10 Adelaide bushwalks for families

Get active in the outdoors these holidays with a bushwalk in one of Adelaide’s iconic nature destinations.

Photo credit: National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Get active in the outdoors this holiday season with a bushwalk in one of Adelaide’s iconic nature destinations. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll or a challenge you’re after, there’s something for all families.

Our pick of trails will see you exploring national Parks, forests, hills, rivers, the coast, and even seasonal falls. Set out on an adventure and see why it’s better outside these holidays!

Please note: When bushwalking, check weather conditions before you depart, make sure you’re sun smart, pack ample water and snacks, wear sturdy shoes, and let someone know your plans. A small first aid kit and charged mobile are also recommended.

1. Glenthorne National Park – Ityamaiitpinna Yarta

Stroll one of Adelaide’s newer national parks, officially opened to the public in late 2020. Located on Kaurna Country in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, families can discover the Glenthorne hub and get the opportunity to watch the spot grow and develop.

Distance from Adelaide: 16km South of Adelaide.

Parking and amenities: Park ranger station. The new adven­ture play­ground and vis­i­tor hub is now open to the pub­lic. The adven­ture play­ground fea­tures three slides, a see­saw, spin­ner, fos­sil dig area and Kau­r­na carv­ings and sculp­tures set across 7,000 square metres, mak­ing it one of the biggest nature play spaces in South Aus­tralia.

There are also rope and log climb­ing ele­ments, a pen­du­lum swing, cub­by build­ing, a 25m long fly­ing fox and a wide range of acces­si­ble equip­ment to ensure chil­dren of all abil­i­ties can enjoy the space.

The adven­ture play­ground is sur­round­ed by a pur­pose-built vis­i­tor hub that includes shel­ters, BBQs, toi­lets, pic­nic areas, carparks and her­itage buildings.

Walks: A 4km temporary loop trail starts and ends near the ranger station on Majors Road, O’Halloran Hill. Interpretive signage shares the park’s history and future plans.

More things to do:  Keep up to date with the park’s development. Look for flocks of endangered Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos in trees or flying across the landscape. Discover nearby precincts of the National Park, including O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park, and Marino and Hallett Cove Conservation Parks.

Park Alert: Please note that public access to the visitor hub will be restricted whist the pump station is being upgraded and the changing places facility is being constructed. The playground will still be accessible during this period, however as machinery will be used on site, visitors are strongly encouraged to observe any trail closure signs and/or detours in place for safety.

2. Para Wirra Conservation Park

Para Wirra is a northern nature oasis, featuring twelve walking trails of varying grades and the South Para River. Families can explore the area’s rich Aboriginal and European history, discover wildlife like Western Grey Kangaroos, and let the kids burn off energy walking or riding along shared-use trails.   

Distance from Adelaide: 41km North of Adelaide

Parking and amenities: Toilets, parking, picnic areas, nature playground, BBQs, and wheel-chair accessible campground.

Walks: For shorter family hikes, try Lake Discovery Walk (1km) or find a rock that resembles a lizard’s head on Lizard Rock Hike (1.6km). For a bigger challenge, Devils Nose Hike (4.4km) will reward with stunning views. Learn about the historic gold rush along the Barossa Goldfields interpretative walk.

More things to do: Spend a few days in the park by booking one of the 19 campsites. Climb trees and fallen logs, build a cubby, and test the flying fox at the Nature Play Forest. Look for emus, kangaroos, echidnas, and bushland birds. Learn more with these ranger tips and nature play ideas.

3. Woorabinda Bushland Reserve

Families will be captivated by the majestic lake, bushland, and wildlife of Woorabinda, located near Stirling in the Adelaide Hills. Discover 4km of trails and special features like the poetry bench, bird hide, and resident turtles in this peaceful 34-hectare site.

Distance from Adelaide: 20km East of Adelaide.

Parking and amenities: Parking available. Visit Stirling for toilets and local shops.

Walks: Stroll around the lake or take a self-guided walk using this brochure via the Friends of Woorabinda Bushland Reserves. For a longer route, try the Woorabinda Bushland Reserve Loop (5.4 km) which connects four park areas. Discover the trails map here.

More things to do: Find a place to picnic in the park. Observe birds from the timber hide or investigate what water bugs (macroinvertebrates) you can see. Read poems or compose your own as you reflect at the poetry bench. Notice the features of different plants and habitats, like Stringybark woodlands, aquatic reeds, and blooming wildflowers.

4. Morialta Conservation Park

Morialta is a much-loved spot for bushwalking, creek adventures, mountain biking, rock climbing, wildlife spotting, and the award-winning Mukanthi Playground. In winter and spring, the waterfalls enthrall families (along with a climb into Giant’s Cave).

Distance from Adelaide: 10km North-East of Adelaide.

Parking and amenities: Parking, toilets, BBQs, shaded tables and benches available, grassed areas for ball games.

Walks: Discover eight walks. Morialta Falls Valley Walk (1.6 km) is accessible to prams and limited mobility, taking in popular sights. Morialta Falls Plateau Hike (2.5km) features panoramic views of Adelaide. For a challenge, try Second Falls Gorge Hike (5.3km) or Three Falls Grand Hike (7.3km)

More things to do: Learn about Kaurna culture as you explore the playground and Fourth Creek. Try to spot Peregrine Falcons from Park lookouts. Listen for frogs and keep an eye out for tadpoles, yabbies, and birds like rosellas and wrens. Find more nature play ideas here. 

5. Belair National Park

Families can walk one of nine mesmerising trails in Adelaide’s oldest national park, taking in woodlands, lakes, creeks, and picnic areas. Keep an eye out for resident kangaroos, koalas, emus, echidnas, bandicoots, and birdlife on your travels.

