I can’t help but cry a little inside every time I see a backpacker drinking ‘goon’ in Adelaide – partly because I cringe thinking of the hangover the next day (yes, I speak from a wealth of experience), and secondly, because they are so close to amazing wine regions! It seems almost criminal to miss out on a decent red while in South Australia.
However, while wine regions such as the Barossa Valley are fantastic destinations – they typically aren’t cheap. And I know budget travellers like cheap.
That’s why I’ve put together this list for 5 different ways to save money and see the Barossa on a shoestring.
1. The Hop On, Hop Off Bus
A new-ish addition to the Barossa, there are now two hop on hop off bus services that go through the Barossa Valley. The tickets are very affordable (even more so if you keep an eye out for a deal), and you don’t sacrifice the freedom of choosing how long to stay and where to go. I compare the two companies in detail here.
You can expect to pay about $40 per person for a ticket, but you do need to get to Tanunda.
2. Travelling by bike
Another good option is to see the Barossa by bicycle. You could definitely do so if you set off from Tanunda, Angaston or Lyndoch, where there are lots of wineries clustered around each other. One of the cheapest places to hire a bike is from the Barossa Visitor Centre ((08) 8563 0600), which is also conveniently located in Tanunda.
Just be careful, as rules about driving under the influence also apply while you are cycling!
3. Stay at the Barossa Backpackers
If you are planning to stay overnight in the Barossa, then you might be in for a shock at the price of most accommodation. Most of the options are very nice, but even motels or budget hotels are likely to set you back in excess of $150 a night. Yuck! However, for a couple of years now there has been a hostel in the Barossa called Barossa Backpackers, which has beds starting from $28 a night. I love hostels, and this is a great way to find some buddies to go on a makeshift tour with!
4. Pack your own lunch, or buy it from Foodland
Over the last few years, the Barossa has tried to extend its repertoire from just wine, to a lot of gourmet food. They’ve done a great job! Today, there are many great producers who make absolutely delicious products such as pates, preserves and meats. Unfortunately, many of the restaurants (and especially those that specialise in local cuisine) are really expensive.
Instead of spending a small fortune at one of these restaurants or cafes, instead opt to make your own picnic. There are so many beautiful spots in the Barossa to stop. The cheapest place to buy the produce is from Foodland in Tanunda, which has a big selection of local goods.
5. Share the costs
The good thing about the Barossa is that once you are there, it is actually pretty cheap, because nearly all of the tastings are free. So your main costs are transport, and possibly accommodation, if you are planning to stay overnight. As a result, you can significantly reduce your costs if you share with someone else.
Today, sites such as Couchsurfing and Facebook groups make finding travel buddies really easy. I have shown lots of Couchsurfers around the Barossa, and always had a great time! I suggest reaching out to locals on the site, or looking for fellow wine lovers at your hostel!