Follow the Sun – Adelaide’s Best Outdoor Activities

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Feb 26, 2018

by JO MCKAY

With its Mediterranean climate, hanging outdoors is a no brainer in Adelaide.

Eat alfresco

When the sun is shining, nothing beats dining outside. Our favourite alfresco haunts are the deck at Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard with views of the rolling Adelaide Hills and the shaded arbour at McLaren Vale hotspot The Currant Shed, overlooking lush lawns and a verdant lime grove. Food at both is exceptional.

Get literary

Held in the leafy environs of the Pioneer Women’s Garden, just a short stroll from North Terrace, Adelaide Writers Week (part of the Adelaide Festival) is recognised as one of the world’s great literary festivals. In its 58-year history, it has welcomed the likes of John Updike, Alan Ginsberg, Salman Rushdie, Helen Garner, Ruth Rendell, Margaret Drabble, Ian McEwan, Paul Auster and Margaret Atwood. Across the six days, local and international authors hobnob with avid readers in the dappled shade of this delightful city garden. Highlights for 2018 include Teju Cole, A.C. Grayling, Sarah Winman, Barbara Kingsolver and Michelle de Kretser.

Walk the trails

Because Adelaide is a compact city, it’s easy to find bush-walking tracks within 15 kilometres of the CBD. The Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit hike is the most popular but it’s also worth exploring Morialta Conservation Park, Black Hill Conservation Park and the Pioneer Women’s Trail from Beaumont. For details and more trails check out Walking SA.

See wildlife up close

Set in picturesque bushland in the Adelaide Hills, Cleland Wildlife Park is home to an array of native animals. Stroll through the paddocks feeding roos, wallabies and potaroos; wander through the reptile enclosure to spy snakes, lizards and more; also book in for a delightful experience where you get to cuddle a koala. 

Have a party on the river

Yes, literally on the river. BBQ Buoys are donut-shaped boats, equipped with a sun umbrella, seating, a table, Bluetooth speakers, an Esky and on-board barbecue. Order drinks when you book but BYO meats for the grill (and salads, if you want them). It’s basically a ready-made floating party.

Go fig picking

Charming Adelaide Hills cellar door Glen Ewin Estate is also the home of 12,000 fig trees, grown on the property for over 150 years. On Thursdays during fig season (usually mid Feb to early April) you can come and pick your own from the orchards – as many or as few as you like. And it’s not just picking: a Figbar is set up on the expansive lawn, you can lay down a picnic rug, enjoy a cheese platter and sample local wines or even taste the estate’s own fig gin.

Climb high

It’s Adelaide’s answer to Sydney Bridge Climb and while there’s no sparkling harbour or Opera House, the Adelaide Oval RoofClimb still boasts impressive sights of the city and surrounds. The two-hour ascent traces the top arches of the Western and Riverbank Stands. Sports fanatics can opt to tour during cricket and football matches (in season).

Be entertained under the trees

Just north of the CBD is the verdant Botanic Park, a 34-hectare green space which each year plays host to Moonlight Cinema, WOMADelaide, a four-day festival of music, arts and dance, and a range of outdoor concerts. Past highlights include James Taylor, Cat Stevens and Stevie Nicks; this coming summer and autumn, say hello to Lionel Richie. If you’re in town when there’s not something on, it’s still worth strolling across the lawns, under the soaring trees (some more than a century old) and through the adjacent Botanic Gardens.

Trace the Torrens

The Torrens Linear Park Trail is a 30-kilometre green belt that follows the River Torrens from Athelstone in the Adelaide foothills through the north of Adelaide’s CBD, all the way to Henley and West Beaches. There are plenty of parks and playgrounds dotted along the way, plus the joint cycling/walking path is easy to jump on and off – perfect for cyclists, runners and amblers. Best time of the year? Spring, especially to admire the flocks of fluffy ducklings and cygnets that make the river their home.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Things to Do on a Rainy Day (or Night) in Adelaide