Our previous visit to Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia was brief so we were keen to settle in and enjoy this town, famous as Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. We stayed at the Hahndorf Resort Tourist Park, a spectacular location just out of town. This has a convention centre, cabins and Restaurant 5245 in addition to the caravan park. Once the current renovations are completed it really will be a ‘super-park’ and a credit to the local Schirripa family.
There is still a strong German flavour in the town, with bakeries and smallgoods and butcher shops on the busy Main Street (parking is often hard to find!) As well there are lots of pubs and cafes serving local produce. We chose the Hahndorf Inn which has been cooking delicious food since 1853, and still operates from the same heritage premises. We shared the Bavarian Shweinshaxe – crispy pork hock with sauerkraut and creamed potatoes with a dark ale. Yum! The servings are VERY generous and we heard one couple literally groan as their ‘Taste of Germany’ platter arrived (all meat and pretzels!) Check out the range of platters here.
We enjoyed visiting the Hahndorf Academy. This is a regional centre for the arts and heritage based in a 150-year-old building co-located with the local information centre. There are several galleries with changing exhibitions, a migration museum, artist’s studios, art classes and a shop with LOTS of beautiful art and craft pieces!
A highlight for us was visiting The Cedars, the home and studio of painter Hans Heysen, famous for his drawings and paintings of the Australian bush. Back in 2012 we retraced many of his outback painting trips in the Flinders Ranges after reading a biography of his life, so this showed another part of this amazing man’s creativity and perseverance. The Heysen home and gardens including his studio have been preserved by his family and local volunteers provide guided tours.
Many of his original works are on display, but seeing his working studio was amazing. All of his painting materials and tools, sketches and notes have been preserved, and we stood on the piece of worn carpet exactly where he stood at his easel! Lovely to see the car and camping trailer he used for his expeditions – possibly the first version of a pop top!
It was also inspiring to learn more about his daughter Nora who was also a trailblazer – the first woman to win the Archibald Prize (and still the youngest person ever to win it) and the first female war artist.
It was fun reacquainting ourselves with Mt Barker, another busy town in the Adelaide Hills. While our FJ Cruiser was being serviced in preparation for our upcoming LONG trip home to Perth, locals suggested we visit Auchendarroch. This is a magnificent 30 room mansion which now houses the local cinema, a very busy tavern and function rooms. Beautiful grounds and gardens also. After lunch we headed for the nearby local library to get our free latest magazine ‘fix’. A perfect day!
Then it was time to head north to the Clare Valley, one of our favourite places in the whole wide world. Regular blog readers may remember our last visit to Clare was so very cold and wet that we changed our travel plans to head further east and north as quickly as possible! However this visit was warm (the first time we’ve used the cool function on our air conditioner for a long time) and lived up to our high expectations. We revisited Mr Mick’s fab cellar and restaurant for cold bubbles and wonderful tapas – this time the pork belly and the soft shell crab were the standout dishes. Mmmm. We also stocked up on delicious salt bush lamb cutlets and sausages from the local butcher to keep us supplied as we start to HEAD HOME TO WA!