By Claire Lock
We’ll let you in on a secret: Adelaide families are spoilt when it comes to biking adventures!
There’s something for all interests and abilities, from beginner tracks and relaxing linear trails to mountain biking meccas and downhill destinations. And with spring’s arrival, it’s the perfect time to soak up the sunshine and explore our coast, city, vineyards, national parks, and reservoirs by pedal power.
Discover our pick of Adelaide’s best family bike rides and see why #ItsBetterOutside these holidays!
Remember to be sun smart, keep to the left-hand side, and be considerate of pedestrians, wildlife, and natural areas.
1. Belair National Park
Explore Adelaide’s oldest National Park by mountain bike, cycling trails, and public roads. Families can pedal by woodlands, lakes, creeks, and picnic areas while keeping an eye out for kangaroos, koalas, emus, echidnas, and birdlife.
Location: Belair (13 km from Adelaide)
Trail options: Options available for beginner to advanced riders. Families can ride fire trails from Playford Lake to the Adventure Playground or try the Microcarpa Loop Trail. Those wanting a challenge can tackle the 13km Adventure Loop Trail.
More things to do: Build a cubby at the adventure playground. Stretch the legs on one of the Park’s many walking trails (pack a torch to visit Echo Tunnel.) Spot wildflowers, birds, and butterflies in bushland or visit the native plant nursery. Find more nature play ideas here.
2. Coast Park
Breathe the wild air with a leisurely ride along Adelaide’s coastline. Choose how long you ride for on this 70 km pathway, taking in the sights of our metropolitan beaches, dunes, cliffs, glistening gulf, jetties, and coastal wildflowers.
Location: North Haven to O’Sullivans Beach (note: some southern sections of the pathway are suitable for walking only or have restricted access).
Trail options: The trail is easily broken into sections between seaside destinations like Semaphore, Henley Beach, Glenelg, Brighton, Moana, and more, making it easy to go for a short or longer ride. Surfaces include paving, boardwalks, and bitumen.
More things to do: Grab a cold drink or bite to eat at a beachside café or Surf Life Saving Club. Look for dolphins and seals surfacing in Gulf St Vincent. Discover Adelaide’s significant Tennyson and North Brighton dunes (spot Stumpy-tailed Lizards sunning themselves.) Look out for Vulnerable Hooded Plovers nesting on beaches. Go for a dip, make sandcastles, and take in the jetty views.
3. O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park
Now part of Glenthorne National Park – Ityamaiitpinna Yarta, O’Halloran Hill boasts eight mountain bike trails. It’s a popular with active families chasing thrills and testing skills on beginner to advanced trails while enjoying Adelaide’s coast and urban skylines.
Location: Seaview Downs (16 km south of Adelaide)
Trail options: Beginners are in luck with many green (easy) trails to explore, gain confidence, and practice skills on features like berms, rollers, switchback climbing turns, and obstacles. (Trail names like Grom Flow, Wiggles, and Sylvanian Families are sure to delight too.) Intermediate and advanced riders are also well catered for – see trail options here.
More things to do: Walk or horse ride along fire trails (note there are no formally maintained walking trails). Dogs on leads are permitted. Visit the nearby Glenthorne National Park ranger’s station on Majors Road, to walk the new 4km loop trail.
4. Shepherds Hill Recreation Park
A stone’s throw from the city, Shepherds Hill Recreation Park is a much-loved urban paradise. With 16km of mountain bike trails and BMX jump tracks (including one for beginners), walking trails, and a seasonal creek, it’s the perfect spot to burn energy.
Location: St Marys and Eden Hills (9km south of Adelaide)
Trail options: For beginners, try the River Red Gum Loop or Kids Zone, a safe place to practice riding on dirt (you’ll find natural surfaces with some timber structures). Intermediate trail options allow riders to take in coastal and city views, and test abilities on downhill trails and The Bowl – Pump Track. Learn more here.
More things to do: Explore the creek and hillsides on three bushwalking loops. Balance upon large fallen logs throughout the Park. Look for koalas and spot hollows in ancient gum trees, which provide critical habitat for many common birds and native wildlife. Find more nature play ideas here.
5. Myponga Reservoir Reserve
Explore the stunning Myponga Reservoir by bike or foot, taking in sweeping views of the water, open plains, pine forests, and native vegetation. Head to the lookout above the Myponga dam wall for a different perspective of the Reservoir and spillway.
Location: Myponga (60km south of Adelaide)
Trail options: An unsealed trail loops 3.3 kilometres around the Reservoir and is suitable for riding, walking, and running.
More things to do: Pack a picnic to enjoy at the tables provided. Spot birds like Little Pied Cormorants, Nankeen Kestrels, and Mistletoe Birds – one of the 120 bird species in the area (see Myponga plants and animals here). Fish from the shoreline in the designated fishing zone (permit required).
