Don’t let the dreary weather get you down. Unpack your woollies and head for the Hills. Check out this Fritz-approved list.
1. Winter Reds Festival
With more than 30 wineries involved, this Adelaide Hills festival celebrates all things great about South Aussie red wines. Open fires, delicious grub and some of the state’s finest wines – what could be better? Entry to non-ticketed events is free and you can purchase a Spiegelau wine glass for just $10. Designated drivers receive a complimentary non-alcoholic bevvie at participating venues. 27 to 29 July.
2. Dine with a View
Everything old is new again when it comes to fine dining – we’re talking Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant at Mount Lofty House. The restaurant relaunched earlier this year with a daily menu that dreams are made of, featuring produce grown and foraged by the team.
Windy Point Restaurant in Belair is also kicking major goals, and it’s hard to beat the views as the sun goes down.
(If you just want the view, you can always snuggle up in the car at the Windy Point Lookout.)
3. Explore the Arts
You could spend days exploring the talented artists of the Adelaide Hills but where to start? Visit Hahndorf Academy to check out the latest exhibition with South Aussie creatives, or visit the Top of the Torrens Gallery in Birdwood where SALA exhibitions will be featured through August.
4. Red Cacao
Sip on one of the best hot chocolates you’ll ever have in Stirling’s Red Cacao Chocolatier. The Belgian choccies used make every mouthful leave you on cloud nine. Caffeine fanatics, give their unique Chocolate Coffee Experience a crack, where your coffee of choice will be paired with two chocolates picked by the head chocolatier.
5. Kuitpo Forest
Grab your marshmallows and roast them on an open fire in Kuitpo Forest. Paired with your best scary stories and a few bottles of your liquid gold, of course. Don’t forget the explorer socks, torches, sleeping bags and pillows.
6. Applewood Distillery
Nestled in a 1920’s coldstore, Applewood Distillery is by two winemakers who aim to protect the livelihoods of farmers through their brands, and has partnered with Unico Zello in Gumeracha. Taste their products in crafty cocktails. Bookings are essential, and while their kitchen is being built, you are welcome to bring along nibbles.
7. All Aboard
Jump aboard the SteamRanger Heritage Railway and enjoy a family day out. The Southern Encounter runs on the first and third Sunday of the month from June to November, riding from Mount Barker through Strathalbyn and finishing up in Victor Harbor. You also get discount vouchers for meals and activities in Victor Harbor.
8. Lost in a Forest
Located in the newly remodelled stone chapel that was formerly St Stephens Anglican Church in Uraidla, Lost in a Forest is a small but marvellous wood-oven wine bar serving all kinds of flavoursome goodies. This hidden gem is also a winner for your Instagram feed. Often booked out – only seating 48 people – call well in advance to secure your table.
9. Wine Tour
The Adelaide Hills is renowned for its plethora of wineries. Mix up the well-known (think Bird in Hand, The Lane and Penfolds) with lesser known gems like Barrister’s Block, Golding Wines and Ten Miles East. Book a bus, grab your mates and get tasting.
10. Cuddle Up
There’s something special about staying in bed under thick blankets as the rain falls outside. Hire a room at one of the many accommodation options in the Adelaide Hills, grab your significant other (or a teddy) and get cosy.
To get you started, check out Mount Lofty House MGallery by Sofitel, The Haus Studio Apartments in Hahndorf, Sticky Rice Villas in Stirling, the renovated rooms at The Crafers Hotel, one of the delightful Adelaide Hills Country Cottages or hunt out a unique venue on Airbnb.
11. Hahndorf Winter Lantern Festival
This community event brings the town of Hahndorf together to witness a parade of handmade lanterns paraded by local students. Workshops are held at the schools and the Hahndorf Academy prior to the event, where children can get crafty in preparation for the literary-arts-themed display. Live music, food and drinks will be available through the Hahndorf Academy Gardens after the parade. 24 & 25 August.
12. Lobethal Bierhaus
A hit for the beer lovers, the Lobethal Bierhaus flaunts an array of handcrafted character beers on tap with matching food featuring local produce. We recommend giving the grilled pork pancake and Australia’s first lentil beer a try as you sit in front of the open fire.
13. Prancing Pony
This award-winning craft brewery in Mount Barker is a must. The South Aussies won a gold medal at the International Beer Challenge in London, and have a selection of beers on tap. Treat yourself to a dish designed specifically for each brew. Groups can book a tour of the Brewshed and meet the brewer.
14. Adelaide Hills Farmers Markets
Head to this market to meet the people who grow your produce as you stock up on seasonal fruit and veggies grown in the Hills. While you’re there, grab some vibrant flowers, fresh baked goods, condiments, wines, juices and coffee – just to name a few. Take it all home, chuck it in a pot and whip up a batch of wholesome soup, perfect for rainy days.
15. Get Active
Stretch those muscles on a hiking trail in the Adelaide Hills. From Belair National Park’s waterfall hike to the Morialta Falls plateau hike or valley walk, there are plenty of places you can whip your active-wear out. And when you’re done, we suggest topping up on a little vitamin B for ‘beer’ at the Belair Hotel.
16. Matilda Bookshop
Browse the book-lined walls, discover your next few reads and maybe meet an author or two at Stirling’s Matilda Bookshop. Join their book club, which meets once a month at the Stirling Hotel Library Room.
17. Stables Day Spa
Can you imagine anything more relaxing than a hot stone massage as you overlook the beautiful Adelaide Hills from Mount Lofty House? With this stress relief ritual, the heat from the stones is slowly released into your muscles to soothe your joints, heal injuries or simply warm you up.
18. National Motor Museum
Consider yourself a bit of a car fanatic? Head up the hill to visit the National Motor Museum in Birdwood. Home to some 300 classic, vintage and modern automobiles and motorcycles, the collection is a dream come true for rev-heads and history lovers alike.
19. Antique Shopping
Get your walking shoes on and start hunting. From Hahndorf Antiques & Collectibles or Grass Roots Vintage, through to the Warehouse at Woodside and Antique Bazaar in Strathalbyn,
there’s plenty of pre-loved goodies up for grabs.
20. Get Cheesy
The Adelaide Hills is home to some of the most delicious artisan cheese you’ll ever try. Join Woodside Cheese Wrights’ Kris Lloyd to learn how to make feta.
For food that’ll warm the soul, head to Udder Delights for their molten lava cheese fondue with mouth-watering local morsels to match. Yum!
Got a favourite winter activity in the Hills? Let us know in the comments, below.