It’s hard to believe the Adelaide Hills’ leafy, lush landscape is just a 20 minute drive from the CBD. The Fritz team took a trip up the freeway to visit a few of our favourites – old and new – making waves in this growing region. We ate pancakes and pizza, drank wine and gin, saw jewellery being made, pictures painted, and fed emus and kangaroos from our hands… and that’s just the start. Go on, get lost in this picture-perfect piece of SA.
Eat & Drink
Tucked away between the few shops that stretch Aldgate’s main road, Fred Eatery is the Mary Poppins’ bag of cafés. Small from the outside, this quaint eatery opens up into a two-storey haven of café-meets-restaurant-meets- gallery space. Owners Aaron Bond and Todd Langley took over the space in 2015, reinventing the design in 2017. The fresh look reflects the surrounding Hills forestry, with soft timber and a green colour palette. It’s a joy to be in here – clean and calm. It’s vibrant too, a hotspot for locals catching up over breakfast and lunch. “We wanted to create somewhere that was casual and fun,” Aaron says. “We wanted really good quality flavour-driven food that was comfort-food in style. I think that’s what we’ve achieved.” Their ‘Happiness in a Bowl’ brekky features barbecue pork belly, kimchi and omelette. Take that with a side of Vietnamese iced coffee (condensed milk – yes please). Classic lovers, don’t fret, the French toast never goes off the menu and the Reuben is coveted. “We’re really well known for our Reuben – people say it’s the best Reuben in town.”
220 Mount Barker Road, Aldgate Village.
Organic Market Café
Ask any Hills resident and they’ve likely frequented this leafy nook for years. Originally opened in 1982, Grahame Murray bought the business in 1988 with his late partner Caroline (he now runs it with partner Bronwyn Griffiths). It began as a way to bring organic, biodynamic and local food alternatives to the community, something they still pride themselves on. “It was and still is our philosophy to have integrity
in all that we sell and promote. To provide good, wholesome food has always been paramount.” The lower-level store is a treasure trove of everything your hungry tum needs, from fresh produce, bakery and dairy, to dry goods and even oils, vitamins and health foods. The café features old favourites that have hardly changed since opening. “We make and sell two different varieties of soup a day. Sometimes we sell over 20 litres a day. The customers love it…big serves and hot crusty bread. For 26 years it has been a staple menu item. Our bruschettas and focaccias are the same. Why take them off the menu?”
5 Druid Avenue, Stirling.
Venture down this meandering driveway through rolling vineyards and you’ll feel as if you’re in a fairytale. Reach the cellar door and the vineyard pooch Zuma wanders over and gives you a fluffy welcome. Inside, you can do a tasting and have a meal in the restaurant or on the deck. Getting fancy? Treat yourself (or a lucky someone) to their 360-degree panorama tasting experience with views across the property, or one of their more hands-on cheese making or winemaking masterclasses. Everything is delivered with finesse here and a sense of place is very apparent between the setting, wine and food. “We’re one of the few places that grow, make and sell wine within our own boundaries,” owner and general manager Marty Edwards says. “The chefs do a great job, too… everything’s got a provenance about it here.”
5 Ravenswood Lane, Hahndorf.
Lost In A Forest
This beautiful little restaurant is housed in a converted old church, the ultimate combination of cool and quirky. It’s like having pizza in your best mate’s backyard and your grandma’s old stone cottage, all in one. There’s a pizza oven out the back and fireplace out the front – it’s the stuff autumnal dreams are made of. Forest murals on the walls and a collection of vintage furniture, throws and crockery make you feel at home, while top-notch wines by revered Hills winemaker Taras Ochota are poured by the glass, bottle and even magnum, making your pizza experience just a little bit fancy. These drops are hard to come by, so they’re a pleasant accompaniment to the simple, thin-crust wood oven pizzas that churn out their busy little oven. The Buzz Bomb is delicious, with a drizzling of Buzz Honey to top it all off. Vego and vegan friendly.
