17 Things To Do In Barossa Valley & Adelaide Hills

I thought I’d leave the Barossa in love with the wine, and I did, but I didn’t realize there were so many other thing to do in the Barossa Valley!). The region is famous for its vineyards and wineries, but not only that, it’s surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and quaint attractions.

There’s a tranquil air that lingers over the valleys, and the green rolling hills, the earthy vibrancy of the changing seasons, flourishing vines, Eucalypt forests, steep hillsides and shaded valleys, beckon you to go slow and leave your worries at home.

Gum tree in the Barossa Valley, South Australia

If you’re planning a visit to The Barossa Valley but are not sure what to do (besides wine tasting), then here are some of the top attractions that we visited and loved in this region.

Disclaimer: We visited the Barossa as guests of Jacob’s Creek, but all thoughts, ideas and opinions in this guide are our own.

Things To Do in The Barossa Valley

1. Mt Lofty Summit Hike, Adelaide Hills

woman throwing orange leafs in the air at mt lofty
A waterfall in a forest

We totally underestimated the steepness of this 3.9 kilometre hike up to the 710 metre high Mt Lofty Summit.

I huffed and puffed with burning chest thinking how happy Hunter, my boot camp instructor, would be that I wasn’t just skipping class to indulge in wine and food for four days in the Barossa Valley.

Craig and I love hiking and taking on the Mt Lofty hike showed us just how different hiking with kids is. It was a challenge, but despite this, we loved the Mt Lofty walk and highly recommend it.

We started at Waterfall Gully, which embraced us with a burst of golden oranges and reds of Autumn. You just don’t experience the essence of Autumn in the region north of Sydney where we grew up. It’s mostly just an evergreen kinda life.

woman standing in front of a waterfall
waterfall in a forest

After playing in the leaves for a bit around the waterfall, we started our hike up which stayed in that direction for the majority of the walk.

The air was crisp and fresh, and the only sound was the quiet music of a few bird calls. A distinctive smell followed us, which I realised later was the odour of a sleeping koala.

They’re frequently spotted in the Adelaide Hills, but not by us this time.

Waterfall on the Mt Lofty Summit hike in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia

At the end of the walk your reward are gorgeous 180-degree views of Adelaide and the coastal plain from the summit (that is if the weather is kind!).

We recommend finishing your hike here with views out to Adelaide with a lovely meal or at least a coffee.

Stunning views over Adelaide, South Australia from Mt Lofty
image by Tourism South Australia

2. Take a Drive in the Barossa

A motorcycle driving on the road
woman driving a motorcycle

The Barossa Valley is beautiful, so one of the best things you can do is just go for a drive and soak it all in.

We did it in thrilling style on the back of a bright yellow trike with Barossa Unique Tours. There’s nothing like the wind blowing back your hair as you zip along winding country roads and besides the most beautiful gum trees and green covered hills you’ve ever seen.

Our driver, Johnny was passionate about the area and had so many interesting stories and facts about the region to share. We got a great sense from him that the Barossa is made by the people – a sweetness and love you can taste in each bottle of wine the Barossa produces.

motorcycle driving on a dirt road
motorcycle driving on the road

If only you weren’t so cold in winter, Barossa, I could picture myself zipping around this valley on the back of a trike as a local.

Make sure you drive to the Barossa Valley via the Adelaide Hills, where you get the glorious autumn colours of the deciduous trees. Of course, that’s if you come in Autumn – it will be beautiful no matter when you arrive.

motorcycle driving on a dirt path

On your drive be sure to go past the lone tree on Centenary Hill, which is a site of historical significance to the Jacob Creek’s winery and is what their Centenary Hill Shiraz is named after. In 1947, a single Moreton Bay fig tree was planted by Fred Gramp to commemorate 100 years since the winery founder, Johann Gramp, planted his first vines on the banks of Jacob’s Creek.

And you must finish your drive at the Steingarten Vineyard for sunset (see point #9 down below)

3. Visit Cleland Wildlife Park

Hand feed the potoroos at Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
woman feeding kangaroos

So we’ve done a few wildlife parks on our trip around Australia. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all right? Not necessarily.

This was the first time we’ve ever hand fed Potoroos! I was in squealing heaven when we walked in, and they came skittering out from the bushes to greet us.

