The Adelaide Hills is one of South Australia’s leading destinations for good food and fine wine. If you love good food and fine wine, consider a driving holiday around South Australia’s Adelaide Hills. It’s one of the best Adelaide things to do.
You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of vineyards, valleys and rolling hills dotted with charming picture-book villages. But look closer and you’ll realise there’s more than just pretty scenery; the slopes are abundant with vineyards, orchards and market gardens that supply a rich bounty of fresh ingredients to the area’s gourmet food producers, fine restaurants and wineries.
You can tickle your tastebuds with award-winning cheeses, satisfy your sweet tooth with chocolates and truffles or indulge in a lazy afternoon tasting tapas and sipping sauvignon blanc. And in some villages, like Hahndorf, German traditions brought here by 19th-century Prussian settlers can be found in the restaurants and pubs that dish out bockwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels and German beer.
Adelaide things to do – Farmgates and factories
Strawberries and jam
Pick your own juicy strawberries at Beerenberg Strawberry Farm (the season runs from October to April).
From plain strawberry jam to sweet chilli relish, this is the best place to stock up on jams, pickles, chutneys, mustards, marinades and sauces made from original German settler recipes.
Sink your teeth into butter balls, chocolate-coated coffee beans, rocky roads or chocolate rounds at Melba’s chocolate factory. But first, wander through the factory production areas, housed in a historic cheese factory, to catch a glimpse of how these sweet treats are made.
Adelaide things to do – taste organic fruit
Seasonal farm fruit is available for sale at the Nirvana Organic Farm. Buy raspberries, currants and gooseberries in summer or chestnuts in autumn and early winter.
The farm also offers guided walks through the orchards, wetlands and gardens.
The Beerenberg Strawberry Farm (Mount Barker Road, Hahndorf), Melba’s Chocolates and Confectionary (22 Henry Street, Woodside), Udder Delights (91a Main Road, Hahndorf), Tumbeela Native Bushfoods (Lot 47, Beaumont Road, Verdun), Nirvana Organic Farm(184 Longwood Road, Heathfield).
Adelaide things to do – Cellar doors
Winemaking began in South Australia when the first vintage was recorded in the Adelaide Hills in 1841.
Today there are over 50 cellar doors with more than 60 labels; many are small and intimate, offering the opportunity to chat to the winemaker.
Sauvignon blanc is the region’s flagship wine but you’ll find high-quality drops of chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz, riesling and cabernet sauvignon, along with newer varieties such as pinot gris, viognier, nebbiolo and zinfandel.
Don’t miss the Petaluma cellar door. Aside from tasting some of South Australia’s top wines, the setting in a historic 1860’s mill complete with a waterwheel is atmospheric. The tasting area at Barratt Wines is in a conservatory with views of the vineyard and gardens.
On a sunny day, you can sip your pinot noir outdoors in a tranquil garden. Or let your eyes drink in the rolling hills as flavours of black olive, spice and liquorice hit your palate while savouring Chain of Ponds’s new release cabernet sauvignon.
Bush walkers and bird watchers might enjoy boutique-producer Sinclair’s Gully’s Friday twilight tastings from 5 to 8pm (in summer only) in picturesque Norton Summit.
At Bird in Hand, join the winemaker for a tour of the winery before tasting wine and olives.
Adelaide things to do – Restaurants
With a proliferation of fresh produce, it’s not surprising there are many talented chefs in the Adelaide Hills.
Enjoy historic ambience and sweeping views over the Piccadilly Valle at Piccadilly Restaurant. Located within Mount Lofty House, a historic country house rejuvenated into a boutique hotel, the restaurant serves hearty country style cuisine prepared with fresh local produce and vegetables from the restaurant’s own organic kitchen garden.
Located 730 meters above sea level Mount Lofty Summit restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows lets in panoramic views of Adelaide and St Vincent’s Gulf which are visible from almost any table.
Adelaide things to do – Food trails and festivals
Enjoy live entertainment while tasting wines and regional produce at Crush. The annual Adelaide Hills Wine Festival brings the hills alive with music, wine and merrymaking each January.
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