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The little town of Hahndorf is one of South Australia’s most loved tourism destinations. It can easily be visited as a day trip from Adelaide, or is perfect for a weekend getaway. You could come to Hahndorf and simply wander back and forth along the main street and have a wonderful day. There are more Hahndorf attractions that the cute little shops and funky galleries though. Here are all the things to do in Hahndorf South Australia during your visit.


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Why Visit Hahndorf

Hahndorf is best known as the German town in Adelaide Hills. It was first settled by Europeans in 1839 when Lutheran immigrants from Prussia settled here. Most of them came to Australia on a ship called “Zebra”, and the town is named after the Captain, Dirk Meinerts Hahn. You can see a statue of him in the Pioneer Memorial Gardens today.

The German influence is still strong and is the most important part of Hahndorf tourism. There are obvious links through the architecture, food, place names, even the music flowing onto the main street. The weather in Hahndorf is cooler than down on the Adelaide Plain, so it has a much more European feel to the town with cool weather vegetation, beautiful colours in both autumn and spring. The fertile soils provide lots of delicious local produce from right here in the Adelaide Hills too.

Come to Hahndorf to shop German items, from food to souvenirs, eat great food, both with and without a German twist, drink acclaimed Adelaide Hills wines, beer and spirits and generally enjoy the small town vibe. It’s a fun day out that even the locals like to experience every now and then.

Interesting Fact: During World War I many German place names were changed in line with the sentiment at the time, and Hahndorf became known as Ambleside. It was changed back to Hahndorf in 1935.

 

How to Get from Adelaide to Hahndorf

Before you can have an enjoyable day to in Hahndorf you have to get there! Where is Hahndorf? It’s located in the Adelaide Hills, a simple drive along the South Eastern Freeway. The distance Adelaide to Hahndorf is around 27km and it will take 30 – 60 minutes to get there, depending on which option you choose.

While I’ve not talked about it below, technically the distance isn’t so far that you couldn’t ride there by bicycle if you were so inclined. I wouldn’t recommend this though, as almost the whole way will be riding uphill, from the Adelaide Plain to the Adelaide Hills. I guess that means riding back from Hahndorf – Adelaide would be easy though!

How to Get to Hahndorf by Car

As you can see from the map above, it’s around 30 minutes from the Adelaide City centre to Hahndorf by car. While cars are a great option to get to Hahndorf, parking in the town itself can be an issue on days when it is especially busy. Even the main street is narrow and sometimes tricky to navigate in heavy traffic. I recommend being prepared to park a little off the main street and to walk, perhaps a few hundred metres, to your destination.

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Public Bus to Hahndorf

The Adelaide to Hahndorf bus is the 864F. It runs every thirty minutes and takes around 50-60 minutes depending on traffic. The bus leaves the city centre from stop D1 on the north side of Currie Street. It also stops at stop F1 on Grenfell Street before turning along Pultney Street, with various stops there too. The fares have a range depending on how the ticket is purchased and if there are any concessions, but at most will be $5.70 each way. See more details on fares here.

Adelaide to Hahndorf Tours

There are a whole range of tours available to Hahndorf. One of the most cost effective and flexible options is the Adelaide Hills Hop On Hop Off bus. Its main purpose is to act as a bus for wine tours, but since it also does a stop in Hahndorf, it’s useful for a day trip without wine tasting too. Of course you can combine them both with a half day in Hahndorf and time to visit a winery or two also. This option will mean you will have a little commentary about the area on the bus, but you will also be free to decided where you want to spend your time.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS OF THE HOP ON HOP OFF BUS

 

Many tours to Hahndorf also include wine tasting but there are some available that do not. For a budget option, this half day tour or Hahndorf and the Adelaide Hills will give you a taste of the area. If you prefer a full day small group tour with gourmet tastings, here’s another option for you. And if you would like a tour that combines wine tasting with some time to wander around in Hahndorf, this might be the tour for you.

 

Things to do in Hahndorf

Now that you are here, you will need to find out what to do in Hahndorf! Of all the things to do and see below, the most important is to slow down and take some time to soak in the atmosphere. These Hahndorf things to do will mostly take you back to basics and get you enjoying your time in this historic little village.

Browse the Hahndorf Shops

I’m fairly sure this one goes without saying, it is one of the most popular Hahndorf activities. I am sure it’s impossible to walk down the street in Hahndorf without even a teeny glimpse into the shops. Here are a few shops in Hahndorf I always seem to check out when I visit.

