Did you know that South Australia is home to the nation’s oldest surviving German settlement? Set in the Adelaide Hills, Hahndorf is what you get when early German migrants travel to Australia on a Zebra!
Yes, you read that correctly! Though the migrants fleeing religious prosecution in 1839 didn’t saddle up on the black and white kind, rather a ship named Zebra which was captained by Dirk Meinerts Hahn.
The slice of heaven in the Adelaide Hills where the passengers and crew would eventually settle would end up being named after the Captain. Today, visitors to Hahndorf experience a traditional European village blended with Aussie spirit.
Set along leafy Main Street in the heart of town are three unique properties by The Haus Group. We stayed at the award-winning The Studios by Haus this past autumn (boutique self-contained apartments), and were totally charmed by this historic yet contemporary Australian town.
Just 20 minutes from Adelaide, Hahndorf offers an alternative to staying in the city, and is the perfect base for exploring the Adelaide Hills.
The Studios by Haus
The Perfect Base for the Adelaide Hills
Hahndorf is the perfect place to centrally base yourself when visiting the Adelaide Hills, and The Studios by Haus score even more points for being set in the most prime location of town.
The boutique self-contained one and two-bedroom apartments are just steps from all the highlights of Hahndorf, yet tucked behind lovely gardens which keeps things private when you decide to retire for the day.
Set slightly back off Main Street, a short stroll down a private garden path and all of a sudden you’re in the heart of town, right in the middle of the character and charm Hahndorf has become so famed for.
Hahndorf is a heritage-listed township, and while the Studios themselves are modern, the exterior and grounds truly captures the essence of its German roots along with a contemporary Australian charm; idyllic cottage style exteriors, complete with beautifully landscaped gardens.
Perfectly set up for couples, the apartments would also be ideal for corporate groups and weddings. You have the option of choosing between their split-level two bedroom apartment, or the luxury one-bedroom apartment as we did.
Our One Bedroom Studio Apartment
Our upstairs studio was ultra-spacious, enhanced by the vaulted ceilings. The apartment sports a modern Scandinavian-inspired design that’s very crisp and clean.
Enjoy a cosy kitchenette with stovetop, microwave, and fridge all alongside a lovely dining area (though you may not use it as the Haus Restaurant serves amazing German food!) There are plenty of drawers and cabinets to store your belongings, something that would come in handy for longer stays.
Melt into the comfortable king-sized bed and take advantage of over 30 Foxtel Channels if you’re keen on a movie after a long day touring the town and surrounds. Stay caught up on emails with complimentary Wi-Fi which you can also use to research all the attractions the area has to offer.
If you can’t bear the thought of traveling without your four-legged friend, The Studios by Haus even offers a dedicated apartment that can accommodate your dog (additional fees apply). Those with mobility issues can opt for the downstairs apartment to avoid use of the stairs.
Photos of Our Apartment
Photos of the Grounds
Other Haus Group Properties
Enjoy more of a conventional CBD hotel room with the 4.5 star Manna, where much like The Studios, rooms are Scandinavian-inspired and feature a kitchenette. You can also pamper yourself by booking an indulgence spa suite with private balcony at The Manna.
The recently refurbished Lodge by Haus is a top-rated motel set amongst gardens and a pool. Between the three properties, there’s an accommodation option for every budget and travel style, right in the center of town.
The Haus Restaurant
Just outside The Studios is Haus Restaurant, offering both indoor and outdoor dining as well as takeaway if you want to take your meal in your apartment. Fair warning – it’s hard to resist the delicious German cuisine, so we recommend planning on a visit!
The restaurant serves Bavarian classics, as well as traditional Aussie favourites such as the Haus chicken schnitzel parmigiana or beer-battered mullet and chips. We found that the Taste of Bavaria Platter comfortably serves two people.
The platter consists of slow cooked pork knuckle, bratwurst, pork chop, cheese kransky sausages, and more. You may also want to dig into their delicious spiced German meatballs.
While meat dishes may be their specialty, The Haus Restaurant also serves up vegetarian options as well as dishes that are gluten-free.
