The Mount Barker community, right in the heart of the Adelaide Hills has so much to offer – and not just because of its beautiful location. It’s a bustling country township that is packed with activities, attractions and cultural experiences – all conveniently located within the thriving town hub. Regional living does not mean you have to compromise on the best coffee, or the food and drink scene that makes South Australia famous internationally.
We’ve put together a handy shortlist of 10 amazing things to explore, including our favourite places to eat and drink, activities to try and places to visit in Mount Barker – so you can fall in love with it just like our residents have.
Cellar Door Sundays
If long Sunday lunches are your thing (and aren’t they everyone’s thing) then you should plan your next session at Ngeringa cellar door. This certified biodynamic vineyard and winery situated in Mount Barker host Cellar Door Sundays on the last Sunday of every month. It’s the perfect weekend wind down, for the whole family. Think wood oven fired pizzas, seasonal dishes and gorgeous wines – all combined with a relaxed vibe in the beautiful Adelaide Hills with stunning views. It fills up fast though, so bookings are always recommended and necessary for tables of six or more.
Find the next Cellar Door Sunday date by visiting Ngeringa, and don’t forget to book!
Adelaide Hills Farmers Market
Freshly made and homegrown produce on your doorstep every Saturday morning? Can’t get much better than that! The markets are built around the ethos of sustainability – where fresh, regional and seasonality are the buzzwords. It’s a vital community event, that puts consumers in front of the growers. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming; kids, fur babies, tourists – everyone is welcome. Live music, sizzling food stalls and the warm feeling that comes from supporting your local economy are just a few of the benefits of the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market.
Prancing Pony Brewery
It’s not all about the wine in the Adelaide Hills – Mount Barker is mad about their brews too. The craft brewing industry has taken off in South Australia and the Prancing Pony Brewshed experience lets you get up close and personal with the brewing process. Located just out of Mount Barker, at Totness, it’s a uniquely located drinking and dining space, smack bang in the middle of the commercial brewing ‘kitchen’. The sights and smells of malt hops and barley mashing and fermenting will leave you with a new appreciation for the beverage in your glass. You can book a guided tour and beer tasting experience, with matched regional platters and a beer appreciation tutorial to boot.
Jurlique Herb Farm
Just outside Mount Barker, the aromas of drying herbs fill the air. As you get closer to the farmlands of Jurlique, the beautiful smells and sights assault your senses, wafting ever closer. This biodynamic farm offers a behind the scenes tour that allows you to learn about the origins of this iconic South Australian brand.
Founded in the Adelaide Hills in the 80s, Dr Jurgen Klein and his botanist wife Ulrike sought a land to grow organic ingredients to create their natural skincare range. They found the perfect location in the Adelaide Hills, set up their farm and the brand Jurlique was born. Today the farm offers visitors the chance to get down and dirty with an access all areas pass. It’s a wonderful few hours spent on the farm discovering the processes of propagation, planting, growing and harvesting – the end result, a natural based skincare that is sold in over 19 countries. It’s an Adelaide institution and a fragrant afternoon adventure.
Totness Recreation Park
Part of the traditional lands of the Peramangk Aboriginal tribe, Totness Recreation Park is the only reserve in Mount Barker that is dedicated to public recreation. It’s pleasantly untouched – you won’t find picnic tables or toilets here, so if you fancy a flamboyant picnic then this is the spot. The park is pet-friendly so bring your dog too, as long as they remain on their leash at all times. The track meanders through woodland, with a lovely boardwalk covering the marshier parts around the waterhole.
The park has an interesting history, and steam locomotives were once filled from this very dam, which was purpose-built in 1884. It’s a bit of a twitchers paradise too, with colourful locals including the elusive yellow-tailed black cockatoo, rosellas, kookaburras, and a diverse array of water birds. Gangly herons and cheeky pelicans live cheek by jowl with cormorants, competing for native and introduced fish – and local anglers.
Totness is a brilliant place to teach your kids about the importance of native plants and vegetation, the park management has a plan in place to combat invasive species and run workshops for the interested public. This is complemented by established woodlands of stringy bark and blue gum.
The Laratinga Wetlands are an award-winning initiative developed by the Mount Barker District Council in 1999. The beauty of the wetlands covers an interesting issue – the disposal of treated water from the burgeoning population of Mount Barker and other local communities. It’s an ecologically and environmentally friendly system that has benefitted the health of local creeks and water systems that have resulted in an innovative and beautiful wetland.
