Located about 15 minutes from the middle of the CBD is the gorgeous and aptly titled Waterfall Gully. It is in a gully of sorts, and yes, there is a fairly impressive waterfall. What you will also find amongst the trees is the meandering hike to the scenic Mount Lofty Summit, where you will get wonderful panoramic views of Adelaide. The walk itself is quite picturesque, with native bush lining the path throughout.
Be warned though, the walk is hard! It is really steep for long sections, especially towards the end, so a reasonable base level of fitness is a good idea. While it is only around 4km’s return, the rise over this distance is 475 metres, so this gives you some idea on what the level of ascent is.
It is also incredibly popular as a fitness destination, especially on weekends, so finding a car park can be almost as challenging as the walk itself. Many people will be able to tell you what their best time to the summit is, so it can be a bit competitive. However, putting this to one side, this is a really pretty part of Adelaide, and is definitely worth the time and effort.
As a bonus, when you get to the top, there is also a cafe and restaurant. And highly recommend is the cherry pie. Hey, you have earned it, right?
For those seeking a variety of options in their walking and hiking, then Morialta Conservation Park is a great destination. There are a number of different trails to take, ranging from easy stroller friendly walks to the base of the first Morialta Falls, to the 7km+ Three Falls Grand Hike.
Within the park there are the 3 waterfalls to enjoy, as well as views around the gorge, a 'giants cave', eagles nest lookout and views back over the city amongst other things. It is a great opportunity to see some of the natural Australian bush right on the fringe of a capital city.
Winter and spring are possibly the best time to experience the park, as this is when the waterfalls are going to be at their most impressive, and the native flora will be flourishing. The park's rock pools and creeks also provide habitat for small reptiles, frogs and birds.
Aside from the hikes, for the young (and young at heart) there is the amazing Morialta Playspace. Aside from the 5 distinct playspaces to explore, there are also barbeque and toilet facilities available.
Located just 10km from the CBD, this really should have something for people of all ages and interests.
Attention stair lovers!
With an undulating boardwalk hugging the cliff edge between Marino and Hallet Cove, this trek is a great way to get to see this unique section of Adelaide coastline. It is just over 5km in total from end to end, but there are multiple entry points along its path, so you can choose to do particular sections rather than tackling the entire thing.
There are many stunning views along the journey, with rugged rocky cliffs, beaches and gullies all waiting to be discovered. Access points to the beaches and rocky cliff bases are abundant, should you wish to divert off and explore these further. Water is also provided along the way via several drinking water fountains - which you will need, as some of the step sections (of which there are many) are quite demanding.
It can be a very popular walk at times, as it is a beautiful scenic area with stunning coastal views. The Hallet Cove Boardwalk is also a popular social exercise activity. The other important thing to know is this – there is a café at each end, so some extra incentive to push through. While it is challenging in parts, it is also quite child friendly – so no excuse not to take your younger ones along.
Those looking for a less challenging walk - without missing out on the beautiful coastal scenery - should give the Henley Beach to Glenelg walk some consideration. While quite lengthy at 7.6km's, there is plenty to see along the way with beautiful beaches, sand dunes, sculptures and even wind turbines to be discovered.
This is a stroller and dog friendly walk, and makes its way from Henley Square, through West Beach, and finally arriving at Glenelg. It is a popular location for joggers and cyclists, so you need to keep an eye and ear out for others. It is essentially flat the entire way, so not too taxing, unless you are tackling the entire return journey of course!
You can break off to dip your feet into the water on one of the many beaches along the way, as well as doing the obligatory jetty walk at Henley and Glenelg. It’s just a thing you simply have to do – no matter how many times you have been there.
Importantly, there are many cafe options to consider - just the thing to replenish your energy for the return journey.
Linear Park truly is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are a jogger, walker, or rider, in a wheelchair or pushing a pram, from the very young to the not-so-young - all can utilise and enjoy this 30km of winding parklands. Following the River Torrens, it emerges from the Hills at Athelstone and snakes its way all the way to the river mouth near Henley Beach on the coast.
Along this mostly flat and sealed pathway, you will find numerous picnic locations, public bbq’s, playgrounds and toilets. Within the city centre Parklands section, the walkway takes you past the Adelaide Zoo, Botanic Gardens, Festival Theatre and Elder Park.
In some spots there are multiple path options, and on either side of the river, so there are many ways to explore and enjoy this winding green strip through Adelaide suburbs. It is particularly enjoyable on a bike, and can make a much more interesting and adventurous alternative of getting to the coast.
Apologies for the use of what sound like a cliché, but it really cannot be helped when it comes to the Adelaide Botanic Garden. It really is an oasis within the city, containing 50 hectares of beautifully maintained and gorgeous gardens to explore and enjoy. You will feel a million miles away, from the hustle and bustle of the South Australian capital.
There is so much to the garden, it’s astounding. The gardens are divided up into different sections, each offering a different collection of flora, as well as providing understanding of their potential benefits and use. The Botanic Garden contains a wetlands area, which provides a sustainable supply of water to the gardens. There is the garden of health, which contains over 2,500 plants used to heal and promote wellbeing in various cultures. There is also a Mediterranean Garden, International Rose Garden, a Kitchen Garden, Australian Native Garden, Cactus and Succulent Garden….and this is only scratching the surface.
Additionally, there is some stunning architecture in the gardens too, with features such as the 140 year old Palm House, the Amazon Waterlilly Pavilion and the Bicentennial Conservatory amongst the beautiful buildings to see and explore.
It is somewhat surreal that this is all essentially within the CBD of Adelaide, especially as it’s so large, so enchanting, peaceful, interesting and informative all at once (and possibly many other adjectives too). For those visiting Adelaide, there really is no excuse not to stroll in and have a look. Oh, and there is a kiosk, café and restaurant within the gardens, so they can keep you sufficiently fed and watered while you are there.
Banner Photo Credit: South Australia