Hiking with kids can be a bit hit & miss, can’t it? Will you take a wrong turn & end up miles away from where the car is parked? Will your toddler find a stick that they INSIST on carrying the whole way? Will that “short stroll” turn into a 9 hour epic adventure? Will your teenager complain the entire time that their legs are hurting? (Yes.) We’ve done the kms for you & walked ahead to find the best family friendly bushwalks & hikes around Adelaide. We’re betting there are some in this list you have never even heard of! Pack the snacks, slap on the suncream & get hiking, families of Adelaide!
Morialta Conservation Park
An absolute must for a list like this, and for me, it is my fave. Located only 20 odd minutes from the CBD, what I love about Morialta is not only the incredible scenery, waterfalls and rock formations, but the variety. The different hiking trails, which are really well sign posted if you are inclined to take a wrong turn like me, give you the option to spin around the valley floor on a quick and easy 45 minute trek or you can challenge yourself with a 4 hour epic around the whole region. Some of the trails do take in some pretty awe inspiring heights, but the falls valley floor walk is a ripper if you are after flat scenic walks with the younger hikers. Plenty of adventurous families tackle all of the different trails so be sure to explore, explore, explore.
For info on all the amazing walks at Morialta, click here!
Onkaparinga River National Park
Heading down south next, with the fabulous Onkaparinga River National Park, which if my personal social media feeds have been anything to go by, has been veeeeerrrrrry busy in recent years. It is easy to see why though! With so many hikes to choose from, which have easy to read (and find!) signs along the way, you will find something to suit the whole fam here. Hikes range from about an hour right up to hard 4hr expeditions, so go for a stroll or challenge yourself. The park also offers incredible views over the various gorges (you can rock climb too if you feel like climbing up a perfectly good cliff). With your map at the ready, prepare to check out the stunning views and kids of all ages are guaranteed to have a ball*
*not a real guarantee
Punch Bowl Lookout
While we’re talking about the Onkaparinga River National Park, make sure you check out the Punch Bowl Lookout. It’s a firm favourite with the KiA team – at 2km return it makes the journey worth your while.
It’s pram friendly with just a few steep bits – the views are worth it though!
Hallett Cove Conservation Park (Marion Coastal Trail)
A long time fave of the KiA crew and hugely popular down south with the locals. Recently saved with much needed Government funds to help with maintenance, it would have been a tragedy had it been lost. Park at Hallett Cove (plenty of parking and a fantastic cafe to inspire to you on the way back) and start your trek. The area is rich with natural geological history (a good excuse to rest I find, to stop and read the information signs) so you can combine family exercise with learning! Something the kids will surely appreciate…or not. The boardwalk follows the cliff tops or (as above in the pic), pop down to the rocky coast below and explore. Absolutely fantastic to take kids of all ages this one.
The entire trail is about 7km from Hallett Cove to Marino, with the boardwalk comprising of a few km of that from the Hallett Cove end. Personally a trek to the end of the boardwalk and back to Hallett Cove is usually enough for most kids. Be sure to check out the beautiful Sugarloaf and Amphitheatre, incredible geological formations along the way. More info here
Mount Osmond Reserve
Located around Glen Osmond, the series of trails provides you with spectacular views of the city. Parking is a bit of an issue (Mount Osmond Road is your best bet), but with walks suitable for families of all ages with our walk on the central track taking about 20 minutes (we would class it as easy-medium in difficulty), this is an absolute fave. I mean how can it not be with that view!
Sadly it wasn’t pram friendly, but being centrally located and with a selection of great walking tracks, put this one on the list.
For all the info on the tracks at Mount Osmond, find out more here.
We love this spot, but a heads up, it’s not pram friendly! Here’s what Walking SA has to say:
“A scenic walking trail following Reedy Creek from the lower pools to the waterfalls.
An adventure playground for people of all ages – it’s easily navigable to walk rock-hop along the creek gully, exploring the many granite rocks, pools and waterfalls. An abundance of birdlife and wildlife can be found. The falls flow during winter and spring, and after rains.
Park at either the lower or upper carpark. We recommend parking at the lower carpark and following the walking trail along the creek, and turning around near the upper carpark. Remember to bring plenty of drinking water. The toilets are 150 metres from the lower carpark. The first pools are 250 metres from the lower carpark. The first waterfalls are 1 kilometre from the lower carpark.”
Deep Creek Conservation Park
Goondooloo ridge walk in deep creek conservation park is a 4km return walk that will take you around two hours to complete easy for little legs and prams, lots of kangaroos and wildlife to spot along the way.
At the end of the track you’ll find picnic tables looking over the picturesque backstairs passage hello over there kangaroo island!
There’s brand new drop toilets located at the start of the track along with parking and picnic tables, keep in mind this is in the conversation park so you will need to pay a fee to enter ($12 per vehicle) which we recommend you do so before heading on your way as there is no signal in the area.
The pass will get you full access to the entire park so make the most of it and plan out a full day as there’s lots to see and do!
Kuitpo Forest, about a 45 minute drive from Adelaide, is a really big place. So much so that of all the hikes listed in this national park, I couldn’t even find any reference to my favourite (and a huge fave for locals too). Bone Gully Forest off Dashwood Gully Road has always been my go-to for a Kuitpo hike with the fam. The incredible lush forest scenery and short distance (albeit it is a bit up hill….which just means it is downhill on the way back to the car) makes it perfect for a family day out. But the beauty of such a place like Kuitpo, is everyone has a fave part. You won’t find the huge mountain gorges like you will at other hikes, which may be perfect for you! Also a fave with mountain bikers and horse trail riders
click here to see the map to plan your day out.
