Strolling from the car park to yet another superb winery isn't the only walking you can do in SA's world-renowned Barossa Valley. There's a short but very satisfying trek you can set forth on that reveals just what this corner of SA looked like before so much of the land was cleared for vineyards.
It's the Stringybark Loop at Kaiserstuhl Conservation Area near Krondorf. At just 2.7 kilometres, it takes most folks about an hour to complete, a bit more if you stop to photograph the honeyeaters, parrots, 'roos and the abundant and colourful wildflowers. If you wait until late autumn, notice the colourful fungus, too.
We were especially impressed with the weird and wonderful rock formations in the granite landscape, not to mention a few ghostly gnarled old trees that look like something left over from a Hobbit film. Right alongside the easy, flat track are outcrops of delightful native blooms including sun and cockatoo orchids, various stately banksias and the odd native fuchsia. If you are feeling especially energetic, try out the nearby Wallowa Walk with its scenic lookout across the valley and the charmingly-named Horse Head Rock. At 7.6 kms return, it's longer than the Stringybark Loop, but still very doable.
The entire park is nearly 600 hectares and is one of the few remaining tracts of land around here not turned over to grape cultivation. It's a place to discover the many little creek beds, the weathered rocky outcrops, low forest and open grasslands that once dominated the landscape north of Adelaide.
Handy to the elegant wineries of Tanunda and especially Rockford Wines (a personal favourite), Kaiserstuhl Conservation Area provides a stimulating outdoor alternative to the many hedonistic delights of the Barossa Valley, good food and world class vintages being tops among them. Enjoy!
Local travel writer and photographer Steve Robertson explores fascinating locations.