4 wild reasons to visit the Adelaide Hills with the kids
If the kids are getting restless while you trawl through goodies at the iconic Adelaide Markets, grab an impromptu deli lunch and head for the hills. A classic Aussie wildlife encounter is enough to blow kids holiday blues away. You have several choices from a polished visitor park to a recently reopened wildlife sanctuary to an African safari experience. Or you could simply stay in town and visit one of Australia’s oldest and well regarded zoos in the CBD.
A classic encounter is feeding kangaroos and viewing koalas perched in their eucalyptus home, then Cleland Wildlife Park solves what to do for the day. For a small fee you collect a bag of animal feed. It is very special to have a wild animal trust you will not harm them, to approach you close enough to feed. You will feel their breath and be able to feel their fur. Remember to move slowly and quietly avoiding sudden movements which can startle wildlife as well as yourself.
An oops moment can be …
Dropping the feed bag as the wildlife will quickly start nibbling the spilt treats
Do not offer feed directly from the bag, rather place the bag in a secure area and remove a small portion to offer to the wildlife
Only offer a small amount as there is plenty of natural food available for the wildlife as well, you don’t want the wildlife to become too greedy
Keep your hand and fingers flat and offer the food with your hand outstretched
Wash your hands thoroughly after all wildlife encounters.
The 35 hectare park has very few enclosures with wildlife free roaming enabling visitors to have personal impromptu encounters with the inhabitants. There are daily keeper talks and self-guided discovery trails. You can take your picnic inside the park and use the designated seating areas, toilet facilities and water fountains. The park has a licensed cafe, souvenir shop and is wheelchair accessible. Plan your visit to Cleland Wildlife Park.
NOTE: Due to its proximity to Adelaide, the sheer size of the park it is a popular attraction for the larger tourist buses. To avoid crowds enter the park as early as possible or early afternoon.
What to do nearby:
- Mount Lofty summit lookout for expansive views of the Adelaide Hills
- Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens autumn colours
- Explore Cleland Conservation Park and Waterfall Gully
Is a story of the passion of an individual for Australian Wildlife. The predator free fence concept was born at Warrawong and the story of native wildlife sanctuaries in South Australia was written. Today Warrawong is an open range sanctuary offering protection from feral foxes, cats and dogs that prey on endangered wildlife. The sanctuary is home to South Australia’s only mainland population of platypuses. A guided tour at dusk gives visitors the ideal conditions to view the elusive platypus. There are a range of experiences you can book online or as you enter the sanctuary. Visitors are walking through animal habitats, there is minimal cultivation of natural vegetation giving visitors a real sense of the landscape before extensive land use altered the environment. Warrawong dusk tour is a great way for visitors to embark on a platypus tour with no expectation you will actually see the animal you have paid to view.
What to do nearby:
- Beerenberg Strawberry Farm, pick your own berries in season
- Hahndorf shops to check out German cuckoo clocks.
- Visit Melba’s Chocolate Factory for sweet delights. (Lobethal)
Monarto is vast with a sense of the Africian savanna due to its enormous size of 1,500-hectare open-range zoo located in South Australia administered by the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia. It is located at Monarto, approximately 70 kilometres from Adelaide’s centre. There is a shuttle bus due to the size of the zoo as well as over 10km of walking trails. Major habitat exhibits have been developed, the Asian steppes, arid north Africa, African plains, and Asian grasslands. The zoo is not irrigated, and vegetation is largely native flora to minimise water consumption as the area is semi-arid region. The Africian plains are easily imagined and the herds of wild animals makes for a safari experience without leaving Australia. There are cafes, seated areas and a gift shop for plush stuffed souvenirs. Check out Animal Experiences Archive – Monarto Safari Park for details.
What to do nearby:
- Murray Bridge Regional Art Gallery
- Murray Bridge Bunyip can be found lurking in her cave today on the banks of the Murray River at Sturt Reserve Murray Bridge
- Captain’s Cottage Museum and connections to the Murray River
Adelaide CBD to Monarto Safari Park
And you wonder about the Adelaide Zoo?
It is located within the Adelaide CBD making it a very accessible day trip destination for visitors. The Zoo is the second oldest zoo in Australia and is home to more than 250 species of animals. There are rare or endangered Australia species such as tree kangaroos. Exotic endangered animals include hyacinth macaws and pygmy hippos. Australia’s only pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni are in residence. Perhaps one of Australia’s endearing favourites are quokkas. Quokkas are residents at the petting zoo making this a favourite for kids. There are regularly scheduled keeper talks, animal experiences and personal interactions. There are cafes, seated areas for picnics and a well stocked gift souvenir shop. For further information check out Visitor information Adelaide Zoo.
What to do nearby:
- Adelaide Zoo Playground is impressive. Kids can have fun on play equipment built on nature play principles. There are climbing structures, water play features, a creek bed to paddle in and aerial walkways. Kids have a birds-eye-view of the Zoo, the CBD and the riverbank. Disabled access does not miss out with a lift to view the zoo from the aerial lookout.
- Another aerial challenge for kids. If your kids are not afraid of heights climb through treetops. Children have to be over 100cm in height. Admission fees apply. Check TreeClimb Adelaide
- National Railway Museum for kids to explore a full sized steam train complete with puffing steam.