Para Wirra Conservation Park
One for the northerners, with the very popular Para Wirra Conservation Park. Only 45 minutes from the CBD, there are so many fantastic hikes to choose from depending on your level of ability and enthusiasm. With hikes from 30 minutes to 4 hours, you can either take the kids to see the beautiful lake or take them up on the lizard rock hike. The choice is yours.
To find out what hike is best for you, click here.
Hope Valley Reservoir
Opened to the public in 2020 Hope Valley Reservior is S.A’s first metropolitan reservoir to open to the public and a great place for kids to explore.
Shared use trail mostly on the western side near the dam wall. A full loop is just over 5km and make sure you stop at the new nature playground for a climb
Lobethal Bushland Park
Lobethal Bushland Park comprises 118 hectares of varied terrain of gentle slopes and running creeks. There are 5 mapped trails to choose from starting at an easy/moderate loop around around the Reservoir South right up to the Purple Moderate/Difficult trail that you’ll need at least 2 hours to get around. Main access to the Park is via a gate at the southern end of the reserve adjacent to Reservoir South, and a gate on Kenton Valley Road on the eastern boundary.
Click here for more info and walking trail map
Victor Harbor Heritage Trail
Look I am going to be honest here, this place is windy. Like all of the time. In 30 odd years travelling to this spot, I don’t ever recall it not blowing a gale, but if you want to see the beauty of the full force of the Southern Ocean smashing into a coastline, then putting up with some wind is well worth it. The Bluff is an obvious and famous landmark at Victor Harbor, but it is also a great starting point for the Victor Harbor Heritage Trail, a sensational 2 hour hike along some of the best coastline in our state. With shipwrecks, beach walks and stunning ocean views, it is easy to see why this is a fave. If the 2 hour hike is a bit out of the reach of your fam, why not try the walk up and down The Bluff? At only about half an hour return (and it isn’t really that steep for that long) your kids should make the top with the promise of a great view of Victor (or an ice cream. You may need to promise an ice cream). If any of the above hikes don’t take your fancy, there is always a lap around Granite Island!
Click here for the only map you will need for your Victor hike!
You’ll find this one on the Fleurieu off of Hay Flat Road. It’s semi-pram friendly – which in KiA language means you might need to do some heavy pushing or the pram itself might get a bit dirty. Consider yourself warned! The track itself is only 500m return making it perfect for little legs.
It’s lovely to see the flowing waterfall however and next door is a gorgeous forest with mushrooms out of a fairytale. (Do.not.eat.them)
Newland Head Conservation Park
Another Fleurieu favourite, just near Waitpinga Beach at Victor Harbor. This one is not pram friendly & is probably more suited to older kids or kids who asre used to hiking.
It’s called the Coastal Cliff Walking Trail for a reaon & you’ll be rewarded with stunning ocean views!
Find out more by clicking here.
Mount Lofty Summit
Now unless you are one of those really fit families who have protein shakes for breakfast before heading off to a 5:30am F45 class, this one is a toughie. Not really for the little kids but your tweens should handle it relatively well….probably better than most parents if we are honest. But totally worth it for the view….and the coffee at the lookout! Parking can be a nightmare, as half of Adelaide make the trek here most weekends, so pick your day wisely (or tip for young players…park at the top where parking is aplenty and walk it in reverse). Currently there are restoration works taking place which may alter your trail depending on when you decide to go.
Click here for all the latest info from Parks SA.
image credit Stacey Lee
Shepherds Hill Recreation Park
Another of our ‘you may have driven past this a hundred times but never knew it was there’ spots, this is really popular with locals for the great hiking tracks and fantastic mountain biking areas. With a number of really well signed tracks offering something for all ages and abilities, this is so close to home (enter off Fiveash Drive Pasadena) and you will instantly feel like you have been transported a million miles from anywhere. Check out heaps more info here.
Brownhill Creek Recreation Park
Carrick Hill/ Waite Conservation Park
Snuggled in behind Carrick Hill, lies a sneaky hidden gem of a walking track that offers some simply stunning views of our city, but without having to deal with all of the people (looking at you Mt Lofty). A 2-3 hour circuit covering a nudge over 4km, this moderate loop will be easily achieved by the whole fam. Some amazing rest stops along the way to marvel at the views, see if you can find the tree swing!
Click here for more info.
Mount George Conservation Park
The Mt George bush walk took us about 1.5hrs from carpark return but the path is a bit tricky though. It is easy to miss the turn off to the summit too so be careful! The 2.4km loop trail to the summit of Mount George is a great walking trail with kids. The trail follows fire tracks and walking trails on a slow incline to the summit of Mount George. A highlight is a stop at a rocky outcrop near the top with magnificent views over Bridgewater to Mount Lofty. The trail is marked with pine posts and blue arrows, but its not clearly marked at the start or along the way sometimes. We recommend following the map closely to get started. The trails are well maintained and easy to follow. You can’t really get too lost anyway as side tracks lead to the 2-metre high electric fence with its 2-metre high locked gates – the only entrance and exit from the trail is at the shed near the main picnic area at the end of Mount George Road. The walk takes you through a Stringybark native forest and a great preservation of historic native vegetation.
For more info on this beauty click here
Happy Valley Reservoir
With almost 20km of trails, perfect for mixed uses including running, mountain biking, hiking (lots of it is pram friendly too!), this is a really exciting community space for the south.
Choose from a range of well signed tracks, from 2km loops all the way up to the 11km Shoreline Loop.