Welcome to rural chic in a cultured landscape and community spirit in a place with soul. Explore the main streets of nearly twenty towns and villages lined with shops, galleries and studios, cafes and pubs; each is unique and memorable, with its own character and sense of place. From Macclesfield and Meadows in the south to Kersbrook, Gumeracha and Birdwood in the north, discover the gems that can only be discovered by parking the car and going for a stroll.
Aldgate is home to historic Stangate House, a National Trust property with a camellia garden of international significance. Aldgate Pump Hotel is a family favourite with a shady beer garden with play equipment. This pretty village has a handful of great shops and cafés, including stylish FRED Eatery showcasing local produce and Yuki in the Hills for Japanese. Stay the night in some of the region's best bed and breakfast accommodation and try spotting bandicoots on the Aldgate Valley Nature Walk to Mylor.
Balhannah is home to Balhannah Hotel, The Olive Branch café for family-friendly dining, Kidman Flower Co. native flower farm (shed door sales and flower arranging masterclasses) and Field Trip – an artisan shop and working studio for jewellery, clothing and homewares. Living By Design is great for furnishings, homewares, gifts and clothing. Just out of town are the Nepenthe and Shaw + Smith winery cellar doors. Relax in luxury self-contained accommodation on an expansive country estate.
This Northern Adelaide Hills town is home to the National Motor Museum housed in the historic mill featuring hundreds of vintage and classic vehicles. The museum tells the story of Australia’s love affair with motoring through memorabilia including brochures and maps, tin signs, petrol bowsers, toys, models and photographs. Be sure to visit Top of the Torrens art gallery and Treasures on Torrens for vintage wares and collectables, with dining options including Blumberg Hotel, Pomegranate Cottage Coffee Shop and bakery.
This picturesque town is best known for the historic Bridgewater Mill, which now houses a restaurant with tiered decking overlooking the working waterwheel. Right next door, The Bridgewater Inn is a family-friendly pub with an excellent shady beer garden overlooking Cox Creek. Just downstream on the other side of the Mill you’ll find a great playground for the kids which is one of the best places in the Hills for creek play, and the bonus is great coffee and refreshments at The Little Cog cafe.
Crafers is the gateway to the Mount Lofty precinct with Mount Lofty Summit, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Cleland Wildlife Park, and Mount Lofty House luxury boutique hotel just out of town. In the main street, Atelier showcases the work of local artists and designers, with dining options including Jimmies wood oven pizza restaurant and The Crafers Hotel - a stylish historic pub with accommodation. Woodhouse Activity Centre and Mount Lofty Adventure Hub in nearby Piccadilly offer adventurous outdoor fun.
This historical farming town has a rich gold fossicking history - follow the Jupiter Creek Heritage Trail to learn more. Attractions include a heritage walk and 18 hole golf course while the All British Day event held in February showcases British motor vehicles. Call in at the historic Hagen Arms pub, and discover garden sculptures, farm gates and rustic wares at Farm Gate Services Farm Shop. At nearby Biggs Flat, take a Jurlique Farm Tour to learn about the plants and processes behind this global wellness brand.
Gumeracha is set in the beautiful Torrens Valley region, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, farmland and orchards, with shed door sales of cherries in season. Picnic at Federation Park and visit The Toy Factory to stock up on quality wooden toys and climb the Big Rocking Horse. Discover Applewood Distillery, winery cellar doors and a main street with some shopping gems, a pub and cafe. In nearby Cudlee Creek, Gorge Wildlife Park boasts Australian and exotic animals, birds and reptiles - including koala holding.
In this contemporary artisan village with rich German heritage you'll find smallgoods, bakeries, cuckoo clocks, wooden folk art and German pubs. Stroll the main street to discover shops, galleries, cheesemakers, leathersmiths, jewellers, candlemakers, craft breweries, wineries, chocolatiers, restaurants and cafés, or join Hahndorf Walking Tours to unearth its rich history. Just out of town discover more wineries, Beerenberg Farm (strawberry picking), Hahndorf Farm Barn, Ambleside Distillers and The Cedars (home and studio of artist Sir Hans Heysen).
