Heading to the (Adelaide) Hills?
The Adelaide Hills holds many hidden treasures for locals and tourists to find and enjoy. Some popular and easy to come by, others more of a challenge to find. The Adelaide Hills is known for its historical towns, such as Hahndorf and smaller breweries and wineries however, it offers much more.
I grabbed my camera, put on my walking shoes and explored the area to find stunning locations of the Adelaide Hills.
The Tunnel (Littlehampton)
The now abandoned Littlehampton railway tracks in South Australia. A once busy railway line now lies in history, as the tracks have not been properly used since 1984. The 96m long ARMCO tunnel was installed when the South Eastern Freeway was built and replaced an open rail cutting known as McGrath’s Cutting. The tracks are now used as a tourist attraction with the occasional train traveling to Victor Harbor.
This hidden gem is also known as the Twin Tunnels as you will find a second tunnel about 100 meters east of the track. This tunnel has been converted into a pedestrian underpass underneath the South-Eastern Expressway. I wandered through this tunnel to find the more popular railway tunnel.
It can be a bit of a challenge finding the tunnel. If you’re driving, I’d suggest parking at the end of Childs Road in Littlehampton. This way, you get to walk through the pedestrian underpass to get to the tracks. At the end of the pedestrian underpass, turn right and walk for another 100 meters to reach the tracks.
Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens
In 1977 the Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens were opened on the eastern side of Mount Lofty. The gardens span over 97 hectares of land and is home to thousands of species of fauna, sourced from a variety of environments including South America, China, East Africa, New Zealand, South East Asia and North America.
The above panorama was taken in Winter 2017. I was surprised that so many of the trees still had most of their leaves. The gardens are most popular in Spring and Autumn, as the fauna displays magnificent colour in the Autumn and newly bloomed flowers in the Spring.
These beautiful gardens are just 25 minutes from the Adelaide CBD. You can reach the Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens by driving up the Princes Highway and taking the Crafers exit. You’ll need to drive up either Summit Road for the Upper Entrance, or Piccadilly Road/Lampert Road for the Lower Entrance. Alternatively, you can take public transport to the gardens. Check out the Adelaide Metro services here.
The River Torrens flows for just 85km however, it is the reason Adelaide was able to be established in 1836. The river starts in the Mount Lofty Ranges and flows through to its delta in West Beach, South Australia.
You can enjoy the River Torrens as it flows through the Adelaide CBD, however there are more picturesque locations to find the river. I drove up Gorge Road in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs and set up my tripod on a large boulder in the middle of the river to capture this long exposure shot. While I wouldn’t recommend climbing over boulders in the middle of the river, you can find plenty of spots along the riverbank to enjoy a sunny day.
Morialta falls is just 10km east of Adelaide CBD and is no secret to Adelaide. You can travel to Morialta Conservation Park via bus from Adelaide or you can drive and park at the entrance at Morialta Falls Rd, Woodforde.
Morialta Conservation Park was established in 1972, however the beautiful gorges and scenery has been enjoyed by South Australians for almost 100 years. One of the most popular attractions of the park is the stunning Morialta Falls. Just a short walk from the main entrance, visitors will find the great waterfall along a guided trail. Be sure to visit in the wet seasons though, as Morialta Falls can sometimes run dry in Adelaide’s hot Summers.
If you love hiking and you’re up for more of a challenge, the Morialta Conservation Park offers a range of tracks from 1.4km to 7.5km. You’ll find more waters falls on the Three Falls Grand Hike.
Gorge Wildlife Park
The Gorge Wildlife Park is home to over 50 of species of animals and over 150 species of birds, both native and exotic. The family owned park opened in 1965 and is open every day of the year (except Christmas).
It was such a pleasure wondering through the guided pathways of the park and experiencing the diverse selection of animals, from Capuchin Monkeys to Fruit Bats to Cassowaries and more! Families can enjoy a day out while children feed the friendly kangaroos in the open walk-through enclosure. You’ll also have the opportunity to hold a koala if you wish, and each Sunday, visitors can enjoy the park’s Unleashed session. This is where the keepers will bring out a variety of animals to introduce to visitors.
The Gorge Wild Life Park is a 40-minute drive from the Adelaide CBD up Gorge Road. You can bring a packed lunch or take advantage of the park’s kiosk, with picnic tables set up near the park’s entrance. Check out more info on the Gorge Wild Life Park here.
Visit the Hills!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or if you’re visiting Adelaide, come and have a look at what the Adelaide Hills has to offer! The fun does stop here either, there is so much more to explore, so jump in your car and head up to the hills.