Wind your way through rolling hills and leafy lanes, stopping at sun-dappled villages and picture-perfect cellar doors along the way.
Taste some of Australia’s best cool-climate wines, pluck produce straight from nature’s top shelf, meander through lush gardens and fertile farms, and encounter abundant wildlife. Just 20 minutes from Adelaide but another world away, the Adelaide Hills are alive with food, wine and an endless array of ways to fill your weekend. Read on for our guide to the best places to stay, spots to eat and things to do in the Adelaide Hills.
Where to stay
Mount Lofty House
Perched above the famed Adelaide Hills wine region, surrounded by breathtaking botanic gardens and overlooking the stunning Piccadilly Valley, you’d never guess Mount Lofty House is just 15 minutes from the Adelaide CBD. Snuggle up with a good book in the library, stop in for a warming nightcap in the lounge bar, indulge in a hot stone massage at the day spa or treat yourself to an incredible feast at Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant. For the ultimate luxury, check into Mount Lofty House's brand-new Sequoia lodge; 14 luxurious suites with breathtaking views 180 degree views and access to a private lounge with a heated plunge pool and private gardens. The service is just as impressive with daily downturn, gourmet breakfast, daily drinks and tasting plates, and gourmet mini bar all included in your stay.
ODE TO THE ORCHARD
This fairytale cottage is the ultimate romantic retreat or solo oasis. Nestled deep in the Adelaide Hills on 16 acres of picturesque Lenswood bushland, Ode to the Orchard was made for late sleep-ins and slow living. Spend your day exploring nearby cellar doors and cafes, then soak up the peace and quiet of the surrounding orchards, vineyards and dreamy hills landscapes in the outdoor tub. In the evening, curl up by the fireplace with a glass of local wine and your favourite book in hand, ready to do it all again the next day.
Leave your phone on do-not-disturb and head to the southern Adelaide Hills for an off-grid stay at one of CABN's tiny-homes. With three new cabins, Nala, Bambra and Jarrah, nestled amongst the pines of Kuitpo Forest, you can unplug and unwind surrounded by the mother nature. After a day discovering the bush, cuddle up around the outdoor fire, marvel at the galaxies above or kick back in your king size bed with a good book. Jude, the name of the cabin, is also pet friendly. For more eco-friendly stays check out our guide to the best off-grid accommodation in South Australia.
This adults-only retreat is tucked away in the heart of the Adelaide Hills, offering nothing but blissful R&R for the duration of your stay. Situated just 30 minutes from the city, Pavilions at Lenswood recently expanded its luxe offering, with four brand-spanking-new pavilions just waiting to be explored. Inspired by iconic destinations around the world, the self-contained suites (named Ukiyo, Atelier, Fika and Mysa, Ferak and Ruhe) overlook rolling valleys below, and are neighboured by fields of friendly alpacas and high-land cows. From a Swiss-inspired chalet to a Japanese onsen oasis, pick your abode of choice and settle in for a serene getaway.
Find more Adelaide Hills accommodation here.
Where to eat
Bringing together the cellar doors for Adelaide Hills Cider, Mismatch Brewing, Vinteloper wines, Adelaide Hills Distillery, Ashton Valley Fresh juices and underpinned by an incredible restaurant, Lot 100 showcases the breadth of the Adelaide Hills craft beverage offering and is the perfect destination to kick back with friends. With Tom Bubner (Pizza e Mozzarella Bar, Chicken and Pig) and Shannon Fleming (ex-Orana Restaurant) in the kitchen, you’re guaranteed to be well fed, too. Embracing a paddock to plate ethos and with an emphasis on local produce, on the menu you’ll find pizza, pasta and more.
Lost in a Forest
This church-turned-pizza-joint is still very much a place of worship for in-the-know foodies. Housed in a 1892 church complete with stain-glass windows, Lost in a Forest in Uraidla is the home of eclectic pizzas (bahn mi pizza, anyone?) and local wines, all served with a side of warm Adelaide Hills hospitality. In Autumn, you'll find crowds of locals and visitors alike warming their hands on the outdoor firepits while waiting for their piping hot pizzas, and in summer the grounds are alive with the sounds of wine glasses clinking. You won't regret a trip to this hidden gem.
Kick back on a luxury day bed set among manicured gardens as your waiter brings wine straight to you. Hahndorf’s Sidewood Estate is the perfect spot to catch up with friends over a glass (or 10) of famed Adelaide Hills cool-climate wines and ciders paired with incredible food. Book a VIP day bed, pull up a seat in the chic restaurant or snag a spot on the sun-filled deck and soak in the idyllic surrounds. Perfect for families, you can also throw down your picnic rug, sip wine and feast on wood-fired pizzas while the kids are kept busy on the playground.
Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant
Enjoy a decadent dinner with front row seats to the rolling Adelaide Hills valleys. At Hardys Verandah, spectacular meals are matched with local wines and stunning views over Piccadilly Valley. A timeless menu and sommelier-matched wine list has earned the restaurant three Chef Hats and countless awards. Cosy-up by the roaring fireplace with a pre-dinner wine or post-dinner nightcap, soaking up the history and glamour of one of South Australia’s most iconic properties, Mount Lofty House.