Lenswood is a gorgeous patchwork of vineyards and apple, pear and cherry orchards boasting wineries with excellent views, wine and food offerings including Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Pike & Joyce and Anderson Hill. In autumn each year a handful of apple orchards in Lenswood host the ‘Pick a Pink Lady Weekend’ when visitors can pick their own apples and celebrate the harvest.
Littlehampton has a handful of great dining options including a pub, cafe and Honey Bang Bang which is a quirky little eatery offering delicious South East Asian. Four Oaks Farm offers horse related activities in a sensational setting, including Ponies Love Parties, horse riding school, trail rides for all levels of riding skill, and children’s farm visits.
The iconic saw tooth roof of the State heritage listed Onkaparinga Woollen Mill greets visitors to the town of Lobethal. The red brick buildings of the old blanket factory are now home to the popular Lobethal Bierhaus brewery and restaurant and the exciting new Fabrik Arts and Heritage Hub. Nearby wineries include Golding Wines and Tilbrook Estate. Amberlight Café is popular with motorcycle enthusiasts for burgers and coffee, while Emma & Ivy café also sells gifts and homewares. Hügel Wine Bar & Kitchen is the perfpect place to settle in and enjoy local wines and spirits. Or lace up your hiking boots and head to Lobethal Busland park for trails through Stringybark Woodland. Lobethal's annual Christmas light display as part of the Lights of Lobethal Festival has been attracting visitors to the town for over 60 years.
Located on the Angas River and surrounded by rolling hills, farmland and vineyards, historic Macclesfield was established in 1839. Attractions include Crystal Lake Sculpture Park (home to a biennial sculpture event and perfect for a picnic), Macclesfield ANZAC Memorial Gardens (two acre native garden), a heritage walk, cycling and walking trails, weekly Sunday market, two pubs and Longview Vineyard cellar door which is well known for its food, events, and luxury accommodation.
Set in a picturesque dairy farming area, Meadows has historic buildings, antique shops, a hotel and bakeries. Attractions include The Cheese Factory Studio Gallery and nearby Prospect Hill Community Museum. It’s a gateway to Kuitpo Forest – ideal for camping, bushwalking, cycling and horse riding, with the Heysen Trail running through the area. The Meadows Country Fair in October and Meadows Easter Fair are popular, as is the country market held on the second Sunday of each month. Cellar doors include Karrawatta, Perrini Estate Winery and nearby Fox Gordon, Top Note, Lazy Ballerina, K1 by Geoff Hardy, and Magpie Springs which features an art gallery and outdoor climbing wall.
Mount Barker seamlessly melds the best of city convenience and facilities with country friendliness, rich heritage and rural surrounds. This regional hub for entertainment, shopping, dining, culture, events and recreation is home to UKARIA Cultural Centre, the weekly Adelaide Hills Farmers Market (held on Saturday mornings), the SteamRanger Heritage Railway, Ngeringa and By Jingo! Wines cellar doors and historic Wallis Auchendarroch House with a cinema complex, dining and grand function spaces. Mount Barker Summit offers panoramic views of the district while the scenic drive takes in Summit Conservation Park and Laratinga Wetlands, which has an extensive network of boardwalks perfect for walking and cycling.
The historically significant town of Mount Torrens is home to one of the stone sculptures that forms the Hills Sculpture Trail and is also situated at one end of the 17 kilometre Amy Gillett Pathway, which is a bitumen track running to Oakbank popular with leisure cyclists, walkers and horse riders. Visit the rustic mud-brick cellar door of Lobethal Road Wines to enjoy a glass of wine and regional platter by the cosy wood fire or in the courtyard garden overlooking the vineyard.
Soak up the small village feel at Mylor’s country market held on the first Sunday morning of every month. Drop into Verté Kitchen for highly rated coffee and meals. Keen gardeners will love Tupelo Grove Nursery and there are also wineries nearby including Between the Vines and Deviation Road Winery in Longwood. Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary is a thriving ecosystem where hundreds of Australian native animals flourish including the elusive platypus.