1203 Greenhill Road, Uraidla.
Visit Locavore for a seat at the bar, a bowl of their unctuous gnocchi and a local red, and you’ll leave the happiest camper. “We’re certainly known for our gnocchi,” owner Rosanne Doherty says. It’s what the locals do. Stay longer, however, and you’ll get the full experience of this unique Hills restaurant. Rosanne and husband Conon (head chef) took over the space in 2017, staying true to its original local food philosophy. “Everything is within around a 100-mile radius,” she says, including the wine and beer. With all that Hills bounty around, it’s not hard. Conon changes the specials daily and weekly, while keeping some regulars on a seasonally changing menu. Produce is sourced from as close-by as possible, thanks to long-held relationships in the region. Sometimes it’s even dropped to their door.
49 Mount Barker Road, Stirling.
Blink and you’d miss this little roadside café in Piccadilly, nestled between Uraidla and Crafers. The garden spills out onto the roadside and is pretty as a picture. Inside, quaint decorations and beautiful illustrations by owner and cook Bev are hung and strung from all over the cosy space. Scrummy cakes sit atop the counter and Bev’s daily specials whipped up in their tiny kitchen are the definition of homemade bliss.
Piccadilly Road, Piccadilly.
Dumplings and wine are two of our favourite things, and at Howard’s you can have both, all with a smashing view. Their weekday yum cha (Wednesday to Friday) is a welcome twist on the classic winery lunch. Pork dumplings are a must (take it from us), and the rest is up to you, with items changing regularly to suit the seasons. If you’re there on a Sunday, go for the banquet option so their gorgeous staff can make those tough decisions for you. “Part of what was missing in our local area was somewhere to eat lunch mid-week,” marketing manager Amber Flavell says. “We’ve got our terrace outside if it’s a nice warm day, but inside we’ve got a wood fire for something a bit more cosy.” With two vineyards, one on-site next to the cellar door and another at Schoenthal, their range of wines on offer is extensive. Go have a sip of their wine and a slurp of some dumplings. You’ll thank yourself later.
Lot 1, 53 Bald Hills Road, Nairne.
While the views are an obvious drawcard for this popular winery, it’s the food that’s the talk of the town. A brand new Tasting Room now offers Italian lunch fare from the ‘Cucina’ Wednesday to Sunday to accompany structured wine tastings from Longview’s wines. There’s also their ‘Della Casa’ Sunday lunch where you can, share plentiful Italian dishes served in true Nonna-style. Try the Nebbiolo – it’s the vineyard’s specialty. There’s more food events on the horizon, too. There’s a range of accommodation options here, too if you decide to stay a little while longer. We would.
Pound Road, Macclesfield.
Spirit tastings? Yes please. Applewood offer flights of their range of gins, amaros and other distillery products. They also offer their range of Harvest and Unico Zelo wines here, too. Everything they produce is like nectar to a honeybee. “Unico Zelo wines started by trying to create the most accurate expressions of Australian sites and soils, in wine format,” co- founder Brendan Carter says. “We’ve invested in varieties that survive naturally.” They use local grower’s grapes for their wine, and local fruit and native flora for their spirits. It’s all part of a bigger picture of community sustainability and support. Try their Okar – a uniquely Australian Amaro – and their limited edition gins.
24 Victoria Street, Gumeracha.
The Bridgewater Inn
The Bridgewater Inn has everything you love about an ol’ country pub – schnitties, surf and turf, local tap beers, curry specials, live bands and open mic nights. The property cascades down to the creek so you can have your lunch and watch the kids play on the creek-side lawns. Parental bliss has been found (pooch-parents are welcome, too). “We have a two-tiered beer garden overlooking Cox’s Creek and the Heysen Trail,” co-owner Tricia Neagle says. It’s recently been given a new deck and garden spruce up. “We have a family of ducks here, and we’re dog-friendly too, so we have duck and dog treats available.” Get quacking up here folks, there’s more than meets the eye.
