Want to get away from the city bustle, find out where the locals hang out, check kids friendly spots for a picnic or a great walk
Visitors, locals as well as out of town sometimes need to chill out, especially with kids in tow. Escape is easy in South Australia with opportunities to find plenty of space to jump, run and investigate new horizons. A rental car for the day to explore the countryside gives the freedom to pace yourself and the impulsive stops are effortless. For families who wish to use public transport there are several choices. Let’s get you and the family out on the road exploring the Adelaide Hills. Picnic supplies can be readily obtained from the numerous Adelaide delis in town such as:
- The Deli, 62 Pulteney St on Hindmarsh Sq, Adelaide,
- Classic Adelaide Markets
Of course you could be passing delicious eateries on your way with impulsive stops for fresh fruit ice cream and other goodies.
Best time to go
Year round with waterfalls at their roaring best in winter, spring is wildflower bursts of colour with summer heat respite found in the Adelaide hills. A day trip from Adelaide into the hills definitely gets visitors into the holiday mood.
Wetlands can be the underrated picnic destination, perhaps due to the word ‘wet.’ For children it is a great introduction to a fascinating ecosystem and its fun at the same time. South Australia has an award winning wetland, Laratinga Wetlands on its doorstep. The name Laratinga is the Peramangk word for Mount Barker Creek, ‘Flooding Land Creek.’ Treated water is repurposed to create an artificial wetland.
Landscaping with indigenous plant species tempts native birds to settle the wetlands, while migrating birds utilise the safe island habitats. Laratinga is now home to over 140 bird species. There are flat boardwalks, toilets, picnic tables and shelter facilities making Laratinga a superb resource for families and couples.
Where is Laratinga wetlands located
- Heritage buffs have a historic government house to visit
- Gardening fans have one of Australia’s well known plant nurseries to browse
- KIDS have an adventure playground and plenty of space to release their energy.
The oldest national park in South Australia with Old Government House at the heart. Victorian ornate curls and turls evokes a sense of the past. The native bushlands is a short 25 minutes from urban Adelaide making Belair a great place for an impromptu visit. There are walking trails, shared cycle tracks, a tennis court available for hire and cricket pitches. State Flora, the oldest plant nursery in South Australia is a must visit garden centre for anyone interested in native plantings. The park is a repository of the landscape of South Australia, Adelaide Hills creating a sanctuary for native plants and animals.
Old Government House
The Friends of Old Government House often offer afternoon tea (coffee, tea and scones) for $5 during opening hours (open the first and third Sunday of each month and public holidays, from 1-4 pm).
The Kiosk at the adventure playground is open on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. Open during business hours.
No rubbish bins in the park, carry in and carry out all rubbish, leave only footprints behind.
Where is Belair National Park located
Natural South Australia is encapsulated in Morialta Conservation Park has been a well-loved recreational escape for over 100 years. The creeks, woodlands, gorges and winter flow sparkling waterfalls offer visitors an escape from the bustle of urban Adelaide. A mere 10km from the city is a kids highlight, a nature playspace situated around
Stradbroke Road picnic area, There are five play areas to explore: Frog Island, Eagle’s Perch, Great Snake, Bird Nests, climbing boulders, paths and climbing trees. Encourage the children to look up and around for a bit of koala or kookaburra spotting in the mature gum trees.
Walkers in the group have First Falls walk easy 1.5km to the main waterfall with plenty of trails to choose from. Check the travel pack information section for a walking trail map. The park has sections for experienced rock climbers, Morialta Rock-climbing Zone is the most popular natural climbing area in the state. There are many climbs of varying difficulty and exposure.
Wildflower fans will not want to miss Morialta in spring
Where is Morialta National Park located
WOORABINDA LAKE, fits the ticket. Stiriling, Adelaide Hills is a local favourite, the streets are framed with mature trees creating a shady retreat from the summer heat and a glorious autumn display. There are numerous cafes, boutique shops and delis to choose nibbles for the lakeside picnic. While Stirling is brunch personified, Woorabinda Lake is relatively free of crowds. It is just over 10 hectares, and contains a man made lake and extensive bushland.
For kids fascinated with nature take a self guided walk, check the travel pack section for a brochure. There is a wetland and the stringybark eucalyptus are a favourite, remember to look around and up for wildlife.
Woorabinda Lake was originally constructed by the South Australian Railways Department in 1922 to supply water to Aldgate station for use by steam locomotives. The additional water was required when a heavier class of steam locomotive was introduced to the steep Adelaide Hills gradient.
Woorabinda Bushland Reserve is close to Stirling town centre making this a trip where public transport from Adelaide is a viable option for families.
Where is Woorabinda Bushland Reserve located
And Mum would like to check out Nairne, heritage town with an interesting mural town walk.
The park features a glorious duck filled lake in the centre. The lake is surrounded by an extensive playground, covered BBQ and plenty of space for everyone. It’s also a popular spot for Rock Drops (painted rocks). The nearby Pallett Cafe is a popular local hangout and a good place to grab something to eat.
Ducks and their doughy debauchery. While ducks relish the white sandwiches it’s not considered ideal duck food. Here are a few options for duck feed.,
- Corn (canned, frozen or fresh)
- Lettuce, other greens (tear into bite sized pieces)
- Frozen peas (defrost)
- Seeds (including birdseed or other varieties)
Where is Byethorne Park located
Waite Conservation Reserve
Waite Conservation Reserve is dedicated to conservation reserve, part of the University of Adelaide assets and is a public resource for locals and visitors alike. Magnificent remnant grey box trees and native understorey species are also to be found in the northwest section of The Waite Arboretum. Waite Reserve is an invitation for walking families visiting Adelaide to capture excellent city views on the horizons and an opportunity to look around and up to observe wildlife not often seen close to urban areas.
The park is undulating with steep slopes in parts. There are no facilities in the reserve, carry your own water and snacks, carry in and carry out rubbish. The reward is a quiet retreat from the city where kids can get a sense of the spaces defining timeless Australia.
Where is the Waite Conservation Reserve located
Scott Creek Conservation Park
Kids can be introduced to the legacy of copper and silver mining in South Australia. There is a derelict abandoned mine. An engine house, stone chimney, mining shafts to peer into along the park’s interpretative walking trails. Scott Creek Conservation Park, the site of Mackereth Cottage with its roofless walls and open doorways creates a narrative about who lived there and what their life was like.
The park is an important link in the vegetation corridors of the hills and was once part of a major travelling route for the Peramangk Peoples. Scott Creek is a significant conservation area and home to many threatened species of the Mount Lofty Ranges.
Where is Scott Creek Conservation Park located
Travel Pack Information
- Check before departing as parks and reserves can be closed for safety reasons. For tips getting around Adelaide check our Adelaide travel guide
- WAITE HISTORIC PRECINCT FLORA
Flora | Waite Historic Precinct describes the flora of the Reserve, “ The dominant plant species over much of the Reserve is the Grey box Eucalyptus microcarpa , and this determines the vegetation type of the Reserve – ‘Grey Box Grassy Woodland’. Woodland vegetation is characterised by the dominant trees having large canopies relative to their height, and trees being spaced apart such that their canopies do not overlap one another. The ‘Box’ eucalypts are a distinct group which have a characteristic bark type of short, interlaced fibrous strands which extend up the trunk as far as the major branches. In favourable conditions the grey box may reach 25m in height. More than 550 species of plants have been recorded in Waite Conservation Reserve.”
Much work maintaining the Reserve is carried out by dedicated volunteers and The Friends of the Waite Conservation Reserve.
The journey is worth it.