Gateway to the Adelaide hills a relaxing weekend escape.
If it wasn’t for foolishly trying to book last-minute accommodation during the busy school holiday period, I would never have discovered the South Australian township of Crafers.
After being unable to find accommodation in the larger Adelaide Hills towns of Hahndorf and Stirling, the township of Crafers proved to be the perfect place to unwind for a couple of days.
Just 20 minutes’ drive from Adelaide CBD via the South Eastern Freeway, Crafers is truly one of the Adelaide Hills’ hidden gems.
The mid-winter chill hit us immediately as we emerged from the warmth of our rental car.
Despite its proximity, the temperature in Crafers was several degrees lower than in the city and I relished the opportunity to don a scarf and beanie, last used overseas several years ago.
We immediately left our accommodation, Tyne House Bed and Breakfast, to explore Crafers’ main street despite the cold and drizzly weather.
The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it centre of town is home to several restaurant and cafe options, all within metres of our accommodation.
Our first stop was Atelier Crafers, an eclectic mix of fine art, homewares, gifts, food and wine from the Adelaide Hills.
The cosy store was clearly the place to be on a dreary day with visitors enjoying coffee or a glass of wine by the roaring fire or perusing the mezzanine-level art gallery.
That night we dined at the Crafers Hotel, one of Adelaide’s first pubs. Originally built in 1839, the pub burned down in 1926 and was rebuilt in a series of transformations blending old and new material, such as reclaimed wood and exposed stone to create a warm, stylish and inviting atmosphere.
I can highly recommend Chef Stefane’s steak frites with the most delicious cafe de Paris sauce accompanied by one of the many local craft beers or gins on offer.
The food was so good that we returned the next night. It’s advisable to make a booking as the hotel is extremely popular, especially on weekends.
We woke to a brisk and sunny morning, perfect to explore the Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens just five minutes from Crafers.
Even in mid-winter the sprawling 97ha of hillside gullies were alive with colour and the golden and red foliage by Main Lake contrasted with the lush green hues of the Spring Gully.
We searched for the elusive southern brown bandicoot – distinguishable from rats by its long snout, round rump and stumpy tail – in the eucalypt forest before marvelling at one of Australia’s most extensive collections of rhododendrons, from small shrubs to tall trees, just coming into bloom.
Overlooking the Adelaide Hills from the Mt Lofty summit was the perfect way to end our short winter escape.
Crafers may not have been my first choice, but it turned out to be the perfect weekend away.
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