For everything ADELAIDE HILLS you are in the right place. From getting there, to places to visit, to the best accommodation this article summarises all your needs for ADELAIDE HILLS.
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The Adelaide Hills is one of the most intriguing areas of South Australia. It covers a large hilly area directly to the east of Adelaide. Although many areas of the Hills are quite close to Adelaide city, it feels a genuine world away from the big city but still there many things to do in the Adelaide Hills. Located at the southern end of the Mount Lofty Ranges, the Hills are the traditional home of the Peramangk tribe.
European settlement began in the 1830s with British and German settlers establishing farms and towns, and today Adelaide Hills is home to over 70,000 people, with my family being 4 of those 70,000. The elevation means that the Adelaide Hills weather is much cooler than down in Adelaide, and the Hills have long been a popular destination for people escaping the heat, myself included.
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Getting To The Adelaide Hills
Access to the Adelaide Hills is easiest by car (click here for car hire), just a 30-minute drive from Adelaide CBD. Towns and attractions are linked by bus services (and there’s also buses to and from central Adelaide), but having your own car is definitely the easiest way to get around. Once you’ve arrived, there’s plenty of things to do in Adelaide Hills, including some of Australia’s best produce, fantastic views of natural environments, and unusual cultural finds as well. So let’s get started!
Things To Do In The Adelaide Hills
There’s an exceptional number of things to do in the Adelaide Hills. Foodies will love the incredible range of produce available, and wine lovers can’t miss the opportunity to sample some of Australia’s best wines. The town of Hahndorf is known across the country for its iconic German traditions, and the cute town of Birdwood features the National Motor Museum. Mount Lofty has a great lookout and botanic gardens, offering fantastic views across the Ranges. And of course, who could resist getting up close and personal with Australia’s incredible animals at one of several wildlife sanctuaries in the Adelaide Hills. So if you’re wondering what to do in Adelaide Hills, wonder no more!
Hahndorf was established in the late 1830s by German settlers. It’s still famous today as Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, and the German influences are clearly visible today. With impressive Lutheran churches, timber-framed houses, small-goods producers and iconic German-style Christmas markets, Hahndorf is a beautiful little slice of Germany and among the top Adelaide Hills attractions.
Be sure to grab yourself a pretzel and wurst from one of the many shops, or gorge on schnitzel and pork knuckle at The Hahndorf Inn, and wash it down with a good German lager. Hahndorf is also home to the Beerenberg Strawberry Farm, where you can purchase delicious jams and chutneys, or even pick your own strawberries during season (November – April). Art lovers shouldn’t miss The Cedars, studio and home of Sir Hans Heysen, one of Australia’s most renowned artists. And finally for the kids the Hahndorf Farm Barn is not to be missed.
Mount Lofty Lookout & Botanic Gardens
Mount Lofty is the highest point of the Adelaide Hills, standing at 712 metres (2335 feet) above sea level. Located on the western side of the Hills, the summit lookout provides an excellent view back across Adelaide and Gulf St Vincent. Views are particularly beautiful at sunset. There’s a fantastic restaurant and cafe on site, where you can grab a snack or meal to enjoy the view. Just nearby is the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, with 97 hectares of gardens, walking trails, artworks and pavilions.
Wineries & Food Producers
Australia is home to some of the world’s best wine regions, and Adelaide Hills is definitely among the best. There’s over 50 cellar doors in the Adelaide Hills area with a mind-boggling amount of variety. From small family-owned operations to huge corporations, premium whites and sparkling to cool-climate reds, sustainable, kid-friendly, epicurean wineries – the choices are almost endless!
Highlights here include Bird In Hand, Hahndorf Hill, Shaw & Smith, Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Cobb’s Hill, and Sinclair’s Gully. And don’t forget the increasing number of craft brewers, small batch gin and whiskey distillers, plus cider producers as well.
There’s a huge number of food producers in the Hills too. Check out the mouth-watering chocolates from Chocolate @ No 5 in Hahndorf and Melba’s Chocolate Factory in Woodside, the artisan cheeses from Udder Delights and the Woodside Cheese Wrights, or the fantastic cherries at Cherrytime Orchard.
So if you are hungry or thirsty the Adelaide Hills really are for you!
There’s several wildlife sanctuaries in the Adelaide Hills, of which the best-known is Cleland Conservation Park. With nearly 1000 hectares of bushland just below the summit of Mount Lofty, the park is a beautiful place to enjoy the great outdoors. There’s plenty of well-marked tracks of varying difficulty, and close-up animal encounters with kangaroos and wallabies are quite likely. Within the Park you’ll also find Cleland Wildlife Park, for an even closer view of Australia’s iconic animals: koalas, wombats, echidnas, platypuses, dingoes, and more. For a slightly more sedate, kid-friendly experience, check out Hahndorf Farm Barn, as mentioned previously.
