Best walks to see wildflowers and flowers in the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula

Explore some walking trails for see some of this Spring’s native wildflowers or other flowers.

We’ve listed some walking trails near Adelaide in the Adelaide Hills, and in parks and reserves on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Thanks to everyone who has been entering our Spring photo competition of wildflowers you’ve seen when out walking on a trail, we’ve seen some great photos and places to walk. We’ve had four winners, one for each week of September, each winning a Multi Park Pass thanks to National Parks SA.

In this article:

  1. Wildflower and flowers walks in Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills
  2. Wildflower walks on the Fleurieu Peninsula
  3. Links to other articles to find wildflowers

Wildflowers… or weeds?

What do we mean by the term “wildflowers”? It is often understood to mean native Australian flowers growing freely in the wild. However… unfortunately some of the flowers we see growing alongside trails in our national parks and reserves are introduced species of flowers, which means they are weeds.

It could be subjective how much enjoyment someone derives from walking through nature and seeing these flowers – be they native wildflowers or introduced flowers (weeds).

Regardless – a quick public service announcement – don’t pick the flowers – either native wildflowers or weeds. The native wildflowers should be left as-is, so they keep growing in the wild. And some weeds shouldn’t be picked and transported, because it tends to encourage them to spread.

Generally in the walks we’ve listed below, we’ve tried to show native wildflowers, but we acknowledge that some of the photos will invariably be of introduced species – weeds. And a couple of the walking trails below include flowers we very much know are not native to Australia, but we’ve included the trail destinations as they’re great places to walk and see flowers and nature.

1. Wildflower and flowers walks in Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills

Black Hill Conservation Park

In Anstey Hill Recreation Park explore the wildflowers on the Black Hill Summit Hike (4.2km return Hard Hike) or the Ambers Gully Hike and Sugarloaves Trail (4.4km circuit, Moderate Hike).

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Walking SA Board member Ben Trewren has been successful in receiving a Churchill Fellowship

Walking SA Board member Ben Trewren has been successful in receiving a Churchill FellowshipToday the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has awarded $3.1 million worth of Churchill Fellowships to 112 Australians. One of the recipients is our very own Walking SA Board member Ben Trewren, being awarded the Terry Lavender Scholarship. This scholarship provides opportunities for South Australians to investigate ways to develop, improve, manage, and promote outdoor recreational trails and pursuits in South Australia.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust’s aim is to provide an opportunity for Australians to travel overseas to conduct research in their chosen field that is not readily available in Australia. The Trust was established in 1965 to honour the memory of Sir Winston Churchill, and fulfil his wish for people from all walks of life to travel the world to gain new knowledge and share ideas and insights. Ten South Australians were awarded a fellowship.

Ben’s project will allow him to research how engaging people in shared trails can assist in building the outdoor community. Ben hope’s to honour Terry’s legacy by harnessing this opportunity to uncover new ideas, attitudes and implementation strategies to build the profile/useability of outdoor recreation trails for all types of users. Ben will be travelling to New Zealand, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Netherlands.

Find out more about the project in Ben’s presentation at our AGM at 6:30pm Thursday 11 October 2018.

Bundaleer Forest Community Precinct secured

Greg Boston, Bundaleer Forest Community Areas Association chair says the funding is a show of faith in the local community's vision.

Greg Boston, Bundaleer Forest Community Areas Association chair says the funding is a show of faith in the local community’s vision.

The plan to redevelop the Bundaleer Forest Community Precinct has been secured thanks to a $110,000 State Government grant. Back in July, the Bundaleer Community Areas Association began scaling back their redevelopment plans, despite a $150,000 grant from the 2017 Fund My Neighbourhood project and a $100,000 grant from Forestry SA.

This means they can now proceed with the full vision: a fresh start for Bundaleer Forest Picnic Ground, to renew and revitalise the precinct into a vibrant community recreational space and tourism drawcard.

