As a way to support South Australian Tourism and businesses, the state’s tourism authority has been gifting ‘Great State Vouchers’ which enable people to have an ‘experience’ or get accommodation at a very reduced price to boost the economy in these sectors. One of these vouchers I was able to use recently to book a wine and cheese flight at a Barossa winery.
There were a number of establishments to choose from, and I chose this particular winery with the thought of also discovering a different part of the Barossa Valley that I wasn’t too familiar with. The larger towns of Tanunda and Nuriootpa are probably the busier and more well-known towns and they have very good caravan parks and loads of things to do in those centres.
This visit though, we wanted to find out more about the town of Greenock, a small town on the north-west edge of the Barossa Valley, around 66 kilometres from Adelaide. The town has a strong village feel about it and the main street is lined with characteristic peppercorn trees.
Tucked in behind the main street is the towns Centennial Oval, a lovely big green oval where you can free camp around the edge, and amongst a small forest of trees. A stay at the park cost $5 per night and an honour box is located at the edge of the oval to leave a form with your details and the money owing.
It’s a great spot to use especially with a dog, as the huge oval is perfect to give them a run around on. In summer the oval is used for cricket so you aren’t allowed to park on the edge as we did this time, but there is still plenty of room amongst the trees, just come prepared with levelling ramps as the ground is a bit sloped.
Some lovely old buildings and a grandstand are on one side of the oval, and there is a children’s playground as well. New public conveniences are fairly recent additions and they are extremely clean and looked after by the council. If you have a van with en suite all the better and in winter and cooler times of the year the diesel heater is a necessity. You can have a wood fire but only in one communal area of the park.
Once you are set up in the park, everything in the heart of town is within walking distance and there is so much to see and indulge in. It is the Barossa after all, so there are a number of wineries to try nearby including Dell’uva wines, Murray Street Vineyards, Kalleske wines and Schluter Wines just for starters.
The wineries offer tastings, some you pay for and redeem the cost off the purchase of any wines, and others that didn’t charge at all. Many of them also have tasting platters and small eats to buy while you are there and you can quite comfortably settle into these welcoming places, buy wine by the glass and enjoy the warmth and hospitality.
We drove a short distance out of town to Alkina Wines, where we had booked to have a guided wine flight which included sampling 5 wines, accompanied with a charcuterie board of prosciutto, matured cheese, cornichons, olives and bread. The guided flight meant we had undivided attention and were able to learn about the winery, the wines, the growing techniques and more from our lovely host. The charcuterie board was substantial enough that we didn’t need lunch. The name of the winery comes from an indigenous girl’s name which means moon, or moonlight. The name was chosen as it aligned with the winemakers respect for the land and the natural elements that are so important to their small scale winemaking. The tasting room is in a lovely stone building that feels like you could be in a barn in the French countryside somewhere and there’s also an outdoor area for warmer days and an enclosed dining area with pizza oven. This wine flight experience normally costs $30 per head and it’s something special that I could highly recommend.
If you’re more of a beer fan, that is covered in Greenock too with the Greenock Brewers housed in another old building in town, which was once a wheat store for the flour mill that used to operate across the road from it. This is a rustic but cosy setting where you can sample a paddle of their brews and settle in on a comfy couch in front of a roaring fire. There are barrels to sit at or an outdoor area as well. You can buy wine by the glass here too.
A stand out for us was the hospitality and friendliness in every place we went, the locals happy to have a chat and point you in the direction of what your next stop should be. The village had a very cosy feel about it wherever we went, and especially at Hygge Home and Vintage, a snug little shop in the heart of town.
Hygge is a Danish term (pronounced Hoo-gah) and to try and sum it up, is to think of all things that bring you joy in winter. The feeling you get walking into a room with candles, a cosy fire, good company and conversation, food and wines and a general warm and fuzzy comfort feeling. I think we all know the feeling without necessarily being able to put a word to it, but now you can! This shop and the owner, has it in spades and it’s one of those shops you can spend ages in, with only the bank balance and room to carry, holding you back from spending more. Like a lot of the buildings in Greenock this one has a story too, once being the saddlery.
In the afternoon a tasty stop for coffee and cake is El Estanco, a South American influenced café with lots of cosy nooks to sit a while and enjoy the excellent coffee and cakes (you will want more than one!). They also do breakfasts and lunches, all using locally sourced fresh produce and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan option across the range of food. On Friday nights they do a ‘Friday Fiesta’ where you can enjoy wood fired pizzas and wine in the family friendly outdoor space, complete with areas for kids to run around and enjoy and there is a fire pit.
For a bigger menu, go to the Greenock Hotel where the hospitality and community feel is so welcoming and the size of the place deceiving from the outside. A big tip is to book in advance though, it was a hugely popular spot, with the dining room, restaurant and front bar all full of happy patrons and the food was amazing. Hearty, tasty and worth coming back for.
Greenock is a surprising little pocket of the Barossa that has us wanting to return for more already.