I leant down to feed them, unsure of what would happen, and they cautiously sniffed themselves over, held my hand and began to pick the pellets off to eat. It was sooooo cute!

woman feeding kangaroos
close up of a kangaroo's face

There were plenty of kangaroos around: big reds playing and love making, and western greys and black-footed wallabies who also held my hands as they ate.

big red kangaroos fighting
close up of a kangaroo

And there’s a koala section where you can watch them sleeping in trees, and doing the slow koala play (which is just eating) – they are still so adorable. You even have the chance to cuddle koalas at Cleland.

koala face
koala eating gum leaves

You could easily combine Cleland Wildlife Park with your walk up to the Mt Lofty summit. Look for the side trail 3/4 the way up that leads to it.

kangaroos in a grass field

4. Love the Cork and Gum Trees

gum tree lined dirt road in the Barossa Valley, South Australia
Beautiful gum trees in the Barossa Valley, South Australia

I fell in love with the trees in the Barossa Valley, and I just had to include them as a thing to experience in this post. They are freaking gorgeous.

I’ve never seen gum trees look so huge and healthy and alive with stories and history.

I’m a tree hugger, and I spent most of my time in the Barossa hatching plans to sneak another cuddle in. I’m not sure why the gum trees in the Barossa are so magnificent. They’re 300-400 years old so maybe the ones up north were all chopped down with urbanisation.

My favourite was the giant gum out the front of the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre. It was dying, but they dug a huge hole around it and lowered the earth so it had more room to breathe, and it’s recovering.

Beautiful gum trees in the Barossa Valley, South Australia

The Avenue of Cork trees was also a fascinating thing to see in the driveway into the Jacob’s Estate. I did not know that corks came from trees. I feel stupid saying that, but did you?

Growing these cork trees is a particular process that takes decades before you can even get a decent cork crop from them. These were planted by Colin Gramp in 1971, who had the foresight that planting a row of these trees would be very useful in the future for corking bottles for their wine.

They’re still about nine years off growing their first decent batch. Of course, it wasn’t in his crystal ball to know that bottles would switch over to screw caps in the future (well, in Australia anyway).

We also learned that the need to taste a bottle of wine in one of the best restaurants is not necessary if it’s a screw cap as this was only done because faulty corks can sometimes spoil the wine (a small percentage).

5. Take A Helicopter Tour Over Barossa Valley

people standing in front of a helicopter
woman flying in a plane over a valley

There’s nothing like seeing the villages and patchwork vineyards of the Barossa Valley from above, especially when looking as green as Ireland.

You can see it from above either in a hot air balloon ride or by helicopter. WE LOVE helicopters so chose this option with Barossa Helicopters.

helicopter flying over a valley
plane flying over a valley

The morning was still and clear and our pilot said it was some of the best conditions she’d ever seen it in.

We flew several times in a loop along the course of Jacob’s Creek, the Heritage Vineyard where we ate dinner the previous evening, and then up the hill top over the Steingarten Vineyard, which divides the Barossa and Eden Valley.

Helicopter tours last about 20 minutes, but this is plenty of time to take in the magnificent landscape.

overview of a valley
overview of mountains
Steingarten Vineyard

Our host, Phil, pointed out different parts of the Valley, including the palm tree-lined Seppeltsfield Road, which looked so out of place, yet striking.

The flight gave us an insight into the stories that lay behind its settlement to now being one of Australia’s best wine regions.

6. See Port Willunga Caves

Port Willunga beach

Port Willunga is just a 45 kilometre drive from Adelaide and is a beautiful coastal destination. Enjoy the views from the cliff tops or take a walk down to the beach where you’ll find a series of hidden caves.

These caves were cut into the cliff walls by fishermen to help protect their boats and nets.

woman standing in front of  Port Willunga Caves in Adelaide, South Australia
looking out the Port Willunga Caves to ocean

If you love photography, you’ll love the photos you can take down here of the cliffs and caves looking in and out. Port Willunga used to be a grain port, the only sign of that now is a few jetty pylons, which adds a beautiful foreground element.

stairs leading down to Port Willunga beach
woman looking at Port Willunga cove

Sunsets here are meant to be magnificent. We had an overcast day so did not get the full splendour of the water colour, but it was beautiful even in its greyness.

7. Take An Observational Drawing Workshop with Jacob Logos

people making artwork
lady in front of art work

Moving on from my love of the trees is the painting experience we had with artist, Jacob Logos. Neither Craig nor I would consider ourselves artistic, but we were surprised at what you can produce when you let your creative spark take over from the brain.

Jacob says the number one issue he has with drawing the artist out of people is the brain interfering too much with trying to get it right.

Jacob is the artist in residence at Jacob’s Creek. You can see his art work hanging in the Visitors Centre and he offers different art programs and experiences through the centre.

Jacob had us drawing the branch of a banksia tree using the technique of observational drawing (no looking at the paper) and continuous lines.

man painting in a park

We were surprised with how good our pieces turned out and we’re thinking of framing them to put on our walls. It’s rustic, natural and a pure expression.

