Reach the Adelaide Hills in just 20 minutes by car from Adelaide then explore roads less travelled, following winding lanes through the rolling hills. Join a tour or discover the region on foot, by bicycle, in the saddle, by horse-drawn carriage or aboard a heritage steam train.
The Adelaide Hills is easily accessed from Adelaide city, whether heading south-east, east or north-east. Travel time by car to regional gateway townships such as Crafers, Summertown and Norton Summit is less than 30 minutes from Adelaide and around 40 minutes from Adelaide Airport. If you are driving from the city centre, the Adelaide Hills can be accessed via the six-lane South Eastern Freeway, which links Adelaide to Melbourne. Exits to major destinations, including Mount Lofty (Crafers), Stirling, Bridgewater, Hahndorf, Birdwood, Lobethal and Mount Barker are well signposted along the freeway. The Hills can also be accessed via the Torrens Valley Scenic Route which commences on North East Road at Tea Tree Gully. The route winds its way via the Chain of Ponds reservoirs to Gumeracha and Birdwood.
Bus & Train
There are regular bus services from the Adelaide CBD to major townships in the Adelaide Hills and it is possible to reach key attractions such as Cleland Wildlife Park, Mount Lofty Summit and Hahndorf by bus. Blackwood foothills and Belair National Park can be reached by trains on the Belair line, regularly departing Adelaide Railway Station on North Terrace. For more information on public transport services, call Adelaide Metro on 1300 311 108, download the metroMATE app, or visit the Adelaide Metro website.
Taxi & Ride Sharing
Taxis are another viable transport option if you don’t want to drive or catch a bus. Catching a taxi from the Adelaide CBD to Stirling – the nearest major town in the Adelaide Hills – will cost approximately AUD$55 one way, and travelling from the city to Hahndorf will cost approximately AUD$75 one way. Visitors may find ride sharing services such as Uber appropriate for their transport needs. Download the apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
With closely spaced townships and quiet roads, the Adelaide Hills is an ideal place to explore by car. If you don’t have your own vehicle, hire cars are widely available in the city and metropolitan area as well as at Adelaide Airport. Once off the freeway, take a back road and see where it leads you – getting off the beaten track is part of the fun. If you travel for your taste buds, follow the Epicurean Way – a self-drive culinary adventure through four of South Australia’s wine regions: McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Clare Valley.
Taxi & Ride Sharing
While city taxis are happy to bring visitors up the hill, there is a local taxi service – Des’s Cabs Mount Barker (phone 13 33 77). Bookings advisable. Visitors may find ride sharing services such as Uber appropriate for their touring needs.
There are plenty of bike tracks that criss- cross sections of the Adelaide Hills. Just remember that the hilly terrain can be demanding, so you’ll need to carry plenty of water, sunscreen and a repair kit, and helmets are compulsory.
The renowned Heysen Trail and many popular shorter walks provide ample opportunities for walkers of all fitness levels to explore the region on foot.
SteamRanger Heritage Railway offers a novel way of seeing the Adelaide Hills and surrounding regions, with various trips departing from Mount Barker.
Adelaide Hills offers horse enthusiasts excellent trails (including the Amy Gillett Pathway, trails in Belair National Park, and sections of the Kidman Trail and Tom Roberts Horse Trail Network), guided trail rides on private properties, and classic horse-drawn carriage rides with Classic Carriage Drives.
There are several specialist companies offering private and small group tours of the region; perfect for visitors seeking local insights and the opportunity to enjoy the region’s wine, beer, cider and spirits without having to drive. Trailhopper provides a ‘hop-on hop-off’ touring option starting and finishing in Adelaide.
Take care when driving on Australian roads. Be sure to drive on the left- hand side of two-way roads. Obey the road signs and remember that speed limits are strictly enforced in Australia. You must not drive if your blood alcohol level is 0.05 per cent or higher, nor are you permitted to use a handheld mobile phone when driving. When travelling long distances, plan your journey to include several rest breaks and ensure you have enough fuel. For your safety and enjoyment slow down, relax and enjoy the country pace of the Adelaide Hills.
Road cycling is popular in the Adelaide Hills so look out for cyclists and be aware that by law drivers are required to give a minimum of one metre when passing a cyclist where the speed limit is 60 km/h or less, or 1.5 metres where the speed limit is over 60 km/h.