Last Updated: May 10, 2021

Best Hikes in Adelaide: Hills, Panoramic Views, & Koalas

Want to go hiking in Adelaide? You’ve found the best guide for that! We’ve selected ten of the best hikes in and around Adelaide, featuring waterfalls, panoramic views, and all the koalas you could possibly want!

Adelaide is a beautiful coastal city that stretches to the foothills of Mount Lofty Ranges, which is exactly where all the best hiking trails are. Most hikes featured here reward you with mesmerizing panoramic views, bird-watching opportunities, and stunning untouched nature.

Whether you’re looking for a challenge or you just want to enjoy the beautiful nature without getting too tired, we know just the right track for you. Read on to see what the top ten hikes in Adelaide are, and find the best one for yourself!

Tips For Hiking In Adelaide

Henley Beach

Be mindful of your surroundings. Hiking in hills around Adelaide is wonderful, but bear in mind that you’re almost always in one conservation park or the other. So, it’s important to ensure your impact on the environment is minimal. Don’t litter, don’t break tree branches or pluck wildflowers, and definitely do not disturb any animals that you see in the park. You’re a stranger walking around their home, and you’ll have only yourself to blame if you anger a kangaroo.

Bring a lot of water. Whether you’re doing a coastal hike or exploring the hills above Adelaide, you should always bring more water than you think you need. South Australia is the driest of all states, so don’t expect to have plenty of water sources along the trail. You’ll be lucky if you come across one, and that’s exactly why you need to bring your own water. In most cases, you are hiking uphill under the sun – hydrating is crucial for retaining your strength and actually finishing the hikes. The only exceptions are trails in downtown Adelaide, which pass by various cafes and restaurants.  

Five Peaks Trail

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 55.2 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 2,165 meters
  • Hiking Time: 2-3 days
  • Starting Point: Trailhead near the entrance to Black Hill Conservation Park
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Transportation: Car, bus

Five Peaks Trail is a strenuous multi-day hike only experienced trekkers should attempt. The trail covers some 55 kilometers from Black Hill Conservation Park to Belair National Park, with a total elevation gain of 2,165 meters.

This trail features everything traditionally characteristic of Australian hikes. Waterfalls, koalas, rocky terrain, exposed segments, and steep ascents are just some of the things you should expect. You’ll also cross rivers – sometimes over bridges and other times by skipping over rocks, and you’ll experience some of the most spectacular views of Adelaide. The trail is on a much higher altitude than the city, and some segments offer breathtaking panoramic views that stretch to the coast. They’re particularly stunning at night with the twinkly lights.

The trailhead is near the entrance to Black Hill Conservation Park, just across from the bus stop. This is great because it means the hike is accessible to hikers who entirely rely on public transport! The hike also ends just minutes away from bus stops outside Belair park, so returning home should be fairly simple.

This hike can be done in two days, but it’s probably more enjoyable if you stretch it to three. Spend a couple of nights at campgrounds overlooking Adelaide, and hike the trail at your own pace, never forgetting to stop and take in the views.

Netherby Spur and Harold's Lookout via Yurrebilla and Wild Dog Glen

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 4.3 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 201 meters
  • Hiking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Starting Point: Trailhead at Hartley Grove
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Transportation: Car

This is a loop hike in Waite Conservation Reserve that takes you to two interesting spots. At the 2.4-kilometer marker, you should be at Netherby Spur, which is a scenic spot. About a kilometer later you should arrive at Harold’s Lookout – a lookout area that offers some excellent views of downtown Adelaide.

This is a short and easy hike with a total elevation gain of just over 200 meters, and it can be done in about an hour. It’s a great trail for hiking newbies that want to enjoy beautiful views and stunning Australian nature, but are afraid of taking on the more demanding hikes. The terrain is easy, and the trail is well-marked.

The hike is within a nature preserve, so expect to see a lot of wildflowers and wildlife on the way. This includes koalas, sheep, wild dogs, and several different bird species. Take your time to admire them and snap a few photos, just don’t disturb the lovely creatures.

Horsnell Gully Loop via Rockdale Hill Track

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 8.9 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 466 meters
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Starting Point: Trailhead near Brooke Lookout
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Transportation: Car

Horsnell Gully Loop follows the Rockdale Hill Track to explore a part of the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park. It’s a moderately difficult trail due to relatively high elevation gain – at least considering the duration of the hike.