The plan includes:

  • a Visitor, Community & Event Centre, suited for conferences, school groups and weddings, and
  • for walkers and mountain bike users an expanded undercover area, toilets, showers, and kitchen facilities.

Walking SA supported the group’s project as it will encourage more people to use the forest trails, including a re-routed Heysen Trail.

You can sign up for project updates via the Register Your Interest button on the mybundaleer.com website.

The forest at Bundaleer was South Australia’s first forest plantation, first planted in 1876 as a trial site. Following the 2013 Bangor bushfire and 2014 Wirrabara bushfire, much of the forest area is now being transitioned from commercial forestry use to recreational or other use.

Further upgrades for Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail

A further funding boost of $2.9 million allocated to the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit trail will restore and upgrade this popular and iconic walking trail, making it safer, more sustainable and storm-resistant in the future.

The popular and strenuous walking trail sustained significant damage in the September 2016 storms, with initial funding being used to restore access, make safe and repair the most damaged sections of the trail by the end of 2018.

However, this new injection of funding will expand the scope of the upgrade, restoring the Waterfall Gully trail completely from top to bottom. The additional restoration work will extend the original completion date of the project, with the revised date for all works expected to be by the end of 2019.

The restoration works will include creek bank stabilisation, new boardwalks, stonework and trail re-surfacing.

Whilst these works are in progress detours will be in place for sections of the trail on weekdays for the safety of public users. Unless any unforeseen circumstances arise, the usual trail routes will be available on weekends and public holidays.

It is worth noting that detour routes may be longer and may cover slippery, steep terrain, so extra care and attention will be needed by all using these trails.

To keep up to date with the latest updates check out the Natural Resources Facebook page or for more information head to the National Parks website.

Feedback sought on potential Belair National Park improvements (since closure of former Belair Golf Course and Country Club)

The Government is assessing how the land areas of the former Belair Golf Course and Country Club in Belair National Park could be utilized.

We’ve participated in discussion forums on the topic, and anyone can now provide feedback via the survey, which takes about 5-7 minutes to complete.

We’re keen to see how the area could be used to improve walking trails and other trail users, and any viable commercial businesses that might improve people’s experience in visiting the national park.

Celebrating the completion of the Lavender Federation Trail

Congratulations to South Australian Recreation Trails (SARTI) on the opening of the final section of Lavender Federation Trail on May 5 at Clare, attended by a broad cross section of the walking and local community.

Some 21 years ago, back in 1997, a group of walkers realized the potential of a long distance walking trail on the eastern side of the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia. The attraction of a such a trail in this location was that it is in the “rain shadow” of the Mt Lofty Ranges thereby offering dry weather walking for much of the year.

The Lavender Federation Trail, now 325km long, beings on the Murray River in Murray Bridge and traverses diverse countryside on the eastern flanks of the Mt Lofty Ranges to Clare, connecting with almost 100km of link & loop trails to nearby towns, and attractions through the Barossa & Mid North of the State.

The unique feature of this trail? It has been designed, built and maintained entirely by volunteers, the eldest being 86. We understand it is the longest trail network in the country built entirely by volunteers.

Best Walks for Kids under 7 (updated)

[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 Walk1.

Punchbowl Lookout Walk

Walk suitable for prams and strollers Walk suitable for those with mobility issues including wheelchairs

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.

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Park of the Month
Flinders Chase National Park
October 2017

Flinders Chase National Park, on Kangaroo Island, is the National Parks SA Park of the Month for October 2017.

Experience the rugged wilderness with its iconic landmarks such as the world-famous Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Enjoy the park and its diverse wildlife on the network of walking trails. Trek the five day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail on assisted day walks or camping out along the way.

Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area connects the two sections of Flinders Chase National Park. Below we’ve outlined 19 hikes and trails in the two parks.

19 Great Hikes and Trails in Flinders Chase National Park

Discovery Walk1.

