The 10 Best Walks In And Around Adelaide

Dust off those walking boots and let’s hit the trails! The First Light Travel hiking enthusiasts have put together their ultimate top 10 recommended walks in and around the South Australian capital of Adelaide.

Discover Adelaide on foot…

Best known for the buzzing city life and easy access to culture and the arts but Adelaide is also home to some of the most wonderful walking trails in South Australia. You don’t have to travel far from the city to find peace and tranquillity amongst the lush countryside and a range of walks from easy meanderings to more challenging day hikes. With a huge range to choose from we have made it easy and selected our favourites so you can get straight out on the paths. Include one or many during your stay in Adelaide – just don’t forget your water bottle and sunscreen!

Read on for our top 10 picks:

1. Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty Summit

Generally agreed upon as the most popular walk in Adelaide, the route from Waterfall Gully car park up to the summit of Mt Lofty is a strenuous but rewarding hike. Taking in the native bush and stringybark forest, the trail offers spectacular views over Adelaide hills and city. With a cafe at either end and well-made paths expect to see a few fellow walkers but it is popular for a reason!

For something a little longer (3-5 hours) and less populated, try the Chambers Gully to Mt Lofty 15km loop walk where you will see fewer people and more koalas and kangaroos.


Location: Cleland Conservation Park

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

Difficulty: Medium/Hard (steep terrain but regular seating along the route)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 20 minutes

2. Marion Coastal Walk – Hallett Cove Boardwalk

A collection of boardwalks and paths which forge their way along the coastal cliffs overlooking the Gulf of St Vincent. The trail takes in a large number of steps up and down into gullies and coves. This is a solid leg workout but you will be rewarded with seaside vistas and ancient geological formations dating back 600 million years.


Location: Marino Esplanade / Hallett Cove Conservation Park

Duration/Length: 10.2km / 2.5-4 hours return

Difficulty: Medium (undulating with lots of steps)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 30 minutes

3. Onkaparinga Gorge River Hike

There are so many trails of varying difficulty levels to choose from in the Onkaparinga River National Park but we recommend the River Hike. Taking you on a downhill gradient that becomes steeper the further into the gorge you go (so remember that you have to walk back up the same slopes on your return), you are led into lush bushland surrounded by impressive cliffs and watering holes.


Location: Onkaparinga River National Park

Duration/Length: 4.2km / 2.5 hours return

Difficulty: Medium/Hard (starts off gentle but becomes steep)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 50 minutes

4. Three Falls Grand Hike

If you are after more of a challenge than its little sister First Falls Walk (an easy 1.7km / 45-minute return saunter) then Three Falls Grand Hike is for you. The trail markers take you, as the name suggests, on a route that visits all three of the spectacular waterfalls located in Morialta Gorge with additional gorgeous views over the weathered cliffs and plains.


Location: Morialta Conservation Park

Duration/Length: 7.3km / 3-4 hours return

Difficulty: Medium (steep in places)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 25 minutes

5. The River Torrens Linear Trail

With 35km of trail to choose from the River Torrens Linear Trail is a favourite with the locals due to its versatility. The trail extends inland from Athelstone in the Adelaide Hills and follows the river on both sides to the coast so you can create your own walking loop depending on the distance you feel comfortable with. An excellent 12km section can be done in a day and extends from the Adelaide CBD to Henley Beach and takes in several beautiful parks.


Location: Athelstone / Adelaide CBD / Henley Beach

Duration/Length: Various options of 35km trail

Difficulty: Easy (flat and wheelchair accessible)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 30 minutes to Henley Beach or Athelstone

6. Belair Waterfall Hike Loop

Located in South Australia’s oldest National Park, this scenic trail takes you past two stunning waterfalls (an upper and lower) as well as the Echo Tunnel which passes under the train line and will entertain you with its wild acoustics. Try to time your visit with some recent rainfall to see the waterfalls at their best. 


Location: Belair National Park

Duration/Length: 6.5 km / 3 hours loop

Difficulty: Medium (steep in places)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 25 minutes

7. Aldgate Valley Nature Walk

This interconnecting series of country roads and nature reserves nestled in the Adelaide Hills stretches between Mylor to Aldgate. It is the place to see a range of local wildlife including kangaroos, bandicoots, possums, water rats, echidnas, antechinus, koalas, snakes and lizards.


Location: Aldgate

Duration/Length: 13.6km / 3.5 hours return

Difficulty: Easy (undulating with gradual elevation)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 40 minutes

8. Coastal Park Trail – Port Noarlunga South to Moana

The popular Adelaide Coastal Park Trail follows alongside white sandy beaches and takes in lots of family-friendly playgrounds or options to stop at seaside cafes. The entire trail is 70km (one way) so best to choose a shorter section like this 6.5 km route between Port Noarlunga and Moana and enjoy a leisurely stroll or you could hire a bike for a scenic cycle ride.


Location: Port Noarlunga / Moana

Duration/Length: 8km / 1-1.5 hours one way

Difficulty: Easy (flat)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 45 minutes

9. Yellowtail Loop

Great for wildlife lovers and history buffs as this loop walk takes in the Newmans Nursery ruins, a 19th-century plant nursery (the largest in the southern hemisphere at the time) which was devastated by floods in 1912 but you can still see the remaining buildings and glasshouses. Some of the less shy animals you might see along the way include ​​the superb fairywren, western grey kangaroos and koalas.


Location: Anstey Hill Recreation Park

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

Difficulty: Medium/Hard (some steep sections)

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 40 minutes

10. Adelaide Botanic Garden

Admittedly, this is not a traditional hiking trail but it is an absolute treasure on the doorstep of Adelaide CBD. The paths looping around the gardens and greenhouses offer a very leisurely option while also taking in a plethora of native and international flora. The Amazon Waterlily Pavilion was inspired by its namesake and the pond inside dating back to 1868 is a definite must-see


Location: Central Adelaide

Duration/Length: 5 km / 1-1.5 hour leisurely loop

Difficulty: Easy

Travel time from Adelaide CBD by car: 10 minutes

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