A recent trip to the Banrock Station Wine and Wetland Centre revealed the changes to the environment that have taken place over recent years, as the 1,000 hectares of restored wetlands that surround the vineyards improve things for native flora and fauna.
Banrock Station, situated in the heart of South Australia’s Riverland, alongside the mighty River Murray, is a three hour drive from Adelaide. The wetlands area, restored by the Banrock Station owners since 1994, is listed by the International Ramsar Convention as wetlands of international importance – making it a destination for travellers around the world.
Find out here, how the wetlands managers are drying and flooding the wetlands to mimic nature.
There are several well-maintained walking trails including a three hour loop around the main lake. You’ll need to register with the Centre before starting the walk, in case they need to send out a search party.
Bird hides at multiple locations allow visitors to have a close look at the wetlands inhabitants. A guide book can be purchased from the Centre that will allow you to identify and check off the many species of birds that can be seen.
Tip#1: pack your binoculars.
Tip#2: watch youngsters near water, especially on the boardwalk.
Tip#3: parts of the trail are sandy and tough-going for prams and wheelchairs.
Information boards along the walks give details of how Banrock Station Wines has been plowing money back into the wetland and supporting revegetation of the natural habitat.
After the walk, the wine
After partaking in a stroll or a longer hike, visitors can then taste the Banrock Station wines on offer, at the cellar door in the Centre. We’ll leave the wine reviews to the experts, suffice to say that many of the wines are uniquely fruity and a bit sweet (something like the Wine Coolers of the 1980s). We came home with some Moscato cask wine (very sweet), half a dozen sparkling White Shiraz and some fruit fusions. Fruit fusions are light red and white Banrock Station wines with added fruit juice flavours. Johanna chose “Summer Berries” and “Raspberry and Blackcurrant”.
The wine made here is easy to drink, perfect for summer lunches out on a warm deck in the shade. And a shady deck is exactly what was on offer. The Banrock Station deck proffers a delightful and commanding view over the wetland and beyond.
There’s a reasonable Grazing and Lunch Menu on offer, with five different mains and five desserts. The tasting platter ($30) was a tasty choice (mettwurst, pulled beef, beetroot, mushroom arancini, cheese..) for two of us, and my good friend Pickles gives two thumbs up to the baked snapper ($30) and side of chips ($6). The chilled 2016 White Shiraz topped things off to perfection on the warm summer day.
If you decide to stay a few days, there is free or inexpensive camping available in many nearby places along the river, and caravan parks and motels in most of the nearby Riverland towns including Kingston-on-Murray, Loxton, Barmera and Berri.
Banrock Station is an interesting and visually spectacular experience, with wine to boot!
A worthy Trip Avenger destination.