Discovery Walk

Easy walk, 400m, 10 mins return

This short walk will take you from the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre to the Walking Trail Information Shelter overlooking Black Swamp. Interpretive signs along the way will help hone your wildlife observation skills. Signs at the Black Swamp Lookout shelter give information about other hikes and walks accessed from here.

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50 Pram and Wheelchair Accessible Walks and Hikes

Adelaide and South Australia has many walking trails and hiking paths that are accessible to prams, strollers and people with mobility issues, including wheelchairs. We’ve outlined some of the best ones below.

The walks can also be great for children to ride their bikes along with their parents walking beside them.

We’ve broken the list down into 3 sections:

  1. Adelaide Metro Area (29 walks)
  2. Bush Walks (13 hikes)
  3. Regional South Australia (8 walks)

Throughout October we’re celebrating walking with #WalktoberSA.

Here’s a short selection of great hikes

Section 1 of 3. Adelaide Metro Area

Adelaide Park Lands Trail (loop ring route)1.

Adelaide Park Lands Trail

Walk suitable for prams and strollers Walk suitable for those with mobility issues including wheelchairs Walk suitable for dog walking

Series of connected walking and cycling trails through the parklands which loop around the city. Bisected by the River Torrens, offering the option to do either the southern or northern loops and loop back via the river.

  • Full circuit (around south Adelaide and North Adelaide): 18.1km
  • southern Adelaide circuit, using Torrens River to link up: 16km
  • North Adelaide circuit, using Torrens River to link up: 9km

The trail is an initiative of Adelaide City Council, who describe the trail as: “The trail is suitable for basic riders, family groups and mobility aid users.”


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Best Overnight Hikes in South Australia

South Australia has many great trails to undertake multi-day hikes on and camp out along the way, we’ve listed some great 2-3 day treks and 5 day treks below.

Spend your days hiking and watch the sunset, sleeping in a tent and waking up to a chorus of birdlife on some of these spectacular hikes.

Throughout October we’re celebrating walking with walktoberSA. Watch out for some more lists of best walks and hikes throughout the month.

9 hikes to hike on trails and camp out

Hidden Gorge Hike, Mambray Creek1.

Hidden Gorge Hike, Mambray Creek

2 days

Ok, so you can do this hike as a single day loop, but why, when you can camp in the secret Hidden Gorge hikers-only campsite and experience the tranquility of Hidden Gorge by yourself.

Day 1: Mambray Creek to Hidden Gorge Campsite via Mambray and Alligator Creeks, 10.2km / 3-4 hours
Day 2: Hidden Gorge Campsite to Mambray Creek via the Battery, 7.3km / 3 hours

Discover the deep narrow gorge that is Hidden Gorge, and magnificent views from the high Battery ridge.

Where: 3 hours drive north of Adelaide in Mount Remarkable National Park.

When to hike: from May to October. Overnight hikes in Mount Remarkable National Park are not permitted during the Fire Danger Season, usually 1 November to 30 April.


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Heysen Trail South Coast Proposed Upgrade – Feedback Sought

Feedback sought on Heysen Trail South Coast Proposed UpgradeA proposal is under consideration to upgrade the Heysen Trail on the southern Fluerieu Peninsula (67km / 5 days), which will encourage walkers to visit the area, in particular tourists from outside the region.

Feedback is being sought from the public, walkers and potential tourism and adventure operators. The survey will take approx 10 minuntes to complete, or 22 minutes if reading the additional supporting proposal.

Various Walk Options

Various combinations of walk options will allow for day walkers, 1-2 day walkers, 5-day walkers and a 1-day Accessible trail, with walkers camping on the trail or staying in accommodation nearby. Tourism operators will be able to offer transport services, either daily or the start and end of multi-day walks.