Laratinga means “Flooding Land Creek” in the local Peramangk dialect and is home to a diverse array of native flora and fauna. There are plenty of walking trails, bird hides and picnic and BBQ areas. The artificiality of this created wetland mimics a natural one – it’s convinced the locals anyway! There are long-necked tortoises, cockatoos, migrating birds and the vulnerable blue-billed duck – to name a few. The wetland trails join up with the Mount Barker Linear Trail if you desire a more extensive walk.
SteamRanger Heritage Railway
Not just for kiddies, this iconic South Australian train is a rich part of our heritage. The 2.5-hour train ride journeys around the Southern coast and takes you back into our earliest history. Travel past abandoned train stations, crisscrossing creeks and rivers that were vital to colonial South Australia. Passengers embark at Mount Barker train station, and travel through the Mount Lofty Ranges, Strathalbyn, Goolwa and Port Elliot, before pausing at Victor Harbor for a three-hour stop-over. It’s a beautiful and nostalgic way to see the Fleurieu Peninsula and harks back to an iconic mode of travel. The chugging of wheels over rutted tracks, that unique ‘railroad’ smell of steam and oil and the taste of the first whiff of salt-sea creates an experience that can’t be replicated.
The season begins on the first and third Sundays from June until November. Check out the timetable and season opening dates and plan your adventure.
This beautiful and sprawling Auchendarroch – meaning ‘holy place of the oaks’ in Scots – was built in Mount Barker in 1860 and expanded upon in 1878. It has had a long and interesting history, serving as wealthy family’s summer residence, a rest home, a RAAF hospital, and finally divided into rental properties. The Wallis family purchased the heritage listed building in 2000 with the aim of restoring the house to its former glory. Additionally, they were determined to create a cinema and entertainment complex that would benefit the community and bring the historical Auchendarroch House into modern use. This traditional home now houses Mount Barker Cinemas, The Wallis Tavern restaurant, and operates as a stunning venue available to hire for events and weddings.
Auchendarroch House is now a beautifully restored venue that all of the community benefits from – and it’s a wonderful look into the early history of colonial Mount Barker.
This 18-hole golf course in Mount Barker provides residents and visitors with the chance to brush up on their swing game in a beautiful, green and tree-lined setting. It’s the perfect amount of exercise – the green providing a gentle walk (with golf carts available for hire) with plenty of water hazards to test your skills.
Once you’ve won your round of golf, you can head to the bistro for a light refreshment or full-on lunch. f your game is shot to bits you can stop for a restorative post-swing drink at the bar to drown your sorrows (much like your ball in the pond).
The bistro is open for lunch 6 days a week, Tuesday – Sunday and you can find many specials on their website. Book your next round at Mt Barker-Hahndorf Golf Club and get into the swing of it.
Mount Barker Summit
An undulating drive through narrow roads leads visitors to the breathtaking surrounds of Mount Barker Summit. It requires a little bit of walking but doesn’t require an immense degree of fitness so most people can do this. The vista that awaits is spectacular and is the perfect spot for a quiet moment of contemplation. If you want to dazzle visitors this is a brilliant vantage point to see views out to sea, pastoral surrounds and Mount Lofty Ranges.
There is a short walking trail of around two kilometres that skirts around the summit, which takes about 40 minutes. The summit also has precious original native vegetation pre-dating the 1880s – a snapshot to a time before settlement.
Remember, this is by no means an exhaustive list – there is so much to do and natural green spaces for the kids (big and little) to run wild. Whether you’re pausing for the best coffee mid-shop, exploring the beautiful walking trails and parks or swotting up on local history – Mount Barker has something to offer to everyone.
Come up and visit Mount Barker and give our list a test drive – you won’t regret it. If you’re considering making the tree-change, you’ll find Mount Barker to be a very welcoming community.
While you’re In Mount Barker, visit our beautifully restored Sales and Information Centre at 164 Flaxley Road, open daily from 12 – 5 pm to see why you’ll love living at Newenham.
To secure your future in this beautiful pocket of the Adelaide Hills, view our house and land for sale or call our friendly sales team on 8210 7660.
We look forward to welcoming you to Newenham soon.