While state travel restrictions are in place around Australia, there will come a time when domestic travel is without so many limitations. And when that day comes, you bet we’ll want to make the most of it with as many weekenders as possible.
Byron Bay, The Whitsundays, the Hunter Valley; we’ll explore them all eventually, but one area we’ve been particularly keen to unearth when restrictions lift is the stunning Adelaide Hills region of South Australia.
It’s but a 30-minute drive away from Adelaide city, but couldn’t feel further away from the fast pace of the skyline. With rolling hills, stunning scenery, and some of South Australia’s best food and wine, the region offers a truly blissful escape much quieter than regions with similar offerings.
Of course, South Australians are more or less free to take advantage of the itinerary below right now, which outlines the ultimate weekend in Adelaide Hills, but some of us may have to wait a little longer before we can take in the magic of the jaw-dropping area.
Until then, all we can do is plan the perfect luxurious escape.
Where to stay in Adelaide Hills
Ideal for groups, the Simon Tolly Lodge, situated amongst the vineyards of Simon Tolley Wines, has capacity to comfortably accommodate 10 guests. The newly renovated lodge complete with a full kitchen and outdoor area, is surrounded by 22 hectares of land, allowing for views of greenery from every room and a truly quiet getaway.
Opened recently in March of 2020, the sustainable Pavillions at Lenswood offer a modern and luxurious stay in a self-contained dwelling surrounded by manicured gardens. Architecturally designed with everything one could ever need for a comfortable stay — including a freestanding tub overlooking the grounds — a stay here comes with a welcome selection of cheese, chocolate and wine, plus in-house catering, massages, hampers and more can also be arranged.
It’s still a little ways off from opening (September 2020), however, if all goes to plan, you could be one of the first to spend a weekend in Adelaide Hills’ latest luxury lodge. Sequoia is positioned in the highlands of the Hills region, afoot the Mount Lofty House estate, with breathtaking views across the Piccadilly Valley from all 14 suites.
The property itself is surrounded by nature, includes a private club lounge area with sundeck and plunge pool, and offers its guests luxe extras like a welcome drink, breakfast, daily drinks and tasting plate, plus a bottle of the Mount Lofty House Estate sparkling to take home.
Best dining in Adelaide Hills
A visit to the Bird In Hand winery is a holistic experience that’s so much more than a good drop of wine (although ‘good’ is an understatement). Bird In Hand knows an enjoyable day out moves beyond simply food and drink, which is why they’ve incorporated art, music, design, philanthropy and community into their offering. Stop in for a delicious meal among Australian art then stay awhile for the live music show held outdoors in the grounds.
Located in the Mount Lofty House Estate (convenient for those staying at Sequoia), the three-hatted Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant serves a seasonal three or seven-course degustation menu that samples the very best in local produce. The fare is, of course, paired with an award-winning wine, sake and creative cocktail selection, making it your most special evening out while in the Adelaide Hills, that is, if you’re lucky enough to secure a table (read: book fast).
You could quite honestly spend a whole day on the Lane Vineyard, starting with a vineyard tour, wine tasting at the cellar door, and followed by a boozy lunch in the restaurant overlooking the vineyard in all its glory. For those after a truly spectacular dining experience, might we suggest the Chef’s Table experience? You’ll sit back and relax while the restaurant’s head chef delivers an exclusive menu of local produce matched perfectly with the vineyards own wines.
Where to drink in Adelaide Hills
The Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard is a family-owned and operated, five-star-rated boutique winery offering truly delicious drops of all varieties. The intimate tasting room is backdropped by sweeping views of the sloped vineyards and mountainous ranges surrounding, allowing those who visit to feel submersed in the experience as they choose their new favourite wine to take home.
Sidewood is the largest Certified Sustainable Winery in the Adelaide Hills. The vineyard specialises in cold-climate wines reflective of the Adelaide Hills area. The vineyard’s award-winning wines are perhaps best sampled alongside the Australiasian menu in the property’s restaurant, though you can also visit the cellar door for a quicker stop. If you get hungry, you could even pop into Sidewood Takeaway for a hot slice of pizza.
Unico Zelo are doing things a little differently, and we love them for it. The winemakers are constantly pushing the envelope to expand their offering, and as an example, have recently revealed a Yuzu Vermouth made from fine Adelaide Hills Merlot and the Japanese citrus fruit. The branding is as fresh and modern as their flavours, and there’s more on offer than first meets the eye. On the same property lies the Applewood Distillery, known for its incredible gin, and more recently, a DIY limoncello kit.
Things to do in Adelaide Hills
When full from fresh produce and award-winning wines, a stop at the Jurlique Farm is an absolute must for anyone visiting Adelaide Hills but especially lovers of beauty. One of Australia’s most beloved skincare brands, Jurlique uses organic botanicals grown right here for their luscious products. On the farm tour, you’ll discover the history of the label, plus see how seedlings and plants are propagated, learn about biodynamic farming, witness the harvesting process, and watch the beekeepers in action.
Walk off lunch with a stroll through 97 hectares of winding pathways around te Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens. No two days in the gardens look the same, with flowers blossoming and leaves falling at various times in the year. Be sure to bring your camera — you’ll need it to snap photos of wildlife and sculptures along the way.
For a wholesome activity that’s fun for the whole family (or for anyone needing a break from wine), it’s hard to look past a day of strawberry picking at the Beerenberg Farm. Strawberry picking runs between November and April and costs $5 for the opportunity to pick as many berries as you can. When you’re done, you can weigh up your loot and purchase your strawbs for $10.95 a kilo. Beaut.