Our last stop was to Steingarten Vineyards for the incredible view over the Barossa Valley. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and some chocolates from Hearts of Cupid while watching the sunset. It was the perfect ending to the day!

Day 3.

If you're not "wined" out yet, spend your last day in South Australia driving to the Clare Valley. Located about an hour away from Tanunda, Claire Valley is a completely different wine region than Barossa. Clare Valley is a smaller wine region known for their Shiraz and Riesling wines. Spend your morning at Shut the Gate Winery. With a beautiful tasting room and patio, this winery oozes relaxation. Create your own snack with their readily available cheeses, spreads, and crackers.

Enjoy one last spot for lunch at Paulett Winery. The view is fantastic and the food is just as incredible. The menu changes according to availability of fresh produce, but we enjoyed the gnocchi and Baramundi fish dishes.

On the way back to the airport, take a small detour to visit Bumbunga Lake- a pink salt lake. With the high salt levels of the lake plus a pink bacteria known as halobacteria, the lake is transformed into a pink color. Depending on the time of year, the lake changes colors from a vibrant pink to shades of white. The best time of the year to visit is January, when the lake is at its brightest. Such a unique spot.

Lake Bumbunga pink lake south australia
We found Loch Ness at the Pink Lake!

When to visit:

Autumn was the perfect time to visit because the weather was beautiful and the crowds had subdued. We loved seeing the changing colors in the trees and vineyards. We definitely recommend a visit of three days or more just so be able to see everything in the region.

Where to stay:

There are an abundance of AirBNB's to stay at in the area. We recommend finding something close to Tanunda, as it is a pretty central location in the Barossa Valley.

Alternatively, the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort is a great hotel to stay in that overlooks the Jacob's Creek Vineyards.

We hope you book your trip to South Australia soon to experience the beauty of this state!

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