Aaron Jeffery, well known to viewers of Channel 9's very successful series McLeod's Daughters, jumped at the chance to swap his four-legged horse for a Harley-Davidson to take Getaway on a tour of some of his favourite spots in the Adelaide Hills.
The ride began in Stirling and in just 30 minutes we were in the Hills. The climate and soil here produces some excellent wine. One of Aaron's favourite vineyards is Petaluma's Bridgewater Mill on 70 hectares in the beautiful Piccadilly Valley. Established in 1979, it specialises in chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, processed into fine wine by Brian Croser.
Named after one of the state's most historic buildings, Bridgewater Mill was built as a flour mill in 1860 and renovated in 1984 as a wine facility. In 1998, under the direction of chef Le Tu Thai, one of Australia's best restaurants opened here. His contemporary cuisine is a fusion of his Chinese background blended with a passion for classic French cooking. The best food and wine can be enjoyed outside overlooking the marvellous waterwheel or inside the historic building.
Bridgewater Mill has a cellar door with tastings and sales of the Petaluma range of wines. There are always specials and vintage releases as well as magnums of your favourites. They can freight purchases anywhere in Australia.
Not too far away is the old German town of Hahndorf. Founded in 1839 by a group of German Lutherans who were attempting to escape religious persecution, Australia's oldest surviving German settlement is a little piece of Silesia, Prussia and Germany in the Adelaide Hills. The town is lined with craft shops, museums, galleries, shops selling bratwurst and Stein lager and is a charming place for a stroll.
Time for a sweet stop and Aaron has a favourite place for this indulgence. Hahndorf Sweets is in a quaint 1853 cottage, loaded with temptation, including chilli chocolate frogs. There are plenty of old favourites lollipops, humbugs, freckles, bullets and English toffee, Dutch liquorice and German chocolates and marzipan. They prepare gift baskets for special occasions.
Next stop was the heritage town of Strathalbyn which runs along the River Angas at the southern end of the Mount Lofty Ranges. This was Ngarrindjeri country, settled by Europeans in the late 1830s. Strathalbyn today enjoys healthy tourism and its rural area is dominated by mixed farming, vineyards, cereal crops, orchards, cattle, sheep and alpacas.
You will also find Garage Motorcycles, absolute heaven for enthusiasts or wannabes. They have new and used vehicles, gear and accessories, quality fuels, offer rider training and even have a café.
The town has become the hub for Adelaide bike day runs, with 250 kilometres of roads to navigate in the area.
The Adelaide Hills in South Australia.
The Bridgewater Mill is open for lunch from Thursday to Monday, midday to 2.30pm. Dinner is available for special events or functions. The cellar door is open each day from 10am to 5pm. Ten percent discounts apply to cellar door purchases of straight or mixed dozen purchases.
Hahndorf Sweet Shop is open every day.
Garage Motorcycles' rider training courses start at $65 per person. They open from 8.30am to 6pm Monday-Friday, 8.30am to 5pm on Saturday and 10.30am to 4pm on Sunday.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Bridgewater Mill Restaurant
Mt Barker Road
Ph: (08) 8339 3422
Fax: (08) 8339 5311
Ph: (08) 8339 9222
Hahndorf Sweet Shop
54a Main Street
Ph: (08) 8388 1404
11 Sunter Street
Ph: (08) 8536 2677
Fax: (08) 8536 3628