Glenthorne NP Jackie Gu lowres 63
Glenthorne NP Jackie Gu lowres 63

Your guide to free adventures in national parks

15 Jan. 2024 4 min read

Ready to explore parks without spending a cent? We’ve put together our top picks to keep the kids entertained and parents happy.

Your guide to free adventures in national parks

Relax at the Barking Gecko café and stroll through Cleland National Park

Enjoy a gentle stroll along the Steub Trail, an accessible pram friendly walk for those wanting to explore Mount Lofty. It’s a 7.7km return trail that takes about 3 hours to complete (but you can always turn back when you’re ready!).

The walks starts at Cleland Wildlife Park, in the heart of the national park. Start your walk by popping into the Barking Gecko Café and grab a coffee. The café is free to visit.

The walk gently winds through forest wetlands on the way to Mount Lofty Summit. Keep your eyes peeled for some very cute furry friends.

Make sure you head to the lookout at Mount Lofty Summit to enjoy sweeping views across Adelaide.

Your guide to free adventures in national parks

Hit the trails at O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park

O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park in Adelaide’s south is a hot spot for Adelaide’s mountain bike community. It offers an extensive network of trails that cater for beginners right through to advanced riders.

The park’s trails have some unique names including Grom Flow, which is perfect for kids and beginner riders and Sylvanian Families, which is a great way to enjoy a family ride with a forest backdrop.

If you’re new to mountain biking and unsure where to start, Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, just north of Adelaide, is the perfect place. This family-friendly destination boasts a kid-friendly pump track right beside the Kites and Kestrels playground. You'll even find a sheltered picnic area and accessible toilets nearby, making it ideal for a day out with the family.

Your guide to free adventures in national parks

Visit one of SA’s biggest adventure playgrounds!

Guaranteed to keep the kids entertained, Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta is 16km south of Adelaide. The playground covers a massive 7,000 square metres and features three slides, a seesaw, spinner, fossil dig area, Kaurna carvings and sculptures. There are also rope and log climbing elements, a pendulum swing, cubby building, and a 25m long flying fox, just to name a few!

The space includes a wide range of accessible equipment to ensure everyone can enjoy the space and have fun. This includes an accessible seesaw, swing set and roundabout/spinner.

Two mobile food vendors operate within the park, offering a wide range of coffee, drinks and food.

Your guide to free adventures in national parks

Park of the month:

Throughout January, National Parks and Wildlife Service is celebrating Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park as its Park of the Month. This special month is packed with events, including free ranger-guided walks and enriching educational activities.

Highlighting our celebrations is the Marna Banggara project, an initiative that has successfully reintroduced the brush-tailed bettongs, or yalgiri as the Narungga people call them, to the southern Yorke Peninsula. Kids can enjoy an educational activity within the park, full of mindboggling questions that uncover a secret word.

Your guide to free adventures in national parks

Plan a picnic

The majority of national parks can be entered for free, and offer some epic spots for the perfect picnic. Our top pick close to Adelaide? Morialta Conservation Park, a convenient 10km from the CBD.

Pack a lunch and enjoy a fun-filled day inter­act­ing with nature around the Mukan­thi Play­space. There are 5 play areas to explore: Frog Island, Eagle’s Perch, Great Snake, Bird Nests, climb­ing boul­ders, paths and climb­ing trees.

Enjoy the park and take a stroll along First Falls walk to the main water­fall.

Your guide to free adventures in national parks

Head to the beach

Just 22km south of Adelaide, Hallett Cove Conservation Park is a metropolitan must-see park. In the past 600 million years, the park has undergone numerous changes – being beneath the sea, covered in an ice sheet, and forming a mountain range.

Summer is the perfect time to visit, set up for a beach day on Heron Way reserve, wander along the beach path and read the interpretive signs about Kaurna culture.




    Fill out the form below and we'll send you Good Living inspiration straight to your inbox