With rolling hills, pretty vineyards and old villages, this wine region has never been short on charm. A recent raft of openings has added exciting new eateries, unique cellar doors and fascinating attractions – all just 30 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD.
Mount Lofty House
One of the top stays in the Hills, Mount Lofty House has 31 rooms and four self-contained cottages, a fine-dining restaurant and a bar with a casual menu. Enjoy a treatment at Stables 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.
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.
My Lofty Ranges Vineyard
Overlooking rows of vines, this cellar door and vineyard restaurant in Lenswood is the spot for a long lunch. Chef Lauren Evers’ 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 Chef’s Surprise menu for the full experience.
The Summertown Aristologist
The seasonal menu features pared-back dishes (“broccoli, pearl barley, puffed grain” and “mussels, tomato, fennel”) that are full of flavour. Combined with an unassuming vibe and a natural-wine focus, The Summertown Aristologist is a local favourite.
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 hot-right-now 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.
Taste the region Well-rounded sampling experiences can be had at Bird in Hand, Shaw + Smith and Tapanappa, as well as Unico Zelo’s new tasting room and Glen Ewin Estate, where you can try lesser-known labels.
Image: Bird in Hand
Living colour 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, caffeine...
The best fix is at The Stirling Hotel Cellars and Patisserie. The housemade pastries are also excellent.
Top image: Bird in Hand