Cuddle a Koala
Children and international visitors in particular tend to get excited about just how close they can get to koalas at Cleland Wildlife Park in Crafers and Gorge Wildlife Park in Cudlee Creek, with both offering koala holding sessions. But this is just one of the many wildlife encounters on offer. Cleland Wildlife Park features some 130 native Australian species while Gorge Wildlife Park feature both native and exotic animals including a vast range of birds and reptiles.
Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement located about a half an hour drive from Adelaide. There is still a strong German flavour in Hahndorf, most evident in the smallgoods outlets, German bakeries and pubs that line the bustling main street. Highlights include shopping, cellar doors, dining, art galleries and studios, strawberry picking, micro breweries, children's farmyard and walking tours.
Winery Cellar Doors and Micro-breweries
Many visits to the Adelaide Hills revolve around tasting and purchasing its sophisticated cool climate wines, and with around 50 cellar doors there is a wine experience to suit every palate. In addition, many offer tours, food and wine matching experiences, master classes and regional fare, as well as fine contemporary dining. Lovers of craft beer will enjoy visiting the region's award-winning craft breweries.
Mount Lofty Summit
At 710 metres above sea level Mount Lofty Summit at Crafers affords spectacular views of the city and coast beyond. It’s the ideal place to start your Adelaide Hills adventure to get your bearings and appreciate the region's elevation. There is a café, restaurant and gift shop with visitor information. The steep walk between the summit and Waterfall Gully is very popular. Nearby attractions include Cleland Wildlife Park and Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.
Garden Village of Stirling
The pretty village of Stirling, just 20 minutes from Adelaide, is considered a key gateway for the region. But before continuing on to explore further afield take a stroll along the main street, with its garden setting, abundance of tempting shops (homewares, books, fashion and gifts), stylish pub, cafes and restaurants. Other highlights include its monthly market, chocolatier and cooking school.
Pick Your Own Fruit in the 'Land of Plentiful Pickings'
Experience fruit the way it is meant to taste and the satisfaction of picking it yourself. Strawberries are in season from November to April at Beerenberg Farm in Hahndorf. In December and January cherries can be picked at a number of orchards detailed in the Cherries SA Cherry Map. Figs can be picked at Willabrand fig orchard at Glen Ewin Estate in Houghton from February to April. 'Pick a Pink Lady Apple' Weekend in Lenswood is held in early May.
The Adelaide Hills has four very distinct seasons, with every one providing another set of experiences and reasons to visit. The region is well-known for its beauty in autumn (March through to May), with many of its towns (most notably Stirling and Hahndorf) lined with spectacular deciduous trees. Mount Lofty Botanic Garden at Crafers also turns on a stunning display of autumn leaves and is the perfect place to frolic in the fallen leaves.
Adelaide Hills is the ideal place to get a taste of country life. Have some hands-on fun and introduce kids to all manner of farm animals at Hahndorf Farm Barn in Hahndorf, Platform 1 Heritage Farm Railway and Four Oaks Farm, both in Littlehampton. At The Big Rocking Horse in Gumeracha, there are native and farmyard animals. Another option is Chamel Fields at Kuitpo Forest in the region’s south, offering a farmstay experience featuring miniature horses.
National Motor Museum, Birdwood
Housed in the historic Birdwood Mill, the National Motor Museum has one of Australia’s best collections of old, rare motor vehicles and curiosities. The collection comprises approximately 300 cars, trucks and motorcycles as well as hundreds of motoring-related objects, such as brochures and maps, tin signs, petrol bowsers, toys, models and photographs. This gem is appreciated by people of all ages and hosts some great motoring events.
The Cedars, Hahndorf
- Visit the home, studio and garden of Australia's most renowned landscape artist Sir Hans Heysen. Heysen lived and worked at his Hahndorf property called 'The Cedars' from 1912 until his death in 1968 and it is now open to the public for guided tours. Some 200 original works of art can be seen in changing displays in the studios and the house. Visitors are invited to wander along the Artist’s Walk and discover some of Heysen’s favoured painting sites.
And an honourable mention at 'number 11' for an experience that is still developing...
The Hills Sculpture Trail features 16 contemporary sculptures made by sculptors who travelled to the region from around the world for the biennial Adelaide Hills Sculpture Symposium events in 2012 and 2014. Most are dotted around the beautiful landscape of the Adelaide Hills, with some in the neighbouring region of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Another ten sculptures were created during the most recent symposium in April 2016 and these will soon be placed around the region, completing the trail of 26 scultures.