11 Gorgeous Adelaide Hikes to Get You Moving
Adelaide is one of Australia’s most underrated capital cities. It strikes a fine balance between the bustle of city life and a peaceful nature retreat, thanks to its prime location. South Australia’s capital has beaches to its west and the Mt Lofty Ranges to its east, which make for some incredible walks.
Here are 11 energising walks in Adelaide, all within a 90-minute drive of the city centre.
Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty Summit
Fifteen minutes from Adelaide’s CBD is Mt Lofty, the highest peak in the Mt Lofty Ranges. It’s one of the most popular hikes in Adelaide, and the panoramic city views from the top will get your blood pumping.
Although there are a number of ways to hike to the top, starting at Waterfall Gully is one of the prettiest. The 3.9 km trail is well-paved and takes approximately 1.5 to 3 hours return, depending on your pace. There’s a cafe at the top and the bottom, so make time for a coffee!
Torrens Lane Linear Park Walk
This walk is a beautiful 10km loop that will take you through the heart of Adelaide. Walk along the River Torrens as it winds through North Adelaide, giving you a bit of nature in the city centre. This walk is part of the longer River Torrens Linear Trail, which is a 35 km circuit from West Beach to Athelstone.
Allow approximately 2.5 hours to complete this family-friendly loop.
Famous Faces and Commemorative Places
This one’s for the history buffs! Get your energy up and your brain engaged during this 1.5 to 2 hour walk along North Terrace and Park Lands in Adelaide’s CBD. Download a walking trail booklet for a map listing 25 points of interest. You’ll stop at famous statues and locations that illustrate the people and events that contribute to Adelaide’s heritage.
Inner Harbour Loop Path
Go west to Port Adelaide, home to the AFL team Port Power and a charming waterside walk. The Inner Harbour Loop Path is a flat, paved walkway that takes you along the Port Adelaide River. The walk is 3.5 km long and will introduce you to the area’s prolific maritime history. If your energy flags, there are plenty of nearby cafes where you can grab a bite to eat.
Waterfall Hike, Belair National Park
The Adelaide Hills region is on the outskirts of Adelaide itself, but this challenging trail will make you feel like you’re out in the woods. Keep your eyes peeled for koalas along this 6.5km hike as you pass through Echo Tunnel and take in the upper and lower falls.
Allow approximately 3 hours to complete the hike.
Hallett Cove Glacial Hike
South of the city is the Hallett Cove Conservation Park, an internationally significant geological site. Walk along cliff tops that are actually the base of an ancient glacial lake and marvel at the gorgeous coastal views. Informative signs appear along the trail, so you can learn what you’re looking at.
The trail is a 2km loop and takes about 60 minutes to complete.
Onkaparinga Gorge Loop Trail and Lookout
The stunning Onkaparinga Gorge is only 45 minutes south of Adelaide. Follow the 5km loop trail to the Sundews Lookout, where you’ll get fantastic views of the river as it cuts through the gorge. The walk is considered a moderate hike and takes roughly 2 hours to complete.
McLaren Vale Heritage Trail
McLaren Vale is one of Adelaide’s famous wine regions, and it’s only an hour from the city. It doesn’t take long to realise that there’s much more to do than get lost in the vineyards, starting with the McLaren Vale Heritage Trail. Allow 2-3 hours to do the 6km circuit, which is a self-guided heritage walk through the attractive area.
Main Valley and Rockdale Hill Hike, Horsnell Gully
Head east of the city to the Adelaide Hills for this refreshing 4.7km hike under the gum trees. It’s a steep grade 4 hike, so lace up your boots and grab a walking stick. You’ll actually be walking up a waterfall, so be wary of loose rocks. Allow 2 hours to complete the hike.
Coastal Park Trail
The SA government is developing a 70km Coastal Park Path that runs along the ocean all the way from North Haven to Sellicks Beach. It’s been underway since 1992, and is nearing completion. Select a section that suits your location; if you’re in the city try the 7.5km stretch from Glenelg to Henley Square. If further south, opt for the 6.5km from Port Noarlunga to Moana.
Kings Head Hike, Heysen Trail
The Heysen Trail is a mammoth 1,200km walk through South Australia, well-suited for intrepid bushwalkers. However, if you’re keen to do a section of the walk, the Kings Head Hike is an excellent option. It starts south of Victor Harbour on the scenic Fleurieu Peninsula, and will take you along the coast. The 6.5km hike is a point-to-point hike and takes about two hours; allow twice as long if you plan to return the way you came.