Friday, March 11, 2011

Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills is a terrific destination – you get the benefit of being in a semi rural setting but still have the luxury of travelling into the “big smoke” of Adelaide if you want to. We stayed in the historic village of Hahndorf – a reminder of the German heritage of South Australia – with it’s typical German style pubs and food. The town has also retained many of its old buildings and makes you feel like you have gone back to a more relaxed carefree time.
The other benefit of staying in Hahndorf is that you are pretty central to all the attractions and winegrowing areas.
The Adelaide Hills area has plenty of wineries, notably “The Lane” and “Shaw and Smith”, but less than an hour away you can sample wines in the Barossa to the north, McLaren Vale to the southwest or Langhorne Creek to the southeast. On top of that you are only a 30 minute drive to the Murray River, where you can go up stream in a paddle steamer and another hours drive south to the seaside town of Victor Harbour.
For the flying enthusiasts I would suggest a visit to the little town of Aldinga in McLaren vale. They have a small airstrip that does joy flights as well as flying lessons. We found the locals really friendly and if we lived there would definitely become involved at their aero club – it had such a great, welcoming feel.
We stayed in a delightful little family run self-contained apartment with a good array of provisions for breakfast. Amble at Hahndorf overlooks fields with a horse galloping around and sulphur crested cockatoos that visit daily and is a short walk from the main street – far enough away from town to be quiet but close enough that you can walk in for dinner or a drink at one of the pubs. The variety and quality of the food was exceptional and in most cases the prices were totally affordable.
The history of the area is everywhere you look, from the old mill in Bridgewater to Sir Hans Heysen's historic home in Hahndorf. This homestead is well worth a visit and you get the opportunity to see Heysen’s inspirations for his paintings as well as hear about some of the famous people he and his wife entertained. We also found looking through some of the old grave yards enlightening with many famous wine growing names dating back to the mid 1800s.
This area is a great place to visit and I’m sure we will be going back again.