Straddling the southern section of the picturesque Mount Lofty Ranges, the Adelaide Hills are less than a 30-minute drive from the Adelaide CBD and make an easy day trip from the South Australian capital city. But with 50 cellar doors to explore, along with stylish accommodation and fabulous food and wine experiences, you could easily be tempted to stay a while. Considered to be one of the most dynamic and exciting cool-climate wine regions in South Australia, the Adelaide Hills is home to around 90 labels and produces wine as varied as chardonnay, cool-climate shiraz, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, grüner veltliner and sparkling wine.
Alongside some of South Australia’s most iconic wines – including Jacob’s Creek, Penfolds and Rockford – you will find younger Adelaide Hills wineries breaking new ground with bright and experimental drops. Elena Brooks from Dandelion Vineyards (dandelionvineyards.com.au) creates her Wishing Clock Sauvignon Blanc from a hillside vineyard in the charming town of Woodside. Also in Woodside, Bird in Hand is a lively winery and restaurant flanked by a sculptural garden with an inspiring collection of works by Australian and international artists. Make sure to pick up a bottle of their berry-fresh Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir.
Scenically located wineries with something to suit every palate are reason enough to visit the Adelaide Hills wine region but there is more to these rolling hills than pleasures of the vine. Historic Woodside has the best cheese and chocolate stores in the Hills, and Mount Barker hosts the atmospheric weekly Adelaide Hills Farmers’ Market. Then there is the enchanting Hahndorf, with its distinct German heritage and picturesque tree-lined streets, home to galleries and art stores. You will also find some of the prettiest walks in the Adelaide surrounds. Follow the evocative Lakeside Trail at Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens, or hike the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit trail. This awe-inspiring track (7.8 kilometres return) begins at the Waterfall Gully carpark and winds through Cleland Conservation Park to the top of Mount Lofty. Along the way you will spot plenty of colourful birdlife and, if you’re lucky, a snoozing koala in the treetops.
A trip to the Adelaide Hills isn’t complete without a visit to Lot.100 (lot100.com.au), home to a collective of some of the most exciting food and beverage companies in the region. 78 Degrees Distillery (78degrees.com.au), formerly known as the Adelaide Hills Distillery, takes the distillery door experience to new heights, serving tasty pizzas and antipasto plates best enjoyed at sunset with a gin cocktail in hand. Lot.100’s paddock-to-plate restaurant also serves up fabulous Italian-inspired fare, or head to the courtyard for more antipasto, wood-oven pizzas and delicious desserts. Throat still a bit dry? Quench your thirst at the Hills Cider Company, or craft beer company Mismatch Brewing Co.