From flower-filled gardens to hikes amid the eucalypts, there are plenty of ways to immerse in wellness in the Hills.
Go wildlife spotting
You will be amazed by how much wildlife you can spot this close to Adelaide. Belair National Park is a good place to start, with kangaroos and koalas common sightings, especially around dawn or dusk. Echidnas and emus are also frequently spotted, along with birds including kookaburras, tawny frogmouths and rainbow lorikeets. For maximum animal action, try Cleland Wildlife Park, where all sorts of animals roam free. You can also sign up for close encounters with echidnas or koalas, or perhaps breakfast with the birds. Join one of the night walks to see rare nocturnal animals such as bettongs, bandicoots and potoroos.
“Taking a tour of the Jurlique Farm when the lavender and rose are in full bloom is a heady sensation.”
Stroll in the garden
There is no such thing as a bad time to visit the 97-hectare Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. Naturally spring is always a popular time, with magnolias and rhododendrons in magnificent bloom, but each of the other seasons has its own appeal. Cool off in summer in the shaded Fern Gully, one of Australia’s richest collections of ferns, or come in autumn to admire the maples, ash and oaks as their foliage turns blazing shades of bronze, scarlet and gold. Even winter brings its own pleasures, with the camellias putting on a magnificent display and the garden’s waterfalls at their fullest.
Take a hike
The 1200km Heysen Trail, one of Australia’s great walks, passes through an ever-changing array of South Australian landscapes, and the section that winds through the Adelaide Hills is packed with surprises. Allow up to three hours for the 7.5km walk from Mount Lofty to Bridgewater, which starts with magnificent valley views. Keep your eyes peeled as there are some unusual sights along the way from one of the few convict-built bridges in South Australia, and the fairy garden at Deanery Reserve.
Relax on the farm
The Adelaide Hills is patchworked with orchards and vineyards, but one farm offers an experience quite unlike any other. Time your visit right and your experience at the Jurlique Farm will be an aromatic one, in the nicest possible way. The farm is where Jurlique grows all the natural ingredients for its organic skincare. Taking a tour when the lavender and rose are in full bloom is a heady sensation. No matter when you visit, the insights into biodynamic farming and the power of botanicals are fascinating.
Head out on two wheels
Love a bit of off-road biking? Then you may already know about the Mawson Trail, a 900km route that starts in the Adelaide Hills and stretches all the way to the outback town of Blinman. The Adelaide Hills section offers plenty of thrills, winding its way through both pine forests and bushland. Be warned – some of the hills are steep. A number of local parks also have some fun mixed-use trails, including Cleland Conservation Park, where the Wine Shanty Trail winds its way through stringybark forest.
“A number of local parks also have some fun mixed-use trails, including Cleland Conservation Park.”