Best Hikes in South Australia

 

Strap on those hiking boots and point your feet towards South Australia’s top walking trails, as selected by our First Light Travel experts. 

 

Kangaroo Island Hike

Hit the trails in South Australia...

The gorgeous state of South Australia has it all: rugged coastlines with white-sand beaches, lush bushland filled with wildlife, arid ochre-hued plains plus some of the best hiking trails in the country! Boasting two of Australia’s Great Walks alongside an array of additional multi-day and single-day tracks, there are options to suit all types of active travellers. So, if you’re searching for your next adventurous getaway and a way to up your step-count, look no further than our top picks of South Australia’s walks.

Read on for the big reveal:

 

1. Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty - Day Hike

This popular walk repeatedly tops the charts for the best day-hike in the Adelaide area - and with good reason! Featuring facilities (including cafes) at either end of the trail you can decide whether you tackle the rather steep uphill or downhill option first with parking at Waterfall Gully or the summit of the mount. Either way, with well-maintained trails, information points and regular seating along the route plus chances to see koalas high in the trees and expansive views of the stringybark and blue gum forests to take in atop Mount Lofty, it is a hike not to be missed.

Details: 

  • Location: Cleland Conservation Park, Adelaide
  • Duration/Length: 7.8km / 1.5-3 hours return
  • Difficulty: Medium/Hard (steep terrain in places but regular seating along the route)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 20 minutes
Mount Lofty

2. Marion Coastal Trail - Day Hike

Another popular walk from the Adelaide area, the Marion Coastal Trail is also known as the Hallett Cove Boardwalk after the conservation park which makes up a section of the track. The recommended route from Marino down to Hallett Cove takes around 90 minutes - 2 hours one-way along a mixture of pathways, boardwalks and lots of steps that hug the rugged coastline and undulate between clifftops and gullies. This is a great workout due to the number of steps but also another fantastic day-hike within easy driving distance of Adelaide CBD. An optional add-on for the history buffs is the 2km circuit of the Hallett Cove Conservation Park Glacial Hike which takes in some outstanding geological wonders of the area including the renowned Sugarloaf formation.

Details: 

  • Location: Marino Esplanade / Hallett Cove Conservation Park, Adelaide
  • Duration/Length: 10.2km / 2.5-4 hours return
  • Difficulty: Medium (undulating with lots of steps)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 30 minutes

3. Arkaba Walk - Multi-Day Hike

This incredible 4-day/ 3-night trek through the Flinders Ranges traverses breathtaking gorges, sun-soaked plains and craggy cliffs. Join an expert local guide as they lead you through the outback, sharing their intimate knowledge of the wildlife, history and geology of the local lands along the way. You will journey through Wilpena Pound and over 60,000 acres of private property which makes up the Arkaba Wildlife Conservancy. The all-inclusive experience does not scrimp on the creature comforts so you don’t need to worry about roughing it - it is the ultimate in luxury wilderness adventures. Choose to sleep in a sheltered bush tent or the signature star-beds, which offer the chance to snooze in comfort directly under the millions of constellations on show in the depths of the outback.

Details: 

  • Location: Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, Flinders Ranges
  • Duration/Length: 4 days / 45km
  • Difficulty: Medium (no fixed trail with some rocky terrain)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 5 hours

4. Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail - Multi-Day Hike

Meandering through Kangaroo Island’s Flinders Chase National Park is a trail with many hidden gems - from abundant wildlife (think sea-lions, penguins and of course the endemic kangaroos) to sea-sculpted coastal landscapes which have become geological icons such as Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks. The full coastal route will take 5 days and although parts of the trail were devastated by the 2019/2020 bushfires the regeneration projects are ongoing and are a fascinating and unique chance to see and experience live nature conservation. On-trail camping or accommodation options are not currently available so each section of the trail is accessed via licenced tour operators (like First Light Travel) who can also provide off-trail accommodation options.

Details: 

  • Location: Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island
  • Duration/Length: 5 Days / 61km
  • Difficulty: Medium (some bushwalking experience recommended)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 2 hours (plus 45-minute ferry from Cape Jervis)
Kangaroo Island

5. Murray River Walk - Multi-Day Hike

The Murray, Australia’s greatest river, weaves its way through the Riverland of South Australia, adorned by red gum forests and yellow ochre hued cliffs. The 4 day/3 night walk which takes in a mixture of easy walking trails plus peaceful river cruising, is more relaxing than strenuous. Enjoy floating along in your houseboat accommodation while taking on about 10-15km a day on foot. This gentle guided hike is the place to see the array of native birdlife inhabiting the riverbanks and creeks while learning about the local wetlands history, aboriginal culture and ecology from knowledgeable hosts. 

