Welcome to rural chic in a cultured landscape and community spirit in a place with soul. Stroll 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.
Home of historic Stangate House and Aldgate Pump Hotel, this pretty village has a handful of 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.
Balhannah is home to Left Barrel Brewing, Balhannah Hotel, The Olive Branch Cafe for family-friendly dining, Kidman Flower Co. native flower farm 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 cellar doors. Relax in luxury self-contained accommodation on an expansive country estate.
Birdwood in the northern Adelaide Hills is best known for 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, bakery and café.
This picturesque town is best known for the historic Bridgewater Mill, which now houses a restaurant with tiered decking overlooking the working waterwheel. The Bridgewater Inn is a family-friendly pub with an excellent beer garden overlooking a creek and just downstream you’ll find a great playground for the kids and The Little Cog cafe.
Adelaide’s highest peak, Mount Lofty Summit, is a five-minute drive from the Crafers township. Other attractions include Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Cleland Wildlife Park, and Mount Lofty House, a luxury boutique hotel with spectacular views, day spa and fine dining at Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant. Adventurous and outdoorsy types will love nearby Woodhouse Activity Centre and Mount Lofty Adventure Hub in Piccadilly. In the township, Atelier showcases the work of local artists and designers, and dining options include Jimmies wood oven pizza restaurant and The Crafers Hotel which is a stylish historic pub with luxury accommodation.
Echunga is a farming town with historic buildings and was an important gold fossicking area in the 19th century. To learn more, follow the Jupiter Creek Heritage Trail. Attractions include a heritage walk and 18 hole golf course. All British Day, held annually in February in Echunga, is a display day and picnic where enthusiastic vehicle club members meet and showcase their British motor vehicles. Call in at the historic Hagen Arms pub, and pick up garden sculptures, farm gates and other 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, orchards and farmland. Enjoy a picnic at Federation Park and visit The Toy Factory for quality wooden toys and to climb the Big Rocking Horse. Discover a small-batch distillery, wineries and a main street with some shopping gems, a pub and cafe. In nearby Cudlee Creek, Gorge Wildlife Park offers koala holding and is home to Australian and exotic animals, birds and reptiles.
Hahndorf is a contemporary village, proud of its German heritage visible in its traditional streetscape with smallgoods, bakeries, cuckoo clocks, traditional wooden folk art and German-style pubs. Stroll the main street and discover shops, galleries and studios, a cheesemaker, leathersmith, jewellers, candlemakers, craft brewery, winery cellar doors, chocolatier, traditional sweet shops, restaurants, pubs and cafés.
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 pub, restaurant, café and bakery. 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.
Lobethal is best known for its annual Christmas light display as part of the Lights of Lobethal Festival that has been attracting visitors to the town for over 60 years. The township is popular year-round for the Lobethal Bierhaus brewery and restaurant housed in the Old Woollen Mill which is also the home of 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 is a café selling gifts and homewares.
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 the Harvest Café 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, 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, Murdoch Hill and O’Leary Walker, which is on the historic Johnston Brewery site.
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.