Well g’day there! Fancy seeing you here. How are you? How’s your dog? Please tell them I said hey…
My name’s Kellie, more commonly known as Kell. I’m a born and raised Adelaide lass and, dang it, I’m proud to admit it! I grew up down south, the third and favourite offspring of two local legends: Karen — an unfortunate name to have these days, and Wayne — a man with a moustache that makes even the coolest of hipsters jealous.
Growing up we had a pretty sweet life. Our weekends consisted of packing up the Holden, getting out the RAA issued road map and finding new places to explore. Mum and Dad loved to have us climbing hills, chasing waterfalls (before TLC told us not to) and just enjoying the great outdoors.
Fast forward, I’m now in my thirties and living in Grange (shout-out to all my neighbours)! I work as a flight attendant, travelling around Australia. While I’m lucky that my work allows me to see so much of our beautiful country, I’m the first to admit that coming home gives me warm and fuzzies… seriously!
It was over last year’s #covidstanddown that I grew to truly love and appreciate South Australia. I rediscovered my passion for the small things, like a bloody good meat pie and beautiful hiking trails. Instead of feeling sorry for myself during stand down from my job, I laced up my hiking boots, gassed up my Trax and hit the road. My friends got a day-to-day run-down on where I was, how many times I fell on my butt, or came face to face with an animal on the Australian coat of arms. Twelve months on and I’m back flying but whenever I’m home, you’ll find me hiking the hills of SA, discovering more places to explore.
Which brings me here…talking to you! I’ve stalked my own socials and have narrowed down a list of my personal favourite hiking spots in SA. Some are close to home, while others might require a stop off at the local servo to get some snacks for the drive.
So, throw on your joggers, pack your backpacks and get your Kathmandu-wearing wolfpack together and come hiking with me!
So, this place is ah-mazing! One-to-two hours’ drive from Adelaide, this 4km return hike will make your little heart flutter and takes roughly one-and-a-half to two hours to complete. Park in the carpark at the entrance of Trig campsite on Tent Rock Road and follow the signs along the gravel path towards the hike. This is considered a moderate to hard hike and towards the end you’ll meet some steep steps but trust me when I say, it’s worth it! The waterfall flows best in the winter months, however this little hidden gem will have you feeling the feels any time of year.
What a banger and a great spot for spotting a Blinky Bill! Nice and close to home, this bad boy is a must. Located in Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs, the hike is a 7.3km circuit and takes three-and-a-half hours to complete. She’s a steep incline in some parts and a moderate hike, so make sure you bring lots of water and a buddy to capture you doing the Rocky at the top! Along this track you will visit three waterfalls and be treated to endless views of the gorge, cliffs and Adelaide plains. Park your car in the lower carpark on Stradbroke Road and follow the signs from there. Have fun!
Ahh Myponga, you deserve a slow clap. I seriously love this place and it’s easily one of the best places down south to take the whole family. The trail has recently been extended so you can make it as short or long as you like, ranging from 5-7km. Only one-to-two hours’ drive from Adelaide, you’ll be clicking your heels to the beauty of this place. A ton of kangaroos call the area home and once you venture into the pine forest along the reserve, the views are like something out of a movie. Start your hike at the end of Hansen Road, which is conveniently opposite the Smiling Samoyed Brewery… thank me later.
This one will have you saying wowee more than once. An 8.6km circuit and one-to-two hours’ drive from Rads, you’ll need to make sure you wear comfortable shoes for this one as it’s a challenging hike! Start from Waitpinga Campground and head out to the cliffs of Waitpinga. The loop takes you along some parts of the Heysen Trail and holy heck, the views are something else. This part of the world extends out to some breathtaking spots on the ocean, like Kings Beach and Encounter Bay. Depending on how much time you have and how fit you are, I highly recommend exploring beyond Newland Head for even more gram-worthy moments.
Yass, queen! You’ll love this one, she’s a beauty. A 7.1km circuit that will take up to three hours, this hard hike gets the blood pumping and brings out your inner wildlife warrior. You’ll encounter river crossings, waterfalls and a bit of rock scrambling to keep you on your toes. The Sturt Gorge is a beautiful place to spend a day and there are many different tracks so you can opt for a shorter trek if you wish. Under an hour away from the CBD, you’ll want to see this gem.
This one gave me full body chills. It also happens to be the first time I came face to face with a redback spider, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing this National Park and its beauty! This one’s only 4.2km return but it’s a toughie and can take up to three hours. Start from the carpark at Gate 15 on Chapel Hill Road. From there, walk down the Onkaparinga Gorge and take in nature and all its sexiness. When you get down to the water just sit and take it all in for a moment… do you hear that? Just sit and be still for a hot minute. I love this hike and I hope you do too.
This place was remarkable… see what I did there? Okay, so hear me out. It’s a long way from Adelaide but if you’re smarter than me, you do this hike as part of a Flinders Rangers getaway! Right?! Good. 3.3km circuit and two hours (at the very most), this hike takes you down into Alligator Gorge and it will simply make you say “day for it”. It’s a moderate hike so suitable for most levels of fitness and ages. You’ll be captured by the beauty of the area and hopefully be sending me wine as a thank you for suggesting it. I like red, just as an FYI.
Back to something more local, we have Anstey Hill. Now as this is a park with many — and I mean many — awesome trails, it’s honestly hard for me to pick just one. If I’m feeling fit and fabulous (so not on a Sunday after the wine you sent me), I’ll hit up Yellowtail Loop. A 7.5 km circuit and two-to-three hours to complete, it’s a hard hike but very rewarding. You’ll be treated to amazing views, a cheeky koala and the ruins of Newmans Nursery. Park your car at Gate 2 on North East Road and start the hike from there.
Shout out to the random guy in a bar that told me about this one! Nestled in the Barossa Valley and just outside Williamstown, this is a beauty. A 4km circuit and two hours to complete, this one explores rocky lookouts and you may even see an echidna or 10, like me! Start the hike from the carpark on Warren Road and follow the marked trail from there. I did this hike solo, but would probably recommend bringing a buddy as some parts of the trail require a bit of amateur rock climbing.
Last, but certainly not least, is old mate Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit. She’s a firecracker this one, and will have you asking yourself, why? Why am I doing this? I could be sitting at home watching Friends reruns and eating Fasta Pasta. But 7.8km and two-to-three hours later you’ll feel like a warrior queen and unbreakable… am I right? Get… it… girl If you haven’t done this yet, I encourage you to do it. Also, it’s pretty much a South Australian right of passage, so it would be weird if you haven’t. Jokes.
So, there we have it! Obviously these are just some of the amazing hikes winding through our fabulous state. Not meaning to sound like your overprotective mamma bear, but make sure you have all the right tools before venturing out and please make sure to bring a buddy with you — it makes the day way more entertaining and funny. I hope I’ve managed to inspire you to get out and explore some more of our awesome little homeland. HAPPY HIKING!