Jacob then took us outside on the grounds to one of his favourite places, in front of the gorgeous trees. A massive chalkboard was set up for us to continue our continuous line drawing to depict the trees.

We then turned over to view the vineyard and hills behind us.

people standing in a park painting a canvas of the surrounding gum trees
The Barossa Valley has the best gum trees
chalk board drawing of gum trees

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do this workshop. It’s not something I’d normally choose to do, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and letting my inner artist speak. In true South Australia fashion, Jacob was incredibly nice, friendly and insightful.

8. Catch Sunrise at Mt Lofty House, Adelaide Hills

unrise at Mt Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia
 sunrise at Mt Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia

It might have been chilly, but the romantic mist it added to the sunrise over the Adelaide Hills made it worth climbing out from under the warm doona early in the morning to photograph it. It was the perfect date activity in the Barossa Valley!

You can continue to enjoy the show over breakfast from within Mt Lofty House with its panoramic views over the hills from its restaurant windows.

Mt Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Mt Lofty House

The Adelaide Hills are beautiful and staying in this boutique hotel reminded me of our stay in the Blue Mountains. We’ll be sharing more about Mt Lofty House in an upcoming post on romance and relaxation in the Barossa!

9. Watch the Sunset at Steingarten Vineyard

sunrise over mountains
sunrise over mountains

The Steingarten Vineyard is a Barossa Valley best-kept secret and I’m now listing it as an iconic thing to do.

It’s at the top of the hill and is the only place on the hills that has a wine garden. The conditions up here are harsh and when you poke your head over the viewing platform you’ll see vines packed closely together on a steep hill face shielded from the harshest midday heat.

bike riding on a trail on mountains
The road to Steingarten
glasses of wine and oysters on a table

Gramp was told the rocky conditions (instead of soil) made growing Riesling impossible. A bit of determination and dynamite saw him planting the first vines in 1962 and quietening all the naysayers.

people holding drinks and smiling

Premium award-winning Riesling now grows up here. It’s dry, zesty flavours were a hit with me!

There’s public road access up here and is the place to come for sunset with spectacular views over the valley. Bring a bottle of Steingarten Riesling, perhaps some oysters and a picnic and enjoy the show.

10. Visit KaiserStuhl Conservation Park

KaiserStuhl Conservation Park, Barossa Valley, South Australia
woman standing in KaiserStuhl Conservation Park, Barossa Valley, South Australia

If you’re feeling a bit full and heavy after all the wine tasting and gourmet food experiences, then head to the KaiserStuhl Conservation park to walk it off.

There are various walking trails within the park through a variety of landscapes including creeks, rocky outcrops, areas of low forest, scrub and open grassland.

kangaroo at KaiserStuhl Conservation Park

If more time allowed, I would have liked to have done the The Wallowa Hike to see the views across the ranges to the Barossa Valley, but with the short time the 2km Stringybark loop trail was relaxing and enjoyable.

My crystal gazing soul could not keep my eyes off all the quartz lying around. There are plenty of kangaroos jumping about into the wild and deer can also be sometimes seen in here.

KaiserStuhl Conservation Park is located 12km south east of Tanunda in the Barossa Valley.

11. See Views at Mengler Hill Lookout

people looking at Mengler Hill Lookout, Barossa Valley, South Australia
people on yellow trike at Mengler Hill Lookout, Barossa Valley, South Australia

On the way back (or to) KaiserStuhl be sure to stop off at Mengler Hill Lookout. We stopped here on our trike tour and the views out to the valley are just gorgeous.

There is a sculpture garden here you can wander through as well. It’s another perfect place for a picnic and a glass of wine at sunset.

Johnny pointed out many different aspects of the region and again told us stories of the Barossa and why he loves it.

12. Walk Around Jacob’s Creek Vineyard

gate blocking a road
bushes in front of a building

The Jacob’s Creek property is stunning. Take some time to walk around it from the Visitor’s Centre. Walk amongst the vines and down along Jacob’s Creek and to the historic cottage that belonged to William Jacob’s and his family.

brick house

Spending time with the Jacob’s Creek family showed me how so much thought goes into what they create and how much passion, commitment and belief has to go into something knowing you won’t see the results for decades.

I saw that with the cork trees, the Double Barrel Shiraz, and the Centenary Hill tree.

rows of plants in a valley
man standing on path surrounded by Beautiful gum trees in the Barossa Valley,

And now Jacob’s Creek. 20 years ago, they started a project to restore the creek and remove introduced plants that had, over the years, crowded out native plants, damaged the habitat and food resources for our native animals.

signs in a winery
barrel in a garden

The creek is now thriving and many of the native animals are returning to the creek. Oh happy days. That got a fist pump hell yeah from me!