  • The German Village Shop – this is where to find all your German items, from beer steins to cuckoo clocks, Christmas items to accordions, there are some really great ideas here for gifts. Sexy German barmaid apron anyone?
  • Udder Delights –  once in the past I drove over an hour just to come up to Hahndorf and get cheese from Udder Delights. They sell delicious local cheese made right here in Hahndorf and a small selection from elsewhere. The make coffees and do light meals too. The toasted cheese sandwich looks incredible.
  • Grass Roots Vintage – this may look like a big pile of old stuff, but once you really start looking, there are some amazing treasures here. I can’t help but poke around a bit to see what’s here
  • Hahndorf Sweets – indulge your sweet tooth here with local and international sweets. Many of these are hard to find items that will bring back childhood memories.
  • 3 Wishes Candle Barn – this candle shop smells delicious before you even walk in, with “flavours” like gingerbread and creme brûlée. If the dozens of different scents aren’t your style, then you can customise and make your own candle here too.
  • The Fruchocs Shop – Fruchocs are a popular local chocolate, and here in Hahndorf is a whole store dedicated to them. Stop in and pick up this unique South Australian treat.
  • The German Pantry – as soon as you walk in here the smell for the cured sausages and meats hits you. That’s not all there is though, look out for an assortment of European treats, such as cakes and biscuits, teas, coffees, spices, pickles and other ingredients.
  • The Alpaca Shop – all sorts of great alpaca products, including the softest socks ever.
  • Hommes Uniques – this is a great store for the guys with some fabulous products aimed just at them, like the “medicinal brandy” or the “butterscotch cough elixir”
  • Leathersmith & Bush Gallery – not only do they have some great leather products here, the store itself is fun to browse. Look out for messages from customers from all over the world stapled up on pieces of leather, and the walls and ceilings in one area are covered with foreign currency signed by customers too. I bought ridiculously comfy Ugg Boots here to get me through the winter.

I could go on listing all the shops in town, because I think they are all worthy of a quick look, but I will stop now and let you discover them for yourself.

Take the Kids to Hahndorf Farm Barn

If you have little people with you – and perhaps even if you don’t – then the Hahndorf Farm Barn is the best of the things to do around Hahndorf with kids. Here you can visit dozens for common farm animals, and some that are not so common. Kids can take a ride on a pony or a tractor, have a go at milking a cow and hold a python. There are animal talks to learn about the animals too.nThere’s plenty of space here to have lunch, so bring a picnic and spend the whole day here with your kids. They will love it.

Go Strawberry Picking at Beerenberg

When it comes to strawberry picking in South Australia, Hahndorf is the place to go. During the warmer months of November to April, Beerenberg opens the gates to allow visitors to pick their own strawberries. Choose and pay for the amount of strawberries you would like to take home, then head out into the field to fill it your containers. Of course while you are picking, it’s one for the container, one for the mouth, so you get to sample the produce straight off the plants – and I don’t think they could get any tastier. This is one of the yummiest activities in Hahndorf!

Once you have finished picking, head back to the Beerenberg store and browse through their delicious jams, spread, sauces and chutneys. There are so many different items here that you will be sure to find gifts for all the family.

Beerenberg is a little out of the centre of Hahndorf and is best accessed by car. The drive is less than 2km out though, so it is definitely possible to walk there.

Do a Walking Tour

Sharon Pippos of Hahndorf Walking Tours leads a whole pile of different walking tours through Hahndorf. The tours range from a basic overview through the main street, to specialised tours focussed on particular aspects. Learn about the history of Hahndorf, construct your own strudel, or discover Hahndorf after dark. There are other less frequent tours too, such as photo tours and Aboriginal culture tours. See here for more details and to book.

Taste Local Adelaide Hills Wines

You don’t have to even leave the main street to taste some of the local wines made in the surrounding areas. Call into the gorgeous cellar door of Somerled Wine or cross the road to Landhaus Wines. On the outskirts of town you can also find the stunning Sidewood Estate too.

Of course there are more wineries just outside of town that you can visit while you are here – visiting these are the best things to do near Hahndorf. My personal favourite is Hahndorf Hill Winery. I have enjoyed their wines for years (I recommend the Gruner Veltliner) after discovering them when I attended a wine and chocolate matching workshop. I mostly went along because I didn’t believe that wine and chocolate matched at all. How wrong I was! The best part is that this tasting is still offered today. It’s called the ChocoVino tasting. See the details and book here.

The Lane is another winery with a beautiful cellar door and a fabulous restaurant. The have a whole range of experiences available that complement the wine tasting experience (although just tasting the wine is pretty good too!). See here for details. Some of the options are:

  • Private Winery Tour & Tasting
  • Winery Dining Experience
  • Personalised Wine Blending Experience
  • Cheese and Wine Masterclass
  • Boatshed Experience

Other popular wineries that are great for wine tasting any time are Shaw + Smith and Nepenthe Wines.

Learn about Winemaking at Wolf Blass Gallery & Wine Museum

While we are on the topic of wine, as you wander up and down the main street looking for things to see in Hahndorf, take a peek at the Wolf Blass Gallery & Wine Museum. Unfortunately it’s not open on Tuesdays or Wednesdays during the cooler months, and those were the two days we were in Hahndorf so I didn’t actually get to go inside this time. The museum showcases the personal achievements of Wolf Blass himself over sixty years of winemaking in South Australia.