6. River Torrens Linear Park Trail
Meander along the River Torrens banks – known as Red gum forest river or ‘Karrawirra Parri’ in Kaurna language – on this 30km trail. Marvel at ancient gums, lush reed beds, native vegetation, and birdlife as you travel from the foothills to the city and sea.
Location: Athelstone to Henley Beach
Trail options: Ride for as little of as long as you like. The trail is flatter in the city to the coast section (steeper sections are found from the city to the hills). Surfaces include bitumen, some gravel, and bridges that allow you to loop back along the other side of the river.
More things to do: Stop for a picnic or play at the parks and playgrounds along the trail, like Felixstow Reserve and Bonython Park. Admire iconic landmarks like the Adelaide Botanic Garden, Adelaide Zoo, Elder Park, and Adelaide Oval. Spot wildlife like kangaroos, koalas, lizards, ducks, and lorikeets. Keep an eye out for native bee hotels, like the one at Highbury.
Safety note: remember to supervise children near watercourses (some river trail sections are steeper and unfenced).
7. Anstey Hill Recreation Park
Families can chase thrills on Anstey Hill’s eight beginner to advanced mountain biking trails. Make a day of hitting the trails and discover the unique cultural, heritage, and environmental wonders of this northern Adelaide Park.
Location: Tea Tree Gully (16km north of Adelaide)
Trail options: A network of 25 km of shared-use trails is available (see maps). For beginners, try Little Quarry Loop (also suitable for pram and limited mobility access). Intermediate riders have five loop trail options, taking you past native vegetation, historic ruins, mine shafts, and quarries.
More things to do: Go for a bushwalk (moderate walks to hard hike options available). Try geocaching in the Park for your own real-life treasure hunt. Spot Western Grey Kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, and butterflies. Pack a picnic or enjoy a bite to eat at a local bakery. Discover more nature play ideas here.
8. Cobbler Creek Recreation Park
Nestled between Salisbury and Golden Grove, Cobbler Creek Recreation Park is a northern nature refuge ideal for family mountain bike adventures. Discover purpose-built beginner and intermediate trails (as well as advanced downhill and jump trails for experienced riders).
Location: Salisbury East (19 km north of Adelaide)
Trail options: Younger children can ride short Beginners and Easy Does It circuits. Other easy trail options include KAFNARFA Circuit and the Pump Track, allowing kids to hone their skills and progress towards intermediate trails. Discover the full range of trail options here.
More things to do: Run wild on the Kites and Kestrels playground. Bushwalk scenic trails along the creek line and ridge tops. Spot kestrels hovering above grassy areas and lizards sunning themselves on fine days. Learn about bush tucker on the Mai Tappa Circuit (meaning ‘food pathway’ in Kaurna language). Discover the five treasures of Cobbler Creek and more things to do here.
9. Encounter Bikeway
Pedal the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula coast along this 31km trail, taking in iconic townships of Goolwa, Middleton, Port Elliot, and Victor Harbor. Families can travel past surf beaches, rocky headlands, calm shores, and significant areas to Ramindjeri / Ngarrindjeri people, like Tokuremoar Reserve.
Location: Goolwa to Victor Harbor, Fleurieu Peninsula (an hour south from Adelaide)
Trail options: Families can choose the length of their ride, with access points readily available along the trail (discover the map here.) Surfaces are a sealed shared-use path, quiet backstreets, and some small compacted gravel sections.
More things to do: Take in panoramic views from The Bluff at Victor Harbor or Freeman’s Knob at Port Elliot. Run wild at Bristow Smith and George T Fisher nature playgrounds. Cross the causeway to marvel at Granite Island’s giant boulders, Little Penguins, and clifftop sculptural trail. Jump aboard The Cockle Train (check dates and book online here). Refuel at a popular local bakery or cafe.
10. Coast to Vines Rail Trail
Explore some of South Australia’s best regional attractions along this 37km trail, which follows the historic Rail corridor from Marino to Willunga. Families can enjoy captivating coastal and vineyard views, making the most of play, cultural, and hospitality options along the way.
Location: Marino Rocks Station to the old Willunga station
Trail options: An easy riding trail with completely sealed surfaces. Start small with a short ride or make a day (or more) of exploring the trail. Connections are also available for the Shiraz, Field River, Christies Creek, and Pedlar Creek Trails.
More things to do: At night, discover glow-in-the-dark artwork of native plants and animals on the trail near Hallett Cove station. Picnic or BBQ at playgrounds, like Glade Crescent and Hugh Johnson Reserves. Enjoy regional food and drinks in McLaren Vale or explore the historic Willunga village. Book regional accommodation to explore the trail and local attractions over a few days.
Discover why #ItsBetterOutside these school holidays with more handy tips and ideas for families.
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