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  • 16 Stunning Walks & Hikes in Adelaide & South Australia

    August 11, 2022 13 min read

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    16 Stunning Walks & Hikes in Adelaide & South Australia

    Written for Auski by Pink Lemonade Social

    Put on your hiking boots, gather your supplies and get ready to hit tick off the 16 best walking paths and hiking trails in South Australia.

    Explore the South Australian trails...

    South Australia is a stunning state that has it all: rocky coastlines with white-sand beaches, lush, wildlife-filled bushland, arid, ochre-hued plains, and some of the best hiking trails in the nation! There are opportunities for all types of active travellers, including two of Australia's Great Walks, easy walks and a variety of additional multi-day and single-day hikes. Therefore, if you're looking for your next exciting vacation or an adventure-filled weekend (and a means to increase your step count), go no further than our best suggestions for walks and hikes in South Australia.

    While Adelaide is best renowned for its vibrant city life and convenient access to entertainment and the arts, it also has some of South Australia's most beautiful walks and hikes. With so many options, we've made it simple by picking our favourites so you can start exploring the trails right now. Get ready to explore Adelaide and South Australia, tackle one or many, but don't forget your water bottle and sunscreen!

    1. Waterfall Gully To Mount Lofty, Adelaide

    With good cause, this popular trail consistently ranks first among day hikes in the Adelaide region. With parking available at Waterfall Gully or the mount's summit, you may choose whether to start with the relatively steep uphill or downhill route first, thanks to facilities (including cafes) at either end of the trail. In any case, it is a hike not to be missed with well-kept trails, informational stops, and regular places to rest along the route, in addition to opportunities to observe koalas high in the trees and magnificent vistas of the stringybark and blue gum forests to take in from the top of Mount Lofty. The fact that this hardly two-kilometre walking path climbs 475 metres emphasises how high the Mount Lofty Ranges rise from the Adelaide Plains and how much of a workout it is for the quads. It might take anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour to complete the ascent, which is why fitness enthusiasts adore it.

    Location: Cleland Conservation Park, Adelaide

    Duration/Length: 7.8km / 1.5-3 hours return

    Difficulty: Medium/Hard

    Travel time from Adelaide: 20 minutes

    Waterfall Gully To Mount Lofty hike, Best hikes in Adelaide

    Image: Instagram/angefennell

    Sugarloaf Circuit Hike, Adelaide

    Image: Instagram/thumbelinda4

    2. Sugarloaf Circuit, Adelaide

    The Sugarloaf Circuit is a must-see for wildlife enthusiasts. Hikers regularly come face to face with koalas, kangaroos, and a wide variety of birds on their descent of this cliff. The Chambers Gully Track begins at Waterfall Gully Road, where you should leave your car. Sugarloaf Circuit is adequate, but you can prolong your adventure by following the Long Ridge Lookout signs to see the spectacular panoramic views of Adelaide City as well as Glenelg.

    Location: Cleland Conservation Park

    Duration/Length: 5.8km/ 3 hours

    Difficulty: Easy

    Travel time from Adelaide: 20 minutes

    3. Encounter Bikeway, Fleurieu Peninsula

    The 31.5-kilometre Encounter Bikeway follows the stunning coastline between Victor Harbor and Goolwa, and can be used for a variety of activities. As one of the Fleurieu Peninsula's most popular tourist attractions, it provides a breathtaking coastline ride or walk for locals and visitors alike. This paved coastal trail is a blast whether you're on two legs, two wheels, or four wheels. On one side, the Southern Ocean (where you might see seals, dolphins, and wintering southern right whales) and lush low hills await you on this easy walk (look out for the historic Cockle Train). Prior to reaching Victor Harbour, the trail travels via Middleton and Port Elliot, both on the Murray River. All of the settlements date back to the mid-to-late 18th century. The seaside towns of Port Elliot and Old Middleton are also lovely places to stop for a meal.

