Living in the Adelaide Hills
Raise your standard of living.
It may be just up the road from town but there’s nothing like actually living in the Hills to lower your blood pressure and raise your standard of living. There really is so much to enjoy and Mount Barker puts you right in the middle of everything the Hills has to offer, whether it’s an enjoyable outing for yourself or something to keep the grandkids amused (and get them visiting more often).
It seems a new wave of creative foodies has taken over the Hills, revitalising the bar and pub scene. Here’s just a sample from the smorgasbord on offer.
The newly renovated Uraidla Hotel is a fabulous hotchpotch of quirks. The upside-down lampshades might be a bit much for your taste but the sophisticated pub grub won’t be. There’s the multi-award-winning Stirling Hotel with its seasonal bistro, gourmet pizza bar, gin bar, sizzling grill, cellar and patisserie.
The avant garde Crafers Hotel oozes style and its French cuisine is matched by one of the state’s best wine lists.
There’s the deliciously named Lost in a Forest in a converted church in Uraidla, where Sundays are now given over to divine wood-oven pizza that people flock to religiously.
Meanwhile, down at the Summertown Aristologist, the smooth-talking chefs, bartenders and winemakers are now serving some of the Hills’ best food and drink, mostly grown and prepared on-site.
Whilst it may not be new, the Lobethal Bierhaus still holds its own with a micro-brewery, cellar door and restaurant located in the Old Onkaparinga Woollen Mills.
And if we’re talking icons, you can’t go past Bridgewater Mill, where award-winning Head Chef, Zac Ronayne, is renowned for his round-the-world menu consisting of Japanese, French, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, all made using local ingredients.
Still not satisfied? Well, there are all the places to pick up something to take home. There’s Udder Delights and Woodside Cheese Wrights for your cheeses; Chocolate No. 5 in Hahndorf, the award-winning Cocolat in Balhannah and Melba's Chocolates in Woodside for the sweet tooths; Beerenberg in Hahndorf for your jams, pickles and sauces; Johnston’s fabulous cordials in Oakbank; the roadside stalls around almost every corner for your seasonal fruit and veg; and let’s not forget the fabulous farmers’ markets that pop up almost every weekend.
If you’re partial to a drop, you’re probably already familiar with the wines of the Adelaide Hills. What you might not know, however, is that the 60 wineries within this small region includes some of the finest cool-climate wines in Australia. Plus, no other wine region in the world is closer to a city. And by living in the Hills, you’ll be even closer still.
Every January, you can look forward to the Crush festival that most cellar doors take part in as an annual celebration of Adelaide Hills’ food and wine, with lots of entertainment and special offers. Then, in July, you can snuggle in by the fire at your favourite winery and enjoy the Winter Reds Weekend.
From Mount Barker, you can drive in almost any direction and find a great road, a delightful township, a perfect picnic spot, a bracing walk or a whole new experience to enjoy by yourself, with visitors or the family.
First place to stop if you do love driving might be the National Motor Museum in Birdwood, which houses Australia’s most important collection of vintage, veteran and classic motor cars and motor cycles.
If you prefer pedal power, you can head up the Amy Gillett Bikeway or into the Kuitpo forest; on the other hand, you could take on as much of the Mawson Trail as you can handle (it goes all the way from the Adelaide Hills to Blinman in the Flinders Ranges).
If shopping is more your thing, then you can’t beat Strathalbyn as a mecca for antique hunters or the tourist hub of Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, for some unique retail therapy.
For art lovers, you can’t miss a tour of Sir Hans Heysen’s home and studio, The Cedars, and see the landscape that inspired some of his.
For animal lovers, there’s Cleland Wildlife Park, which also includes night walks, or the world’s biggest rocking horse in Gumeracha.
For lovers of fine design, there’s Aptos Cruz, housed in an old church in Stirling while the Oakbank Weaver produces hand-woven textiles and tapestries.
For garden lovers, there’s the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Stangate House in Aldgate (with one of Australia’s finest camellia gardens) or you can even sneak a peek at the garden of Sophie Thompson from ABC TV at Hamlyn Park when it’s open.
And that’s only scratching the surface of what will be around you in your new home.