We get it. When you're visiting somewhere new you want to feel like a local, and our beautiful region is no different. We know there's a lot of "Experience the Barossa like a Local" type guides out there, but frankly we don't all get up in the morning and head out on a hot air balloon ride (even thought they are amazing!).
We suspect that instead you want to get a sense of the real Barossa - where the locals catch up for a drink and a chat or some insider knowledge on the best place for weekend brunch.
Well, we're here to help. Without further ado, here's our guide to living like an (actual) local. Hot air ballooning optional.
Dinner at 'the Club'
The Clubhouse in Tanunda is one of the oldest community venues in South Australia, being established in 1891 by a group of local gentlemen who wanted to create a club which would ‘promote the convivial enjoyment of its members and to further the interests of the town generally.’
Today the Clubhouse boasts over 1200 local members and is a great place to get a feel for the genuine sense of community that infuses the Barossa. This is where the locals go for a quick family dinner, to celebrate birthdays and milestone or enjoy a bit of friendly rivalry at the Wednesday night quiz.
The menu is classic bistro fare ranging from burgers and schnitzels for the traditionalists, to Barossa Valley chorizo papparedelle and char grilled nashi pear salad and there's an excellent wine list (as you'd expect). It's an excellent choice for families, with a kid's menu and playroom and the staff are always friendly and welcoming.
Our tip: the Wednesday night quiz is a bit of an institution, and Friday evening sees the famous chocolate wheel in motion with all manner of prizes. Get amongst in the front bar - you never know who you'll meet!
Grab a drink at 'the Stockie'.....
Let's be frank. The Stockwell Hotel isn't centrally located to much (except Stockwell, population 534) but there's a reason it's a firm local favourite. This is a classic Aussie pub that has been serving its local community since 1851 and an icy cold pint on one of the wide verandas is absolutely worth the ten minute drive from Nuriootpa. With great pub meals and a family-friendly welcome, it's definitely on our list for a whistle-wetter in the Barossa.
Our tip: for a classic old school carvery, book a table for Sunday lunch.
The Stockwell Hotel
Duckponds Road, Stockwell
Ph: 08 8562 2008
..... or the Greenock
Greenock is such a lovely little village, with some of the strongest community spirit you'll find in the Barossa. The Greenock is located right in the heart of this community, with a genuine country-pub welcome and an excellent wine list to compliment their bistro-style menu. They're proud supporters of local breweries, wineries and food producers and you'll meet all manner of characters hanging out in the front bar.
Our tip: try their Community Pie - inspired anew every month by a Greenock local - and pair it with an ale by Western Ridge Brewing Collective. It doesn't get more local than that!
Tune in to the Wine Show on Triple B FM
Triple B FM is a bit of a Barossa institution, staffed entirely by volunteers and responsible for some of the most wildly diverse playlists you'll find in any regional radio station in the country.
But perhaps the most well-loved program is the weekly Wine Show. Set your alarm for 11am on Saturday mornings and tune in to hear Ben, Dave and Virginia - plus an an assortment of local guests - ruminate on all that is Barossa grape growing and wine making. The vast knowledge and experience of the presenters makes this a highly entertaining and genuinely engaging hour of radio and a particularly great insight into the workings of our local community. Keep an ear out for Ben's eclectic music picks which punctuate the discussions.
Triple B FM
Shop at Nuri Foodland
If you're thinking "not much of a tip, shopping at the local supermarket, is it?" then you've never been to the Nuriootpa ("Nuri") Foodland. More formally known as The Co-Op Fresh Foodland, this gorgeous new retail space was opening in early 2017 and is a must-visit destination for Barossa foodies looking to stock up on goodies. The Co-Op is Australia's leading retail cooperative, formed in 1944 and proudly owned by 18,100 members across our community, all of whom benefit from the $600,000 distributed back through the Barossa every year - pretty impressive numbers.
Today the Co-Op Fresh Foodland is a hub for the locals, with an eye watering cheese selection, including an automatic, humidity controlled cheese room, a Barossa pantry bursting with local artisan products and a friendly, bustling cafe located in the middle of the actual supermarket - take a break from all the cheese selecting and refuel with a coffee. We could wax lyrical for quite some time about the smoked meats, the freshly baked local breads... and did we mention the cheese? but we'll let you discover that for yourself. Don't forget your reusable bags!
The Co-Op Fresh Foodland
3 Murray Street, Nuriootpa
Saturday morning at the Farmers Market - and a roast for lunch.
Much has been written over the years about the Barossa Farmers Market; a must-visit destination if you're in the Barossa on a Saturday morning. Do like the locals and factor in breakfast and a coffee, and then hit the stalls to stock up on the makings of an epic, old school roast lunch. Many accommodation providers in the Barossa offer self-catering facilities and that means you can have your roast heirloom carrots and eat them too!
The Barossa Farmers Market is a cornucopia of all that is special about the Barossa - great characters, real food, generous hospitality and a sense that you're part of something bigger than yourself. And don't forget the cinnamon scrolls.
The Barossa Farmers Market
Corner Angaston and Stockwell Road, Nuriootpa
Take a stroll during golden hour
It's called golden hour for a reason..... On a good number of days per week, around 5pm during the winters months the Barossa is soaked in the most glorious, rich golden light. It picks up the warmth in the stonework of old buildings the region over, glints off the window panes, and turns the whole Barossa ranges an incredible hue of purple. Rug up, and take a stroll through your town of choice or pick a back road and take in the rural scenery, especially the way the light plays off the trunks of the ghost gums.
It's a great way to walk off a lazy roast lunch and you never know who you'll meet.
For the best walking routes through the Barossa, have a chat with the fantastic staff at the Barossa Visitor Centre:
66-68 Murray Street, Tanunda
1300 852 982
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments how you live like an (actual) local here in the Barossa.