National Motor Museum
At the northern end of the Adelaide Hills region is the town of Birdwood, home to the National Motor Museum. Here you’ll find a collection of a crazy amount of cars, featuring pioneering turn-of-the-century cars, Australian classics, and many more. It’s all located inside Birdwood’s historic mill building, and makes for a fantastic day out.
Road Trips In The Adelaide Hills
With so much to see and do, a road trip around the Adelaide Hills towns and countryside is absolutely not to be missed. The best option for a road trip here is definitely a one or two night loop around the Adelaide Hills, starting from central Adelaide.
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One/Two Night Loop Around Adelaide Hills
Starting from Adelaide CBD, take route B26 / Greenhill Road up into the Hills, stopping at Mount Lofty and Cleland Conservation Park. It’s quicker to take the M1 freeway, but with such beautiful scenery and great driving roads – who’s in a rush! Head from here to historic Stirling and its fantastic Adelaide Hills market (be sure to check out when it is on here), across to Bridgewater, then beautiful Hahndorf. Out of Hahndorf, turn to the north and drop in at Balhannah, Woodside, Lobethal and Mount Torrens before arriving in Birdwood.
There’s a huge number of wineries and produce outlets along this stretch, so take as long as you like! From Birdwood, turn back westwards and stop off at Gumeracha to marvel at the Big Rocking Horse (and of course, the associated toy shop!). Pick up an artisan gin from Applewood Distillery, then continue west toward Chain of Ponds before turning south-west onto the twisting and winding Gorge Road. Cuddle a koala at Gorge Wildlife Park before continuing downhill along Gorge Road, eventually popping out in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.
A more extensive version of this road trip is COMING SOON….STAY TUNED!
Adelaide Hills Accommodation
As a long-established tourist destination, there’s a huge amount of Adelaide Hills accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. From hotels in Hahndorf to Adelaide Hills cottages, read on for a small sample of where to stay in Adelaide Hills!
Adelaide Hills Hotels
For a real splurge option, Mount Lofty House offers 5-star accommodation at a 5-star price. Nearby Sticky Rice Villas are also luxurious.
Interested in Hahndorf accommodation, check out Hahndorf Oak Tree Cottages, or The Studio by Haus. The Hahndorf Motel is a great budget option here.
Cobb’s Hill Homestead near Oakbank is a fantastic choice, while further north in Birdwood the Birdwood Motel offers self-contained apartments at a great price.
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Adelaide Hills Airbnbs
This private room at the Aldgate Hills Garden Retreat is a great option for exploring the Adelaide Hills area. If you need a little more space, this charming farmhouse suite in Hahndorf might be more appropriate! Or for a charming country stay, maybe consider Wyndbourne B&B in Forest Range.
Adelaide Hills Caravan Parks
The two main caravan parks in the Adelaide Hills are Discovery Hahndorf Resort, and the Mount Barker Caravan & Tourist Park. Both feature ensuite cabins plus powered and unpowered campsites. For those travelling fully self-contained, you can check out Hill View Farm Stay at Mount Torrens, or Alexander Estate Farm Stay near Birdwood.
Adelaide Hills Wineries & Restaurants
As one of Australia’s premier food and wine destinations, there’s a huge number of Adelaide Hills wineries to choose from. In addition to those mentioned above, consider visiting Longview Vineyard at Macclesfield, Petaluma in Woodside, Pike & Joyce in Lenswood, or Elysian Springs in Mount Pleasant. Those with a sweet tooth shouldn’t miss the ChocoVino experience at Hahndorf Hill, which pairs fine wines with exquisite chocolates. There’s also a huge number of Adelaide Hills wine tours, where a knowledgeable host takes you to various wine tasting Adelaide Hills spots.
Some of the best Adelaide Hills restaurants are located on the grounds of wineries, usually pairing excellent cuisine with in-house wines. One of the best is at The Lane Vineyard, though other great spots for an Adelaide Hills winery lunch are Longview Vineyard, Greenhill Wines in Summertown, and Barrister’s Block in Woodside. But there are so many great restaurants in the Adelaide Hills, they’re always a joy to explore and discover!
Overall, whether it’s just a day-trip or a multi-day adventure, Adelaide Hills is a fantastic place to visit and explore. With its beautiful winding country roads, incredible food and wine, gorgeous vistas, intriguing cultural history and amazing places to stay, Adelaide Hills is definitely worth a long visit. Cheers!