news > 7 ways to relax & be romantic in Barossa Valley
Guest bloggers, Caz and Craig from y Travel Blog, experience the romantic sights of the Barossa
Caz and Craig Makepeace are a travel- addicted couple from the Central Coast of Australia. After marrying they embarked on a 5 year honeymoon where they taught English in Bangkok, UK, Africa, Asia and the USA. Their adventures have continued as their family grew with the arrival of daughters Kalyra and Savannah.
We invited them to the Barossa Valley as guests of Jacob’s Creek and they sourced out the romantic spots of the region, here they talk about their experiences...
When we found out we were going to the Barossa Valley as a couple after 18 months traveling around Australia in a camper trailer with our kids, we were excited.
Finally a chance for relaxation and a little romance. What’s that again?
There’s a lot of love floating around in the Barossa air. It can be felt in every conversation, every morsel of food that is grown and eaten, the stories that stand behind everything that is produced, and with every sweet, dry, rich and flavoursome bottle of wine.
We were invited as guests of Jacob’s Creek to experience what their wine is #MadeBy. It all comes back to love, passion and connectedness and that’s always how you shape the most miraculous things.
Let’s see how you can get your Marvin Gaye on and experience more of that in the Barossa and Adelaide Hills.
1Picnic for two by bike
People are often surprised when Craig and I suggest activities like cycling and hiking for a romantic experience. I think most people picture champagne, candlelit dinners and spa treatments.
Okay we do that too, but we also like getting out and enjoying an experience together.
Before kids, many of our memorable moments were spent hiking mountains, horse-riding through canyons, and exploring villages and cities on bikes.
So, when the rare alone time moments arrive, we’re keen to lace up the shoes and get dirty.
The Jack Bobridge Bike Trail winds for 27km through vineyards and villages between Gawler and Tanunda.
We set off from the Jacob’s Creek Visitors Centre down towards the creek and along the hilly track until it hit the main road. We then turned around to have our picnic at the perfect place we spotted on the way down. With the Jacob’s Creek bike hire and picnic experience we can combine that with wine and delicious food. In our books, it’s one of the most romantic things you can do. We timed our bike ride beautifully. The sun came out as soon as we laid the picnic blanket out beside the vines and Jacob’s Creek.
Choose a picturesque spot along the trail to enjoy local cheeses, olives and other delights for lunch with a glass of wine, all from your specially prepared picnic pack.
The Jacob’s Creek bike hire and picnic pack costs $150 for two people and can be enjoyed for as long as you like. We recommend making at least a half day of it and exploring more of this beautiful region.
2Enjoy a massage at Mount Lofty House
Apart from getting active in nature, the next requirement we have for a romantic and relaxing getaway is a massage. It’s a treat we rarely give to ourselves and after our massage at the Stables Day Spa at Mt Lofty House, we both walked out saying, “We need to do that more often.” I think this was the best massage I’ve ever had. It was only for 30 minutes, but it was a deep pressure massage on my back. My therapist said my shoulder region was extremely tight and wound up and I felt much of that pressure go after the massage.
It was a very relaxing experience and was perfectly timed after our strenuous Mt Lofty hike. Yep. In reflection, I’d say best massage ever. #TakeMeBack
3Early morning yoga session
Yoga is part of my regular morning routine. When I travel, I’m always seeking yoga classes in beautiful locations in the local area. I was excited to take an early morning class looking out over the gardens and valleys in the Barossa. Even better that Craig could join me. Our teacher Natalia led us through a gentle yoga session that woke up our body and had us ready for our last day together in this beautiful region. During the summer, Natalia leads an hour yoga class on the grounds of the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre (in front of that tree!) followed by breakfast, tea and coffee.
For only $15, I find this a super amazing deal. On our travels around Australia, one yoga session alone would cost me at least that much. For more info on the yoga sessions at Jacob’s Creek check back here when summer comes back around.
4Bubbles with breakfast
Okay so you can’t come to the Barossa for romance and relaxation and not have bubbles for breakfast. Because we love balance, we recommend doing it after a yoga session! No guilt needed. We ate in the servants’ quarters attached to our cottage, with the fire crackling and gorgeous views over the vineyard. I think it was possibly my idea of the most perfect morning. We didn’t quite have champagne, as it’s not what this region is noted for, but we had the most perfect alternative with the Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay Sparkling Pinot Noir.
I have a bottle of this sparkling in my fridge at the moment, which I bought the other evening from my local bottle shop. It’s the only time I’ve ever bought sparkling wine. We have a winner. The bubbles were paired perfectly with soft scrambled eggs with hot smoked salmon and semi dried tomatoes and raspberries and blueberries with honey yoghurt. Sorry Craig that I can’t cook a breakfast this good again. At least we have the bubbles.
