[This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated in October 2017]
There’s plenty of short hikes that are great for kids under 7, with opportunities to explore nature and see wildlife.
Throughout October we’re celebrating walking with #WalktoberSA.
This article complements the Best Walks for Kids 7-12yo article we recently published.
16 Great Hikes and Walks for Kids Under 7
Punchbowl Lookout Walk
2km, 1 hour return
A new trail opened in September 2017. The one kilometre trail visits a new lookout above The Punchbowl, where you can see spectacular views into the Onkaparinga Gorge. The trail is a consistent one metre wide and made of compacted gravel, and with gentle contoured gradients, so as such is suitable for those with mobility access issues, including wheelchairs and prams. There is some seating mid-way along the trail.
Lowie’s Loop Nature Play Trail
1km, 30 mins
Lowie’s Loop is a 1km children’s exploratory nature play trail that encourages children to get out and explore the natural environment.
Michael Perry Botanic Reserve
1.7km, 1 hour
Walk along a 1.7km loop through the quiet reserve following Second Creek to see the wildlife, aquatic life and remnants of the exotic plants.
Kids would enjoy the creek that the trail follows.
The path may be suitable for prams, but is a bit rough for wheelchairs. There are some steps near triangle area between the toilets and Kurrajong Avenue, but there is a steep ramped trail up to Kurrajong Avenue that avoids the steps.
2km, 15mins – 45mins
There are 3 marked walking trails within the wetlands, with a fourth trail (Linear Trail) exiting the park and heading into Mt Barker. The pathways around the wetlands are constructed to disabled access specifications. They are suitable for walking, prams, dog-walking, cycling, and for those with accessibility issues. There is plenty of seating provided around the wetlands at approximately 300 metre intervals, to cater for the elderly and young.
Thorndon Park loop around lake
1.5km, 1 hour
There are numerous walking trails at Thorndon Park that loop around the lake. Walking trails take you throughout this photographic location and past unique attractions like the water tower, natural wetlands, and a giant chess board. It easy to make a couple of different loops of the park and lake.
Little Quarry Loop
0.65km, 20 mins
The Little Quarry Loop is a short, easy trail for people of all abilities. Suitable for prams and people with limited mobility access (wheelchair access). The trail features a gravel surface with many easy but optional trail obstacles and features. The trail begins near the main carpark in the former quarry.
Stringybark Hike, Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park
2.7km, 1 hour
The Stringybark Hike is a short loop of the eastern part of Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park. The trail wanders through the flora and fauna, including grassy open areas and stringybark trees.
The trail is suitable for prams – however a pram would need to be lifted over the entrance gate.
Kaiki Walk, Granite Island Circuit
The 2.9km walk around Granite Island is a great way for people, including families with children and strollers to discover the island. Ride the horse tram over the causeway. Explore the many boulders and boulder caves.
For parents with prams, or those with mobility issues, including wheelchairs, we suggest walking anti-clockwise, which is to turn sharp right after leaving the the causeway. There is a long flight of steps at the other end of the trail, but this is easily avoided by taking the shortcut gravel ramped path from the top of the island. There are no other steps on the circuit trail. A review on PushAdventures.com.au notes that the start of the trail can be steep, and that the shortcut (the gravel ramped path) may be too steep for some people with mobility aids or wheelchairs, and they recommend returning via the way you came.
Inner Harbour Loop Path
A shared-use walking and cycling loop path provides a 3.5km route around Port Adelaide’s Inner Harbour and Port River. The trail passes the large playground at Harts Mill, and two pocket parks on the opposite side of the river. Watch out for dolphins and observe the boats. Ideal for the kids to ride their bikes whilst you walk.
Make a shorter walk by walking along the wharf to Harts Mill and looping back via Nile Street.
Find out more info at ourport.com.au.
Wirra Water Loop, Mambray Creek
1.6km, 30 mins return
An interpretive section of the Mambray Creek Walk explains the importance of water in the area as you explore rocky river beds.
Explore the wirra woodland, with abundant kangaroos, emus and birds.
This walk is great for children to explore the creek and see wildlife.
The trail is compacted gravel and suitable for prams. It may be tackled by some adventurous wheelchairs users as it is a consistent width and flat, although it is loose gravel.
Wood Duck Walk, Belair National Park
1km, 15 mins
This pleasant walk around Playford Lake is popular with young children, people with prams, people with limited mobility, including wheelchairs, and those who want to experience the park’s wildlife, including the ducks on the lake.
Forest Circuit Walk, Stringybark Campsite, Deep Creek
2.7km, 1 hour circuit
Enjoy an easy stroll through the stringybark forest near Stringybark Campsite. The walk is suitable for children, explore the forest, mushrooms and birdlife. The walk is especially enjoyable near sunset and sunrise.
Shorten the walk by wandering down either end of the trail from the campsite and returning via the same route.
Mia Tappa Circuit
2.2km walking-only trail. Mai Tappa means ‘food pathway’ in Kaurna language. The trail reveals aspects of the Kaurna culture including the importance of plants for food, medicine or textiles, and the importance of local animals in Kaurna life.
Morialta Falls Valley Walk
1.7km, 45mins return
Follow Fourth Creek to the heart of Morialta Gorge, on the stroller accessible trail. After rains water tumbles 30m from the top of First Falls.
The trail is a wide fire track made of gravel. There are bridges at each creek crossing, and the trail ends at a short boardwalk at the waterfall. There is a steady incline as the trail follows the valley to the waterfall. As such the trail is suitable for prams.
Heysen Trail Walk with Kids to the Fairy Garden, Bridgewater
2km, 2 km return, 2 hours return
Take the kids on a 1km each-way hike from a playground to the fairy garden at Deanery Reserve. Walk through a tunnel, see ducks and play with fairies.
0.5km, 45 mins return
Enjoy a short 250m walk with the family. The trail starts at the picnic area, following the creek upstream for 250 metres to reach the rock pool & waterfall. There are several picnic areas along the way.