Right at the back door of South Australia’s capital city, the picturesque Adelaide Hills are famed for their small townships, fruit orchards and award-winning wineries.
The region extends from the Barossa Valley to McLaren Vale. By car from Adelaide, it will only take half an hour.
Animal lovers, foodies, enthusiastic bike-riders and outdoorsy types will find something they love all year round in this stunning region. Whether you opt to stay overnight or just make a day trip from the city, the Adelaide Hills will charm your family.
If you are crazy for critters, then make the most of the numerous nearby wildlife parks.
Cleland Wildlife Park, situated in the bush setting of the Mount Lofty Ranges, is brilliant for kids. This park has no enclosures. You can see the animals in their natural environment. Get up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos, wombats and numerous native birds.
Kids can cuddle a koala at Gorge Wildlife Park, which is also home to dingos, Tassie devils, echidnas and fruit bats, exotic monkeys and reptiles. Our top tip: time your visit for the last Sunday of the month. That’s when the park has ‘Unleashed’ keeper demonstrations.
Foodies will love the valley’s fruit-picking trail. You can’t beat handpicked fresh fruit.
From November to April, strawberries are in their prime, and can be found at the Beerenberg Farm in Hahndorf.
From November to January, chomp on cherries. The valley also has figs and apples – keep an eye out for when they are in season.
If you’re still feeling hungry, follow the Adelaide Hills Kids’ Food Trail which teaches families about the origins of produce and how tasty treats are made. Watch bees make honey, taste cheese at Udder Delights or Woodside Cheese Wrights and treat your sweet tooth at Melba’s Chocolate and Confectionery Factory.
Mums, Dads and their taste-buds don’t have to forego a good local wine. There are several family-friendly cellar doors, including Golding Wines who welcome kids to run around on their lawns, have live music, and host activity days on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and their famous Paella Day.
For a hint of history, hang out in Hahndorf, which is Australia’s oldest German settlement. You’ll feel the European influence in the local bakeries and pubs, which still echo with the voices of early Prussian immigrants. Visit Jupiter Creek self-guided heritage trail at Echunga, where most miners made their fortune in the gold rush of the 1800s, and then check out Bridgewater Mill and other flour mills and breweries that marked the start of the 19th century farm industries. Another worthy mention is ‘The Cedars’ Edwardian property in Hahndorf, where famous landscape artist Sir Hans Heysen painted until his death.
Follow the fresh air with your family and find yourselves soaking up the fantastic views atop Mount Lofty, the perfect vantage point for spying the city and the coast. There are some great tracks nearby, especially in Waterfall Gully, although many of them are steep and better suited to longer legs. Littlies will enjoy the Sculpture Trail in town, which is fairly flat and takes as little or as long as you want, or can pedal around sections of the Amy Gillett Bikeway. Other outdoor marvels to investigate are Belair National Park, Morialta Conservation Park and Cleland Conservation Park, where you’ll find Waterfall Gully and the Cleland Wildlife Park.