I know Adelaide inside out. I was born here, I grew up here, I moved away, and after years of working and wandering, living and loving, I returned.
It’s always been dubbed the “20 minute city”; hop in your car from the city centre and drive for twenty minutes to find yourself at the pristine, rugged coastline. Drive for twenty minutes in the other direction, and you’ll find yourself among rolling, vineyard lined hills. Everything feels close, and not just in geographical proximity. It’s a city where community is close knit, and support of local is next level.
Some places are mirrors – you can return somewhere that remains unchanged, to take note of your changed reflection, distilling and observing vividly how you have changed yourself. On returning after a few years away, Adelaide completely surprised me – the city is abuzz right now, and change is afoot. As I discovered, Adelaide’s done a lot of growing up lately, too.
The idea of being a tourist in my own town has always charmed me, but ‘far’ has always tugged at my wanderlust more than ‘near,’ so I had never properly made the time. Until last weekend, that is.
Art Series Hotel Group invited my lovely friend Rachel and I to experience the newly launched Gather & Indulge package – a collaboration between Art Series Hotel’s [The Watson] and The Lane Vineyard. On the cards? 48 hours playing tourist in my own town, with a bottle of wine on arrival, Smart Car hire, a tour of The Lane Vineyard, wine tasting paired with canapés, sleeping over in a Deluxe Studio Suite, and a late checkout of 1pm for departure.
We jumped at the invitation, naturally! And gather and indulge… we certainly did. Here’s how it all went down.
I collected Rach from Adelaide Airport on Saturday morning only to find her with a bandaged foot hiding a nastily sprained ankle, a wheely suitcase as a crutch, and one big, excited smile. Rach is an absolute trooper – it was clear nothing was going to get between us and our weekend plans!
We stopped off for lunch and a caffeine-fuelled catch up on each other’s past month of adventures at my suburban favourite, The Nourish’d Kitchen, before making our way over to [The Watson] for check in.
We stepped into our room to find a light flooded and spacious central living area with two adjoining bedrooms, and an extensive balcony overlooking the treetops, just made for a bottle of wine at sundown. [The Watson] is nestled in the quiet and leafy suburb of Walkerville, just a few minutes by car from the heart of Adelaide’s CBD. The hotel has a boutique feel and features the artworks of Indigenous artist Tommy Watson.
We had literally dropped our bags when there was a knock at the door – with a delivery of the best kind – The Lane Vineyard’s Block 2 Pinot Gris (2015) on ice. “Do you think it’s too early for wine…?” I momentarily ventured…before we laughed, set ourselves up on the balcony, and opened the bottle. The purpose of the weekend was to indulge, after all!
UberX had just launched in Adelaide, so lucky for us that weekend, all rides were announced as free for an unknown amount of time! We caught an Uber into the city and I introduced Rach to Adelaide’s trendy bar and foodie scene – in particular the Peel Street precinct and alleyways connecting through to Waymouth street. We enjoyed a quick dinner at Melt Pizzeria before hopping in an Uber back to our room, only to have a quick check of our inboxes, fall into our beds and fast forward time to start the big day of exploring ahead.
Ladies who lunch (and coffee, and breakfast)
The next morning we were handed the keys to our wheels for the day – a Smart Car! Pre-caffeine and amped for breakfast, we hopped into our car and went overboard on Snapchatting our exit from the hotel carpark (Rach, anyway – I was driving!).
First off, we stopped for coffee and croissants at my favourite little local French patisserie La Madeleine on Norwood Parade, before heading for the freeway, bound for a day in the hills! While I was a little dubious about how our car might handle the steep incline to the Adelaide Hills, the car was zippy and it totally impressed us.
We stopped off at iconic Seasonal Garden Cafe for a pot of tea in historic Hahndorf – Australia’s oldest German settlement. The Autumn sun was crisp, but warm – a day made for roaming free. There are more than 60 wineries dotted throughout the greater Adelaide Hills – a world-famous wine region, among other iconic activities. With the word ‘gather’ on the brain, I suggested we make a pitstop at Beerenberg Farm to do some strawberry picking. Between November and May, you can shop up, pay $4 per adult and be given a large container with directions to the strawberry patch. You can pick your weight in strawberries and just pay by the kilo after you’re done. Despite driving past Beerenberg more times than I could count on my hands and feet, I had never stopped in before. Fun!
With berry stained fingers and sundrenched hair, we jumped back in the car and headed for lunch at The Lane Vineyard. We were welcomed by staff into the tasting room, to experience a curated flight of Occasion and Heritage wines carefully paired with creations from the chef, and a quick ‘behind the scenes’ tour, before settling into our chairs overlooking panoramic, uninterrupted views of the Adelaide Hills rolling over the horizon. The Lane Vineyard is a single vineyard estate, meaning that all wines are grown, made and sold all from within the vineyard bounds; a new world winery on old world soils. Our next few hours disappeared into a daydream of exquisite flavours, inimitable wines, laughter and unabashed joy.
To the sea, to the sea
Eventually, we made our way back down the freeway. It was such a delightfully warm day that I just knew one of South Australia’s pink golden sunsets would be on the horizon. We grabbed a few treats from the supermarket and diverted our route – and in less than half an hour, found ourselves at Henley Beach Foreshore. We styled a Pinterest-worthy picnic spread featuring petit fours from The Lane, Rosé from my other beloved cellar door Bird in Hand Winery and strawberries we had hand picked earlier that day.
As the sun slipped into the sea, we watched the sky shapeshift from a bright blue to a soft pink and burnt orange, before heading back to the hotel for dessert in pyjamas and an early night.
Coffee and then… the real world
Before returning to our real worlds on Monday morning, we enjoyed a quick coffee at Local Grind, at [The Watson]’s entrance (the unique door panelling had my heart all aflutter).
As we bid our farewells over coffee and made a million Melbourne plans for winter and beyond, I waved Rach goodbye as her Uber drove off towards the the Airport.
As I turned out of the parking lot and made the ten minute drive back to my studio desk, I realised how rested and revived I felt… no flight or time zone changes necessary.