Take it slow and feel yourself unwind
Some road trips are all about the driving. Others are about what happens in between. A driving tour through the Adelaide Hills definitely falls into the latter category. Our long weekend itinerary is designed to start on a Friday and get you back to Adelaide, relaxed and refreshed, by Sunday evening.
The trip starts with a feel-good coffee stop at the family-run Topiary, a restaurant dedicated to sustainability and set in the lush Newman’s Nursery at Tea Tree Gully, a 30-minute drive from Adelaide. Much of what’s on the Topiary menu has been grown in the surrounding gardens or foraged nearby. Fortify yourself with a mid-morning treat, before setting out for Paracombe Premium Perry which has been a staple producer of the Adelaide Hills since 2012. Here, visitors can tour the pear orchards and learn how to make their own blend of cider.
“At The Cedars you’ll find the historic cottage garden where you can wander along the Artist’s Walk.”
From here, head on to Lobethal for a lunch of shared platters and tapas-style snacks at the cosy Hügel Wine Bar and Kitchen, before stretching your legs on a walk through the stringybark forest of Lobethal Bushland Park. Check in for the night at the nearby Barristers Block Vigneron Villa that is also home to bespoke accommodation alongside its vineyards and cellar door.
Next morning, Mount Barker beckons for brunch at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Markets, where the goodies on offer include everything from fruit to flowers, baked treats to olive oil. Then it’s a short drive to one of the region’s arts and culture hubs.
The destination will be Hahndorf, a town that encourages you to linger with a spot of browsing. Go treasure-hunting at Grass Roots Vintage and Hahndorf Antiques & Collectables, or visit one of the galleries tucked into one of the picturesque heritage houses, such as Hahndorf Academy or Bamfurlong Fine Crafts. At The Cedars you’ll find the historic cottage garden where you can wander along the Artist’s Walk and discover some of Hans Heysen’s favoured painting sites.
Don’t leave it too late to head to your accommodation for the night: the sumptuous new Sequoia Lodge on the estate of Mount Lofty House. While the lodge suites here are stunning – with private balconies, fireplaces, and king-size beds that are perfectly positioned for sky-gazing – there is also plenty to do.
Top of the list is a chance to soak in the lodge’s hot pools, fed by artesian springs. Sunset is the time to gather at the valley rim with a Sequoia team member. Sample Adelaide Hills wines and graze on local produce as a team member introduces you to the story of the lodge and its region. Enjoy dinner at Hardy’s Verandah before getting an up-close look at the Milky Way through Sequoia’s telescope.
“Top of the list at Sequoia is a chance to soak in the lodge’s hot pools, fed by artesian springs.”
Start your Sunday with a hike along the Heysen Trail which runs right by the property, or ask staff to tee up an e-bike if you would rather tackle it on two wheels. There are panoramic views across Adelaide and the Mount Lofty ranges, as well as wildlife-spotting opportunities: keep your eyes open for kangaroos, koalas and wallabies.