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Lobethal - A Picturesque Blend of Old & New

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. Please click the link to Like my articles, and subscribe to see more. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au
Published April 3rd 2013
No, it's not our best kept secret
Lobethal - A Picturesque Blend of Old & New

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Original Onkaparinga Woollen Factory


There's a town in the Adelaide Hills that is far better known to motor cyclists than other people in Adelaide.

I'm talking about Lobethal, which lies at the end of a scenic winding tour along the Gorge Rd, through Cudlee Creek, and ends at Lobethal.

Motor cyclists love the trip as it allows them to test the handling of their bikes on a smooth road largely uninterrupted by other traffic.

Car drivers generally prefer to take the Onkapringa Scenic Drive, as it is not as bendy and takes in many more places to visit.

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A Ducati Roars Through the Hills


Whichever road you take, Lobethal today is a quirky contrast of old and new. Most older South Australians would once have looked forward to going to bed with something from Lobethal - blankets from the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills kept us warm for around 120 years before the company sadly crumbled in the face of cheaper foreign imports.

The Onkaparinga factory closure must have hit Lobethal hard, in the same way that its sister town Nairne was devastated by the closure of the Chapman's Smallgoods Factory.

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Penny Farthing Man @ Onkaparinga Woollen Mills


But today the town is still a thriving place, ironically continuing to benefit from the Mills. For the historic buildings that once housed the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills now house a new breed of industry, producing upmarket and specialty produce while providing employment to locals in the town.

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Sculpture: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and...


The author wishes to thank Scott McCarten of the Adelaide Hills Business Centre for the help he provided for this review.

The Mill Precinct

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Inside the Historic Mills


The Adelaide Hills Council, through its Adelaide Hills Business & Tourism Centre has found an imaginative way of preserving the heritage precinct that was once the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills factory.

These imposing industrial heritage buildings are now home to many smaller industries including the Udder Delights cheese factory, Lobethal Bierhaus, the Lobethal Markets, the Onkaparinga Woollen Mill Museum, Henstock Technologies and even an office for an online business.

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The Attractively Landscaped Lobethal Bierhaus


Complementing these businesses is also a bunch of boutique Hills wineries - Tilbrook Estate Winery cellar door, Robert Johnson Vineyards cellar door, and Simon Greenleaf Wines whose wines are available online only.

The Adelaide Hills Council must be commended for enabling the growth of these (and more) small businesses, while preserving and maintaining this important part of the state's built heritage. It's an imaginative approach that other councils should learn from.

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A Table Once Used to Make Blankets


Please note that most of the above businesses are open to the public on the weekend, but not during the week unless prior arrangements are made.

Fun for Children

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Hills Slot Raceway


Apart from the Lobethal Markets, there are a few other attractions to keep kids keen in Lobethal.

The Family Hobby Centre includes the Adelaide Hills Slot Raceway . An hour spent slot car racing against an opponent will pass in no time for most kids. Check their Facebook page for opening times and costs.

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Yarns Once Used in the Mills


On a weekend it would be quite easy to while away an hour or more at the Onkaparinga Woollen Mill Museum, which is staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers. Most are ex-workers at the Mill who can demonstrate machinery in action, making it a very real experience.

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Part of a Display at the Museum


Outside the town can be found the Lobethal Bushland Park if you want to stretch your legs after the drive, or you can visit the retro Fairyland Village.

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The Big Rocking Horse @ Gumeracha


Near Gumeracha the Toy Factory & Big Rocking Horse will appeal to very young children.

If you feel like travelling a little further, take a look at the attractions in Mount Torrens and Birdwood too.

Shopping and Eating

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Adelaide Hills Providore @ Lobethal Markets


Rather appropriately for an area surrounded by farmland, Lobethal has a wide range of places to eat and shop.

On weekends a choice place to start is the Adelaide Hills Providore at the Lobethal Markets. They sell a selection of quality local products sourced less than 20 km away including smallgoods, smoked fish, cheese, olives and dried fruit.

There are plenty of other things to browse while you're at the Markets, including craft and bric-a-brac stalls and displays of equipment once used in the Mill.

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The Well Maintained Lobethal Hotel


If you aren't lured by the smell of wood oven pizza cooking at the Tilbrook Estate Winery cellar door, then you have even more choice every day of the week at the cafes and pubs on the Main Street

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The Art Deco Fronted Lobethal Centennial Hall


The large Lobethal Hotel is an imposing building and serves counter meals from $12 on weekdays - it's just down the road from the attractive art deco styled Centennial Hall.

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Greiner's Cafe & So Tacki


Nearby is Greiner's Kitchen (mainly pizza and pasta), and afterwards you can do some browsing at the So Tacki Homewares Boutique next door while you digest your meal.

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The CFS Op Shop


Of course you should also take a look at the CFS op shop while you're passing - these guys do such an important job keeping the town safe, and need all the support they can get.

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Amberlight Motorcycle Cafe


The Amberlight Motorcycle Cafe clearly aims at a niche market, but not those naughty bikies around Adelaide that Mike Rann always used to bang on about. They seem to be open every day except Tuesday and Sunday.

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Rising Sun Hotel


At the other end of town is the Rising Sun Hotel, not far from the Lobethal Bakery where I enjoyed a tasty traditional country baked pie.

If you can't find something that appeals to your fancy out of that list, you're just plain hard to please!
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Why? The Hills are alive with the sound of...bikes?
Where: Lobethal, SA
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Love me some Lobethal and surrounding areas. Great memories of my childhood. If only I could win Lotto!!
by debro (score: 0|8) 2038 days ago
We moved here just over a year ago(in2012) after building a house through a local family builder and have enjoyed every minute of it. We even got a runners up prize for our first Lights of Lobethal competition. We love Grieners,the bakery the pubs etc. it's a great lifestyle that we recommend to anyone. Come on up to where the air is clean and life is relaxed. Mark S.
by toyot (score: 0|8) 1976 days ago
Love the word of mouth advertising, thanks Dave! Glad you liked it! Michele@ Adelaide Hills Slot Raceway.
by Michele Richter (score: 0|7) 2053 days ago
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