5-Day Walk with Camping or Off-Trail Accommodation

At the core of the product will be a through walk commencing from Cape Jervis and providing access to four exclusive camping sites at Eagle Waterhole, Tapanappa, Balquhidder and Newland Head. These sites will include camping platforms, shelter, toilets and water tanks. Through walkers can tailor their walk, exiting the trail after any of the day walk stages. Tourism operators will add value through the provision of transport, accommodation and other services to day and multi-day walkers.

Half Day Accessible Walk

To provide a ‘softer’ recreational experience for day visitors to the region, or those passing through on their way to Kangaroo Island, and perhaps to encourage new walkers to the region and park, it is proposed that an extensive re-development of the Heysen Trail between Cape Jervis and Fishery Beach (4km one-way, 8km return) will be undertaken to provide a Class 1 trail with boardwalk, viewing platforms and interpretation that will provide an Accessible trail for prams and those with mobility aids including wheelchairs. A boardwalk will be constructed with viewing platforms at points of significant interest in association with appropriate interpretation.

1-Day Accessible Walk with Return Transport

An extension of this upgraded trail onwards to Blowhole Beach (11km walk from Cape Jervis) as a Class 2 trail which will cater for all-terrain wheelchairs, which will be available for hire from the Sealink terminal for visitors with significant physical disabilities. This section will again be suitable for recreational walkers as a two-way linear walk from Cape Jervis or a one way walk with a pick up at the Cobbler Hill camp ground, which will be upgraded to allow cars and buses to park safety.

About the Proposal

The proposal is an initiative of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and the District Council of Yankalilla, and supports tourism and nature based recreation in regional South Australia.

Provide feedback about this proposal at deepcreek.questionpro.com. Feedback is being sought from the public, walkers and potential tourism and adventure operators. The survey will take approx 10 minuntes to complete, or 22 minutes if reading the additional supporting proposal.

Rising from the Ashes, Opening of the Kersbrook Trails Network

Mount Lofty Ranges Trail, logo squareIn 2012 the four loop trails through the forests around Kersbrook were upgraded and marked. The trails were to be opened in April 2015, but suffered substantial damage during the January 2015 Sampson Flat Bushfire. Throughout 2016 and 2017 work was undertaken to again upgrade and mark the trails. The trail network, formerly part of the Mount Lofty Ranges Trails Network from the 1980s, will be officially opened on Sunday 8th October 2017.

Official Opening

10am – 3pm Sunday 8th October 2017
Kersbrook Institute/Hall,
13-15 Scott Street, Kersbrook, SA 5231

View Location Map
Official opening at 1pm by Hon Karlene Ann Maywald, former member of Chaffey

There will be some guided walks on offer, please attend at the Kersbrook Institute/Hall to register and join the walk.

The trails are:

  1. Morgan Loop
  2. Old Kersbrook Loop Trail
  3. Anderson Trail (in honour of the work of Thelma Anderson)
  4. Simpson Loop Trail

Some of these loops are short (5-7 km) and whilst this is hoped to encourage the occasional walker, for the more experienced walker most loops can be linked to form a longer day’s hike.

Guided Walks

On the day there will be guided walks to to experience the new trails. Meet at the central Kersbook Hall to join a walk.

 

Three other trails will be completed and opened at a later date:

  1. Devils Gully Link Trail
  2. Vixen Gully Link Trail
  3. Beer – Leane Loop Trail

The main trailhead signage will be opened at the Kersbrook Institute, and each trail will have its own trailhead with map and interpretive signage.

Printed maps will be available during the opening.

Walk the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail with a Sealink Tour

Walk the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail with a Sealink TourWe welcome Sealink onboard as a new Sponsor and Organisation Member.

Kangaroo Island holds many secrets waiting to be discovered, with none more rewarding than the new Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. The world class, 61 kilometre, 5 day walking experience opened in October 2016, and gives walkers access to some of the most rugged, remote and spectacular coastline in Australia.

