7 national parks you can get to on public transport
No car? No problem! You can get to some of Adelaide’s most beautiful national parks by bus or train. Here’s how.
Many of Adelaide’s national parks and reserves are cyclefriendly, meaning you can ride to the trailheads to enjoy your bushwalk, or tour the park in two-wheeled style on the paved roads and shared-use trails.
There are also plenty of options if you travel by public transport, so why not get out your Metrocard and hit the parks?
Here’s how to get to seven of our favourites with public transport:
1. Cleland National Park
Cleland National Park takes in Cleland Wildlife Park, but also Waterfall Gully and Mount Lofty Summit. Just 20 minutes from town, it has some of Adelaide’s popular walking trails, including the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Hike, and some great mountain biking trails.
Take an 863 or 864 bus from the city or Mount Barker to the Crafers Interchange. Look for the trailhead signs on the north side of the freeway off-ramp near the interchange. These trails lead all over the park, with a new link trail connecting to Mount Lofty Summit.
If you want to go to Cleland Wildlife Park, but you’d rather save your feet for visiting the animals, take the 823 bus from the Crafers Interchange right to the front gate.
2. Belair National Park
With its ovals, tennis courts, barbecue, playground and great trail network, Belair National Park has been popular with Adelaide families for generations.
Take the Belair train from Adelaide and get off at the Belair station at the north-west corner of the park. On the park side of the train platform, walk under the heritage sign that reads, ‘The National Park’, go down a step and you’ll find a trailhead with maps and other information.
Many of the trails, including the fire trails and sealed roads, are shared use and available for bike riding, so why not put your bike on the train too?
3. Morialta Conservation Park
Morialta Conservation Park has so many options for a great day out, whether you’re keen to walk the beautiful Three Falls Hike, spend some time rock climbing, let the kids go wild at the amazing Mukanthi nature play space, or just relax under the trees and listen to the birds.
Take the H30 bus, which runs all the way from West Lakes to the Paradise Interchange, and get off at Stop 27 on Stradbroke Road.
4. Hallett Cove Conservation Park
Hallett Cove Conservation Park, at the beach south of Brighton and Hove, is home to some amazing rock formations dating back as far as the last ice age, 260 million years ago.
The walk up to the lookout at Black Cliff has the reward of a gorgeous view, and following a recent upgrade, it is accessible to assisted wheelchairs and prams.
What’s on at Hallett Cove Conservation Park: new access trails
To get there, take the Seaford trainto Hallett Cove Beach Station. The main park entry is a 15‑minute walk away, and the best part is you pass by the Boatshed Café, so you can fortify yourself for your walk with a coffee or a snack.
5. Shepherds Hill Recreation Park
Not far from Flinders University, Shepherds Hill Recreation Park is great for bushwalking, walking the dog and mountain bike riding. Good options for a walk are the Seaview Loop, which, as the name suggests, offers sweeping views of the ocean, or the Red Gum Loop, which follows Viaduct Creek.
Take the 200 bus, which runs between North Adelaide and Marion Centre via the city, and get off at Stop 24 on Ayliffes Road.
6. Anstey Hill Recreation Park
Anstey Hill Recreation Park is a hidden bushland gem in the north-eastern suburbs, with beautiful native wildlife, Aboriginal and European heritage, and spectacular views of Adelaide from the ridgetops. Mountain bikes are welcome on some trails, so riding to the park is also a great option.
Take the 557 bus from the city or Tea Tree Plaza Interchange and get off at stop 47 on Perseverance Rd, Vista, then enter the park by gate 3.
From the nearby Boundary Track, you can join the Water Gully Track to walk the popular 6.2‑kilometre Yellow-Tail Loop, a popular trail that leads past the ruins of the old Newman’s Nursery. If you’re looking for a shorter walk, take the Ridgetop Track and try the 3km Pink Gum Loop.
7. Cobbler Creek Recreation Park
The Kites and Kestrels nature playground at Cobbler Creek Recreation Park in the northern suburbs is proving to be a big hit with families with young children, and the recently-expanded trail network is going down a treat with mountain bikers and walkers alike.
Ride your bike to the park for a great day on the trails, or hop on the bus to enjoy a walk, a visit to the playground and a picnic with the family.
Take the 502 bus from the city or Salisbury Interchange and get off at stop 45a on Bridge Road at Salisbury East and enter the park through the main entrance on Smith Road.
Did you know…
Many of South Australia’s parks and reserves are on Avenza Maps. Reduce your chances of taking a wrong turn by downloading the app to your phone, then downloading individual park maps before you head out. Switch on your phone’s GPS to see yourself as a moving blue dot on the trail. Easy!
Have you made your way to any of these parks – or any others – on public transport? Give us your tips for an easy journey in the comments section below.
This story was originally posted in October 2017.