In January 2017 my sister celebrated her 21st birthday. As is tradition in my family, this occasion was to be celebrated in a big way. My sister’s travel dream was to take a Segway tour, so with that in mind the family set to work tailor-making the perfect surprise itinerary. Most of the 8 family members and all of the 4 friends who would attend were central to Adelaide in South Australia, so it made sense to choose a holiday destination within driving distance of Adelaide. The Barossa Valley is an internationally-acclaimed wine region just 1 hour north of Adelaide by car.
Home to some of the world’s oldest vineyards and Australia’s finest restaurants, the Barossa Valley certainly offers a culinary experience owing to its rich European heritage making it perfect for a birthday event. However, the reason we ultimately chose the Barossa Valley was for its seamless blend of culture and adventure. Segway Sensation SA provide Segway tours of Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa Valley. Under the instruction of a tour guide, riders navigate their Segway through the 19th century architecture, tranquil gardens and stunning vineyard vistas of the estate. Read on for our full 3-day itinerary built around this tour.
In the morning we arrived at Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, where we dropped our luggage off to the concierge before hopping into a stretch Hummer chauffeured by SA Limos. Impressively, the interior of the Hummer resembled the luxury of a private jet, with bar areas, TV screens, mood lighting and a top of the range sound system. Our first stop was the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre for wine tasting, where we queued to get a photo with the iconic Jacob’s Creek signpost. Then we headed to The Winemakers Office for lunch, followed by crowd favourite Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop for gourmet ice-cream.
At Maggie Beer’s, colourful peacocks greeted us and we saw turtles gracefully swimming in the lake from the deck above. The Bethany Wines cellar door was next, where we tasted more wine and got another great photo opportunity at the Barossa Sculpture Park. Last on the Hummer tour was the Whispering Wall, where words whispered at one end can famously be heard over 100m away. Returning to our start point, we were pleasantly surprised to find that hotel staff had thoughtfully setup my sister’s room with helium balloons as a surprise. The service at dinner was no less impressive.
At award-winning restaurant FermentAsian we were treated to the Chef’s Table menu, a multi-course degustation of well-presented, contemporary incarnations on traditional Asian dishes based around the Barossa’s exquisite fresh produce, some from the chef’s own garden. The chef accommodated the three members of our party who suffered from food intolerances, creating alternate dishes for them. We could have chosen seven savoury dishes, however opted for six savoury dishes and a dessert, which turned out to be a great decision as the lime crème brulee was the highlight of the evening. Staff continued to exceed expectations when they lit candles on our cake before singing happy birthday.
Refreshed from a comfortable night’s sleep, day two began with an all-inclusive buffet breakfast at our hotel’s restaurant, The Cellar Kitchen. Floor to ceiling glass overlooking the vines and French hospitality made this breakfast worth remembering. Following breakfast, we journeyed to Seppeltsfield. Driving towards the winery along Seppeltsfield Road was almost as striking as the estate itself, being lined by 5km of date palms planted during the Great Depression. Then, like a step back in time, the entrance to Seppeltsfield housed the Jam Factory where hand-crafted steel goods were being forged in an open workshop by a passionate blacksmith.
Segway Sensation SA staff met us on arrival to give us Segway training, before fitting us with headsets and taking us on a guided tour. The views were simply breathtaking and to say that Segway Sensation SA deserve the 5-star rating on TripAdvisor would be an understatement. As well as being local experts, the guides also took the time to make photo stops so that we could cherish the memories for years to come. After the tour we headed to Hermanns 1847 at the beautiful Chateau Yaldara for a late lunch where we had wood-fired pizza, then took to the Novotel’s outdoor heated pool – a welcome reprieve from the summer heat.
For an authentic regional experience, we later decided to have a pub-style dinner at The Clubhouse, which is an iconic venue proudly steeped in local township history. The ambience was noteworthy, with a scenic photographic panorama along the back wall and packed dining room. Afterwards, we retired to the hotel where everyone met in a single room to bond over party games and chocolate from the piñata. In many hotels you would struggle to fit so many people in a room, but the rooms at Novotel Barossa Valley Resort are so spacious and well air-conditioned that it was a ‘breeze’.
Day three started the same way as day two, with a complimentary full buffet breakfast. Hotel check-out was a leisurely 11am, meaning that our breakfast wasn’t rushed and we could value our final moments together as a group. After check-out it was onto the world-renowned Wolf Blass Cellar Door for wine tasting and photos with the trademark eagle statue. Of all the wines tasted on this trip, the Wolf Blass Yellow Label Moscato was by far the standout for its fruity tones and crisp finish. From here we ventured to Saltram Cellar Door.
Located less than 10 minutes’ drive from Wolf Blass, we did our last wine tasting for the trip at Saltram. The cellar door had classic stone walls, with a modern rustic appeal that was reminiscent of a wedding venue. Meanwhile, staff were beyond welcoming and suggested an underground cellar tour to us. Though we didn’t have time to take the tour, we did stop for lunch at their Salter’s Restaurant. After this, we made our way to Lyndoch Lavender Farm (the largest of its kind in South Australia), where we wandered through the endless lavender fields and shopped for gifts.
For more information
The Barossa Valley is an ideal destination for couples, families and groups alike. For celebrations where there are no second chances such as anniversaries, weddings or birthday events it really is unmissable. In our experience the quality of the service in the region is faultless and better still, there’s something to suit every budget. For more information on the region check out this online Guide to the Barossa Valley or get in touch with me anytime. We can tailor-make an itinerary around your unique travel dreams. Ask us about the Taste Your Birth Year tour at Seppeltsfield for your next birthday celebration!