Note: I experienced a Mystery Picnic courtesy of AmazingCo. All words and opinions are my own. This blog post contains affiliate links which means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking the link.
Adventure comes in many forms. Recently, it arrived in my inbox as an email packed with the promise of a great day out, good food and the chance to discover new places.
The friendly and informative email arrived the day before our scheduled Mystery Picnic Date in the Barossa Valley. Even though I knew we were going to the Barossa, it is a large region covering more than 900 square kilometres full of world-renowned wineries and culinary experiences, which means a lot of possible places to go for an afternoon picnic. The email’s arrival meant we were about to find out our first stop.
A Mystery Picnic is the combination of a self-guided food trail and a treasure hunt through a local region, which is planned and booked for you by AmazingCo. A series of clues leads to five different stops to pick up items to fill a picnic hamper and visit interesting sites. A final clue leads to a suggested picnic spot to enjoy the local artisan food acquired throughout the afternoon.
The first clue arrives the night before, providing plenty of time to work on the first puzzle and plan the next day’s start accordingly. AmazingCo, the company that delivers the Mystery Picnic experiences, recommends arriving at the first stop of the Barossa Valley picnic around 11 am. With an hour’s drive from Adelaide to the Barossa, it makes sense to know ahead of time which of the region’s more than 150 food, beverage and shopping outlets or 80-plus cellar doors is the starting point. The first clue also provides a taste of what the puzzles will be like the following day.
Our first clue was a riddle and the hardest one we had. The clues are a combination of riddles, word games and codes. AmazingCo aims for the clues to be of varying levels and types to keep it interesting throughout the day. Most of the clues required only our phones to solve them, although having a pen and pad of paper was definitely helpful. One clue required the use of a nearby plaque to solve it. There is an option to reveal a hint if the clue is too difficult to solve, and the link requires that the answer is revealed before it provides the next clue.
On the morning of our Mystery Picnic, we packed a blanket, cooler bag, plates and cutlery into the car and headed off to the Barossa to enjoy the sunny day. (Due to coronavirus precautions, the experiences do not currently include any reusable equipment so we were advised to bring our own bag and cutlery.) Our first stop was a cafe we had heard of but never visited.
AmazingCo aims to partner with hidden gems in each region and support local small businesses. As a frequent visitor to Barossa Valley, I was admittedly curious how much we would discover on the experience and was pleasantly surprised. In fact, three of the four food stops were new to us.
On arrival at our first stop, we were welcomed and invited to choose two types of cured meat and a condiment. We also got a bonus branded insulated bag.
After making our choices and popping next door to try a few drops at the cellar door, we found a quiet spot to review the next clue. The remaining clues led us to locations to pick up chocolates, cheese and crackers, fresh bread and olives, with a 10- to 15-minute drive between spots.
While the entire experience took about four hours (including our extra wine tasting), it could have taken longer. At each stop, we were provided with sightseeing and activity suggestions to make the most of our afternoon, learn about our surroundings, and start a conversation with each other.
At each location, the shopkeepers were aware we were coming and excited to see us. One owner explained that she had only recently joined on to the experience and it had already brought in more business.
“I hadn’t heard of them before,” she said. “But it’s been really good. We’ve got about 20 groups this weekend.”
AmazingCo is in 50 cities globally with a variety of experiences, including Kids Parties, Wine Tours and the Mystery Picnics, which they launched in Adelaide in the middle of 2020.
While our All Inclusive Mystery Picnic did not include any beverages, it did include a pre-booked wine tasting and we purchased a few bottles throughout the day. Bottles of wine can also be pre-purchased as an add on when booking the experience. Or, upgrade to a Premium Mystery Picnic, which includes additional snacks, stops and a hot drink. Some dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian or gluten free, can be catered for.
The Mystery Picnic Date was a fun afternoon activity to do as a couple; there are also family picnic and friends picnic options. We have already said we might try another South Australian region, such as the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Glenelg or the City of Adelaide. It would also be a good way to discover a new place while travelling.
Next time though, we might pay a little more attention to the pre-departure suggestions because they were pretty accurate. For example, bring a pen and paper, make sure your phone is fully charged, and grab a bite to eat before heading out. We followed the first two but only had a light breakfast (thinking we would have more room for the picnic later), so we started to get hungry during the middle of the afternoon and felt like we wanted to hurry the second half picnic to get to the end.
Overall, following the instructions, clues and additional suggestions is a really fun way to discover more about Adelaide and find new local suppliers, making the Mystery Picnic an afternoon adventure.
The first location for the Mystery Picnic experience is revealed the day before via the first clue.
Barossa Valley is approximately a one hour drive from Adelaide via the Northern Connector and Northern Expressway (M2). While there are public transport options to get to and around the Barossa Valley, I recommend a car for the best Mystery Picnic Barossa experience.
Hours & Costs
The Mystery Picnic activity takes about 3-4 hours from arrival at the first clue. Start times are typically between 11 am and 1 pm. A tailored start time will be advised in the confirmation email.
Our Barossa Valley picnic started at 11 am, which ensured we had enough time to get to each supplier during opening hours and enjoy our picnic at the end.
Costs & Inclusions
All Inclusive Mystery Picnic Date: $120 for two people includes pre-planned itinerary, pre-booked and paid tastings, picnic spread, clues and activity suggestions.
Premium Mystery Picnic Date: $190 for two people includes everything in the All Inclusive Mystery Picnic (pre-planned itinerary, pre-booked and paid tastings, picnic spread, clues and activity suggestions) plus a specialty snack, hot drink to go, and a bonus stop.
Mystery Picnic With Friends: $60 per adult, $20 per child under 12 includes pre-planned itinerary, pre-booked and paid tastings, picnic spread, clues and activity suggestions.
Family Mystery Picnic: $160 for two adults and two children under 12. Additional children under 12 are $20, additional adults are $60. Designed with younger children in mind, the picnic includes pre-planned itinerary, picnic spread, clues and activity suggestions.
Purchase a Mystery Picnic at AmazingCo.me
Food & Beverage
Food from local artisan producers is included in the activity and collected throughout the experience. We had a pre-booked wine tasting, and enjoyed an additional wine tasting near one stop.
It is recommended to bring water with you.
The experience requires the use of a smart phone with good network coverage. The clues are delivered via an individual link and you will want access to google or apple maps to get to each location.