387 Mount Barker Road, Bridgewater.
Walk The Talk
There’s something different about the old post office in Verdun. When you pop in for your mail you can also get a laksa for lunch or dinner to go. It’s a great pit-stop between common Hills stop-offs like Bridgewater, Hahndorf and Stirling, and one of the best lunch spots in South Australia as far as we’re concerned. The old post-office-come-petrol station is not only a cute little café with all the regular coffee and cake trimmings, but it also serves a mean laksa, and a wonton soup that’ll leave you wonton more. Owner and chef Ali Seedman is popular around town, her years of experience as a chef in Sydney and operating her own catering business is obvious in her creations. While it’s not all Asian fare, it’s certainly a focus. “There’s a bit of a dearth of good Asian cooking up in the Hills,” she says. Her lunches are a local go-to, but if you haven’t got time to stop, there are fridges full of freshly made lunch and dinner options to go. Friday night dinners have started too, so you can walk the talk more often.
25 Onkaparinga Valley Road, Verdun.
Hahndorf Hill Winery
Chocolate, wine and views – these are a few of our favourite things. Hahndorf Hill Winery really hits the trifecta in their idyllic cellar door, set atop a hill just outside Hahndorf. The team includes some of the most genuine Hills folk around. “When you’re a small family run business like we are, you have to create a point of difference. Ours has been the Chocovino wine and chocolate pairing experience,” owner Larry Jacobs says. They’ve been running the tasting for 10 years, showing off a selection of HH wines and chocolates from all over the globe. They also specialise in Austrian wine varieties including a number grüner veltliner styles (from original Austrian cuttings).
38 Pain Road, Hahndorf.
You know you’re onto something good when you can smell fresh bread, pastries and pies out the door. Part of the new Uraidla Republic site, the Uraidla Bakery was originally developed by James Katsarelias (they also have Nettle & Knead on Duthy Street). “We’re a natural, ethical produce-driven bakery,” James says. “We’re about low food miles and organic where possible.” Specialising in sourdough bread, most of their products use this method as a base. It’s all good, from the simple sausage roll to fruit danishes, or a German-style seedy loaf to take home.
1196 Greenhill Rd, Uraidla
New to the Uraidla Republic space, this compact brewery is separated by glass, so you can have a gander while you take a seat with your pie. It’s a working facility where brewer Oscar Matthews crafts a growing range of beers including a pale ale, stout and IPA. Grab a pint of beer in the café or pub, both adjacent, or taste the full range in the flight of tastings. “We can get really hands on here,” Oscar says, “which gives us an opportunity to be quite unique in the beers we produce. We’ve got plans to expand our market garden out the back. Some of the produce we’ll be able to use in our beers which will be really cool for experimentation.”
1196 Greenhill Road, Uraidla.
See Shop Do
Cleland Wildlife Park
Who doesn’t love patting a beautiful roo. The little characters roam throughout the gorgeous Cleland grounds, as well as emus, bettongs, wallabies and waterfowl. All things furry and feathered call these 37 hectares of parkland home, including the famous koalas. “It’s a really special place to get away to yourself with the animals and just spend time connecting with nature,” acting site manager Sue Mackenzie says. “One of the really special things you can do here at Cleland is book one of our exclusive tours. We do breakfast with the birds in the morning, where you get to meet the birds and share your breakfast with them. We also do night walks where you get to see some of our nocturnal residents.”
365 Mount Lofty Summit Road, Crafers.
Maker’s Mark Jewellery Studio
If you’re after a special keepsake (one that you definitely can’t eat or drink when you leave), then Maker’s Mark is a beautiful gem (so to speak). Specialising in handcrafted jewellery, as well as repairs and one-off pieces in their Hahndorf shop, the team here is all about the special touches. They also stock a collection of other local brands that sparkle and shimmer in all the right ways, like Australian Chocolate Diamonds and Von Treskow, a Melbourne jewellery design company.
52 Main Street, Hahndorf.
Buzz Honey recently relocated to the Hahndorf main drag and is the perfect pit- stop to take some golden Hills memories home with you. Taste the honey, see the bees, chat to co-owner Annette Ferris and take your favourite jar home. “We take our honey straight from the paddock to the plate,” Annette says. “We cold-press extract our honeys so all our honey is raw.” Her family tends to the bees themselves. “We have our bees move around all over the state to collect specific flavours.” Blue gum, orange blossom, bush mallee and meadow make up their staple South Australian range. Try them all.
3/44 Mount Barker Road, Hahndorf.
