As much as I’d like to, I can’t always be somewhere warm and tropical, totally relaxed with feet up on the banana lounge looking out to a serene beach view. So, in the in-between times I do have the good fortune of living in the gloriously clean, green and picturesque Adelaide Hills in South Australia. Winter time can tend to drag on a bit but what we do look forward to is sitting in a warm home, slow combustion fire blazing away, comfy couches and cosy throws with a glass of excellent local red wine and a book or magazine to while away the rainy days and nights. Very hygge.
We are also very fortunate to be surrounded with many wineries offering sweeping views over the hills and vines, great atmosphere, friendly enthusiastic staff and of course world class wines. The wineries also have tasting platters available and are warm and cosy places to visit.
Every July there is an event in the hills called Winter Reds where, as the name suggests the focus is on visiting one or more wineries and sampling the reds in particular, but you can also partake in whatever they have to offer, as well as enjoying entertainment and regional food. It’s happening this year on the weekend of 28th to 30th July and is well worth a look at, the program can be found at www.winterreds.com.au
Winter is actually a perfect time to visit any of the hills towns and browse the beautiful boutique shops (think homewares, clothing, books, fine art, crafts, local food and antiques) with fewer people about. Follow this with a break at one of the many warm cafes serving great coffee, cakes and pastries and you’ll be back for more.
My must see on a hills driving itinerary would be:
Hit the South Eastern Freeway and take the exit at Stirling. Wander the main street and alleyways packed with plenty of little shops to browse, www.stirlingadelaidehills.com.au/shop, before having a break at one of the great cafes in town or at the very cool, comfortable and popular Stirling hotel. This Sunday happens to be market day too which you can read about in one of my previous posts. A definite must see and great way to experience the hills culture.
Jump back on the South Eastern Freeway then take the Hahndorf turn off and do the Onkaparinga Valley Scenic Drive. Head to Balhannah where you can stop in and browse or shop at Living by Design (think Hamptons/French provincial, beautiful homewares, clothing, kitchen ware) before stopping at The Olde Apple Shed for a bag of locally grown fresh apples or better yet an apple pie ready to take home, put in the oven and devour – you won’t find bigger or better!
Continue on the Onkaparinga Valley Road through Oakbank and then you can start to detour off to some of my favourite wineries. Anytime I want to show off the Adelaide Hills to friends we have to visit Artwine, Bird in Hand and Petaluma wineries in Woodside and Pike & Joyce and Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard in Lenswood. Maybe not all on the same day though because you could easily spend an afternoon at any one of them.
While in Woodside you have to visit the old heritage site buildings that once housed the South Australian Farmers’ Cooperative Union and whose buildings are now home to two well-known favourites Melbas Chocolate Factory and Woodside Cheese Wrights. I defy you to walk out of either of these places without arms full of goodies. What more could you want, wine, cheese and chocolates all on our doorstep.
Next stop take a drive over to Hahndorf, park the car and just soak it all in for starters. This is an historic town of German heritage (it won’t take you long to see why), that is made for walking, with the main street abundant in interesting shops including my personal favourites the 3 wishes candle barn, the German Cake Shop (get the bienenstich) and The Haus for great dining in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere (check out the pizzas). In fact there are so many great shops and places to eat that you just have to go and experience for yourself.
So in essence there are worse places to be biding my time waiting for and planning the next getaway. The other bonus is the weather does make it very conducive to getting down to writing articles, which has been happening in earnest and the next couple of months should see more stories on beautiful destinations for caravan trips out there in print, stay tuned.