Historic buildings line the Heritage-protected main street which has a handful of shops, cafés and dining. Be sure to check out Pallet Home + Table for great coffee and homewares, Rise Artisan Bakery for fresh baked goodness and Little Ms Waste-Not for vintage and retro fashion finds. Byethorne Park on Woodside Road offers a popular lakeside picnic location. Throughout the town there are colourful murals that depict the history of Nairne, and its contribution to the wealth and progress of South Australia. The rich agricultural landscape around Nairne is the setting for Howard Vineyard, with a family-friendly cellar door and Clover + Stone Restaurant. Just out of Nairne in Hay Valley (on the way to Woodside) is Lot 100, a craft brewery, distillery, restaurant and joint cellar door for Mismatch Brewing, Hills Cider, Adelaide Hills Distillery, Vinteloper wines, and Ashton Valley Fresh juices.
Surrounded by apple and cherry orchards, Norton Summit is one of the oldest towns in South Australia and was settled in 1837. It’s right on the doorstep of beautiful natural spaces such as Horsnell Gully Conservation Park and Morialta Conservation Park, which is popular with families (thanks to its incredible nature playground), bushwalkers – and those just wanting to admire its waterfalls (best in winter and spring). Norton Summit boasts a handful of wineries including Ten Miles East and Sinclair’s Gully eco- certified winery and bush reserve with abundant wildlife, picnic tables, towering candlebark forest and wildflower walks. The Scenic Hotel is an iconic Adelaide Hills pub with views over Adelaide while nearby Marble Hill is a significant historical property hosting open days and boutique events.
Oakbank is home to the largest picnic horse race meeting in the Southern Hemisphere, traditionally held at Easter. The Oakbank Heritage Walk takes in all the historic points of, including a 160-year- old oak tree. Winery cellar doors include Cobb’s Hill Estate, and Murdoch Hill, while Karkoo Nursery is very popular for its cafe and selection of plants and homewares. Oakbank is where the Amy Gillett Pathway commences and many cyclists, walkers and horse riders start their 17-kilometre journey to Mount Torrens here.
Stirling is a stylish garden village with leafy laneways to discover, a flourishing food scene, and fabulous shopping for fashion, plants, collectibles, jewellery, homewares, art and books at the unique shops and bustling monthly market. Highlights include Red Cacao chocolateria, The Stirling Hotel, Sticky Rick Cooking School, Woorabinda Bushland Reserve and a handful of great wineries.
Summertown in the beautiful Piccadilly Valley is home to a handful of wineries including Ashton Hills, Barratt Wines, and Greenhill Wines Cellar Door & Cafe with dining overlooking the vineyards. The Summertown Aristologist offers a dining experience featuring natural wines and local seasonal produce.
Half an hour east of Adelaide, Uraidla is home to the historic Uraidla Hotel and The Uraidla Brewery handcrafting beer within the hip Uraidla Republic café and bakery. Across the road Lost in a Forest is a restaurant and wine bar with legendary wood-oven pizzas and Basket Range wines in a converted church. Other highlights are the Uraidla and Summertown Show, and the Uraidla Hills Produce Market on the first and third Sunday of every month.
At the popular Stanley Bridge Tavern established in 1853, Benny the Jack Russell is a ‘regular’ and somewhat of a minor celebrity. Walk the Talk Kitchen is perfect for lunch or a snack, while Maximilian’s is an iconic restaurant nestled among the vines. Maximilian’s is home to Saint & Scholar cellar door and its floating golf green where a hole-in-one earns the happy golfer a generous prize package.
Just out of Woodside’s main street is Heritage Park, a former dairy factory, which now houses Woodside Cheese Wrights and Melba’s Chocolates and Confectionery. There are several pubs, galleries, antique and second-hand shops and cafés, as well as nearby cellar doors including Artwine, Barristers Block Wines, Bird in Hand and Petaluma Wines. A country market is held on the third Saturday of each month.