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Exploring Hahndorf

an empty street next to a tree

Sitting at home planning your South Australian getaway? Perhaps you’re thinking about exploring your own city more? Make sure you put Hahndorf on your list of places to explore.

Known as ‘Australia’s oldest German town’, Hahndorf is like a small piece of Central Europe in a village not far from Adelaide. Located in the Adelaide Hills, you’ll find shops proudly displaying Teutonic script on their signage, signifying the German heritage, with shops, restaurants, beer halls and cafes run by descendants of German settlers that originally travelled to the area.

a house that has a sign on the side of a road

Hahndorf Heritage Buildings. Department for Environment and Water

Hahndorf is recognised as one of South Australia’s top tourist attractions, with the charm of being transported from the lush green countryside to a scene that seems to be taken from the very heart of Europe as you drive through the village.

Where Exactly is Hahndorf?

“Australia’s Oldest German Town”, Hahndorf is located in within the southern edge of the Adelaide hills, 26km south-east of Adelaide.

What Makes Hahndorf Such a Special Location?

There are plenty of reasons why Hahndorf is a special location to visit, which much of the village steeped in history. The historical significance was recognised when it was listed in the Register of the National Estate in 1983 and as a State Heritage Area in 1968.

There are many reasons why this earliest permanent Germanic settlement some of the reasons why it’s considered special are:

  • Hahndorf is the oldest non-British settlement in Australia, established in 1939. It was constructed two years after the British proclaimed South Australia as their province.
  • An attraction for the general public ‘The Cedars’ is located in Hahndorf which was the home of Australia’s celebrated artist, Sir Hans Heysen.
  • You can find ninety nineteenth-century buildings when you visit Hahndorf’s Main Street, providing a mesmerising look at the town’s German roots.
a tree in front of a house

The Cedars. Visit Hans Heysen

What to do in Hahndorf?

Once you reach this historical location, there are many places you can explore, including:

  • The Australian Minerals Museum
  • Beerenberg Farm
  • Hans Heysen Art Studio
  • Hahndorf Fruit & Veg Market
  • Detmold House
  • Haebich’s Cottage
  • German Arms Hotel
  • And of course, the plentiful wineries and cellar doors.

There are certainly some sights worth exploring, including:

Thiele’s Cottage and Thiele’s House

This is the place where Johann Friedrich Thiele and Anna Dorothea Schmidt reputedly married under a gum tree because there was no church in Hahndorf in 1845. They were considered the first couple of Hahndorf.

The Old Mill

An old steam-powered flour mill built in 1851 operated. It continuously crushed everything including wheat, quartz and bone for fertiliser. It was closed in 1912. Later it became known as the Old Mill Restaurant in 1971.

a house that has a sign on the side of a building

Pioneer Memorial Gardens

Situated over the road from the German Arms Hotel, Memorial Gardens commemorates the 39 families who founded this town.

Is Hahndorf on your must see list while in Adelaide? Bums on Seats Tours can take you there. Book a private tour or book a seat on one of our winery and food tours that stops in at Hahndorf.