Planning a weekend away? Explore the Adelaide Hills and uncover restaurants dishing up some of South Australia’s best produce, while more than 60 wineries beckon from leafy groves. Explore historical, fairy tale-worthy villages, sample a bounty of produce straight from nature’s top shelf and retreat in unparalleled luxury. The Adelaide Hills are home to some of South Australia’s best food, wine and scenery; check out our guide to the top five things to do before you head for the hills.
1. MOUNT LOFTY HOUSE, CRAFERS, FROM $299 – $959
Perched above one of Australia’s best cool-climate wine regions, surrounded by breathtaking botanic gardens and with views over the stunning Piccadilly Valley, you’d never guess Mount Lofty House is just 15 minutes from the Adelaide CBD. Cosy-up by the fire at the intimate Arthur Waterhouse Lounge and sip your way through their list of cocktails served with theatre or sample their seemingly endless whisky collection by the roaring fire. Head next door for an incredible feast at Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant which has quickly made a name for itself with a timeless menu and sommelier-matched wine list earning 3 Chef Hats and countless national and international awards. If you need to unwind after all that food, snuggle up with a good book in the library or in one of the Estate’s luxurious rooms or suites.
2. AMBLESIDE DISTILLERS, HAHNDORF, FROM $85
Plonked on a scenic acreage property just outside the bustling German village of Hahndorf lies Ambleside Distillers. Wander through the botanical garden before making your way in to the distillery and tasting bar. Kick back with one of the three handcrafted signature gins and a cheese platter to enjoy the views over the garden, where juniper berries and botanicals grow. For real gin aficionados, jump on the gin blending masterclass where you’ll try your hand at blending, choosing from more than 22 botanicals to perfect your own unique drop. You’ll even get to take home two 200ml bottles of your creation to show off to your friends (or keep all to yourself).
3. DESTINATION DINING, FROM $20
Restaurants dishing up some of South Australia’s best produce await in the Adelaide Hills. Nestled in the lush hills surrounding Mylor, Villetta Porcini is one of South Australia’s most unique and exclusive dining experiences. Like something out of a fairy tale, pull up a seat at the picture-perfect European-style stone hut surrounded by gardens, beehives, porcini mushrooms and veggie patches, and get ready for an incredible feast created by Andre Ursini, the chef behind Orso and Willmott’s. Meanwhile down the road at Uraidla, the perfect long-lunch destination awaits. Tucked in a charmingly converted 130-year old church complete with stained-glass windows, rustic woodwork, a gigantic pizza oven, cosy fireplaces and a moody forest backdrop, Lost In A Forest is famous for its quirky (and completely delicious) pizzas like the Jesus Fish, Banh Mi and French Tart featuring toppings such as blue pig fig, smoked cheddar and panko bread crumbs. Wash it all down with a glass or two from the extensive wine list showcasing local Adelaide Hills labels with a few international gems splashed in for good measure.
4. GOLDING WINES, LOBETHAL, FROM $10 – $175
With more than 60 wineries dotted throughout the Adelaide Hills, there is literally a cellar door around every corner and high on a hill lies Golding Wines. Tuck into pizza nestled among the Lobethal winery’s award-winning gardens or pull up a seat in the rustic stone cellar door and spend an afternoon sipping your way through their impressive range of wine from Pinot Noir to Chardonnay and Shiraz.
5. JURLIQUE FARM, MOUNT BARKER, FROM $30
Visit the home of world-famous skin-care range Jurlique in the Adelaide Hills, just minutes from the bustling town of Mount Barker. The biodynamic Jurlique Farm, where many of the herbs, flowers and plants are grown for the brand’s natural skincare products, opens its doors to the public for a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn about the iconic brand. From seed to skin, see for yourself the nature and science behind the products, visiting the display garden, seed propagation area, biodynamic preparation area and herb drying area. Afterwards, explore the retail shop and stock up on all your skin care needs.