One of the historic buildings in the main street of Hahndorf, South Australia


Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia, is the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia. Just like the thousands of people who flock to this popular tourism destination each year to experience its unique history, charm and hospitality, I was drawn to this historic and vibrant place, which is considered to be one of South Australia’s most popular towns. To locals, Hahndorf is considered to be the ‘jewel’ in the Adelaide Hills crown. Being just a 20 minute drive from the Adelaide CBD, Hahndorf is immensely popular with visitors from all over the world. It really is one of those must-see destinations in Australia.


When you first drive into Hahndorf, you’ll notice the beautiful 100-year-old elm and plane trees that line the Main Street. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, and it sets the precedent for your stay in this memorable town. Next, you will see the original ‘Fachwerk’ buildings, which is German for “framework”; it is a grid of panels filled with material such as brick or clay. The frame is often exposed on the outside of the building, which is a visible characteristic of many of the historic buildings in Hahndorf.


Elm Trees

The hundred year old elm and plane trees, Main Street Hahndorf


Many of the buildings throughout the area are beautifully maintained or restored to their original condition. As you get out on-foot to explore the town and its various shops and cafes, you will experience the unique ‘village feel’ and historic German culture that remarkably stands the test of time. There are various eateries, clothing, souvenir, craft and gift shops to explore; including many that are German themed, which make your visit historical, memorable and unique. You will feel as though you have travelled back in time to a completely different era. This feeling, of being in a bygone era, is a uniquely authentic experience you won’t get anywhere else.



One of the original houses and wagons in Hahndorf, South Australia


Hahndorf not only offers a glimpse into the past; it also provides a taste of Germany in Australia so that you don’t have to go overseas! Most of the shops, cafes and pubs are German themed, so you can eat a German lunch at one of the two pubs offering authentic German fare; or get some delicious German small goods at one of the several outlets. Many of the cafes and pubs also offer an Australian menu for the less adventurous. Many of the retail outlets are also German inspired including a German clock shop and more.


Hahndorf Pub

Dining at one of the pubs in Hahndorf, South Australia


While many visitors come to Hahndorf to experience this immense history, Hahndorf is becoming increasingly popular for its modern and trendy atmosphere. It is host to some of the best restaurants and cellar doors in South Australia, making Hahndorf an ideal place for a day trip with family or friends. There is an iconic South Australian chocolate shop and also several famous South Australian wineries including Nepenthe and Shaw & Smith. Hahndorf is an appealing place to unwind, relax and indulge; it is a unique place where the past embraces the future. It really is one of those ‘must-do’ things that should be added to your bucket list!


If you’re planning a visit to Hahndorf, it’s definitely worth staying a few days or ideally, a week, to fully explore and experience this remarkable town and its surrounding areas. Being located in the stunning Adelaide Hills, there are so many other historic and beautiful towns to see including leafy Aldgate and Stirling, just a 10 minute drive away, and the historic town of Bridgewater.


Hahndorf Countryside

The beautiful countryside of the Adelaide Hills


While staying in Hahndorf, I recommend a visit to Melbas Chocolate Factory in Woodside, which is just a 10 minute drive. The chocolate is delectable. I suggest their chocolate malt balls to enjoy with a good movie during your stay.


Other areas to explore include Meadows, a small, scenic township in the Adelaide Hills, which has several historic buildings, a bakery, and antique and craft shops. There is also Strathalbyn, which is one of the prettiest towns in South Australia. Its charm and village-like setting attracts locals and tourists alike. This thriving country town offers a wide variety of independent shopping options and events for all who visit.


So whether you are an Adelaide local or tourist, a holiday stay in Hahndorf or its surrounds is highly recommended. Enjoy every minute.