Welcome to Don’t Delay Your Stay, news.com.au’s campaign to support communities hard hit by this summer’s devastating bushfires. Many of these regions rely on tourism so one of the best ways to help is to visit and spend time in some of the most beautiful parts of our great country.
RELATED: Don’t Delay Your Stay and book an Aussie trip today
“Spread the love,” urges Mikyla Gilbert, a third-generation resident and champion of the Adelaide Hills.
The fire-ravaged premium wine and food bowl has arms open, inviting us to visit as it celebrates every new green shoot, determined wildflower, and enduring vine.
“Fire-affected businesses deserve our support – as do all the others,” says Mikyla. “They are all hurt by peak-season closures and low visitor numbers.”
RELATED: Drop in here for one of Australia’s best pies
Sharon Pearson and Garry Sweeney, of the safe Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard are heavy hearted for devastated neighbours, and, full of praise for the SATC’s all-encompassing #BookThemOut campaign.
ADELAIDE: THE PLACE FOR CHEAP LUXURY
ADELAIDE’S MOST EPIC ROAD TRIP
ADELAIDE HOTEL STARTS REVIEWING ITS GUESTS
From her veranda, Sharon looks out to a swath of black, and looks back to crippling Christmas closures at her restaurant and cellar door.
“Getting people back on all of our doorsteps, will put us all in a better place to support each other,” she says.
Family of Sheree and Saul Sullivan, of Udder Delights, lost everything, and, fire licked so close to their Lobethal cheese factory, that smoke and power-related damage forced them to jettison a heartbreaking 48,000kg of cheese.
While community rallying has been “exceptional”, Sheree is concerned for many far-worse-off businesses in six and 12 months down the track.
She likens it to a death in the family. People visit, they help. Time wears on, and that support subsides.
“We need people to keep on coming,” she says.
After Saturday morning netball, Sheree and her two daughters like to warm up over pastries and hot chocs at Uraidla and Lobethal bakeries. She also favours local pubs for a midweek night off.
Crafers resident Nicola Brice, a vegetarian ever seeking ethical food, enjoys the local bounty of “Adelaide’s best organic options”.
These locals have helped us compile a list of favoured food and wine outings in the Adelaide Hills:
WHERE TO EAT IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS
PUBS IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS
BALHANNAH HOTEL, BALHANNAH
“The chicken schnitzels here are the absolute best,” says Sharon. The hotel also has a special gin menu, cocktails for $12-$16, super food bowls, and, weekday lunch specials.
CRAFERS HOTEL, CRAFERS
“Our local,” says Sheree who takes the family to the historic pub for the “cheeky, no-cooking-tonight dinner” covering all tastes from burgers to souffle. “It’s a comfortable, friendly space.”
YUKI IN THE HILLS, ALDGATE
The “so fresh” seafood and sushi are excellent, says Sharon, of the bustling Japanese restaurant. Central sushi bar chefs produce nori rolls and sashimi to order. Also, good ramen.
THE HAUS, HAHNDORF
You have to try the new brekkie pancake platter, says Mikyla, and, there is a new Adelaide Hills bushfire-affected wine list so you can choose supportively.
LOT 100, HAY VALLEY
It’s bucolic outlooks, indoors and out. The food is mostly slow-cooked from the spit or wood oven. Taste five locals: Hills Cider Co, Mismatch Brewing, Vinteloper, Adelaide Hills Distillery (78 Degrees Gin), and Ashton Valley Fresh “not just juice”.
SHOPPING IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS
THE ORGANIC MARKET AND CAFE, STIRLING
Nicola loves the “messy, old-time style”. People behind the scenes are people involved in the production, she says. “Everything is beautifully cooked there and then.” Dine, then shop at grains bins, using your own containers.
NATURAL LIVING CAFE , MEADOWS
Natural homewares and the garden are main attractions, complete with a sandpit for the children. Plenty of vegan and allergy friendly options, or, try a Devonshire tea.
THE ATELIER , CRAFERS
Have a vegan cake, says Nicola, then shop for art and jewellery too. “It has a wonderful story. A young woman started making these cakes, and has built a lovely business.”
CAFES IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS
RED CACAO, STIRLING
It’s all about artisan chocolate in so many forms, plus light meals, baked goods, “and the coffee is really good”, says Nicola of this little laneway cafe.
PATCH KITCHEN AND GARDEN, STIRLING
Healthy food plucked from local farm gardens wins ticks, as do all-day breakfasts such as housemade sourdough waffles, apple and chia Bircher muesli or crispy pork belly and eggs.
FRED EATERY, ALDGATE
Comfort food reigns. The menu is based on local produce and generosity, including all-day breakfasts, a “bowl of happiness”, and fun Friday night dinners.
BREWERIES IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS
PRANCING PONY, MT BARKER
“This place is in an industrial zone, but inside the fit-out is pretty chic,” says Nicola of the micro brewery shed. “And, the beer is great.”
LOBETHAL BEIRHAUS, LOBETHAL
This is high on the list of faves, say Sheree and Sharon. The boutique ales fit broad tastes, and a serve of buffalo wings on the side “is a must”.
BEST COFFEE IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS
WOODSIDE PROVIDORE, WOODSIDE
A seven-day licensed cafe, open late on weekends, which heroes local produce, “and the coffee is consistently good”, says Sharon. Also, River Port (Murray Bridge) soft drinks.
PALLET CAFE, NAIRNE
Go the cold drip, says Mikyla, who recommends brunch with a start-me-up cuppa. It’s open 7am-4pm every day.
BEST BARS AND PUBS IN ADELAIDE HILLS
HUGEL WINE BAR , LOBETHAL
“Talk about a baptism of fire,” says Mikyla. This haunt opened the night before the Cudlee Creek fires, in a re-purposed former bank, catering for intimate drinks Thursday to Sunday.
WINE, CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE SHOPS IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS
Many cellar doors still have lush lawns and gardens. Consider Goldings, Anderson Hill, Barristers Block, Artwine, Tilbrook. For a cellar-door map:
UDDER DELIGHTS , HAHNDORF
For a twist, this cellar-door-cafe does good cheese fondue, or book ahead for a cheesy high tea. Also, cheesemaking classes. Your own curd will turn that cheese board into a conversation piece.
WOODSIDE CHEESEWRIGHTS , WOODSIDE
Taste test soft cheese by the renowned Kris Lloyd, delightful wheels embellished with flowers, herbs, ash and green ants. Cheese-making classes also are a drawcard to this cheesery.
MELBA’S CHOCOLATES, WOODSIDE
On a family day, the children will love this working chocolate and confectionary factory. See every step of the chocolate and toffee process, plus tastings of course.
VINEYARDS IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS
GOLDING WINES, LOBETHAL
One of the hardest-hit wineries, it has a beautiful cellar door set against gardens and rustic stone walls with grazing food from the Market Kitchen. Ask about the pallet picnic. Some experiences postponed.
MT LOFTY RANGES VINEYARD RESTAURANT, LENSWOOD
Shaded decks, central open fire, and stunning rolling hills envelope this all-charm cellar door and restaurant. Exceptional food showcases the region and dovetails with boutique cool-climate wines.
PIKE & JOYCE, LENSWOOD
Walls of glass open wide on sunny days to panoramic views over rolling vineyards. Platters are a draw, and a la carte. Leave room for the local apple tarte tatin.
TRUE STORY BEHIND SECRET AUSSIE SITE
NO. 1 THING I’D BEEN GETTING WRONG ABOUT WINE
AUSSIE WINE REGION YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT