Photo credit (above): @safromabove on Instagram
Please note this guide was first written prior to COVID-19. We have done our best to ensure the parks included are open to the public, however, some areas may still be closed.
What a glorious time of year to slide into your active wear, grab your friends, and leave behind the bitter politics of the (virtual) yoga-studio for the open air where you can discuss the sordid affairs of the instructor as you enjoy the privacy of the great outdoors.
We’ve mapped the best walking trails in Adelaide for you to enjoy so that once you’ve finished with your gossip you can feel truly tranquil in your surrounds. Make the most of the sunshine and balmy summer air with our guide to some of the best walking trails around Adelaide.
Onkaparinga Gorge, Hackham
Starting Point: Piggott Range Road, Car Park Gate 12 of Onkaparinga Gorge National Park
Time: 1 to 1.5 hour loop if you complete the nature trail
Forget Netflix & Chill. Spice up your weekend by visiting the Onkaparinga River National Park. It doesn’t matter what time of day you visit, this clockwise nature trail is not too taxing and sweeps down into the Gorge where you can explore off the beaten track. The huge cliffs offer beautiful views at sunrise and sunset if you’re so inclined.
Adelaide Botanic Garden
Starting Point: North Terrace Main Gate or the Plain Tree Drive Friends Gate
Time: 1 to 1.5 hour loop at a leisurely pace
There’s no other walk in Adelaide where you can take in Amazon Waterlilies, a Mediterranean garden, cacti, succulents, and a Tropical Greenhouse within the two kilometre loop. Plus you’ve got the public toilets, cafés, and even the Wine Centre all close by. Don’t discount just how beautiful a gem we have in our Gardens right in the heart of the city.
Torrens Linear Park Walk
Starting Point: Elder Park Rotunda
Time: 2.5 hour loop, nice and slow.
At 10km in length, you might choose just to walk a section or even grab one of the free bikes from the CBD and go for a slow ride. Again, amenities are an attraction, as well as the beautiful artworks installed all along the loop which extends beneath Hackney Road heading east. If you happen to have the kids, pass beneath the train tracks at the western end of the loop and the Bonython Park playground appears like an oasis out of nowhere.
Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens
Starting Point: Summit Road Car Park
Time: 1.5 hour loop
There is no better place to experience the sheer beauty of Adelaide than these gardens that overlook the Piccadilly Valley. An outstanding picnic location if you can set aside the afternoon, with hidden rotundas, seating and a lakeside view. In parts, the garden is quaint and romantic, while in others the sweeping views are truly grand.
Kaiki Walk, Granite Island
Starting Point: Causeway Bridge from Victor Harbour
Time: 1 hour loop
There’s something very connective about feeling the sea breeze rush swirl around you and the crash of waves. Granite Island is one of those favourite trails you always forget about until you’re walking it again and enjoying the views out to the ocean. The little penguins occasionally pop their heads out of their burrows and sea lions have been known to stop off for a brief sunbathe on the southern shoreline.
Black Swamp Walk, Currency Creek
Starting Point: One Paddock Currency Creek Winery Cellar Door
Time: 1 hour loop
It’s great to be able to lift the burden of that wine bottle you tucked into your padded vest and just enjoy a walk knowing that wine is always within reach. Currency Creek Winery is a simple to walk, beautiful loop trail well worth the day trip, especially if you enjoy the peace of native birds busying themselves amongst the native scrub with views of the vineyard.
Mt Lofty To Bridgewater via the Heysen Trail
The Heysen Trail is open for day walking only. Read more at heysentrail.asn.au/news.
Starting Point: Mt Lofty Lookout
Time: 3 hour loop
While a lot of people know the Waterfall Gully trail to Mt Lofty, if you walk in the other direction towards Mount George and Bridgewater you can find a hidden gem. We’d suggest starting from the Lookout so the majority of the walk is downhill. You’ll catch glimpses of the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, the trickling waters of Cox Creek and the hidden trails of Arbury Park before exiting just below the freeway at The Bridgewater Mill. There are several smaller tracks you can loop around here too, but at 7.5km it’s actually not as far as many people believe.
Waterfall Gully To Mount Lofty
We’re unsure if this walk is available to the public, as Mount Lofty is currently closed.
Starting Point: Waterfall Gully Car Park
Time: 2.5 hour loop
Probably the most popular walking trail in Adelaide, it’s nice to see other people just as exhausted as you are as the accent towards the Mount Lofty Lookout grows ever steeper. The only issue is that the very people you want to gossip about might be somewhere along the same path. But we suppose it’s just as satisfying to race past them and flash one of those “keep going, but I’m better than you” smiles over your shoulder.
Beaumont Circuit, Burnside
Starting Point: Intersection of Sherwood Terrace, Caithness Avenue and Hayward Drive
Time: 2 hour loop
Probably the best trail for equal views of the city and the hills, this steep but secluded trail along the edges of Mount Osmond goes hand in hand with contemplating just how lucky we are to live in Adelaide. The clouds seem to hang suspended along the valley lines as the days get warmer, and as the breeze as it rushes through the grass along the hill side it’s hard not to feel peaceful.
Morialta Falls Loop
Starting Point: First Fall Car Park off Morialta Falls Rd
Time: 3 hour loop
This slightly more challenging walk passes Giants Cave and whilst the First Falls don’t flow in spring, the loop itself still offers a range of breath-taking views such as Morialta Gorge’s towering cliffs, the city, the coast and the Adelaide Plains, making this a must see for nature lovers.
Marion Coastal Walk
Currently under reconstruction, with parts of the walk open.
Starting Point: Marino Esplanade or Hallett Headland Reserve
Time: 2.5-3 hours one way
A completely unique landscape awaits those happy to walk the one-way track from Marino to Hallett Headland Reserve. The beauty of this track is you can set your length, as there are multiple points you can choose to turn around. The boardwalk paths offer outstanding views out over the ocean but the true beauty of the landscape is only revealed when you enter into the Hallett Cove Conservation Park.
Waterfall Hike, Belair National Park
Starting Point: Pines Area of Belair National Park
Time: 3 hour loop
This hike has some steep terrain, but allows you to take in part of the Adventure Loop and the Yurrebilla Trail, so it’s a well worn path. This trail is one of the few that dogs are permitted upon. The Echo Tunnel and the two waterfalls punctuate the track to offer great views and time to catch your breath.
Starting Point: Chambers Gully Car Park
Time: Allow a half day to complete
We have been given an inside tip for this loop from one of Adelaide’s most experienced trail runners, Sputnik. As you’re following the loop, instead of coming down Long Ridge, chuck a left onto the Gunrower Track until you reach Greenhill Road. You could then continue to finish the full Wine Shanty Track, which adds 10km to the overall walk if you have the whole day to explore. This is by far the most challenging trail we have included, but the rewards when you smash this must be similar to winning a season of My Kitchen Rules.
Location: Fleurieu Peninsula
While fishing, water activities, and camping is still out of bounds, visitors will be able to walk, run and cycle around bushland tracks with water views, enjoy picnics, and visit lookouts and viewing platforms to see and photograph wildlife and scenic vistas in this first stage of opening at Myponga.
Like most outdoor activities in South Australia, there’s a website which lists every possible trail you could want to walk. Head to the Walking SA website, especially if your long term goal is to become one of those people with the walking poles. We have no idea how those actually help, but you certainly look like you mean business when you have them.