Details: 

  • Location: Renmark, Riverland
  • Duration/Length: 4 days / 40km (walking) 70km (cruising)
  • Difficulty: Easy (flat short distances, great for those new to multi-day hikes)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 3 hours

6. The Riesling Trail - Day Hikes / Multi-Day Hike

Sweeping gently through neat rows of vines, farmland and bush between the picturesque towns of Auburn and Clare lies a wine-lovers walking trail. The Riesling Trail, as the name suggests, perfectly combines hiking with wine but also spectacular outdoor artworks alongside great coffee and food. The entire 35km trail would be a task to complete in one day so we recommend slowing your pace and taking your time to either explore a shorter section or make a trip of it utilising some of the wonderful accommodation options available. This way you can stop in at the wineries for mid-hike refreshments, enjoy some leisurely lunches, learn about the local history and just pause to enjoy the spectacular scenery. 

Details: 

  • Location: Clare / Auburn, Clare Valley
  • Duration/Length: 9 hours / 35km one-way
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium (flat and wheelchair accessible but lengthy)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 2 hours
Walking the Riesling Trail Clare Valley

7. River Torrens Linear Trail - Day Hike

You may not necessarily be up for the entire 30km trail in one day but the layout of this track, which follows the banks of the river from Athelstone in the Adelaide Hills to the coastal river mouth at Henley or West Beach, offers a huge variety of shorter loop options. A popular choice is to begin in the Adelaide CBD and head 12 km west towards the coast for an easy riverside stroll that passes through a range of idyllic parks with plenty of facilities for toilet breaks, picnic spots and play areas for any small or big kids in your party.

Details: 

  • Location: Athelstone / Henley Beach or West Beach / Adelaide
  • Duration/Length: Various options of 30km trail
  • Difficulty: Easy (flat and wheelchair accessible)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 30 minutes to Henley Beach or Athelstone

8. Great Southern Ocean Walk - Multi-Day Hike

This undulating track, which follows the coastline of the picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula, actually takes in one part of the much longer (1200km) Heysen Trail that runs through South Australia from Cape Jervis to the Flinders Ranges. This coastal section is a popular route for experienced hikers or those seeking a bit of a challenge. At 4-5 days in length, the route is one of our longer recommendations and the range of campsites along the route means you can tailor your itinerary to suit your skillset: taking your time or keeping your pace up. You will be traversing highlights such as Deep Creek Conservation Park (with steep valleys, lush waterfalls and home to echidnas and kangaroos), stunning beaches and coves, plus plenty of awe-inspiring cliff-top panoramas. 

Details: 

  • Location: Cape Jervis / Victor Harbor, Fleurieu Peninsula
  • Duration/Length: 4-5 days / 73km one-way
  • Difficulty: Hard (undulating rough tracks, hiking experience required)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 1.5 hours
Great Southern Ocean Hike

9. Walk the Yorke Trail - Day Hikes / Multi-Day Hike

With over 500km of trails skirting around the Yorke Peninsula, there are plenty of spectacular coastal paths to choose from. The entire track is made up of 16 sections, which can be done individually as scenic day walks or combined to create some more challenging multi-day adventures utilising the 19 designated bush campgrounds. One 60km multi-day favourite is the Marion Bay to Gleeson Landing stretch, which traces the tip of the peninsula and takes in the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park plus spectacular spots such as Dolphin Bay and Shell Beach which is one of our recommendations for the Best Beaches in South Australia. To see more details on this multi-day walk check out our Best Multi-Day Hikes in South Australia blog post.

Details: 

  • Location: Port Wakefield / Moonta Bay, Yorke Peninsula
  • Duration/Length: 45mins - multi-day / 500km 
  • Difficulty: Easy/Hard (depending on length and section some areas undulating)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 1.5 hours

10. Mount Remarkable Summit Hike - Day Hike

Nestled at the southern end of the Flinders Ranges, lies the glorious Mount Remarkable National Park where an invigorating summit loop trail awaits exploration. With the chance to see wedge-tailed eagles, emus, wallaroos and yellow-footed rock wallabies all in one day, it is a nature-lovers paradise! The route takes roughly 5 hours so best to head off early in the day so you can take your time with the ascent, which is gentle but rocky in places so sure-footing is a necessity. The ascent takes you up the 960-metre peak which provides stunning vistas across the Willochra Plain and looks out to the Spencer Gulf.

Details: 

  • Location: Mount Remarkable National Park, Flinders Ranges
  • Duration/Length: 5 hours / 13.8km return
  • Difficulty: Medium (rocky but a gentle gradient)
  • Travel time from Adelaide by car: 4.5 hours

Ready to get out on the trails? We can help with that!

Check out our South Australia self-drive itineraries which include a range of trails around South Australia. Alternatively, if you are inspired to create your own hiking focused self-drive road trip then simply chat to our First Light Travel specialists about our bespoke packages.

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Jenny Power
By
Jenny Power
: 31 Aug 2021 (Last updated: 15 Sep 2021)

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