What Makes the Whispering Wall in the Barossa Valley So Special?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 04/27/2017

Reading time: 5 mins

The Barossa Valley is best-known for its connections to the wine industry, but it is also home to some impressive attractions, like the Whispering Wall.

The Whispering Wall of the Barossa Valley

Set in the Barossa Reservoir, just outside of Williamstown this wall is over 110 years old. However, it isn’t its age that makes it famous, but its musical abilities.

Erected over three years between 1900 and 1903, the wall was intended to act as a back-up water supply for the Gawler. Early settlers had been using water from the South Para River, but there were concerns that the water wasn’t clean enough. Hence, the building of the wall on the site of the Yettie Creek Gorge.

Soaring 9-storeys skyward, the concave wall was, at one point in time, the highest dam in the country. Though it lost its title, the wall continues to draw in visitors every year .

Today you can visit the wall from 9am-5pm and marvel at the acoustics that travel for one end to the other side. Located only 50 kilometres outside of the city of Adelaide, the Whispering Wall is a . See it on the way to the Barossa Valley via the picturesque Adelaide Hills.

So why is the Whispering Wall so special?

For many, the wall speaks to them. Whispered words can be heard from the other end of the dam 140 metres away, despite the incredible distance. Try it for yourself – hold a conversation with someone from side to side and see how much you can hear.

How Does the Wall Work?

No, it’s not some magical feature. The whispers can be heard thanks to the parabola effect. The wall creates one part of a perfect circle. This causes sound waves that hit it to bounce in a number of jumps to the other end – meaning sound travels really well.

Other Things to See at the Whispering Wall

Barossa Reservoir Park

As well as marvelling at the incredible structure and its strange acoustic abilities, there are plenty of other things to see and do around the Whispering Wall. The entire area it is set in is now a protected area. Look for a number of native species, including unique pink gums and pine trees. Aside from the plant life in the area, you can also see plenty of bird species – in fact, the Whispering Wall and its surrounds make the perfect place for bird watching.

If you’re in the Barossa Valley, make sure you set aside some time to visit this man-made wonder. Try out your whisper and see if you can be heard on the other side. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some of Australia’s top native creatures too. The area surrounding the Whispering Wall is known as the Barossa Reservoir Park. Often you can spot a kangaroo and koala in this area.

  • Barossa Valley

    The Adelaide wine country may be small compared to other regions, however, it producers a quarter of Australia’s wine. Travel 65 kilometres outside of Adelaide and you’ll find yourself in the picturesque area that was settled by German immigrants in 1842. The Barossa Farmers Market has a distinctly German vibe. It opens every Saturday and features a range of artisan breads, German deli style meats, food and coffee.

    In the region you have 150 cellar doors to explore. To hit that sweet spot, we recommend that you visit three wineries. Therefore you can really explore the wines in depth and have enough time for a winery lunch. The Barossa Valley boasts many wine varietals but is best known for its punchy reds such as Shiraz. It’s also home to exciting gastronomical experiences. Enjoy a meal showcasing the finest local produce in unique and innovative ways.

Wineries Around the Whispering Wall

Penfolds Winery

The Seppeltsfield Winery was originally intended to be a tobacco farm by Joseph and Johanna Seppelt. However, later generations moved their focus to wine making. The demand for medicinal brandy in hospitals around Australia paved the way for Seppeltsfield. Soon they chose to expand their business to the liquor industry. They started making gin and brandy, and selling it to the general public. The current owner, Warren Randall worked for the company in the 1980s. He has made it his mission to stay true to the original values of the Seppeltsfield family.

Penfolds Winery began in 1844 by Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold. The vision and longevity of the winery can be attributed to Mary, who took on the duties of the winery after Christopher was needed in the medical field. In 1907, it became South Australia’s largest winery, thus beginning a legacy of being one of the most iconic and well-known household name in Australia. Chief winemaker Max Schubert is credited to making the famed Penfolds Grange in 1950.

Villages near the Whispering Wall 

The village of Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest German settlement and today one of the top tourist attractions of Adelaide. The main street features quaint arts and crafts stores, speciality restaurants serving up German sausages, pretzels and sauerkraut. There’s also a cheese provedore as well as a delightful store selling traditional German pastries such as apple strudels. Tourists flock here in their thousands every year to have a taste of Europe in the heart of Adelaide, brought to the area by the 52 pioneering families that cultivated the land

Related article: What to Do in Tanunda in Winter?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.