    Location: Fleurieu Peninsula

    Duration/Length: 31.5km / varies

    Difficulty: Easy

    Travel time from Adelaide: 90 minutes

    Encounter Bikeway, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

    Image: Instagram/officialfleurieupeninsula

    Riesling Trail, Clare Valley, Best Walks and Hikes in South Australia

    Image: Instagram/scootthevalley

    4. Riesling Trail, Clare Valley

    The Riesling Trail is a pioneering South Australian rail-trail that runs through the scenic Clare Valley wine area. About a two-hour drive north of Adelaide, the path stretches 35 kilometres from Auburn to Clare and then on to Barinia. For walkers and hikers alike, the Clare Valley Riesling Trail is like Ireland in winter and Tuscany in the summer. Eucalyptus forests give way to vineyards owned by renowned producers like Annie's Lane, Mount Horrocks, and Sevenhill Cellars along the trail. The cities of Clare and Auburn serve as bookends, and the route weaves through picturesque communities reminiscent of the English shires, complete with 1840s settler houses, museums, art galleries, and coffee shops. We recommend slowing down and taking your time to either explore a small portion of the trail or to make a vacation out of it by staying in one of the many lovely lodging options. If you want to do the full nine hour trail, you can opt to stay in a B&B in Sevenhill, a convenient halfway point. You can enjoy mid-hike snacks, leisurely meals, local history, and breathtaking scenery by stopping at vineyards along the way.

    Location: Clare Valley

    Duration/Length: 9 hours / 35km one-way

    Difficulty: Easy

    Travel time from Adelaide: 2 hours

    5. Arkaba Walk, Flinders Ranges

    The Arkaba Walk in the Flinders Ranges takes you through beautiful gorges, sun-drenched plains, and rugged cliffs over the course of three days and four nights. All year long, Wild Bush Luxury offers private walking excursions of the Arkaba Conservancy's 24,000 acres. Learn about wildlife, history, and geology from an expert local guide as they bring you on a tour of the Australian outback. You don't have to worry about roughing it because the all-inclusive experience doesn't skimp on the creature-comfort amenities. Choose between a secluded bush tent or one of the unique star-beds, which allow guests to sleep under the millions of constellations visible in the outback's night sky.

    The roughly 40-kilometre journey follows a historic road through Wilpena Pound and down into Arkaba Creek's creek beds, which is both inspiring and demanding at times. Walkers are taken on a journey via Aboriginal story, pioneer history, and a particularly gripping tale of ecological rescue as the scenery and fauna reveal themselves. Even while the first two nights are spent beneath the stars in luxurious swag stations, the final night is spent at the stunning Arkaba Heritage Homestead, where guests may enjoy exquisite wine and chef-prepared meals. Overland transport from Adelaide via the Clare Valley, Bush-inspired meals and trail snacks plus unlimited beverages (beer and wine included) are included in this walk for a fee of $2900 per person.

    Location: Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, Flinders Ranges

    Duration/Length: 3 days / 4 nights / 13 - 15km per day for 3

    Difficulty: Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 5 hours

    Arkaba Walk, Wild Bush Luxury, Flinders Ranges South Australia

    Image: Instagram/@wildbushluxury

    Mount Remarkable Summit Hike, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

    Image: Instagram/jenssohnrey

    6. Mount Remarkable Summit Hike, Flinders Ranges

    Mount Remarkable National Park is located near the southern extremity of the Flinders Ranges and features an exciting summit loop trek. It's a wildlife lover's dream to witness wedge-tailed eagles, emus, wallaroos, and yellow-footed rock wallabies all in one day! It takes around 5 hours to complete the route, so it's best to start early in the day so you have plenty of time to enjoy the moderate but rocky ascent. The 960-metre mountain affords amazing views of the Willochra Plain and the Spencer Gulf.