13. Check Out The Barossa Farmers Market

One of the must-visit places in the Barossa is the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, which showcases the regions finest and freshest produce.

Load up on fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, meats and cheese, as well as handmade goods, handicrafts and souvenirs. You can also find oils, preserves, pastries, coffees, and so many other local specialties.

It’s more than just a farm shop, it’s a place to uncover what this region is so famous for – food and wine!

14. Chocolate Tasting at Barossa Valley Chocolate Company

As well as wine, The Barossa Valley is home to some of the best chocolatiers in Australia. You can learn and watch the craft of chocolate making at Barossa Valley Chocolate Company, who make more than 250 chocolate products in-house.

They also make their own gelato and sorbet, and have workshops for families with kids!

Want to learn more about The Barossa Valley chocolatiers? Check out this wine and chocolate tour of the Barossa!

15. Cheese Tasting at Barossa Valley Cheese Company

block of cheese with herbs and flowers ont op

It’s not all cellar doors and wineries in the Barossa Valley, it’s also all about exceptional food and produce, including cheeses!

The Barossa Valley Cheese Company is an independently owned cheese shop, owned by wine maker, Victoria McClurg.

After spending time making wine in Bordeaux, France, she found a passion for cheese making and has been selling high quality cheese from her shop in Angaston since 2003.

If you are looking for some fresh produce to pack for a picnic date in the Barossa Valley, be sure to swing by here.

16. Smell The Flowers at Lyndoch Lavender Farm

Another farm to explore in the Barossa is The Lyndoch Lavender Farm, which is the largest Lavender Farm in South Australia. 

The family-owned farm operates daily tours, where visitors can learn about how they grow, harvest, and manufacture their lavendar products.

As well as the educational benefit, it’s also a stunning place. The fields are awash with purples and the air is filled with the thick aroma of lavender.

Be sure to visit the cafe to try some lavender cakes and sweet treats.

17. Listen to The Whispering Wall

One of the more unique attractions in The Barossa Valley is The Whispering Wall, which is a nickname given to the dam at the Barossa Reservoir Reserve.

The dam wall, which was built in 1903, is famous for its acoustic effects, and it’s said that words whispered at one side can be heard all the way from the other, some 100 metres away!

It’s free to visit but it’s only open from 8.30am – 5.00pm.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, those are some ideas for what to do in the Barossa Valley, and as you can see, there’s more to do here than just wine tasting and strolling around vineyards.

We hope this guide gave you some inspiration for activities to do during your visit!

More South Australia Travel Tips

Need more inspiration for things to do in South Australia? These other guides may be useful to you…

Would you like to visit the Barossa Valley? Which activity would you like to do most? Share with us in the comments below!

24 thoughts on “17 Things To Do In Barossa Valley & Adelaide Hills”

    1. Definitely had a great time Anne. We love walking in the Aussie bush too, would love to have a hike like this in our backyard. Hope you make it to the Barossa!

  1. I LOVE that wildlife park. Hubby took me as a surprise, on a business trip – when we were first dating. The Emu are friendly & very tall! Thanks for triggering a great memory. Your photos are stunning!

  2. looks like a nice trip, but it’s more about Adelaide Hills than the Barossa. The Barossa is a vast place with lots to see and do as well as wine and food it’s rich in history. I spend a lot of time there and you need A week just in the valley to get to know it.

    1. Hey Wayne,

      8 of the 12 points are actually about the Barossa Valley, with the other three on the Adelaide Hills (which is not far away) and one on Port Willunga. But I’m sure we have only scratched the surface of the Barossa and agree we definitely need more time down there. And as mentioned in this post, we have two more posts to come on the Barossa area, one on food & wine and the other on relaxation & romance. Cheers!

  3. Glad you had a great time. The pictures look fabs. I saw some pictures of Kangaroo trying to show up his muscles. Did you find one like that in the park? I’m asking because I wonder if all male kangaroo are behaving like that.

    Tokyo Blogger

  4. South Australia is one of the best tour places for me after Dubai. Scenic places of Barossa Valley in the Adelaide Hills increase the grandeur of any travel surely. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is my neighbourhood! (kind of) Walking up Mt Lofty was something that I did before I left. My mother and I would do this every week.

    It’s surprisingly steep, but they view is sensational.

    So much nostalgia.

  6. My dream is to find a kangaroo, my father will send me to Australia at the end of the year, I will do exchange, I hope to enjoy these landscapes.

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