Once you’ve finished browsing, make your way into the adjoining wine bar and relax over a glass or two of the local wines, accompanied my local tasting platters or some tapas and pizza.

Admire the Art at Hans Heysen – The Cedars

Hans Heysen was a German immigrant who became one of Australia’s best know artists. He did many paintings of beautiful gum trees and landscapes in the Flinders Ranges. “The Cedars” was his home for over 40 years. Visitors can now take a tour through his studio, the studio of his daughter Nora, and also his house. There are more than 200 pieces of art on display around the property to view during your tour, and the guide will point out some of the location Hans sat as he painted the view. Self Guided tours through the gardens are available whenever the house is open, but the guided tours are at 11am & 2pm only.

Try the Local Gin at Ambleside Distillers

We didn’t plan this trip very well because Ambleside Distillers are also closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I was really looking forward to tasting the range of gins made here with local flavours. This will be on the top of my list as soon as I can get back to Hahndorf again. Perhaps I will even book in one of their experiences, such as the Gin Blending Masterclass to really learn what this gin phenomenon is all about. Details can be found here.

Drink Craft Beer at Gulf Brewery

I’m sure you won’t be surprised by now to read that Gulf Brewery was also closed on the days we were in Hahndorf. Located right in the heart of Hahndorf, this microbrewery produces a range of beers and ciders. Stop in for a glass and munch on a gourmet pizza while relaxing in one of the four different areas available.

Get Your Culture On at the Hahndorf Academy

The Hahndorf is kind of art gallery, museum and gift shop all in one. The gallery part of the building has an ongoing array of exhibitions that use the space to show off artworks of all shapes and sizes. The museum is the German Migration Museum, filled with memorabilia and artefacts related to the arrival and subsequent lives of the German immigrants. The shop sells all sorts of handcrafted products, supporting local artisans from the surrounding areas and greater South Australia. You can find ceramics, jewellery, paintings, greeting cards, books, toys and much more.

Brush with Bubbles at The Paintbox

After looking at artwork, perhaps you would like to make your own! pick up all your supplies at The Paintbox to take home, or join in on one of their art classes while in town. Their most popular Brush with Bubbles class sounds inviting even to someone with no artistic talent like me. Covid is playing havoc with their schedule, but you can keep updated with classes here.

Hire an E-Bike to Explore the Town

If walking back and forth along the main street is getting to be too much or you want to explore further afield, hire an E-bike and get the bike to do the work. Explore the town or head out into the rolling hills surrounding Hahndorf. A map will be provided with a suggested route through the wineries or a ride between Hahndorf and Mount Barker. The E-bikes can be hired from The Manna reception or from the Tourist Information Office and the map can be seen online here ion advance for your planning.

If you prefer to stick with a group rather than go it alone with your E-bike, tours are available through Bike About Tours here.

Play a Round of Mini Golf

Take some time out from all the shopping, eating and wine tasting to play a round of mini golf. Tucked in behind some of the buildings on the main street, this makes for a great fun family.

Eat German Food

While I will talk about some of the places to eat in Hahndorf below, I also wanted to include trying some of the delicious German foods available all over the town. Many of these can be bought in more than one place, and I am sure the offerings will change with the seasons too, but keep an eye out for these favourites

  • Pork Knuckle
  • Wurst of all kinds
  • Schnitzel
  • Apple Strudel
  • Bee Sting Cake
  • Gingerbread
  • Sauerkraut

 

Accommodation in Hahndorf

While we were in Hahndorf we stayed at and enjoyed The Manna, a hotel by the Haus Group that has a variety of accommodation options in town including The Lodge and The Studios. For family accommodation stay in the cabins at Hahndorf Resort Tourist Park or for a budget option the Hahndorf Motel looks good. If you have a group of up to ten people, the 4-bedroom Thiele House Retreat looks perfect. For a romantic getaway amongst the vines, choose the Winemaker’s Hut.

Read my full review of The Manna here

 

Where to Eat in Hahndorf

While there are plenty of places in Hahndorf serving up traditional German food, there are also a great range of restaurants in Hahndorf serving up everything from Thai food to pizza, Mexican to Indian. Here are some of the ones I have tried and enjoyed:

  • German Arms
  • Hahndorf Inn
  •  Herbee’s Garden Cafe
  • The Haus Restaurant
  • German Spoon
  • Kitchen 2C

You can also check out my post on eating vegan in Hahndorf

 

Visiting more great South Australian locations? These posts might help
Adelaide 3 Day Itinerary
Best Places for South Australia Whale Watching
Glamping South Australia – The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Style

 


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