The trail is located in the South West of Kangaroo Island and encompasses new and upgraded trails through Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park and the Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area. Along with encounters with some of the island’s most unique wildlife, the trail provides access to the iconic attractions of Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch, Weirs Cove, Hanson Bay and Kelly Hill Caves.

Walk the full 5 days as an independent walker or join a 1 or 2 day section of the trail with SeaLink’s guided tours, featuring all the extras. The range of experiences means the beauty of the track is open for all to explore.

“I Share My Trail” launch at Shepherds Hill Recreation Park

Representatives from each trail user group: walking, trail running, horse riding, cycling and mountain biking with Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation and Annabel Digance, Member for Elder

Representatives from each trail user group: walking, trail running, horse riding, cycling and mountain biking with Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation and Annabel Digance, Member for Elder

Walking SA joined with representatives of other trail user groups today at Shepherds Hill Recreation Park to commend the adoption of the “I Share My Trail” message.

We encourage all trail users to consider the safety of other users to create enjoyable trail experiences for all.

The campaign was launched by Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation and Annabel Digance, Member for Elder, in conjunction with Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Walking SA, Trail Runners SA, Bike SA, Horse SA and Gravity Enduro Mountain Bikes.

"I Share My Trail" - we encourage all trail users to consider the safety of other users to create enjoyable trail experiences for all

“I Share My Trail” – we encourage all trail users to consider the safety of other users to create enjoyable trail experiences for all

We encourage all trail users to consider the safety of other users to create enjoyable trail experiences for all. Sharing of trails depends on mutual understanding and respect from all users. The aim is to ensure everyone, including walkers, trail runners, cyclists, mountain bikers and horse riders have a safe and enjoyable experience using shared trails.

Shared trails work well for low-volume, low-speed trails and those with good sight distances. They can also bridge hard or expensive-to-fix gaps in trail networks. Bike trails can often be shared with walkers where bike speeds are kept low. Providing for more trail users broadens the funding and support opportunities, allowing for a greater investment in the development of new trails and maintenance of existing trails.

Representatives from trail user groups at the I Share My Trail launch: walking, trail running, horse riding, cycling and mountain biking with Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation and Annabel Digance, Member for Elder

Representatives from trail user groups at the I Share My Trail launch: walking, trail running, horse riding, cycling and mountain biking with Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation and Annabel Digance, Member for Elder

Not all trails are suitable for sharing, and care must be taken to separate fast and low-speed traffic.  Walkers don’t feel safe on trails used for downhill mountain bike riding or the kind of fast flowing trail that some mountain bike riders prefer. Walkers are generally not attracted to commuter paths with fast moving or high volumes of bicycle traffic. High numbers of walkers on these trails can also impede and annoy bike riders.

There are important roles and benefits of shared trails, but there are also places where some form of separation can be cheaper as well as better for everyone’s experience of the trail. Low-speed, walking-only trails in the right place, have little impact on the environment, cost almost nothing to construct and require little maintenance.

Public Feedback Sought on Establishing Corridors to Protect Forest Trails

Public Feedback Sought on Establishing Corridors to Protect Forest TrailsThe ownership and management of the Bundaleer and Wirrabara Forests may soon change, following the Mid North Forests Future Strategy which commenced after the devastating bushfires of 2013 and 2014.

The State Government is proposing to use the Recreational Greenways Act 2000 to protect the Heysen and Mawson Trail networks for recreational access in perpetuity for use by walkers and/or cyclists. This will create a greenway over sections of the Heysen and Mawson Trails within Wirrabara and Bundaleer Forests that are proposed to be sold to private parties.

One of our member clubs, the Friends of the Heysen Trail, has some concerns with regard to the proposed changes. However, as they were only recently made aware of the proposals they are currently preparing a response. Whilst they support in-principle the use of the Greenways Act to protect the Heysen Trail and other walking trails, they are concerned that it proposes to re-route part of the Heysen Trail. Watch their website for details.

Submit your feedback via yoursay.sa.gov.au/greenways by COB Monday 12 June 2017.