Adelaide Hills travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights


If you're in search of the best hotel in Adelaide, at least in our experience, head not for the CBD but directly for the hills, under half-an-hour from the city. We refer, of course, to the 36-room Mount Lofty House, which for over a century and a half has been an authentic South Australian treasure. Some of the tastefully-designed and recently-renovated rooms overlook picturesque Piccadilly Valley and don't miss the (exclusively for house guests) early evening drinks in the stoned-walled, light-filled central lounge and a tour of the hotel's nooks and crannies (nice touch). See;


There are 60 cool climate wineries in the classy Adelaide Hills, one of Australia's most charming wine regions, including the landmark Penfolds Magill Estate (which is more foothills than hills anyway). So, in such a competitive cellars market, take your pick of which to visit. But an interesting, if not distinguished, choice, and close to Mount Lofty House, is the Tapanappa label's pioneering Tiers Vineyard, set on a forest-fringed rolling hillside, founded by the legendary Croser family way back in 1979. See


If being ensconced in the Adelaide Hills for a few days, or even more, isn't a sufficient a natural high in its own right, head for Mount Lofty (the actual peak not the house). At 727 metres it's not all that lofty but the views of the attractive South Australian capital from the edge of the hills to the sea are spectacular and locals love to inform you that it's about the only place in the state that ever receives a sprinkling of snow. There's a visitor information centre as well as bushwalks from the summit. See;


A South Australian favourite for its pick-your-own strawberry season, Beerenberg is perhaps most famous elsewhere for the ubiquitous tiny jam jars that populate hotel breakfast tables here and overseas. Outside of the town of Hahndorf (see below), you can visit Beerenberg's farm and shop where the brand's complete range of conserves, condiments and sauces are for sale. Stock up and keep an eye out for a $2.6 million expansion that will include a cafe and tasting room. See


Unsurprisingly for a leading wine-producing state, there's no scarcity in South Australia of quality restaurants in its various wine regions. However, Mount Lofty House guests need not venture into a vineyard for a fine feed since HVR (Hardy's Verandah Restaurant) is a mere stroll through the hotel's own labyrinthine, teak-lined hallways. Korean-born Jin Choi's inventive degustation menus, teamed with a suitably fabulous wine list and polished service, is a must. Don't miss a peek at the subterranean stone wine cellar below the restaurant. See;


All roads, at least for lovers of sparkles, lead to Deviation Road where owners Hamish and Kate Laurie conjure their signature Loftia Vintage Brut which exploits the cool climate setting of the Adelaide Hills. Along with cellar door tastings, visitors can also savour an all-day grazing menu in the winery's beautiful rustic setting, just a veritable cork pop from the big smoke. See


Touristisch as it is, it'd be a pity to miss out on a visit to Hahndorf, Australia's oldest surviving German settlement. The long main street is stuffed full as a bratwurst with German-styled shops selling everything you don't really need but can't resist. Hahndorf is also home to the German Migration Museum, tracing the movement of Prussians to Australia in 1839, and it's also a good base for other Adelaide Hills attractions such as the former home and studio of famed artist Sir Hans Heysen. See;


Fine wine is the only artisan beverage that flows freely in the Adelaide Hills. At Ambleside Distillers, with its bucolic setting on the outskirts of Hahndorf, visitors can meet the distillers and indulge in a tasting flight of the label's gins, crafted from the produce of the Adelaide Hills. The tasting encompasses Ambleside's three signature gins, each served with ice, tonic and garnishes and with experts on hand to guide you through the flight. See


Get set for the opening of Sequoia Lodge by the same operators of Mount Lofty House and, in fact, tucked away on the same estate directly overlooking the aforementioned Piccadilly Valley. The lodge, with its 14 luxurious suites featuring private balconies, fireplaces and skylights for star-gazing, is a step up in the luxury stakes from its non-too-shabby mothership. Named after the three adjacent sequoia trees planted in the mid 19th century, bookings for the lodge are being accepted for stays from April. See



If you want to make it easy for yourself, and you're willing to hang the expense, Mount Lofty House offers a full day tour of the Adelaide Hills in the comfort of a luxury SUV which can encompass most, if not all, of the featured sights and experiences.

The writer visited the Adelaide Hills as a guest of Mount Lofty House.