Medallion Homes

A Day on the Road:
There’s no denying the natural beauty of the Adelaide Hills.

The rolling landscape sparks a sense of adventure and as the seasons change, so too do the hues of the region’s patchwork of farmland, vineyards, cellar doors, national parks, and character-packed towns full of wonderful cafes, restaurants and bars serving produce sourced from Mother Nature and the bounty that surrounds them.

Once you hit the road, it doesn’t take long for the magic to unfold. Whether you hit the Princes Highway or prefer the winding ambience of Greenhill Road, 20 minutes is all it takes to reach peak Hills heights, yet it feels a world away.

There are many towns to explore. In part one of our Adelaide Hills Day on the Road, we explore the towns and surrounds of Ashton, Piccadilly, Summertown, Uraidla, Stirling and Crafers.

First stop, sparkling wine. Greenhill Wines and Cafe serves Dr Paul and Dr Penny Henschke’s exceptional methode traditionelle (bottle fermented) creations with picturesque views over Piccadilly Valley and Mount Bonython. It’s never a good idea to drive on an empty stomach. This is also a hidden food treasure. Penny is a wonderful cook and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the onsite café serves wonderful, fresh tasting plates.

It’s also worth visiting Ashton’s new Adieu Bonjour bookstore which opened in August 2023. It is the brainchild of Rachel Signer, author of You Had Me at Pét-Nat and creator of natural wine label Cleopatra Wines. The carefully curated selection of literary fiction, literary nonfiction, cookbooks and drinks books, children’s books, and magazines is thrilling.

Next, head to Ashton Hills Vineyard’s cellar door for stunning Pinot Noir served in an intimate, character and corrugated iron-packed building (endearingly shed-like) perched on the ridge just below the Mount Lofty summit. Want more liquid gold? Lofty Valley Estate is becoming increasingly well-known for award-winning Chardonnay. The high-altitude cellar door (completed late 2022) has a welcoming feel, with lofty views to match the name. There’s potential for retail therapy here, too. Co-owner and fibre artist Lani Ramsey’s artisan hand-spun textile creations are available onsite, too.

For lovers of sparkling wine, Piccadilly Valley’s Tapanappa Wines is a great place to start. The winery and cellar door’s driveway passes the famous The Tiers Vineyard, planted in 1979 by wine industry pioneer Brian Croser who paved the way for the region we know and love today. The cellar door serves spectacular Tapanappa and DAOSA drops, including the stunning DAOSA Blanc de Blanc and DAOSA Natural Réserve.

It wouldn’t be a Hills jaunt without stopping at a roadside stall or farmgate for fresh produce. Steer the wheels toward Springwood Farm Berries which reopens in October after a short seasonal break. Here, it’s all about berries. The raspberry sorbet is a must.

All Hills townships exude charm but Uraidla literally oozes community vibes. Make time to visit the new Wotton Family Wines cellar door, a sweet little gem overlooking the Wotton family’s cherry orchards. Their wine range includes a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Rosé, Pinot Gris and a Sparkling Rose (made from hand-picked Pinot grapes) created by industry legend Brian Croser. Hot tip: When the weather is friendly, the pod is great for an outdoor tipple.

Another drawcard to Uraidla is the food. There’s so much to choose from. From character-packed The Uraidla Hotel for everything from breakfast to baked Onkaparinga camembert, to a memorable Chicken Bacon Parmy. Craving pizza? Lost in a Forest is the ticket. The wine bar-meets-restaurant serves creative wood oven pizzas (think bahn mi pizza) made with local ingredients. Try the Forest Fronds creation for a pizza that screams of place (confit garlic, pickled fennel, Nino’s sausage, fennel fronds, chambers gully foraged fennel pollen, and Chucks Hot Chilli-infused Honey. For some of the best baked goods in the state, The Uraidla Bakery is a hot spot. The bread is particularly coveted due to the old-world baking techniques used when making it.

Love having your finger on the proverbial food pulse? Continue driving to Les Deux Coqs, the latest addition to Stirling. What started as a market stall is now a thriving business serving authentic French fare. Find it in Stirling’s laneways. The croissants and selection of pate croute are particularly delectable. Patch Kitchen & Garden is also a great place to settle in for a meal (especially if you love pasta) or cocktail in the leafy courtyard (hidden at the rear). The sweet little restaurant recently won Best New SA Restaurant in the 2023 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards.

For a seafood fix with a difference, vist Angler. Not only is this an upmarket fish n chippie, it also serves a menu of up to eight courses; all showcasing sustainably sourced seafood. Genius.

The Crafers Hotel has it all. An epic wine cellar, an expansive gastropub menu (you’ll often spot local winemakers indulging in wild mushroom pot pie or the latest butcher’s cut), and onsite accommodation. It’s all class. So too, is historic hilltop manor Mt Lofty House, home to accommodation and Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant where silver service is the vibe. For even more luxury, turn the day trip into a weekend with a night or two at Sequoia Lodge, which delivers luxury (including artesian spring-fed hot pools and the Gatekeeper’s Day Spa) surrounded by Mount Lofty Botanic Garden and native parklands. Bliss and just 20 minutes back to the city once you’re done with all the pampering.

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