Exploring the great outdoors with the family is great, but knowing where to start and where to go, especially with kids, is a battle. Will I end up trying to drag my whingeing 6 year old up a hill steeper than the top of the grandstand at Adelaide Oval? Will the ‘short hiking trail’ end up a 9 hour trek through the wilderness turning the kids into a mini Burke and Wills? Thankfully we have you covered with our fave spots in Adelaide to take the family for a hike!
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!
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
Onkaparinga River National Park
Heading down south for number 2, 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 2020. 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
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.
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!
Para Wirra Conservation Park
One for the northerners, with the very popular Para Wirra Conservation Park rounding out the top 5. 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.
Mt 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.
Mt 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.
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.
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
Another ‘blink and you miss it’ beauty this one….Just sort of drive to Mitcham and turn left. Then bam, couple of minutes later and you get views like this. With 300 year old river red gums lining the valley, there are several hikes listed here which might take your fancy. We are blessed to have such incredible access to areas such as this, so close to the city. If you are feeling adventurous, the 4 hour hike looping for 13km around Brownhill Creek to Belair will surely tire out even the fittest kids.
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
The 3.3km (approx.) loop track on the south east side of the reservoir takes you through open plains, forested areas and native vegetation. The unsealed trail is suitable for walking and running and is short and sweet for little feet. There are little “ look out “ parts off the loop you can add or you can stick to the loop and keep it short and fun! There is a toilet on the track, reat places to sit rest and enjoy the view, picnic tables and SO MUCH NATURE to explore and investigate. Moss, mud, pinecones, birds, kangaroos and more.