    Location: Mount Remarkable National Park, Flinders Ranges

    Duration/Length: 5 hours / 13.8km return

    Difficulty: Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 4 hours

    7. Wilderness Trail, Kangaroo Island

    For the first time, walkers may experience the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail environment as it's never been seen before during this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Bushfires in the summer of 2019–20 severely damaged the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail but it is finally recovering and back open. Designed to be completed in five stages, this 61-kilometre trail starts at Flinders Chase National Park, revealing the island's stunning south-west corner, which includes pristine beaches and steep cliffs. Flinders Chase National Park sees a steady stream of visitors throughout the year, making it difficult to pick a bad time to go to Kangaroo Island. The most popular months to visit are December through February, especially during the Australian school holidays in January. The greatest time to visit is from March to November, when the temperature is a little cooler, making trekking and exploring a little more bearable, and less busy.

    You must acquire a one-day pass in order to visit Flinders Chase National Park. You can order them in advance online or pick one up at the park's Visitors Center when you get there. Adults pay an entrance fee of $11. Driving around the park is included in your admission purchase, so there's no need to worry. If you want to go on a stroll and see some wildlife besides the well-known sites of Remarkable Rocks and Kelly Hill Caves, you'll find lots of options on Bermuda's island. A secluded dining area, bathrooms, and platforms for tents have all been masterfully carved out of the bush in four distinct locations throughout the area. From plentiful fauna (think sea-lions, penguins, and of course endemic kangaroos) to sea-sculpted coastal sceneries that have become geological landmarks like Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks, the Flinders Chase National Park route is a treasure trove. On-trail camping and lodging are not available on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. If you book through a licenced tour operator, your package may include lodging. Make sure to keep in mind that the trail is located on the island's west side, approximately 1.5 to 2 hours from the ferry and airport arrival/departure locations. If you plan on doing multiple sections of the trail, we recommend that you reserve lodging close to the trail. Ferry fares to Kangaroo Island cost $55, $45, $28 per adult, concession and child respectively ($110 return, $90, $56 respectively), and a car, campervan or motorhome will cost $220 return.

    Location: Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island

    Duration/Length: 5 hours / 13.8km return

    Difficulty: Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 2 hours + a 45-minute ferry from Cape Jervis

    Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail
    Wilderness Trail Kangaroo Island, South Australia

    Image: Instagram/belwhittam

    Walk The Yorke Trail, Yorke Peninsula

    Image: Instagram/trip_ticks

    8. Walk The Yorke Trail, Yorke Peninsula

    Walk the Yorke is a 500-kilometre trail that follows the entire coast of a less-traveled area of South Australia, which opened in late 2015. There is much to discover on the Yorke Peninsula, and the trail is a great way to see parts of the cliff and beach landscape that have previously only been accessible to the local farming communities. Mangrove swamps, cornfields, seaside resorts, and secluded beaches you've never heard of are all included in this well-marked itinerary. Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park's natural, wave-thrashed cliffs, at the southern tip of the Peninsula, are today a haven for wildlife and surf enthusiasts. A total of 16 sections make up the complete circuit, which can be done as scenic day hikes or combined to create some more strenuous multi-day expeditions. In addition to the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park and some of South Australia's most beautiful beaches, the 60-kilometre Marion Bay to Gleeson Landing stretch is a go-to for those who want to explore the peninsula over several days.

    Location: Yorke Peninsula

    Duration/Length: multi-day / ~500km

    Difficulty: Easy to Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 1.5 hours

    9. Marion Coastal Trail, Marino to Hallett Cove

    The Hallett Cove Boardwalk part of the Marion Coastal Trail is named for the nearby conservation park and is another popular walk in the Adelaide area. This walk from Marino Esplanade to Hallett Cove takes a roughly 2 hours one way, walking along a variety of pathways and boardwalks that follow the rough coastline. One of Adelaide's best day-hikes thanks to its high amount of stairs, as well as a superb exercise, you can also add on the 2km circuit of the Hallett Cove Conservation Park Glacial Hike, which includes the famous Sugarloaf formation.

