With rolling hills, pretty vineyards and old villages, this wine region has never been short on charm. Explore exciting new eateries, unique cellar doors and fascinating attractions – all just 30 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD.
Where to stay
Mount Lofty House
One of the top stays in the Hills, Mount Lofty House (pictured top) has 31 rooms, four self-contained cottages and the newly launched Sequoia Luxury Lodge, a fine-dining restaurant and a bar with a casual menu. Enjoy a treatment at Gate Keeper's Day Spa, stroll through landscaped gardens or the on-site vineyards, take a dip in the pool or just enjoy the views over Piccadilly Valley.
Where to eat
With herringbone floors, bentwood chairs, crisp white walls and vibrant green accents, Aldgate’s Fred Eatery has a chic urban feel. The breakfast offerings include housemade Bircher and an excellent egg, bacon and rocket roll.
Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard
Overlooking rows of vines, this cellar door and vineyard restaurant in Lenswood is the spot for a long lunch. The confident, elegant menu prioritises seasonal South Australian produce – the perfect complement to Sharon Pearson and Garry Sweeney’s cool-climate wines. Order the five-course tasting menu for the full experience.
The Summertown Aristologist
This local favourite has an ever-changing pared-back set menu of seasonal dishes that are full of flavour (“leeks vinaigrette + salt beef” or “kohlrabi + sunflower cream”) for $75. Combined with an unassuming vibe and a natural-wine focus, The Summertown Aristologist is a special experience.
Where to drink
Lost in a Forest
While this “wood-oven wine lounge” is famous for its pizzas, Lost in a Forest is also a showcase of the Basket Ranges micro-region. There’s an eclectic mix of Euro vinos, innovative cocktails and tinnies from around the world.
The Crafers Hotel
The Crafers Hotel has all the international labels you’d expect from an upscale gastropub and it also champions boutique spirits, beers and ciders. The bespoke wine room holds about 2000 bottles from Hills producers and labels from the Old and New worlds. Upstairs are seven beautifully renovated rooms for overnight stays.
The best things to do
For art-lovers and history buffs, Hans Heysen’s home, studio and garden, The Cedars, features his works and those of his daughter, Nora, the first woman to win the Archibald Prize (in 1938).
But first, coffee
The best fix is at The Stirling Hotel Cellars and Patisserie. The housemade pastries are also excellent.
This article was first published in 2017 and has been updated.