5Private dinner at Heritage vineyard
How about starting with your own private chef at a spectacular historical location on the banks of Jacob’s Creek? Get to know the culture of Jacob’s Creek finest wines more intimately at Heritage House, the original home to the company’s founder Johann Gramp.
We started in the reception room with a glass of Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir and Harrisa house-smoked salmon with horseradish cream. Over our canapés we learned more about Johann Gramp’s home and vision for quality wine. Not too many years ago, the stories and charm of the sandstone walls were covered over with plaster.
A chance chipping away revealed the original splendour of this building and so we have this historical experience beside the original site of the Jacob’s Creek first vines. This is a pretty special site as in this spot, Johann Gramp planted the very first commercial vineyard in the Barossa Valley. From little things, big things grow! We then had a little peek into the cellar from the windowed floor above and sat down to a table filled with a lot of empty wine glasses! Whoa. There was going to be some tasting happening during dinner.
The five-course menu was created by using local produce and the Jacob’s Creek garden that we loved so much. Each course was carefully matched with a Jacob’s Creek wine. The Jacob’s Creek Heritage wines are definitely some of the best I’ve tasted in Australia (which means the world because let’s face it Aussie wines are the BEST. Yes they are. And that’s truth with a hint of proud bias)
ON THE MENU: Entree: South Australian Spencer Gulf King Prawn with betel leaf, Asian herbs and tamarind dressing paired with 2013 Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Eden Valley Riesling. Keyneton pork belly and Hervey Bay scallop with cauliflower puree and fennel butter paired with 2013 Jacob’s Creek Reeves Point Barossa Chardonnay. Main Course: Coonawarra Dry-Aged Hereford beef fillet with braised mushroom and Béarnaise Sauce paired with 2010 Jacob’s Creek Centenary Hill Barossa Shiraz. Dessert: Chocolate truffle ‘cake’ with butterscotch ice cream and salted peanut praline paired with 2010 Jacob’s Creek Johann Shiraz Cabernet. Our personal chef for the night, Sean Lindley, then joined us after dinner for a glass of red and a chat about his life as a chef and living in nearby Eden Valley. It was a wonderful evening.
To book this experience for yourselves (it’s a bit pricey so perhaps save it for a super special occasion), call 08 8521 3000 or visit here.
6Boutique hotel stays
A great way to experience a touch of romance and relaxation on your Barossa and Adelaide experience is to stay in a boutique hotel. Look for a place that has charm and history and stories to tell. We stayed in the Jacob’s Estate Cottage, which is the beautifully restored original home of William Jacob after whom the famous creek was named.
Staying at the cottage where the Barossa, as it stands for today, really grew it’s roots was such a humbling experience. It was a moment where I whispered, “God I love my country.” Unfortunately staying at the cottage is not available to the general public. But, we shared ways you can experience the grounds of the cottage in this post and here. In the Adelaide Hills, we stayed at Mt Lofty House, which used to be the residential home of the Hardy family. Nice digs Mr Hardy! Sure would have liked to have come to one of your parties.
The charming manor house, built in 1852 has incredible views over the Piccadilly Valley. After our massage here, we dressed for dinner and headed to the billiards room for a glass of red and a game of pool. It was nice for Craig and I to just unwind and have a fun time playing together. We rarely get to play like this. Like usual he kicked my butt, but I did win on a technicality. Despite me having several balls left on the table, he sunk the white when he was left with just the black to sink. Winner!!! After pool we headed out to a lovely dinner at Locavore, which you can read more about here.
7Intimate dinner at 1918 Bistro and Grill
1918 Bistro & Grill is chiseled into the foundation stone by the front door of this popular restaurant in Tanunda. Friedrich Carl Gottleib Wallent added it as a finishing touch to his new family home. His son Morris later became the mayor of Tanunda and in 1992, a group of locals turned this home into the Barossa’s first bistro grill. You can cosy on down beside the fire in what I presume was the family’s living room.
The restaurant is warm and intimate and the perfect way to end your romantic and relaxing experience in the Barossa. For entree, we shared a beetroot & vodka cured ocean trout, horseradish, baby capers, potato & dill salad. For main, I devoured the Szechwan spiced double roast duck, stir fried Asian greens, spiced plum dressing and Craig enjoyed his angel hair pasta, smoked salmon, asparagus, zucchini, chilli, truffled crème fraiche With it we enjoyed the St Hugo Barossa Shiraz 2012 which was a deliciously heady mix of dark ripe fruit. And our friendly waiter insisted that we find room for dessert.
The food is just too good in this region to say no. It was raspberry and pomegranate brulee with poached apple and pomegranate salsa, and mojito sorbet for me and Baileys and scorched almond ice cream with white chocolate brownie crumb and caramel fudge sauce for Craig. Yum! We need to bring back the romance more often. Our trip to the Barossa Valley was as guests of Jacob’s Creek. To read all our posts on the area click here.
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