By Shell on Nov. 18, 2021
Getting there: 28 kilometres (30 minutes) south-east of Adelaide
The Adelaide Hills are a treasure trove of gorgeous towns in the rolling bushland bisected by the South Eastern Freeway, and the jewel is a mere half-hour from Adelaide. Hahndorf started life as a German settlement when Lutheran families fled persecution from the Prussian Empire: indeed, the township is named after Dirk Hahn, the ship’s captain who brought them to their new lives in South Australia.
However, Hahndorf is more than a living piece of history - it’s also a bustling destination in its own right. Park along Mount Barker Road and take a stroll beneath the 130-year-old plane, cork, chestnut and elm trees originally planted to make the residents feel more at home, and you’ll find a wealth of antique and craft shops, boutiques and local artisans.
The Hahndorf Inn is a welcoming sight as one enters the town and is legendary for its hearty Sunday roasts and Bavarian-style bierhall - but any day is perfect for a meal, or to sample the range of German and Austrian brews.
If Sydney’s sky is Ken Done blue, then Adelaide’s is the gorgeously ethereal colours of Hans Heysen. No artist has quite captured the unique quality to the light in South Australia like the artist whose journeys through the Flinders Ranges are immortalised along the Trail that bears his name, and his preserved studio in The Cedars is a living tribute to his life and work. While on your art adventure, be sure to visit the Aboriginal Art House and its ever-changing range of contemporary works by artists from the Central and Western Deserts.
The Adelaide Hills is one of the world’s most beloved wine regions and plenty of wineries call the Hahndorf area home. Cellar doors abound, including award-winning wineries and dining experiences at Sidewood, La Prova, Somerled, The Lane Vineyard, and Hahndorf Hill. Speaking of Heysen, several of his original works are in the Adelaide Hills Wine Bar founded by another South Australian celebrity, the internationally acclaimed winemaker Wolf Blass. And if you’ve had your fill of wine, there’s always a cheeky gin tasting at Ambleside distillers.
Those with a sweet tooth should allow time to visit the Menz factory and shop, home of SA’s iconic FruChocs (including varieties rarely seen in the wild). And a word of advice: book if you plan to go strawberry picking at Beerenberg Farm. It’s a SA family favourite during the November-April fruit season and a great activity for the little ones - and that’s before you get to their world-famous range of jams, condiments, sauces and marinades, including many not available in shops.
And while the drive is thoroughly pleasant, Hahndorf is also a great place to stretch one’s legs. There’s a self-guided walking tour of the township itself which takes in most of the above, while those wanting to go bush can take on the 20km Hahndorf-Bridgewater trail, or follow in the literal footsteps of the founding families that took their wares to Adelaide via the Pioneer Women’s Trail all the way back to the city.