Crafers, SA

First town in the Adelaide Hills

Crafers is a charming village, and commuter area, at the south-eastern edge of Greater Adelaide and at the start of the Adelaide Hills via the South East Expressway. It is only 14 km from Adelaide's CBD and is very easy to miss. This entry focuses on the main attractions in the region - the spectacular view from Mount Lofty, the excellent Mount Lofty Gardens, the Cleland Conservation Park and the Cleland Wildlife Park. Today Crafers is now a suburban area with a church, a petrol station, a small shopping centre, a garden centre, some very chic accommodation options and a suburban area just off the South East Expressway. It was one of the earliest settlements in the Adelaide Hills having been settled within three years of Europeans arriving in Adelaide.


Crafers is located 14 km south-east from Adelaide's CBD via the South Eastern Freeway.


Origin of Name

The township was named after David Crafers who kept an inn in the area which, at the time, was known as 'The Tiers'. Crafers was a great entrepreneur who lived at a time when a number of sly grog shops operated in the Adelaide Hills.


Things to See and Do

Crafers Hotel
The Crafers Hotel, located at 8 Main Street, Crafers, was built in 1880 on the original site of David Crafers' Norfolk Inn. The original inn was burnt down in 1926 and the current building was subsequently built on the site and has been modernised over the years. The current hotel promotes itself as "established 1839" which was when David Crafers built the first hotel, the Sawyers Arms. Crafers built the Norfolk Arms in 1840 and sold it in 1842. At the time it was known as the Crafers Inn.
Crafers was a larger-than-life character. In the Southern Australian newspaper of 17 July 1839 he advertised: "Some impudent insinuations having been made respecting my having slaughtered a bullock at my house in the Tiers, I beg leave to inform the public that I have done so, and that the hide may be viewed by any inquisitive person who desires it. And I further give notice that I am about just now to slaughter another, and will be happy to furnish any person with such portions of it as they may require, for adequate remuneration."


Other Attractions in the Area

Mount Lofty Summit
As a perfect starting point, the Mount Lofty Summit is memorable. It is 710 m above sea level and has superb views across the city and is a easy way to recognise how close the "hills" are to the city. Mount Lofty offers panoramic views over Adelaide and across Gulf St Vincent. It was first sighted and named by Matthew Flinders in 1802. There is a downloadable brochure available with information about walks. Check out

Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens
Located between Crafers and Piccadilly, the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden is 100 ha of native bushland which has been turned into a cool temperate garden with rich displays of rhododendrons, magnolias and carmellias which are best seen in spring although they are still impressive all year round. There is a careful mixture of plants from South America, China, East Africa, New Zealand, South East Asia and North America as well as Australian natives.  The highlights are Fern Gully, the Woodland Garden and the Heritage Rose Garden which "is a special collection of the species roses from which all modern roses have been bred." There are special walking trails through the gardens with the Nature Trail (850m, steep gradient - 90 minutes) which recreates what the Adelaide Hills would have been like before the arrival of Europeans. Check out for more information.

Walks Around Crafers
The excellent Walking SA lists three walking trails around Crafers. All begin in the Main Street of Crafers near the roundabout. There are maps and detailed instructions at
*Crafers Circuit - 2.8 km loop which passes by Mount Lofty House and the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens
* Crafers to Mount Lofty Trail - a total of 9 km return (4.5 km one way) which includes part of the Heysen Trail, provides impressive views of the Adelaide Plains and Piccadilly Valley and offers opportunities to see kangaroos and koalas.
* Crafers - Stirling Circuit - a 4.2 km circuit which includes part of the Pioneer Womens Trail and passes historic homes and impressive cool climate gardens.

Cleland Conservation Park
The Parks SA website describes the park, which is located to the north of Crafers with a main entrance just beyond the Mount Lofty Summit, as "A fantastic network of walking and cycling trails introduces you to the diverse native wildlife, cultural heritage and spectacular views of the Adelaide Hills and surrounds." It is primarily the major area of bushland in the Adelaide Hills and consequently has number walking trails and fire trails. The Crafers to Mount Lofty Trail runs through the park and there is the Wine Shanty Trail and the Chambers and Adventure loops. Check out for more detailed information. It has a PDF of an excellent downloadable map.

Cleland Wildlife Park
Located 5 km from Crafers via Mount Lofty Summit, the Cleland Wildlife Park is set in 35 ha bushland and offers visitors the opportunity feed kangaroos, hold a koala and inspect 130 species of Australian indigenous wildlife. There are daily educational keeper talks and personalised guided tours as well as night walks. The close up experiences include koalas, butterflies, wombats, cockatoos and reptiles with "breakfast with the birds" as an additional attraction. For more information check out



* Prior to occupation by Europeans the Adelaide Hills were home to the Peramangk Aboriginal people for at least 20,000 years

* The coastline was first explored in 1802 when Matthew Flinders, during his epic circumnavigation of Australia, sailed up the coast. He sighted Mount Lofty.

* The township was named after David Crafers who established the Sawyers Arms in 1839.

* In 1840 David Crafers wife was held up by bushrangers.

* Later in 1840 a new inn was built. It was known as the Norfolk Arms; was located on Stringy Bark Forest, Mt Barker Road; and it was attracting a clientele made up of ex-convicts, thieves, loggers and ex-sailors.

* By 1853 the Eagle on the Hill Hotel was opened.

* In 1865 the Crafers Primary School was opened by Edward Smith.

* The year 1878 saw the Church of the Epiphany was consecrated.

* A new Norfolk Inn was built in 1880.

* The Eagle on the Hill Hotel was destroyed by bushfire in 1889.

* The Norfolk Inn was burnt down in 1926.

* The Primary School moved to its present site in 1928.

* The Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens were opened in 1977.

* The area was severely affected by the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983.


Visitor Information

Mount Lofty Summit Visitor Information Centre, Summit Road, Crafers, tel: (08) 8370 1054.


Useful Websites

Mount Lofty Summit Visitor Information Centre, Summit Road, Crafers, tel: (08) 8370 1054.

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