    Location: Marino Esplanade to Hallett Cove Headland Reserve, Adelaide

    Duration/Length: 7.2km one-way / 3-4 hours return

    Difficulty: Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 30 minutes

    Marion Coastal Trail, Marino to Hallett Cove, Best Hikes in South Australia

    Image: Instagram/lcdrane11

    River Torrens Linear Trail, Best walks in Adelaide

    Image: Instagram/jonshriver

    10. River Torrens Linear Trail, Adelaide

    The 30-kilometre stretch of the Torrens River Trail begins at Athelstone in the Adelaide Hills, and ends at West Beach/Henley Beach in Adelaide. An oasis in the midst of the city and suburbs, the trail is framed by River Red Gums and reed beds. This trail follows the banks of the river from Athelstone in the Adelaide Hills to the coastal river mouth at Henley or West Beach, allowing a wide range of shorter loop possibilities. It's a popular choice to start in the city centre of Adelaide, and then walk 12 kilometres west to the seaside along the river, passing past a slew of picturesque parks with restrooms, picnic tables, and play spaces for the little and big kids in your group.

    Location: Athelstone , Adelaide

    Duration/Length: varies – up to 30km of trails

    Difficulty: Easy

    Travel time from Adelaide: 30 minutes

    11. Great Southern Ocean Walk, Fleurieu Peninsula

    The Fleurieu Peninsula's King Beach, just outside of Victor Harbour, is the end point of this walk which is part of the Heysen Trail (Australia’s longest walking trail at 1200km) that stretches through South Australia from Cape Jervis to the Flinders Ranges. As a result, experienced hikers and those looking for a challenge flock to this seaside area. Since it would take you 4-5 days to complete, this is one of the longer-distance suggestions, but with so many options for camping along the way, you may design your own plan that is just right for you, or simply tackle the walk in sections over multiple weekends. Deep Creek Conservation Park (with steep valleys, lush waterfalls, and home to echidnas and kangaroos), magnificent beaches and coves, and plenty of awe-inspiring cliff-top panoramas will be on your itinerary. For the first 13 kilometres, hikers follow glistening shorelines, cross wide grasslands, and through lush forests dotted with eucalyptus and wattle. Spectacular views of Backstairs Passage and Blowhole Beach can be found on this portion of the trek, which encourages a few rest stops.

    Location: Cape Jervis to Victor Harbour, Fleurieu Peninsula

    Duration/Length: multi-day/ 49km

    Difficulty: Medium/Hard

    Travel time from Adelaide: 1.5 hours

    Great Southern Ocean Walk, Fleurieu Peninsula, Cape Jervis, South Australia

    Image: Instagram/@_shav_b_photography

    Onkaparinga Gorge River Hike, South Australia

    Image: Instagram/matthewmcgrath63

    12. Onkaparinga Gorge River Hike

    The River Hike is one of many routes in the gorgeous Onkaparinga River National Park, but we think it's best for beginners. With each step you take into the canyon, the gradient steepens, bringing you deeper into the lush bushland, where you'll be surrounded by stunning cliffs and natural watering holes. If you want a longer hike in the park or to add on to your current hike, the Gorge hike takes roughly 2-4 hours (5.8km circuit) which is a hard hike with steep sections, but offers great views and glimpses into the river gorge.

    Location: Onkaparinga River National Park

    Duration/Length: 4.2km return / 2.5 hours return

    Difficulty: Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 50 minutes

    13. Three Falls Grand Hike, Woodforde, South Australia

    The Three Falls Grand Hike is a great option if you're looking for a little more of a challenge than the shorter First Falls Walk (a 45-minute round trip) in Morialta Conservation Park. Trail markers lead you to all three of Morialta Gorge's breathtaking waterfalls, as the name suggests, with stunning views of the worn cliffs and grasslands. With a little detour, the climb follows Fourth Creek up to First Falls, Second Falls (with a short detour), and Third Falls. If you have children or a pram, or are not after a full hike, you can take the Morialta Falls Valley walk (1.6km) which takes you to the base of the first falls via the valley floor.

