South Australia is home to rocky coastlines, soaring peaks and endless bushwalking opportunities. Tick off some of the state’s most breathtaking natural wonders while enjoying a picnic on pristine beaches or in scenic parks.
Carrick Hill is a beautiful spot for a picnic with its new car park, refurbished picnic shelters and accessible paths. Alternatively, pre-order a picnic platter from the onsite cafe for an unforgettable meal.
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a peaceful picnic and witness jaw-dropping scenery, then look no further than Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. The park is located in South Australia’s Outback region and is home to rugged mountain landscapes, peaceful tree-lined gorges, and plenty of wildlife. Here, you’ll find the famous Wilpena Pound, Arkaroo Rock and Sacred Canyon, all of which are sites where you can see ancient Aboriginal art. In addition, the cliffs of Brachina Gorge are the perfect spot to watch yellow-footed rock wallabies sun themselves.
Ikara-Flinders Ranges also has a number of campsites where you can stay overnight and hike on a variety of trails. Most of these campsites are operated by private stations and have basic amenities and services for an average price of $24. However, SA Parks campgrounds are also available for travellers who prefer a less-crowded option. The campgrounds are close to popular hiking trails and have excellent access to waterholes, which are a great water source for wildlife.
The best time to visit Ikara-Flinders Ranges is during spring and autumn, when the temperatures are more moderate. In summer, the weather can be hot and uncomfortable for bushwalking. It’s also possible to visit the park during winter, but be prepared for freezing temperatures and snowfall.
Aside from its incredible natural beauty, Ikara-Flinders Ranges boasts a rich history and culture. It is home to some of the oldest geological and fossil sites in the world. It also has a wealth of heritage and sacred sites belonging to the local Adnyamathanha traditional landowners.
In addition to its stunning natural features, Ikara-Flinders Ranges has a lot to offer visitors, including the Heysen Trail. This 1200km hike features an array of challenging terrain and is suitable for people with moderate fitness levels.
Ikara-Flinders Ranges offers something for every type of traveller. Whether you want to relax in a beautiful eco-luxury villa or join a multi-day Arkaba Walk, you’ll be sure to have a unique adventure that you’ll remember forever. So, if you’re planning your next holiday, make sure to add Ikara-Flinders Ranges to your list of destinations. You won’t regret it!
Glenthorne National Park
The Fleurieu Peninsula is one of South Australia’s best playgrounds, and its picnic spots are a must-visit. With the launch of a brand new nature play space, and walking trails designed to accommodate people with mobility impairments, this region is set to be even more spectacular for families. Local companies Neo Infrastructure and Climbing Tree Creations are overseeing the design and construction of this unique space, which is set to feature Kaurna cultural elements as well.
The Heysen Trail is Australia’s longest dedicated walking trail, and it’s also one of its wildest. Discover the vivid landscape of a less-travelled part of South Australia on this 500-kilometre trail that winds through coastal plains, wildlife reserves and historic towns. Spot kangaroos and rock wallabies as you traverse deep gorges and cross trickling creeks along this epic hike.
If you’re feeling peckish after all that hiking, head to Hallett Cove Conservation Park about 16 km south of Adelaide in the suburb of O’Halloran Hill. Stretch your legs on the Glacial Hike, which will lead you to fascinating geological sites, including granite erratics and evidence of an Australian Ice Age some 280 million years ago.
After you’ve walked your heart out at Hallett Cove, drive just 10 minutes north to Marino Conservation Park and wander through the coastal heath on the Botanical Trail. You can also check out the lighthouse at Marino and see if you can spot any dolphins swimming in the waves. This is another of Adelaide’s dog-friendly national parks, so you can bring your four-legged friends along for the trek.
If you’re interested in checking out some of the best national parks that South Australia has to offer, you can also go on a four-day adventure with Walk the Yorke. This is an experience that combines the natural beauty of Flinders Ranges and Arkaba with the history, culture and heritage of the region. You’ll spend three nights glamping in luxury swag stations in the Wilpena Pound and one night at the magnificent Arkaba Heritage Homestead, where chef-prepared meals will be served. The price of this deluxe walking tour includes accommodation, bush-inspired meals and snacks and unlimited beverages.
Belair National Park
The first national park to be dedicated in South Australia, Belair National Park offers a wealth of natural bushland to explore. Home to some of the Adelaide Hills significant heritage attractions, including Old Government House and State Flora Nursery, it also boasts numerous walking trails, playgrounds and tennis courts. Spot kangaroos, bandicoots and cockatoos in the open plains or channel your inner botanist to admire the park’s native flora.
A short drive from the city centre, Belair is one of the most popular parks in the Adelaide Hills. With woodlands, waterfalls, lakes and creeks to discover, this pristine wilderness is home to an incredible array of wildlife. It is also a wonderful spot for picnicking. Bring a basket of sandwiches, crackers and a bottle of wine to enjoy while you watch the birds, wildlife and flora.
Located at the base of towering cliffs, Rapid Bay Beach is the ultimate romantic picnic spot in the Adelaide Hills. With scenery more dramatic than a teen soap, the white sand is flanked by rocky headlands and the water sparkles blue in the sunlight. It’s also an ideal place to relax, swim and surf.
With an extensive network of hiking trails, this park is a favourite amongst the local hikers. The Heysen Trail, Australia’s longest dedicated walking trail, cuts through this park. It follows vivid South Australian landscapes from the wildlife and wine regions of the Fleurieu Peninsula to the craggy peaks of the Flinders Ranges. Hikers often spot kangaroos, rock wallabies and echidnas as they traverse deep gorges and cross trickling creeks.
The park is also a favourite with mountain bikers and horse riders. It’s a popular spot for families and there are plenty of recreational facilities to hire, as well as a playground, cricket pitches, tennis courts and a skatepark.
For those looking to escape from the city, this park provides an idyllic retreat with a variety of campsites. There are also several formal and informal picnic areas where you can lay down a rug and tuck into a delicious picnic hamper. You can even book a picnic area online.
Deep Creek National Park
The Fleurieu Peninsula’s Deep Creek Conservation Park is a bush walker’s dream. Meandering trails wind through lush bushland teeming with wildlife and secret waterfalls, while secluded coastal walks reveal dramatic coastline and remote, pristine beaches. Just 90 minutes south of Adelaide, the park is a popular weekend getaway.
With 15 walking trails to explore, Deep Creek is the perfect place for a day trip or overnight bushwalking adventure. Stroll along eucalypt woodlands and grasslands to spot western grey kangaroos, kookaburras, short-beaked echidnas and more than 100 species of birds. If you’re feeling more adventurous, hike one of the tougher trails and enjoy spectacular views over Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island.
The park is home to a stretch of old growth stringybark forest that’s the largest portion of remaining natural vegetation on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The park’s flora includes eucalypt forests, heathlands and native grasses, and it has more than 400 plant species. You can even channel your inner botanist and discover rare species like Eucalyptus Propinqua and Melichrus Procumbens.
Regardless of which trail you choose, be sure to bring enough water and sun protection and carry food and emergency supplies for your hike. Also, be sure to check the weather forecast before you leave and wear comfortable shoes for hiking.
Deep Creek National Park is one of the only national parks within a 2-hour drive of Adelaide that offers bush camping. There are four campgrounds that can be reached by 2WD and another that is ‘hike-in only’ and situated on the Heysen Trail. Campgrounds range from basic to luxury and all are close to the park’s best walks. There are also charming cottages and luxury eco-retreats in the nearby villages of Kingscote and Middleton.