We’re FREE! Well sort of. Caravan and camping is back on in South Australia for those of us living in the state, and caravan parks are putting out the welcome signs and taking bookings. Now it’s just a matter of deciding where to go first. Unfortunately there may not be many shops or businesses open when you get to your destination so it will pay to go for a walk, make a phone call or check social media or just take a drive by to see for yourself. Some cafés and restaurants with outdoor dining may be open and food and beverage takeaways are always a possibility so it’s time to start spreading the money around again and supporting our regions.
One of the better known holiday spots in South Australia is the Barossa Valley mainly thanks to its worldwide reputation and consistent award winning wines. It’s also home to gourmet produce, a brewery, distillery and more than 80 cellar doors.
A comfortable and central caravan park to base yourself is the Discovery Park Barossa Valley in Tanunda. It’s a little over an hour from Adelaide and a big drawcard for staying at this park is its natural environment with plenty of trees which attract birdlife every evening and morning and friendly possums that visit at night looking for any handouts. Apart from caravan and camping sites there are a variety of cabins to stay in and glamping tents which have their own secluded section of the park complete with private swimming pool and outdoor undercover dining space.
For the rest of the happy campers a large shade covered swimming pool awaits as well as a fantastic water park for the kids. It’s full of slides and water sprayers, showering and dumping water and providing hours of fun. Due to current restrictions these may not be open but at this time of year I don’t imagine anyone would be too disappointed with that.
The amenities are spacious inside and immaculately clean, the grounds are very tidy but when we stayed there last the grass on sites was a little sparse. That’s not a problem though if you put down some shade cloth or other matting which is usual practice for most of us. The park has cabins ranging from budget to deluxe, the latter having their own BBQ shelters with tables. The main camp kitchen and BBQ areas for the caravan and camping fraternity is one of the better I’ve seen. There is loads of room indoors to space yourself out and more games and activities to keep kids entertained. The BBQ area had some herbs growing to help yourself to, and even a pizza oven.
A bonus if you’re staying at this park is that it is within walking distance of the town, but with so much to see and buy I’d suggest parking the car closer, then you can stroll along to visit the many and varied unique specialty shops and buy up big.
A place you must visit, not the least because it is literally across the road from the park, is Barossa Valley Brewing. This craft brewery opened in 2005 and now operates from a 100 year old stone house with a roomy beer garden, great to relax in with some brews, pizzas and other tasty food. At the brewery they make a cider, pilsner, summer ale and more including some quite different special batches. Believe it or not there is ‘I can’t believe it’s not bacon’ and a very tasty chocolate and peanut dark beer. Apart from making great beers they are socially and environmentally conscious and support causes that you can read about on their website. Barossa Valley Brewing is usually open 7 days a week, but as with everything lately you’ll have to check their social media channels for updates.The Barossa Farmers Market is open and stall holders are spaced out enough inside and out to feel comfortable in visiting to buy fresh fruit and vegies, baked products, small goods, flowers and more. And while you’re out touring, drop in and visit Seppeltsfield Road Distillers. At the time of writing the distillery was open only for bottle sales but hopefully in time you’ll be able to sample a range of gin varieties in a tasting flight or just select your favourite to have with tonic on the spacious deck outside of the unique shipping container tasting room. The varieties include a house gin, dry, savoury allsorts and a shiraz gin. Another spot to definitely keep your eye on their social media or website for news of when they can offer more.
That advice goes for any of the cellar doors at the moment actually, but don’t let that stop you from visiting, the Barossa Valley has plenty to offer visitors and there’s still loads of fun to be had even if that means buying bottles to takeaway and enjoy at your caravan or campsite.