    Location: Morialta Conservation Park

    Duration/Length: 7.3km / 3.5 hours return

    Difficulty: Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 25 minutes

    Three Falls Grand Hike, South Australia

    Image: Instagram/mands06

    Belair Waterfall Hike Loop, Belair National Park, South Australia

    Image: Instagram/unisa.outdoorclub

    14. Belair Waterfall Hike Loop, Belair National Park

    Within South Australia's oldest National Park, you'll find this scenic trail that takes you past two stunning waterfalls (the upper and lower), the Echo Tunnel (which runs beneath the train tracks) and a variety of other sights and sounds. Avid hikers near Adelaide, South Australia, should check out this 6.4-kilometer loop trail. A moderately difficult route, it takes an average of 2 hours to complete, but can take longer if you stop to take in the beauty and sights. When there is a lot of rain, the falls usually come to life. To get the best view of the waterfalls, plan your visit around a recent rainstorm. If you're looking for a quiet spot to enjoy some birdwatching or hiking, this trail is a great option. Open all year round, the trail is stunning at any time of year. Dogs are permitted, however but they must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.

    Location: Belair National Park

    Duration/Length: 6.5 km / 2-3 hours

    Difficulty: Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 20 minutes

    15. Coastal Park Trail, Adelaide Coastline – Moana to Port Noarlunga South

    Families will enjoy strolling along the Adelaide Coastal Park Trail (which spans a total of 70km through 6 local councils) with its many family-friendly playgrounds and seaside cafe stops along the way. If you don't have time to walk or ride a bike the entire trail, it's best to pick a shorter section like this 8.4-kilometre route between Port Noarlunga and Moana. The Coast Park Trail runs along the 'mid' surf coast, where the trail is relatively flat. There are numerous picnic shelters, car parking spaces, public restrooms, and playgrounds along this popular stretch of coastline. The most notable feature is the miles and miles of breathtaking coastline along the Gulf of St. Vincent. You can still enjoy some peace and quiet on this popular trail for hiking, birding, and road biking at quieter times of the day. Open all year round, the trail is stunning at any time of year and dogs are permitted, but they must be kept on a leash and under control.

    Location: Port Noarlunga / Moana

    Duration/Length: 8.4km / 2-3 hours return

    Difficulty: Easy

    Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 40 minutes

    Adelaide Coastal Park Trail, Port Noarlunga, Best Hikes in South Australia

    Image: Instagram/adzy_edwards

    Yellowtail Loop, South Australiam, Best Hikes in Adelaide
    Anstey Hill Recreation Park, South Australia

    Image: Instagram/darrylpollard

    16. Yellowtail Loop (Anstey Hill Loop), Vista, South Australia

    The Newmans Nursery ruins, once the largest plant nursery in the southern hemisphere, can still be seen along this loop walk, which is perfect for nature lovers and history buffs alike. The Newmans Nursery was destroyed by floods in 1912, but the buildings and glasshouses that survived can still be seen today. The superb fairywren, western grey kangaroos, and koalas are just a few of the more outgoing animals you may encounter. Anstey Hill Recreation Park's 7.5-kilometre loop walk features some challenging ascents, spectacular views of the Adelaide Plains, a variety of park wildlife. Since birding, hiking, and mountain biking are all popular activities in this area, you're almost certain to run into other tourists while you're out exploring. Open all year round, the trail is stunning at any time of year and as long as you keep your dog on a leash, you can take them for a walk in this park.

    Location: Anstey Hill Recreation Park

    Duration/Length: 7.5 km circuit/ 2-3 hours loop

    Difficulty: Medium

    Travel time from Adelaide: 30 minutes

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