With 63 designated wine regions scattered across the country, Australia has come into its own as a major world wine producer. In fact, the country is now the world’s fourth-largest exporter, after the major Mediterranean producers of Italy, Spain, and France. With highly varied landscapes and climates, Australian wine producers are able to tackle everything from Shiraz to Pinot Noir with a dash of sparkling wine thrown in for good measure. If you’re visiting Australia, it’s well worth hopping in the car to visit some of these lush regions with their charming villages and rustic farms. The following are a few of the most notable stops on a tour of the Australian wine industry.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
With rolling hills and olive groves reminiscent of Napa Valley, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula offers a verdant, scenic destination to putter around sampling the local produce. Heritage homes and mansions, elegant rose gardens, and sculpted hedge mazes are available to get lost in, and you can pull together a picnic from the area’s various orchards and olive groves. There are over 200 vineyards to explore in this scenic bit of countryside, all located only a short drive away from Melbourne.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
The Barossa Valley is perhaps Australia’s most famous wine region, first settled in 1842. It retains a European feeling, due to these original settlers, and touring its vineyards can be reminiscent of a visit to Italy. There are over 150 wineries to visit and sample the wares, but in addition to its notable Shiraz you can also visit its elegant old-world bistros making the most of local produce. Hop in a sporty convertible from carsales.com.au to feel the wind in your hair, or explore by bicycle to take your time. You can also travel by hot air balloon or helicopter, naturally, to enjoy the stunning views below.
Margaret River, Western Australia
Situated in the heart of south-western Australia, Margaret River’s wine producing region is one of the area’s top attractions. In addition to wineries, you’ll also find craft breweries in this area. The pristine coastal location means you can pair your wine with the catch of the day, while spending your time enjoying the golden sandy beaches, caves, and forest pathways. Margaret River is also known for its handmade chocolate producers, so don’t leave without indulging your sweet tooth.
Swan Valley, Western Australia
Nestled along the banks of the Swan River to the north of Perth, Swan Valley offers boutique wineries in stunning surroundings. From forests dappled with sunlight to well-tended cycling paths, you’ll be able to enjoy the warm weather and placid riverside scenes as you sample the local Pinot Noir. This makes an ideal day trip from Perth.
If you’re looking for a wilder experience, hop a ferry over to Tasmania to explore its wind-swept valleys and historic villages. Tasmania is considered to be one of Australia’s top up-and-coming wine producing regions, thanks to its microclimates and fertile soil. Many of the vineyards are located in the countryside near Cygnet, but you can also sample the best of the bunch in Hobart or Launceston’s top notch restaurants.
Whether you only have an afternoon or a full week to spare, don’t miss visiting one of these inviting wine producing regions to enjoy Australia’s slower side of life. And be sure to leave room in your suitcase for a bottle or two to take back home!