Adelaideans, do you know how blessed you are? Just 20 minutes from your city centre, you start climbing into one of the most beautiful parts of Australia. I love the Adelaide Hills, especially when they’re bursting with spring blossoms or glowing with autumn leaves. A drive through the Hills is a joy in itself – add a huge range of exciting wines (it’s the epicentre of Australian natural winemaking), truly delish food, plus great local producers and artists, and I can honestly say this is the only place other than Sydney I could imagine myself living. Here’s five reasons why.
Stay (Eat & Drink) The Crafers Hotel
Built in 1839, this sandstone hotel offers comfortable accommodation with great bathrooms (request a terrace-access room). There’s a long list of local craft beers, simple French fare plus pub classics, a serious cellar, interesting wines by the glass and staff who know their stuff. What’s not to love?!
Wine Basket Range
The Adelaide Hills has evolved into the centre of Australia’s exciting (and expanding) natural wine scene, especially around the sub-region of Basket Range. Producers like Jauma, Gentle Folk and The Other Right don’t have cellar doors, but are happy to show-off their wares by appointment and many can be tasted at The Summertown Aristologist (see below).
Eat (& Drink) The Summertown Aristologist
Owned by winemakers, Anton van Klopper (Lucy Margaux), Jasper Button (Commune of Buttons) and Aaron Fenwick (Château Comme Ci Comme Ça), this is the place to try natural wines (many from local wineries without cellar doors) alongside a short menu of simple, delicious shared food. Think handmade pasta with miso, chicory and kale; black pudding with pickled shallots; and pannacotta, orange and fennel pollen.
Cheese Woodside Cheese Wrights
A pioneer of Australian artisanal cheese, Kris Lloyd is now incorporating native flavours in a way that is bold (green ant chevre anyone?) yet restrained. Salt bush, callistemon flowers and local porcini mushrooms find their way into goat, buffalo and cow milk cheeses. Willy Wonka’s for cheese nerds!
Bakery Uraidla Bakery
Possibly the home of Australia’s best sausage roll (spicy lamb, see my version here), this great bakery beside the Uraidla Hotel also houses their craft brewery. On weekends, locals queue for traditional sourdough bread, excellent pastries and good coffee to enjoy at the eclectic jumble of retro tables and chairs.