Starting from the Glynde Corner where the massive Migrant Monument and Museum sits proud on this busy intersection, the self guided tour heads east along Montacute Road for around 45km with plenty of opportunities for stopping to enjoy the best of the Adelaide Hills.
Heading up Montacute Road, we pass the Campbelltown Library where the Magill Sunrise Markets take up residence in the car park on the 2nd Sunday of each month. Further up Montacute Road, we leave suburbia and very quickly travel along a lightly used road that meanders alongside Fifth Creek and in between the Conservation Parks of Black Hill and Morialta. Numerous stopping spots provide ample opportunity to stop and search for koalas, admire the birds and scenery, or perhaps head for a short hike through the Parks.
Further along the road we pass the small town of Montacute, which is lightly inhabited but famous for its summer season cherries, and the Montacute Institute. The road now climbs along a ridge and heads to the top of the range, passing Corkscrew Road (a favourite amongst cyclists) and the Montacute Cemetery.
Montacute Road continues through Montacute Heights, across the Heysen Trail and the small township of Cherryville before coming across the Governor's former summer house at Marble Hill. Now a private residence, Marble Hill is open occasionally during the year for visitors to enjoy the renovation work, the views and the annual Marble Hill picnic.
From this peak, the tour heads down the hill along Marble Hill Road, passing through Ashton, and heading past the Ashton Cooperative Store along Range Road on the way to Greenhill Road. Grapevines are mixed with fresh vegetables and the Mt Lofty weather tower to provide a different view of this beautiful part of the Adelaide Hills.
The Drive continues along Summit Road with the Cleland National Park appearing on the western side along with occasional views of the City. Before long, Adelaide's tallest peak, Mt Lofty, comes in to view with many walkers and cyclists scurrying across and along Summit Road on their way to the peak. The Summit Café and Restaurant is open 7 days a week, and is a welcome stop at this halfway point of the drive.
Leaving the Summit, the drive passes Arthur's Seat on the left, the old TV station towers on the right, and Mt Lofty House and the delightful Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens on the left. Continuing further down the hill we reach the town of Crafers where traffic levels increase considerably. Crafers is home to several shops and restaurants with some of the most popular including the ageless Crafers Hotel and the Crafers Gourmet Deli.
Back on the drive, we cross the freeway and commence the descent along Upper Sturt Road. A small monument on the left allows us time to reflect on two local police heroes who lost their lives fighting a bushfire in the region in 1951, while the nearby Knoll Conservation Park is a small park on the side of the Stirling Hills. Further down the drive, the Upper Sturt General Store comes in to view with some great arts, crafts and bric-a-brac in the store in addition to the traditional café and deli items.
On the right hand side, the large Belair National Park takes pride of place, with plenty of access points for walkers or photographers. Tourist Drive 51 continues down the hill and passes through Hawthorndene and the passes the Apex Park, the 95 year old Joan's Pantry, and the Sturt River Linear Park, all with plenty of attractions for the younger members of the travel party.
Blackwood beckons, and then the downhill continues along Shepherd's Hill Road where the WIttunga Botanic Gardens appear. These delightful gardens host a large lake, plenty of birds, and lots of colour particularly during Spring and Autumn.
The Colebrook Reconciliation Park is on Shepherd's Hill Road at Bellevue Heights. Reconciliation is a key theme in this small park which features a magnificent water sculpture, several statues, green lawns and BBQ facilities.
Tourist Drive 51 continues down the hill along Sturt Road and concludes alongside the Flinders University. The tourist drive is around 45km in length and will take 2-3 hours depending upon the length of stops along the way. The tour can be done at any time, with stunning views on offer during Spring and Autumn.
Excellent tour !For those looking for a nice walk there are 2 from Joan's Pantry.One takes you along the creek to the "Duck Inn",(a hotel)that follows the road..go down one side of the road and come back the other.The other takes you along the creek in the opposite direction eventually to the entrance of Belair national Park...no signage either way...but not too difficult to work it out.Come back roughly the same way.Parking available near Joan's Pantry.This time of the year,creeks will be running;swiftly after heavy rains...so take care.