While this column is ostensibly about my favourite corners of the Barossa, it has to be said that some of my favourite corners of the Barossa are not, in fact, corners at all.
I love the views and vistas of this valley – the back roads and dirt tracks and favourite old trees and familiar picnic spots and the way you can find a connection with something much bigger than yourself while out on a bushwalk.
We live in Krondorf, and I regularly have to remind myself that, for the investment of twenty minutes of my time and a bit of huffing and puffing up the side of the Kaiser Stuhl National Park, I can be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views in the Barossa.
In winter I leave my front door rugged up to the ears in various layers, and then peel them off as the incline begins to bite, leaving jumpers and vests and the odd beanie festooning the gateposts along the trail.
I might arrive back home carrying half my wardrobe, but the payoff is that very particular feeling of aliveness you get when you’ve been out walking in the (very) crisp morning air.
Recently, I was fortunate indeed to be invited by the extraordinary women at Barossa Wellness, and Ali Short ‘the Barossa Chef,’ to join them for a morning of bushwalking, yoga, meditation and – of course – brunch in the stunning Kaiser Stuhl National Park.
The walk itself was the perfect combination of meandering stroll and serious uphill striding, interspersed with a mindfulness meditation and refreshing herbal tea, and finishing with a yoga session to stretch out the muscles.
A picnic brunch followed, and I could have happily laid down on my blanket next to the camp fire and dozed the rest of the day away. Luxe bush walking bliss.
I suspect Barossa Wellness’ hosted bushwalks will be sold out far in advance of the next date (but it doesn’t hurt to ask….) so another wonderful way to explore the backtracks of the Barossa is with Ellie Neindorf’s beautiful Barossa Bushwalks.
Ellie has taken a passion and turned it into a resource and an asset for our whole community.
There is a printed brochure for those of us who are into the analogue side of things, while the website provides greater detail and some regional context.
You can choose your trail based on duration, difficulty, and even disability access, which certainly helps when, like me, you need to plan how many picnic stops you can fit into an afternoon.
If you’ve never really been bushwalking before, this is a wonderful place to start.
Don’t be intimidated – just pull on your ordinary walking shoes, grab a bottle of water and jump into it.
As the saying goes: take only photographs and leave only footprints.
I can’t think of a better response to these strange and uncertain times than getting out into a bit of nature.
It’s great too for our mental and physical health, it’s socially distanced, it strengthens our relationship with the natural environment and connects us to something that’s bigger than ourselves.
And, depending on how you plan you picnic stops, there’s cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Bliss indeed.