Driving through the Adelaide Hills is both a thrilling and relaxing experience. The tree-lined roads dip and climb, tracing the rolling hillsides and occasionally cutting into them around tight corners where the slope drops sharply away, exposing remarkable views.
When not closed in by the trees or sharp rise of a hillside, the views stretch out beyond tree-covered hills to the city and ocean, across an undulating green landscape of pasture spotted with meandering livestock and the occasionally gum, or over the rolling vineyards of Adelaide’s closest wine region.
Just 20 minutes from the relative bustle of the city of Adelaide and its surrounding suburbs, the Adelaide Hills are home to small country towns nestled in the valleys or perched at the top of a rise. Some towns, like Hahndorf and its popular main street, are hard to miss, while others appear to be little more than a house on the roadside.
The Adelaide Hills border the eastern side of the Adelaide metropolitan area, stretching north to south and creating a physical, and often mental, barrier. They push the city up against the ocean, separating it from other regions and the eastern states.
Officially, the Adelaide Hills stretch from Kersbrook in the north to Meadows in the south and are part of the southern Mount Lofty Ranges. The range borders Adelaide during its 90km north-south stretch and is, on average, 30km wide.
The Hills aren’t remarkably tall, just 700 metres above sea level. Despite this, the climate is cooler than the city, making the Hills popular for hiking, mountain biking and cycling. They are home to fresh produce, cool-climate wines, and plenty of long lunch options. Cyclists take on the hills’ many climbs each weekend, stopping in at the many bakeries along the way.
The Hills are green in the winter, colourful in the autumn, prone to fire danger in the summer, and bursting full pastel blossoms in spring. Through it all, the eucalyptus trees bordering the roads maintain their grey-green leaves.
Top 5 things to do in the Adelaide Hills:
- Visit a cellar door (or two), there are more then 50 to choose from
- Check out the views from Mount Lofty Summit; hike, bike or drive up to Adelaide’s highest point
- Visit Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest German Settlement
- Visit Cleland Wildlife Park, get up close to native wildlife
- Enjoy a leisurely long lunch