24 hours in the Adelaide Hills: top ways to wine and dine
Discover the hills east of Adelaide, a feast of produce, fine drops and creative dining.
- June 2018
Patch Kitchen & Garden, in the former general store and post office of the pretty town of Stirling, works with local farmers and providores to create a seasonal menu of dialled-up breakfast classics. On weekends, young families soak up spring sunshine in the courtyard and toddlers run riot between the cubby house, chook shed and veggie patch.
Work off breakfast on the trails criss-crossing the hills, ranging from thigh-burning ascents to ambles through farms and forest. The busy Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike in Cleland Conservation Park is big with fitness fanatics. For a quieter walk, try the Mt Lofty trail from Crafers or the meandering Crafers-Stirling loop. The waterfall hike in Belair National Park loops through native bushland. Keep an eye out for kangaroos and snoozing koalas.
Wine and pizza bar Lost in a Forest inhabits a 130-year-old church on the main street of pint-sized Uraidla. Pull up a blanket on the lawn for organic pizzas such as the ’shroom with foraged pine and porcini mushrooms and blue cheese, or the bánh mi with cider-braised pork and crispy pickled veg, cooked on a wood-fired oven where the altar once stood. Wines favour the natural and local. Afterwards, pop into the renovated Uraidla Hotel for a pot of Hills’ craft beer.
There are more than 60 wineries dotted around the scenic Adelaide Hills. The region’s peaks and microclimates deliver beautiful cool-climate wines, especially pinot noir – try some of the best at Ashton Hills’ welcoming cellar door. Or visit the striking Shaw + Smith for a flight of five wines (including the acclaimed M3 Chardonnay) matched with cheese, looking out over lawns and vines down to the dam.
If beer is more your thing, the Lobethal Bierhaus microbrewery has spent the past decade drawing city beer lovers to the Hills for tasting paddles in its large beer garden. Or visit Prancing Pony Brewshed beside a field of cows in Totness, and try the award-winning brews as you watch the team hard at work on the brewery floor.
Named for ’80s destination restaurant Uraidla Aristologist, the Summertown Aristologist was a hotly anticipated addition to the Hills’ scene. The intimate cellar door and bistro offers a week-to-week menu that takes its cues from the kitchen garden, and lets vegetables star. Wine buffs should ask to see the basement cellar, where the focus is on minimal intervention drops curated by the winemaker co-owners.
The grand, sandstone 1830s Crafers Hotel has recently been transformed into a sophisticated gastropub and hotel. The pride of the new venue is a 2000-strong wine room stocked by the in-house sommelier with an array of Old World wines and exciting local labels. Have a nightcap in a leather-studded armchair by the fire, before retreating upstairs to one of seven luxurious suites for a well-deserved night’s sleep.