[This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated in October 2017]
There are loads of great hikes around South Australia for kids aged 7 to 12, with opportunities to explore rock formations, big trees, caves, creeks, waterfalls and see wildlife. We’ve listed some of the best ones below.
Throughout October we’re celebrating walking with #WalktoberSA.
This article complements the Best Walks for Kids under 7 article we recently published.
21 Great Hikes and Walks for Kids 7 to 12 Years Old
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.
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.
Warren Gorge Trail
5.2km, 1.5 – 3 hours
A 5.2km circuit hike through Warren Gorge, and returning along a ridgeline. The walk follows Warren Gorge, between the towering cliffs, along the native pine tree lined forest, before climbing up to the saddle through yackas. There are multiple lookouts along the ridgeline, be sure not to miss the short sidetrips to each, such as Smoke-Oh Lookout (not signposted with a named sign) and the Lookout Rocks.
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.
Wittunga Naming Walk, Wittunga Botanic Garden
1km, 30 mins to 1 hour
A self-guided wander around Wittunga Botanic Garden. There are 24 interpretative signs (each labelled The Naming Walk) installed throughout the garden, stationed alongside the relevant plant. The walk is not a marked trail as such, but more of a wander around the garden.
Children may enjoy exploring the many meandering trails in the garden, which weave there way through different plantings.
The wide bitumen path is suitable for people of all abilities, including those using mobility aids, wheelchairs and prams. There are some side-trails off the main bitumen loop which are not suitable to wheelchair users.
3.5km, 3 hours
An easy trail though regenerating pink gum and grey box woodland. This trail is a fine example of these unique plant communities. On the eastern section of the trail you’ll have fabulous views of the gorge.
4 Hikes in Lobethal Bushland Park
4.2km, 2 hours
There are four hiking trails marked in Lobethal Bushland Park, ranging from 870m to 2km, to 4km.
Explore this hidden wonderland which is just outside of Lobethal. The park features two reservoirs and tall stringybark forest with fern undergrowth. Hiking here, even on warmer days, is a delight.
With a playground and bbq picnic area near the trailhead, the park is ideal for families with children.
Lizard Rock Nature Walk, Para Wirra
1.5km, 1-2 hours
Experience an easy walk to the Lizard Rocks. The rocks are large towering boulders that can be climbed for views into the valley of Wild Dog Creek.
Mylor Conservation Park Loop
2.3km, 2 hours
Explore this park with a short loop. Explore some of the open woodland of the park. Keep an eye out for western grey kangaroos and the birdlife.
We have two loops noted on this walk, and we’re recomending the secondary loop marked in red on the map (the yellow loop is a little difficult to follow near point 5, and between points 3 and 4).
Ridge Trail, Mount George Conservation Park
2.4km, 2 hours
A short hike along fire tracks & walking trails, through a secluded forest to the summit of Mt George, with magnificent views from a rocky outcrop lookout. There are some steep bits and the kids will enjoying reaching the lookout rocks.
Aldgate Valley Nature Walk
13.6km, 3.5 hour return
A walking trail connecting a series of nature reserves and some quiet country lane walking. The reserves and native bushland are home to Southern Brown Bandicoots, kangaroos, possums, echidnas and koalas.
The walks is on the longer side, but it’s possible to start in Mylor and walk some way up the valley trail, and return along the same route. From Mylor to the start of Bandicoot Lane is 3.8km return.
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.
Aaron Creek Circuit Hike
6km, 3 hours
Explore the grasslands with views and kangaroos, before descending into Aaron Creek with its lush vegetation and winter waterfall. Take a picnic along to enjoy at the picnic table at Eagle Waterhole Campground.
Lorikeet Loop Walk, Belair National Park
3km, 1.25 hours
Wind your way past Old Government House, State Flora Nursery, and adventure playground. The wide gravelled surface is suitable for most abilities, and for strollers. There are numerous flat rocks scattered along the trail for suitable as seating rest spots.
Although one might think the trail, with its even surface and gentle grades may be suitable for wheelchair use, National Parks SA don’t note it as such. There are some bike controls on sections of the path which may be too difficult to navigate around for wheelchairs.
Newman’s Nursery Ruins Walk
3km, 1 hour return
Walk up Water Gully to the extensive ruins of Newsmans Nursery. Watch out for koalas along the way, and explore the many rooms and buildings of the ruins.
The walk can be suitable for prams, but is a steady incline.
Devils Nose and Back Hike, Para Wirra
5km return, 2 hours
Take the kids on this walk out along a long ridge to the end at Devils Nose Lookout. Near the end walk between large boulders and onto the large rocks that form the lookout.
Rosetta Trail, the Bluff
0.8km, 1 hour
A winner with kids of all sizes, explore the Bluff by walking the 800m Rosetta Trail to the top of the Bluff.
River Red Gum Loop, Shepherds Hill Recreation Park
2.3km, 1 hour
Explore the river red gums and wildlife along Viaduct Creek on this loop walk. A wide well-made trail suitable for prams which is shared with beginner-level cyclists.
Extend the walk by walking up the Viaduct Track into Watiparinga Reserve to view the remains of the old railway viaduct, to see old tunnel entrances and passing trains. Watch out for the caves high above the Viaduct Track (marked on the google map on the walk page), which are a steep rocky climb for adventurous kids.
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.
5.8km, 3 hours
The Sugarloaf Circuit hike is a gentle 3 hour, 5.8km circuit through the cool sanctuary of Chambers Gully, winding around the Sugarloaf (a sidetrip to a lookout with views over Adelaide) and walking beyond into Woolshed Gully. Watch out for koalas and kangaroos.
The trail ends at the bottom of Woolshed Gully with a short walk along the roadside Waterfall Gully Road Walking Trail.
Mount Barker Summit Walking Trail
0.5km, 1 hour return
The 500 metre return trail is an easy walk, & passes a lookout area with picnic tables before reaching the summit. Begins at the far end of the summit car park.
You can extend this hike by also walking around the summit on the 2.4km Scenic Bush Walk. This trail starts from the large boulder in the car park.