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Jacob's Creek Trail of Discovery

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by Steve Hudson (subscribe)
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Published July 11th 2015
Once a small creek, now a global wine brand
A small yellow-brown creek discovered by a Surveyor would hardly seem to be the key ingredient to the creation of one of the world's most recognised wine brands. But little did they know as to what was about to happen when William Jacob surveyed the lands and creeks in the Barossa Valley, and ultimately settled with his family in the early 1840's in what was to become known as Jacob's Creek.

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Signage alongside creek - Steve Hudson


A few years later, Johann Gramp the founder of Orlando Wines, planted some vines on the banks of Jacob's Creek, and the rest is now history as the product bearing the name is now exported to over 60 countries. Jacob's Creek itself has become one of the most photographed signs in the Barossa Valley, while the Visitor Centre is a popular stopping point for interstate and overseas visitors. In addition to the Visitor Centre facilities and activities, the grounds of the estate host a self-guided tour that helps discover and understand the stories that are part of the history of Jacobs Creek.

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
More visitors - Steve Hudson

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Visitor Centre - Steve Hudson


The walk commences at the Visitor Centre where a brochure of the "Trail of Discovery" is available. The Visitor Centre, which was completely rebuilt in 2002, hosts a restaurant, café, cellar door, tourist / souvenir outlet and a small museum, while also being the starting point for a number of tours and events including the vineyard tours, cooking classes and wine and sensory experiences. With so many things to do in one place, it is easy to get distracted and forget about walking along the walking trail !

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Cellar Door - Steve Hudson

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Restaurant - Steve Hudson


Outside the Visitor Centre is a historic 200 year old red gum tree which casts a large and cooling shadow, and holds pride of place in the café gardens. The tree overlooks the demonstration vineyards where guides explain to visiting groups the different seasons, vines, grapes and methods used to create the various Jacob's Creek products using the 14 grape varieties available.

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Historic Gum Tree - Steve Hudson


The walking trail heads north from the Visitor Centre along the high banks above the creek and passes the old Gramp family picnic grounds. While the original picnic tables left many years ago, the replacement tables and chairs provide a pleasant spot for visitors to open a bottle of their favourite with a cheese platter, and listen to the frogs and birds from the creek.

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Demonstration Vines - Steve Hudson


Next stop on the trail is the most popular stop which is the Jacob's Creek sign and Jacob's Creek bridge. Somewhat modernised from what it may have looked like 150 years ago, the bridge provides a vital link for the Jack Bobridge Track as it meanders from Gawler to Nuriootpa through the Barossa Valley. A short walk further north along the cycle path leads to a viewing platform which looks out across the entire estate and the nearby North Para River.

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Jacob's Bridge - Steve Hudson


An old Mulberry Tree that has grown from a clipping that survived from a plantation at Reeves Point on Kangaroo Island stands near the entrance to the Estate. The original tree still exists at Reeves Point and is now over 170 years old, and is the oldest known survivor of fruit trees introduced in to SA. This particular tree is a reminder of the early links between the Barossa and the Island, and reflection on the friendship between two great pioneers being Johann Gramp and FW Kleeman.

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Mulberry Tree in Winter - Steve Hudson


Up a slight slope and across some manicured gardens is the original Jacob's family cottage and estate. Immaculately restored the property, which comprises the main house, an adjoinging bakehouse, servant quarters and a dairy, is now used as a function centre and is available for bookings / hire.

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Jacob's House - Steve Hudson

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Lovingly restored - Steve Hudson


Alongside the family estate is William Jacob's original winery and vineyard, which perhaps were the originators of the legendary Jacob's Creek wines. Aside from the demonstration vines, these are the only vines that remain on the estate, and produce a small fraction of the wine that is now sold worldwide.

Jacob's Creek, Rowland Flat, Tanunda, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, Jacob's Creek Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Walking Trail
Former Jacob's Winery - Steve Hudson


The Jacob's Creek Trail of Discovery is open daily at any time while the Visitor Centre is open from 10am to 5pm. Information on the walking trail is available from the website or from the Visitor Centre itself. The walk is around 2km return, and should take 30-45 minutes.
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Why? One of Australia's Top Wine Brands
When: Any time
Where: Jacob's Creek Estate
Cost: Free
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