Distance from Adelaide: 13km East of Adelaide.

Parking and amenities: Parking, picnic areas, BBQ, toilets, dog walking but be aware there are no bins located within the park. Find accessibility amenities and information here.

Walks: Options are available for easy walks to hard hikes. Young families can wander around Playford Lake on the Wood Duck Walk (1km) or try the Lorikeet Loop Walk (3km) which includes the Adventure Playground. The Waterfall Hike (6.5km) and Adventure Loop Trail (13km) will challenge active families.

More things to do: Pack a torch and walk through Echo Tunnel. Go for a family bike ride. Pack a picnic and build a cubby at the adventure playground. Spot wildflowers, and butterflies in bushland or visit the native plant nursery.

6. Onkaparinga National Park

A southern Adelaide nature refuge, Onkaparinga River National Park captures the family’s imagination with its walking trails, magnificent lookouts, river gorge, seasonal wildflowers, and local wildlife.

Distance from Adelaide: 35km South of Adelaide.

Parking and amenities: Parking, toilets, camping, and picnic areas.

Trails: Choose from 14 park trails, ranging from moderate to hard hikes. Punchbowl Lookout Trail (2km) is popular with families and suitable for prams and limited mobility access. Choose Sundews Ridge Hike (4km) for a more adventurous option. Steeper Gorge trails include Gorge Hike (6km).

More things to do: Take in the views at Punchbowl and Sundews Lookouts. Hike into the River Gorge to see the valley, permanent rock pools, and wildlife. Book a site at the new Pink Gum campground. Visit the nearby Onkaparinga River Recreation Park to kayak, walk the Wetlands Loop Trail (3km or 4.5km), and spot birds like Sandpipers and Swamphens in the Onkaparinga Estuary. Find Ranger tips here. 

7. Kuitpo Forest

Kuitpo Forest is a cherished destination to walk, mountain bike, horse ride, picnic, and camp. Explore pine and eucalypt forests on your adventures, keeping an eye out for koalas, kangaroos, butterflies, and Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos.

Distance from Adelaide: 47km South of Adelaide.

Parking and amenities: Toilets, parking, campground and accommodation options, fire pits (for use outside of fire ban season).

Trails:  Discover these four walks. Families can stroll the Eucalyptus Trail (2 km) at Rocky Creek Hut and Chookarloo Walk (1.1 km) from the Chookarloo Campground and Picnic Area. For long hikes, try the 12km Tinjella Trail or the 10.8km Onkeeta Trail. The Heysen Trail also travels through Kuitpo.

More things to do: Pack a picnic to enjoy in the shade or open grassy areas. Discover local creeks, hidden cubbies, and fallen logs at Rocky Creek Hut or Chookarloo. Camp with family and friends from April to November and explore trails in the nearby Kyeema Conservation Park.

8. Cobbler Creek Recreation Park

Cobbler Creek Recreation Park is a northern nature refuge ideal for family walking adventures. Discover the many trails through tree-lined creeks and along ridge tops with scenic Adelaide views.

Distance from Adelaide: 19km North of Adelaide.

Parking and amenities: Parking, picnic areas, BBQ, toiletsplayground, bike pump track.

Walks: Find 5 popular walks here, including Valley Circuit (4km), Porosa Hike (3km), and the Babbler and Ruins Loops (3.6 and 3.4km). Learn about bush tucker and Kaurna culture on the 2.4km Mai Tappa Circuit (meaning ‘food pathway’ in Kaurna language).

More things to do: Run wild on the Kites and Kestrels playground. Spot kestrels hovering above grassy areas and lizards sunning themselves on fine days. Bike ride on purpose-built beginner and intermediate trails (as well as advanced downhill and jump trails for experienced riders).

Discover Cobbler Creek and more things to do here.

9. Mannum Waterfalls

A short drive from Adelaide, families can walk, rock hop, and explore the scenic Mannum Falls and Reedy Creek (the waterfalls flow in winter, spring, and following rain). Find reed beds, water pools, granite rocks, ancient gum trees, and birdlife like Wedge-tailed Eagles, Galahs, and Whistling Kites.

Distance from Adelaide: 85km East of Adelaide (Murraylands)

Parking and amenities: Upper and lower car parks are available, with a toilet near the lower park

Walks: A 3km undulating, moderate-grade trail with some steeper sections. The first water pools are a short walk from the lower car park (find the first falls approximately 750m further on). Note this trail is not recommended in hot weather.

10. Deep Creek Conservation Park

Located on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Deep Creek makes for a memorable day trip or weekend getaway. Families can enjoy rugged landscapes, 15 bushwalking trails, expansive coastal views, big night skies, wildflowers, orchids, and abundant wildlife. 

Distance from Adelaide: 100km South of Adelaide.

Parking and amenities: Parking, toilets, picnic areas, campgrounds, and accommodation. Accessible options are available.

Walks: For easy walks popular with young families, try Stringy Bark Loop Walk (1.5km) or Forest Circuit Walk (2.6km). Discover the majestic Deep Creek Waterfall from Tent Rock Road (3.5km) or Tapanappa Lookout (7km). Find more bushwalks here, accessible trail options are also available.

Things to do:  Book an overnight stay at one of five campgrounds. Watch for shooting stars and constellations like Orion’s belt on a clear night. Hike down to the sea at Deep Creek Cove or Blowhole Beach. Watch for kangaroos grazing at dawn and dusk. Visit nearby regional wonders, like Ingallala Falls and Talisker Conservation Park.

So gather up the whole family and pack your hiking boots because these SA hikes are some of the most breath-taking sights on offer. With playgrounds and fun activities to venture through, these bushwalking spots are perfect for every member of the family!

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