Hahndorf may have been settled by Prussian Lutheran settlers over 180 years ago, but it still hasn’t lost the charm that initially seduced the first settlers. Many of the early buildings with their German fachwerk architecture have survived and the trees that line Main Street have a story to tell themselves.
We were lucky to catch the numerous cork elms, oaks, and chestnut trees that line the road in full autumn colour. The trees were personally selected by a former director of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and planted back in 1885.
One hundred years later, Chinese pistachio trees would be added to the town and more recently Autumn Blaze maples which really bring a reddish hue to Hahndorf as summer begins to say farewell.
Below the shade of the trees along Main Street, you’ll discover a wide range of unique shops selling everything from cuckoo clocks to fudge. A trip to the German Village Shop is a must, or you can simply shop for one-of-a-kind leather goods and jewellery.
Our personal favourite store was Australian Minerals. The lovely owners led us around the shop as we admired not only captivating minerals but also fossils, seashells, and other natural curiosities. We came away with a lovely piece of raw opal from Coober Pedy as a memento.
What originally began as a diary farm back in 1839, Beerenberg Farm is now famous for its strawberry jam which is made from fruit grown and picked on the farm for over 50 years now.
You’ll be able to pick up all kinds of chutneys, marinades, sauces, and dressings from the Farm Shop and pick your own strawberries during the harvest season.
The descendants of the farm’s founder continue to run this multi-generational family business which has established a foundation which helps preserve the historic charm of Hahndorf
Hahndorf Farm Barn
Children will have loads of fun at the Hahndorf Farm Barn, where they can pet and feed a range of farm animals including donkeys, cows, and goats as well as native Aussie wildlife like kangaroos and emus.
They also offer pony and tractor rides as well as rental BBQs to enjoy an afternoon lunch on the farm.
Hans Heysen – The Cedars
Visit the beautiful gardens, home, and studio of German-born Australian artist Sir Hans Heysen. Heysen and his wife moved into and renovated The Cedars property over a hundred years ago.
The property now acts as a museum where visitors can tour the home which is filled with artefacts relating to the artist’s life, see his studio where many of his works were painted, and see many of his works on display.
The artist was known for his landscape paintings depicting the Australian bush. His daughter Nora would follow in his footsteps and become a painter herself, her separate art studio also available for tours on the property.
Hikers may recognise the name Heysen for the 1,200-kilometre-long Heysen Trail which cuts through the Adelaide Hills, as it journeys from the Flinders Ranges to Cape Jervis.
Penfolds Magill Estate Cellar Door
Just 30 minutes northwest of Hahndorf is one of Australia’s oldest and most recognised wineries. Dating back to 1844, Penfolds now runs a number of vineyards across South Australia in regions that include Adelaide, McLaren Vale, and the Barossa Valley.
Drive to the Penfolds Magill Estate to sample delicious shiraz or have The Haus Group organize a Penfolds tasting experience for you.
Mount Lofty Summit and Botanic Gardens
Make your way to the top of the Mount Lofty Ranges just east of Adelaide where you will be awarded with panoramic views that stretch over Adelaide’s CBD and on towards the coast.
There are a number of hiking trails that lead from the summit and you can even join the Heysen Trail to tackle a section of this iconic trail. Below the summit, you’ll find the lush and always beautiful Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.
A great spot for birdwatching, the Botanic Gardens offer rhododendrons and camellias in the spring and stunning autumn foliage of every fiery hue during autumn. The cool fern gully becomes a popular spot in the heat of summer.
Cleland Conservation Park
Get up close and personal with many of Australia’s iconic animals including wombats, koalas, dingoes, kangaroos, and echidnas at Cleland Conservation Park.
The park is home to over 100 native species, several of which you can feed or hold including the koala. Many of the animals roam freely in the 35-hectare park and keepers are available to answer any questions you may have.
The park also runs a number of special interactive experiences including night walks, breakfast with the birds, and surrounding yourself in butterflies.
Plan Your Visit
For more information on the Adelaide Hills region, visit adelaidehills.org.au – the official visitor information center website.
To book your accommodation, visit thehausgroup.com.au and navigate to your choice of accommodation, between The Studios, The Manna, or The Lodge.