Two-day drive and play itinerary in the stunning Adelaide Hills

Adelaide Hills driving holiday

It’s South Australia’s best-kept secret – the Adelaide Hills. 

Renowned for its restaurants and cafes showcasing some of the best produce in the state – you can’t blame the locals for wanting to keep this destination to themselves. The region is also home to some of the finest wineries and venues in the country, boasting magnificent backdrops and picture-perfect scenery. The choice of accommodation is also impressive, such as one of the region’s finest destinations – Mount Lofty House. 

The best part about this? While it feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s all within an easy 40-minute drive from the heart of Adelaide. 

Mount Lofty House
Arriving at the stunning Mount Lofty House

There’s so much on offer in this region, that it’s understandably hard to choose where to start. Here’s a suggested two-day itinerary for the foodie looking to get away for the weekend and experience the best Adelaide Hills has to offer.

Day One:

Start the weekend with a leisurely drive through the breathtaking Adelaide Hills and head to the historic Mount Lofty House. Overlooking the spectacular Piccadilly Valley, this iconic 5-star boutique lodge was originally built in 1852 by prominent statesman Arthur Hardy as his summer house. It features Chef Hat Award-winning restaurant, Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant and on-site boutique spa – Gatekeeper’s Day Spa – that offers a slice of heavenly rejuvenation. If the plan is to get away from it all for the weekend, you’ve come to the right place. 

Once you’ve settled into your room and enjoyed a plate of moorish signature Mount Lofty House cookies, take some time to discover the inviting nooks within the lodge, including the library, which features a welcoming fireplace in the cooler months. The Arthur Waterhouse Loung and Bar is also a fabulous space to enjoy a sneaky afternoon tipple. The tiered lawn offers spectacular views over the Piccadilly Valley and is the perfect setting to savour a spiced hot chocolate while you enjoy the heat emanating from the fire pit. The lodge is steeped in history so take time to chat to the friendly staff about the story behind Mount Lofty House. 

Fire pit Mount Lofty House
View of the Piccadilly Valley

Other activities include a short drive to local attractions such as the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens or Mount Lofty Summit. 

Alternatively, you might want to book yourself in for a spa treatment at the beautifully appointed Gatekeeper’s Day Spa and treat yourself to a full ‘Signature Spa Ritual’ or a wellness message. The options are endless so best you just browse the brochure here

Gatekeeper's Day Spa
Treat yourself to a massage or facial at Gatekeeper’s Day Spa

For one of the best dining experiences in the Adelaide Hills, make sure you book a table at Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant for dinner. Hardy’s Verandah serves a seasonally changing, 4 to 7-course degustation menu, following the ‘Valley to Verandah’ concept, paired with a multi-award-winning wine selection, sake collection, and creative cocktail menu.

After dinner, it’s time to return to the comfort of your room, where you’ll enjoy pampering yourself with locally produced Jurlique skincare products before putting your head down for the night in your comfortable four-post bed. 

Day Two:

Wake up to the sound of nature and a stunning sunrise over the Piccadilly Valley before heading back to Hardy’s Verandah for a hearty breakfast. 

After checking out from Mount Lofty House, it’s time to jump in the car and head to the Jurlique Farm in Biggs Flat. Here, you can take part in the Jurlique Farm Tour – a behind-the-scenes walking tour of the biodynamic Jurlique Farm and learn about the nature and science behind the locally produced skin care products. During the tour you will visit a display garden, seed propagation areas, a biodynamic preparation area, and a herb drying shed. At the end of the tour, you will have the opportunity to visit the farm’s retail shop. 

Jurlique Farm
Jurlique Farm

From here, head to Handsdorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement which is now an artisan village featuring smallgoods outlets, bakeries, pubs, restaurants and cafes. If chutney, relish and preserve is your jam (pardon the pun), take a quick detour to the Beerenberg family farm, which is home to the famous Beerenberg jams and sauces, made on site. 

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Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills

Next on the itinerary is Sidewood Estate, a family-owned winery producing elegant, award-winning, cool climate wines in the Adelaide Hills which is also located in Handsdorf. Here, you can enjoy lunch at the restaurant where Head Chef Ali Seedsman offers up a delectable Australasian menu, meticulously designed to highlight the exceptional fresh, local produce of the Adelaide Hills and surrounds. 

From here, it’s a leisurely 40-minute drive back to Adelaide. If you’re lucky enough to have more than a weekend in the hills, there’s a long list of cafes, wineries and attractions to keep you busy. 

Find out more about the Adelaide Hills and discover more driving itineraries here