Thirty minutes into the Adelaide Hills from the Festival City centre, Mount Barker opens up some singular options to the visitor to South Australia. With a population of 1700, Mt Barker is not only a major service centre for much of the Hills district, but is an enthralling destination in its own right.
You can catch up on the latest techniques on fish curing at the Springs Smoked Salmon plant or take a short drive and pleasant walk to the peak which the Aborigines used as an ancient burial site. The summit offers spectacular views from Mt Lofty to Lake Alexandrina and the Murray River.
Mt Barker's signature windmill has been restored to its glory days in the mid-19th century when it provided the power for the milling of locally-grown grain. Christ Church, the courthouse, police station and post office all date back to the 1870s.
Old-time railway enthusiasts can hitch a fascinating ride aboard the Steam Ranger from the Mt Barker station to such Fleurieu Peninsular hotspots such as Victor Harbour and, through Strathalbyn, to Goolwa at the mouth of the Murray River.