You climb for a total of 466 meters over the 9-kilometer track. It’s not a lot, but the ascents are quite steep, and not really suitable for total newbies to hiking. You’ll have to scramble at a few different segments, and parts of the trail are often wet and slippery, so watch your step.

Additionally, some sections of the trail are shaded, but most of it is exposed. You’ll need a hat, lots of water, and sunscreen, to protect yourself from the sun. And I would recommend wearing sturdy hiking shoes – in part because of the rocky terrain, but also because some sections are overgrown, and it will be easier to hike through the bushes in boots and long pants.

This hiking trail features a waterfall, wildflowers, historic sites, spectacular views, a river, and plenty of bird-watching opportunities. It is demanding, but also incredibly rewarding and a must for all hikers in Adelaide!

Chambers Gully Loop

Cleland Wildlife Park

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 10.1 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 356 meters
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Starting Point: Trailhead at Waterfall Gully Road
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Transportation: Car

Chambers Gully loop is a moderately difficult hike in Cleland Conservation Park. The area is home to diverse flora and fauna, as well as several popular hiking trails, and mountainous views.

This circuit hike is one of the easier trails in the Conservation Park, and it’s suitable for all hikers. It’s moderately difficult, but if you just keep your eye on the prize, there’s no reason newbie hikers can’t make it to the end of the trail. The elevation gain is about 350 meters, with a gradual ascent over the first 6 kilometers of the trail. The hike follows a dirt path that is mostly flat, with very few small rocks on the trail.

Perhaps the best section of this hiking trail is near the end, at the 7.6-kilometer marker. That’s when you take a quick detour to Sugarloaf Hill, which features Long Ridge Lookout. The spectacular view of Adelaide you have from here will most likely be the sole culprit if you don’t complete the hike in less than four hours. But no-one will blame you!

There are a lot of koalas in the area, and you might even catch sight of kangaroos and wallabies.

Mount Lofty via Waterfall Gully Trail

Mount Lofty

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 7.7 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 466 meters
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Starting Point: Trailhead at Waterfall Gully carpark
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Transportation: Car, bus at the trail end

Waterfall Gully Trail takes you to the top of Mount Lofty in Cleland Conservation Park. The summit offers spectacular views of Adelaide that you can enjoy from the observation deck or the café.

The hike is a little under 8 kilometers long, and it takes approximately three hours to hike to the top of the mountain and back to the trailhead. This is an out-and-back trail, but you should know that there’s a bus stop at the top of Mount Lofty – if for any reason you don’t want to hike back to the trailhead.

The total elevation gain is about 460 meters, but the ascent to the summit is gradual. The trail is not very steep, and even less experienced hikers should be able to hike it without any major issues. Most of the trail follows a paved path or a walkway, with several bridge crossings.

This hike features waterfalls, rivers, wildflowers, and a lot of wildlife. It is in a conservation park after all, and koalas, kangaroos, and different bird species are all a common sight!

Heysen Trail: Cleland to Montacute Heights

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 24.6 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 784 meters
  • Hiking Time: 8 hours
  • Starting Point: Trailhead at Cleland Conservation Park
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Transportation: Car

Heysen Trail is another hike that starts in Cleland Conservation Park, but this one is there only for the first 4.5 kilometers. After that, the trail takes you through Hornell Gully and Giles conservation park, then through Norton Summit, and finally to Morialta Conservation Park. The hike follows several different trails to cross the 25 kilometers of the point-to-point trail and ends near Norton Summit YHA hostel.

It’s worth noting that this is only one section of Heysen Trail, and that’s why it’s a point-to-point hike. The entire Heysen Trail is a long-distance hike of more than 1,200 kilometers, and it’s certainly not for the average hiker. You can rest for the night at the hostel before you make your way back to the trailhead or continue hiking in the area.

This section of the Heysen Trail is very rewarding, featuring awesome views, a river, and koalas. Also, this part of the hike is rated as moderately difficult, despite being more than 25 kilometers long. That’s because it’s mostly over easy terrain without too many rocks or roots jutting out from the ground, plus the total elevation gain is just 784 meters. And it’s through a forest, so you’re protected from the sun almost the entire way.

Marion Coastal Walk

Hallett Cove

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 14.6 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 247 meters
  • Hiking Time: 4 hours
  • Starting Point: Trailhead at the entrance to Hallett Cove Conservation Park
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Transportation: Car, bus, train

Marion Coastal Walk is a moderately difficult hiking trail in Adelaide. A big section of the hike follows the Hallett Cove Boardwalk, offering spectacular views along the way. The hike is quite challenging even though you’re following a boardwalk; there are a lot of steps to climb since the boardwalk stays above the beaches for the most part.