Pallet Home & Table
Stroll into Pallet and you’ll find more than meets the eye. Owners Sam Uren and Matt Seagrove are passionate about great coffee, great food and exceptional style. Sam not only whips up all the food upstairs (make sure to take home a jar of his dukkah), but also restores furniture for their super-stylish homewares shop downstairs. There’s also clothes, homewares, leather goods and more.
73a Main Road, Nairne.
Springwood Farm Berries
Atop a windy dirt driveway is one of the cutest roadside farmgate stalls we’ve ever seen. This third generation berry farm sells homemade berry ice creams that are the talk of the town. They’re little pots of berry bliss. Grab them at local stores (Piccadilly Kitchen) or from their stall, as well as jams, berries and more. It’s well worth making the trek for. Trust us, our car broke down on our way and it was still worth it.
16 Cornish Road, Summerton.
Art, sculpture, homewares, clothing and jewellery abound in the gallery and shop here – most made by local Hills hands. They host new exhibitions regularly, and the heritage-listing building is a spectacle in itself. You can while away the hours far too easily. For a tad more history, visit the German Migration Museum to see the roots of the hills in historic objects and stories.
68 Main Street, Hahndorf.
The Paint Box
While The Paint Box is a go-to for local South Aussie artists, it’s also a great spot to visit for those new to art too, even if you’re just passing through. If those autumnal Hills hues get you in the mood for some getaway painting, stop by for some of their top-notch imported art supplies and some advice from the team. Ask about their art classes, too – they’ve got individual or group sessions so you will have your hot little hands around a brush and paint before you know it.
100 Main Street, Hahndorf.
Outside, the Crafers Hotel looks like a good ol’ Hills pub. Inside, you’re met with an unexpectedly modern interior. Exposed stone walls, polished wood furnishings, Persian rugs, warm lighting and greenery give the space a homely vibe. Walk in and you’ll be met with a professionalism all of Ed and Julie Peter’s properties ooze. The couple loves the heritage charm of the building, and the ethos the old pub represents. “I think we tend to have an attraction to old buildings, particularly if they’re historical – they just need love,” Julie says. “They have a lot to offer and become happy buildings again when you strip back the false ceilings, take rubbish off the walls, take up the carpet and old lino. I just love old things: I think they come with a story, a history, and a soul.” This Hills hospitality is continued upstairs in their boutique accommodation. Seven rooms in the upper levels of the hotel have been lovingly renovated and luxuriously fitted out. We’re talking rain showers, chandeliers, marble bathroom fittings and beds like clouds. Go deluxe and you’ll be treated to even more delights, the likes of stunning stand-alone bathtubs and private balconies overlooking the town and surrounding Hills. The terraces are also joined, so you can remove the partitions and have rooftop drinks with your family or friends on a group getaway. Food and wine from the downstairs restaurant and bar is also available upstairs, or you can mosey on down and enjoy the French- influence gastro-pub fair in the comforts of the ambient restaurant space. You can even treat yourself to a bottle of wine (some up to $11,000). Their incredible cellar downstairs is home to some real doozeys. It’s a fantastic option for a weekend away with someone special, or even a family affair if you rent out a number of rooms. They even have a room designed for disabled access.
8 Main Street, Crafers.
Hahndorf Resort & Adelaide Hills Convention Centre
Just a hop, skip and jump from Hahndorf’s main drag, Hahndorf Resort has accommodation options for all sorts of individuals, couples and families (even the really big ones). While there’s the usual camping and RV sites, they also offer resort rooms, cottages, units and a resort house, all within the pretty grounds, ducks and all. Originally mushroom farmers, Brian and Lynn Schirripa purchased the property in 2013 and have since been widely recognised for their efforts transforming a neglected piece of the Hills. “We took a leap of faith, harnessing our passion for the beauty and uniqueness of the area, trading produce markets for tourism,” owner Brian Schirripa says. The Resort took out two awards at the 2017 South Australian Tourism Awards for their accommodation, and their on-site Convention Centre took out Best Business Event Venue in Australia, testament to the great businesses and passionate people coming out of this region.
145a Mount Barker Road, Hahndorf.
What’s your favourite thing to do in the Adelaide Hills? Let us know in the comments below.