Savour a taste of Germany in the Adelaide Hills, writes Lee Atkinson.
Less than half an hour's drive from the centre of Adelaide, the rugged hilltop scenery, vineyards, art galleries and history of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills make for a great day trip or short break.
What it's known for
Settled in 1839 by Prussian and east German Lutherans fleeing persecution, Hahndorf proudly boasts that it is Australia's oldest-surviving German settlement. The town's main street has about 90 historic buildings, with many housing craft shops, galleries, cellar doors and restaurants. It is an ideal place to buy traditionally made wursts and smallgoods or indulge in German teacakes and strudels.
What you didn't know ...
Renowned Australian landscape painter Hans Heysen lived in Hahndorf for more than 50 years and his former home, The Cedars, is on the outskirts of town and open for tours. The homestead is full of family treasures and paintings by Heysen, including many portraits and still-lifes. His studio is just as he left it when he died in 1968. The house also contains the studio of his daughter, Nora, a renowned artist in her own right; she was the first woman to win the Archibald Prize and the first woman to be appointed as an Australian war artist. Guided tours cost $10 (kids under 14 free) and are held Tuesday to Sunday at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. hansheysen.com.au.
The Adelaide Hills might be famous for its wine, but the new Gulf Brewery's chocolate stout makes a perfect end to a long day of sightseeing when matched with dessert. The cellar door is on Mount Barker Road. Other beers in the range include Harvest Moon Organic, Humpback Pale, Pilot's Light, Madam Rouge (made with strawberries) and Cabin Boy Halfwit (a wheat beer). Try them with a tasting paddle: six tastes of six different beers cost $7. Open 11am-5pm, Thursday to Monday, later on Fridays and Saturdays. gulfbrewery.com.au.
Chances are the jam you will spread on your morning toast at the hotel came from Beerenberg farm at the eastern end of town. It dates to the 1830s and produces jams, pickles, chutneys and sauces. You can pick your own strawberries in season (October to May), watch the strawberry packers at work, or wander through the rose gardens, which provide the key ingredient for Beerenberg's Rose Petal Jelly. It's open daily, 9am-5pm, and entry to the strawberry patch is $3 (kids under 13 free). beerenberg.com.au.
Where to eat
For the full German eating experience, you can't go past the Hahndorf Inn, with its pickled pork hocks, pork knuckles, sauerkraut and array of bockwurst, bratwurst, weisswurst and kransky sausages. At the least, pop in for a stein of German beer and a pretzel. 35 Main Street, hahndorfinn.com.au. A good spot for lunch is the White House, which features a rustic French-inspired menu using local produce. The Friday night "secret garden" outdoor cinema showing foreign films and classics is popular during summer and autumn. 90 Main Street, Wednesday-Sunday, thewhitehouseadelaidehills.com.au. Udder Delights Cheese Cellar specialises in goat's cheese and its $30 high tea includes sandwiches, cheese and onion tarts and chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, but you'll need to book ahead. Cellar open daily, 91A Main Road, (08) 8388 1588. For those with a sweet tooth, the ChocoVino experience at Hahndorf Hill Winery costs $20 and matches wine with fine chocolate, or you can forgo the wine and focus on the $10 Purely Chocolate package. The Pains Road winery is open daily, 11am-5pm. (08) 8388 7512, hahndorfhillwinery.com.au.
Where to stay
If you want to stay in the heart of Hahndorf, the Manna of Hahndorf offers good-value motel-style rooms (some with spas), and new studio apartments are expected to open in October. Guests have use of the heated pool at its sister hotel nearby, the Hahndorf Inn Motor Lodge. From about $160 a double midweek. themanna.com.au.
How to get there