But all the effort is worth it because the views are absolutely magical. And not just the views of the beaches and the ocean – Hallett Cove park is best known for ice age glacial pavements that are absolutely magnificent. The Sugarloaf is the most popular feature of the park – the enormous rock resembles a mass of refined hard sugar, hence the name. For lovers of geology and nature, this is by far the best hike in all of Adelaide.

The trailhead is at Hallett Cove Conservation Park, which is easily accessible both by car and public transport. This version of the Hallett Cove Boardwalk hike ends at Brighton beach, where you can get some well-deserved rest after the 2-hour hike. Also, there’s a train station near Brighton beach, so if you didn’t drive to the trailhead, you don’t actually have to hike all the way back to the national park.

Morialta Loop

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 13 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 633 meters
  • Hiking Time: 5 hours
  • Starting Point: Trailhead at Morialta Falls car park
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Transportation: Car, bus

The Morialta Loop is a challenging hike in Morialta Conservation Park. The trailhead is at Morialta Falls car park, which is a 15-minute walk from the nearest bus stop. If you’re relying on public transport in Adelaide, this is one of the hikes you can easily do.

Even though the total elevation gain is not that drastic – about 630 meters for the 13-kilometer loop – this is a hard hike. The terrain is rocky, there are roots on the ground and a lot of steps to climb. Also, sections of the trail are exposed, and you’ll need to prepare for a five-hour hike under the Australian sun. But all the effort pays off – this trail features waterfalls, scenic views, greenery, koalas, and a cave.

The varied landscape makes this trail even more rewarding. From surreally green surroundings to exposed dirt pats – the Morialta Loop combines all the best things about Adelaide hiking trails.

The first two kilometers of the trail are the worst – it’s a steep ascent to Rocky Hill, then a steep descent along the Moores track, and once again a very steep ascent on the Chapmans track. You will need really good hiking shoes that aggressively bite into the ground, to make it on those steep descents.

Torrens Linear Path

Adelaide Park

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 7.4 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 98 meters
  • Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Starting Point: Trailhead at Adelaide Convention Center
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Transportation: Car, bus, train

Torrens Linear Path is one of the most popular walks in Adelaide City. If you want to spend some time in nature without traveling to the national parks near Adelaide, this is the best hike for you. It’s an easy trail you can do in about two hours, with plenty of detour opportunities to cafes and restaurants along the way.

This trail explores Adelaide parks at the bank of River Torrens, sticking to the north side of the river for the most part. The trailhead is at Adelaide Convention Center, which is close to both bus and train stations.

Torrens Linear Path is a great hike for families – the easy terrain is kid-friendly, and the trail is without any major hazards. Unlike the hikes in national parks, you don’t need to worry about dangerous wildlife. But, in case you want to see some wildlife, you can always stop by the Adelaide zoo. It’s a quick detour about 1.5 kilometers into the hike – you just need to cross the bridge to the south side of the river.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that there’s another version of this hike. In case the short walk around city parks just doesn’t do it for you, consider hiking the Torrens Linear Park Trail. That’s a 25-kilometer hike from Henley Beach to Athelstone that passes through those same parks, but only briefly.

Yellowtail Loop

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 6.1 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 199 meters
  • Hiking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Starting Point: Trailhead at the car park near Topiary restaurant
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Transportation: Car, bus

Yellowtail Loop is a short and moderately difficult hike in Anstey Hill Recreation Park in north-east Adelaide. The trail encircles the entire park with a total elevation gain of some 199 meters. The terrain is easy for the most part, but there some steeper sections that will get your heart racing, particularly after the 3.5-kilometer marker.

The trail is mostly shaded, but there are some exposed sections so you should still bring a hat. Additionally, there are several other tracks in the area, so you should have a map handy, just to make sure you’re following the right path. It’s especially easy to get lost near the ruins because there are a few different trails in the area.

This hike features picturesque landscapes, historic sites, and diverse wildlife. Expect to see birds, koalas, and kangaroos on the trail, and do your best not to disturb them. Also, the landscape at Anstey Hill Park varies depending on when exactly you are visiting, which makes this hike great at any time of the year. And there’s value in re-visiting in a different season!

The hike is child-friendly, and since the trail is not exceptionally difficult, most children shouldn’t struggle too much to complete the 90-minute trek. You can also bring your dog along for the walk, but you’ll have to keep it on a leash, due to the presence of other wildlife in the area.