8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

Over going to pubs and clubs with your besties? Get out in these parks and enjoy the fresh air togeth­er instead.

Near­ly two-thirds of peo­ple who vis­it South Australia’s nation­al parks say they go there to spend time with their friends. So get on board with the cool kids! Grab a pal – or two or three or four – and try one of these great mate-friend­ly activities:

1. Camp­ing at Deep Creek Nation­al Park

Deep Creek is just an hour from Ade­laide, mak­ing it the per­fect place for a cheeky week­end away. Stringy­bark is our favourite camp­ground, because of its shady gum trees and hot show­ers, but you can also choose from Trig, Tapanap­pa, Cob­bler Hill, or the hike-in Eagle Waterhole.

Out­side fire dan­ger sea­son, you can sit around the camp­fire, which we think has to be one of the best things to do when you’re hang­ing out with your friends. Book your site online before you go and it will be wait­ing for you when you get there.

If you want to camp even clos­er to Ade­laide, Onka­paringa Riv­er Nation­al Park and Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park both have new campgrounds.

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

2. Ten­nis at Belair Nation­al Park

As well as beau­ti­ful trails for walk­ing, cycling and horse rid­ing, Belair has ten­nis courts for hire – 43 of them, to be exact. Book a court online before you go, grab your rack­ets and a few ten­nis balls, and chan­nel your inner Roger Fed­er­er or Ser­e­na Williams. But don’t wor­ry if ten­nis isn’t your game – there are also ovals for hire.

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

3. Walk­ing at Mori­al­ta Con­ser­va­tion Park

Have you tried the Three Falls Grand Hike at Mori­al­ta? We love it just as much as Water­fall Gul­ly to Mount Lofty. It’s a lit­tle over 7 kilo­me­tres, so leave three-and-a-half hours for the return trip.

Mori­al­ta is full of birds and ani­mals, so keep an eye out for koalas, kook­abur­ras, superb fairy wrens, rosel­las and lori­keets. In the wet­ter months, you’ll see all three water­falls flowing.

Pre­fer a walk with a sea view? Try one of the trails at Hal­lett Cove Con­ser­va­tion Park.

Don’t wor­ry if Mori­al­ta and Hal­lett Cove are too far away – there are fan­tas­tic trails in every region of SA. Explore the parks and reserves near you to find your next favourite walk.

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

4. Footy or crick­et at Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park

What could be a bet­ter way to spend an after­noon with your mates than a game of footy or crick­et – back­yard rules, of course. Para Wirra’s Gawler View Oval is ide­al for either, and it even has bar­be­cues so you can cook your­self some snags at half time. Perfect!

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

5. Moun­tain bik­ing at Cob­bler Creek Recre­ation Park

If you and your friends are into cycling, then Cob­bler Creek is the park for you. If you’re new to moun­tain bik­ing, watch our how-to videos, then hone your skills on the pump track or the KAF­NAR­FA Cir­cuit. When you feel con­fi­dent, you can move on to the Inter­me­di­ate Jumps Trail or the Short and Sweet.

If you’re already an expe­ri­enced rid­er, go straight to the Advanced Jump Trail or the North­ern Down­hill to get the adren­a­line pump­ing. If you’re look­ing for more chal­lenges O’Halloran Hill and Sturt Gorge recre­ation parks are also great for moun­tain biking.

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

6. Pic­nick­ing in a botan­ic garden

The Ade­laide region is lucky enough to have not one but three botan­ic gar­dens: Ade­laide, Mount Lofty and Wit­tun­ga.

They all have dozens of beau­ti­ful pic­nic spots to choose from, whether you want to sit under a tree, on a grassy slope or by a lake. Pack your­self a portable feast of tasty snacks and drinks. Grab a blan­ket and you’re ready for the ulti­mate after­noon of relaxation.

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

7. Four-wheel dri­ving in Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park

Spread across 270,000 hectares of veg­e­tat­ed dunes and Mallee scrub, Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park is known for just one thing among four-wheel dri­ve enthu­si­asts: the famous Bor­der Track. The track runs north to south along the SA/​Victorian bor­der and is only open from 1 April to 31 Octo­ber every year due to the high tem­per­a­tures in the hot­ter months, but it qual­i­fies as one of the great South Aus­tralian four-wheel dri­ve adventures.

It’s for advanced, well-pre­pared dri­vers, and for safe­ty rea­sons it should only be tack­led with oth­er vehi­cles, so get your con­voy organ­ised and hit the track.

Start from Pin­na­roo and take the Ngarkat Loop, camp­ing overnight at Bucks Camp or Rab­bit Island Soak, or take the Big Desert Loop and cross into Vic­to­ria, spend­ing the night in the shad­ow of Red Bluff. Part of the track is one-way, so make sure you do your home­work before you go.

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

8. Surf­ing or fish­ing at Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park

Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park is a mag­net for surfers and fish­ers, so what are you wait­ing for? Pon­dalowie Bay, Chinaman’s Beach and Salmon Hole have ter­rif­ic breaks that draw surfers from around the state.

There are lots of great fish­ing spots around the park, but Browns Beach and the jet­ty at Sten­house Bay are two of our favourites. Try surf fish­ing for salmon from Browns Beach, or drop a line at the jet­ty and try your luck for squid, tom­my ruffs, garfish or even King George whiting.

Pon­dalowie Bay, Browns Beach and Sten­house Bay all have camp­grounds, too, so you and your mates can stay overnight and make the most of your beach­side escape.

8 things to do with your mates in SA’s national parks

Pre­fer fur­ry friends to the human type? We’ve got you cov­ered there, too – there are lots of parks where you can take your dog for a walk.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living