Find more places to eat in the Adelaide Hills here.
What to do
Local produce and wine
Here, vineyards criss-cross valleys and produce some of the world’s most sought-after wines, orchards overflow with fruit used to produce local cider, jams and preserves and lush green countryside is to thank for rich, creamy cheeses. Stop in at a road-side stall to taste produce direct from the farmer, sample artisan cheeses at Woodside Cheese Wrights or Udder Delights or indulge your sweet tooth with hand-made chocolates at Red Cacao. And of course, no trip to the Adelaide Hills is complete without calling into a cellar door (or 10), and some of our favourite Adelaide Hills wines await at Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Golding Wines, Karrawatta Wines, Shaw + Smith and the recently refurbished Bird in Hand. Once you’ve had your fill of wine, swap to a local gin at Ambleside Distillers or a golden ale at Prancing Pony Brewery.
Continue wining and dining with our foodie’s guide to the Adelaide Hills.
The Lane Vineyard 360 degree tasting
Take a seat for one of the Adelaide Hills’ most unique wine experiences: The Lane Vineyard’s 360 Degree Hilltop Tasting. Perched above the Hahndorf vineyard, work your way through a flight of seven premium wines and chef-prepared goodies in The Lane’s unique tasting room with retractable walls, opening-up to stunning 360-degree views of the rolling Adelaide Hills. Consider yourself a wine snob? Go behind the scenes of The Lane’s state of the art winery for a crash course in winemaking with head wine maker Turon White. Create your own master blend, bottle it and take it home to savour later.
While away an afternoon exploring a real-life fairy-tale village at Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, Hahndorf. Just 25 minutes from Adelaide, Hahndorf is steeped in history and character. Stroll down the iconic main street and explore heritage German buildings, bakeries, pubs and cafes that line the bustling leafy street. Enjoy a traditional German feast at the The Haus and stop in at the German Arms for a foamy stein (BYO lederhosen). Wander through beautiful galleries and shops offering everything from traditional sweets and local produce to indigenous artwork and German cuckoo clocks. For a guided, behind-the-scenes look at this whimsical village, join a Hahndorf Walking Tour.
Explore more with our ultimate guide to Hahndorf.
With its tranquil rolling hills and slower pace, the Adelaide Hills is the perfect place to hit refresh and practice a little self-care. Set amongst green vineyards, Longview Day Spa is the ultimate retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life - sit back and let yourself be pampered with a massage or facial treatment while enjoying views of Pinot Noir vines. For those after a more grounding experience, why not try your hand at forest bathing? Inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinkrin-yoku, forest bathing encourages stressed out city-dwellers to reconnect with the earth and 'bathe' in the natural world - you can try this in the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens with a little guidance from Big Heart Adventures. If you want to heal from the inside out, head on over to Sticky Rice Cooking School, where therapy comes in the form of chopping, stirring and cooking your very own delicious meals - all the while enjoying a laugh with your kitchen classmates.
What to see
Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, Adelaide Hills
Explore 97 hectares of lush, green paradise at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. Though jaw-dropping all year-round, the best time to roam the garden is during autumn, when canopies explode with vibrant yellows, reds and oranges. With meandering paths through some of South Australia’s most beautiful and diverse plant-life, flowing streams and camellias in full bloom, you’ll be walking in a winter wonderland bursting with the colours of autumn. Stroll through Fern Gully, Rhododendron and Magnolia Grove or sit back and chill out by the lake.
Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide Hills
Just down the road from the gardens, the lush bushland paradise of Cleland Wildlife Park is a haven for iconic Australian animals. Spanning 35 hectares and home to more than 130 native species including kangaroos, reptiles, wombats and birds, here you can take a selfie with a koala, hand-feed kangaroos, or pat a wombat. For more up-close animal encounters, wildlife lovers can continue to Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary and Gorge Wildlife Park, or check out our guide to the best wildlife experiences in South Australia.
Jurlique Farm, Adelaide Hills
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.
Beerenberg Family Farm, Adelaide Hills
Nothing compares to the taste of fruit plucked straight from the field, and some of South Australia’s best produce awaits in orchards across the Adelaide Hills. Nestled just outside the tourist hot spot of Hahndorf, picking your own strawberries at Beerenberg Farm is a rite of passage during any trip to the hills, plus you can sample their famous jams, sauces and condiments direct from the farm shop. You’ll also find seasonal a pick-your-own cherry, apple, pear and fig orchards tucked all over the hills so take the pick of the crop with our guide to the best places to pick your own fruit in South Australia.
Find more things to do in the Adelaide Hills here.
Taste the best of the Adelaide Hills
Hungry for more Adelaide Hills inspiration? Take your taste buds on tour through the culinary heart of the hills with our foodie’s guide to the Adelaide Hills.