Thursday, 20 December 2012 10:08

Tour the Wine Country of Australia

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Do you love a glass of wine every now and then? Fortunately, Australia contains some of the best grape growing regions on the planet and touring them is a great way to spend a trip...

Australian VineyardAustralia is the world's fourth largest exporter of wine, which makes it a popular destination for wine buffs around the world to visit and tour the regions where their favourite tipple comes from.

It has more than sixty distinct wine-producing regions; so, if you plan to visit many of these in a short amount of time, you'll get pretty familiar with the internal flight paths of Australia pretty quickly!

Here we take you through some of the wine country regions not to miss - with some hints and tips for getting between them and getting the most out of your tour.

Hunter Valley

Located north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is perhaps Australia's most iconic wine region. Many people visiting Hunter Valley do so as a day trip from Sydney - but to get the full, unhurried, experience, you can stay in one of the many local B&Bs.

Top Tip: The Hunter Valley vineyards include many well-known wines - but you'll miss out if you don't also stop to visit some of the boutique wines from lesser-known vineyards.

Yarra Valley

Once you've had your fill in the Hunter Valley, take a flight to Melbourne to sample the famous Pinot Noirs that come out of the Yarra Valley in Victoria. The relatively cool climate here means the region produces a mean sparkling wine and chardonnay.

Top Tip: Follow the Great Grape route from here through western Victoria's other cool-climate wine regions.

Mornington Peninsula

After Yarra, head to the south of Victoria to the Mornington Peninsula. This region has an almost-European climate - or range of micro-climates; meaning the wines produced here are more diverse.

Top Tip: Time your trip to coincide with one of the many food and drink events held in Mornington Peninsula.

Barossa Valley

Next, head up to the Barossa Valley, near Adelaide in the South. Most famous for its Rieslings because of the valley's German roots, but also for its Shiraz and Cabernet reds.

Top Tip: Visit in the last week of April to catch the Barossa Vintage Festival - you can sample (and buy!) vintage wines in the very region they were produced.

Clare Valley

Clare Valley is just two hours from Adelaide, and is often overlooked by visitors favouring the higher-profile Barossa Valley - but it's certainly not one to miss. Like Barossa, most vineyards at Clare focus on Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Top Tip: See the stunning Clare Valley scenery best by cycling the 34-kilometre Riesling Trail, which covers the most well-known Clare vineyards.

McLaren Vale

The final stop whilst in the Adelaide area should be the McLaren Vale, just south of the city. As well as the Riesling, Shiraz and Cab Sav you'll have had your fill of by now, the McLaren Vale is well known for its great Chardonnay.

Swan Valley

Finally, jump on a plane across to Perth, and head to the Swan Valley - the oldest wine region in Western Australia.

Top Tip: Like Hunter, the Swan Valley's charm is in its lesser-known vineyards - not all the wine produced here is mass-exported so make the most of it while you're there.

Thankfully, Australia's wine country vineyards are mostly grouped together in the most fruitful parts of the country - and it's easy to hop between them with quick flights.

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