Whether its cuddling koalas, picking cherries and strawberries, strolling in the German village of Hahndorf or admiring the view over Adelaide from Mount Lofty Summit, there are just some experiences and places that are quintessentially Adelaide Hills.
Up-close wildlife encounters are a highlight of the Hills, particularly holding koalas at Cleland Wildlife Park in Crafers and Gorge Wildlife Park in Cudlee Creek. Cleland features some 130 native species while Gorge Wildlife Park is home to both native and exotic animals, including birds and reptiles.
Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement is home to shops, galleries and studios, a cheesemaker, a leathersmith, candlemakers, a craft brewery, distillery, winery cellar doors, a chocolatier, restaurants, German pubs, bakeries and cafés, as well as the Hahndorf Academy arts and heritage hub and Wolf Blass Gallery and Museum. Take a walking tour and spend the night, with family favourite Hahndorf Farm Barn and strawberry picking in season at Beerenberg Farm also just out of town.
Taste premium cool-climate wines at more than 50 cellar doors, with many offering tours, dining and immersive tasting experiences. Food and wine festivals include Crush in January and Winter Reds in July, with loads of craft breweries, cider makers and small batch distilleries to wet your whistle.
For spectacular views of Adelaide and the coast beyond, this is the ideal place to start your Adelaide Hills adventure, with on-site café, restaurant and gift shop with visitor information. The steep walk between the summit and Waterfall Gully is always popular with locals.
Explore the beautiful tree-lined main street and gardens, The Stirling Hotel, Red Cacao chocolatier, cafés and restaurants, Steamroller Park playground, clothing boutiques, homewares, gift and book shops. Don’t miss the Stirling Market on the fourth Sunday of the month (third in December) and Stirling Laneways on the same days for pop-up stalls and entertainment (September to April only).
Pick fresh strawberries at Beerenberg Farm in Hahndorf (November to April), cherries from orchards in the Cherries SA Cherry Map (November to January), figs at Glen Ewin Estate in Houghton (February and March), or apples at the Pick a Pink Lady weekend at Lenswood (May).
Each distinct season offers something special in the Hills, with autumn (March to May) arguably the most beautiful, particularly in the main streets of Stirling and Hahndorf, and a stunning display at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden at Crafers that peaks towards the end of April.
Australia’s largest motoring collection, housed in the historic Birdwood Mill is home to around 300 old and rare cars, trucks and motorcycles and hundreds of motoring-related objects such as tin signs, petrol bowsers, toys, models and photographs. Celebrate classic and vintage motoring with the music, fashion and dance of the era at one of its iconic events, including the Bay to Birdwood.
The Cedars is the home, studio and garden of Sir Hans Heysen, one of Australia’s most revered landscape artists. Heysen lived and worked here from 1912 until his death in 1968. Little has changed, including the evocative stone studio where it feels as though the artist has just stepped out for a moment. Take a guided tour or wander the property to see the vistas that inspired some of his most famous works.
The Adelaide Hills Sculpture Trail features 26 contemporary stone sculptures created by artists visiting for the biennial Adelaide Hills Sculpture Symposium events in 2012, 2014 and 2016. You’ll find these 'dreams carved in stone' dotted throughout the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.