The first time I sampled The Adelaide Hills (part of the Mount Lofty Ranges, unofficially centred around Mount Barker, the area’s largest town) I flipped out. How could we be so close to the city, yet feel like we were in some gorgeous English country town? Even the climate here seems different to the nearby city. It really casts a spell.
The Hills were amongst the first areas of the state to be settled by Europeans and a number were established as German settlements – Hahndorf and Lobethal the most well known. Descendants of the settlers still live there and there is a strong German cultural connection seen in Lutheran churches and schools, architecture and many older residents who still speak German. I absolutely love the European flavour of the Hills – the food, wine and scenery. For a few years I was very proud to be an Ambassador of the Adelaide Hills, so I can’t sing it’s praises loudly enough.
The Hills have been blessed with the perfect climate for producing world-class wines and a cornucopia of produce. There are countless wineries to visit, five of them producing world-class vintages, and a wide choice of specialty stores sell foods to match the wines.
Hahndorf is where to buy traditionally made wurst and German smallgoods between visiting interesting shops, maybe stopping for afternoon tea at the German Cake Shop. For something more substantial, drop into the German Arms or Hahndorf Inn.
Udder Cheese Delights is well worth exploring. They have cheese making classes and tastings, shop and café and are part of the Cheese and Wine trail. They can send you off with four cheeses which have been pre-matched with specific wines you will no doubt come across. They also have a Tuscan-style villa available.
Milk is supplied by MacFarlane Hill goat dairy’s beautiful Saanen goats. The calm and good-tempered goats can supply up to 5.5 litres of milk every day.
If you fancy something very special and sweet, Chocolate @ No 5 is the place to indulge. Inside the charming 1850s cottage you will be delighted by their selection of fine chocolates and truffles, exotically decorated cakes, desserts and Belgian sugar waffles. They also serve premium coffee, hot and iced chocolate and a real treat is their chocolate milkshake laced with melted Belgian chocolate.
The best available products are used and are sourced from New York, Belgium, Switzerland and locally from Melbourne and Adelaide.
Gumeracha is home to the world’s largest rocking horse. It stands 18.3 metres high and weighs 25 tonnes and children are allowed to climb on it! The fun happens in the Toy Factory, which has a wonderful range of wooden toys at factory prices. It’s a place to delight children, parents and grandparents alike. Everything they create is made from Australian timber, grown to Australian standards. All toys are child-safe and paints are eco-friendly. Modern technology is blended with craftsmanship to create the strong, safe and practical products.
As if that’s not enough, there is a 2.8 hectare nature park to enjoy. It’s home to birds, kangaroos and wallabies, ducks and lambs, all living happily amongst ponds and thousands of native trees and shrubs.
The Adelaide Hills, about 30 minutes east of Adelaide.
WHAT TO WEAR
Cute country chic, simple comfy outfits. Tres’ chic
You can turn this into a quick drive from the city, or several days of food and vino tasting.
Do your homework on the markets available at the time of your trip. I love these and still have treasures that stall holders were kind enough to help me ship back home.
Don’t forget to have the ‘bum burner’ when in Hahndorf. You WON’T thank me for this!