Nature & Wildlife

Enter the 'Land of Curious Creatures', where you'll connect with nature and discover diverse and internationally significant landscapes. Visit a wildlife park to cuddle a koala or spot them lazing in the eucalypts across the Hills. The fern gullies, stringybark forests and shaded gorges are home to abundant and diverse native wildlife and plants. Our 'great outdoors' is just minutes from the city but a world away.

Kangaroo, Para Wirra Conservation Park, Adelaide Hills
Para Wirra Conservation Park

Wildlife in the Wild

Take a walk or ride through parks and gardens to spot local wildlife – don’t forget to look up! Some of our favourite places include:

  • Belair National Park – especially koalas, emus, kangaroos and kookaburras

  • Conservation and Recreation Parks – Morialta, Cleland, Horsnell Gully and Black Hill, Anstey Hill and Brownhill Creek

  • Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in Crafers

  • Woorabinda Lake and Bushland Reserves in Stirling including birdwatching

  • Laratinga Wetlands in Mount Barker including birdwatching

Koalas, Greenhill Road, Adelaide Hills
Koalas, Greenhill Road

Wildlife Parks & Sanctuaries

Cleland Wildlife Park, Crafers

The bushland setting of Cleland Wildlife Park in Crafers is home to some 130 native Australian species, including kangaroos, wallabies, emus, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, wombats, koalas and reptiles. The park offers daily koala and reptile holding experiences (additional cost) which include a photo and the chance to meet the keepers. Alternatively, the koala close-up session (included in entry price) offers an opportunity to meet, touch and photograph koalas. Other highlights include feed-time keeper talks, guided nocturnal walks during daylight savings, the butterfly exhibit (October to April), and other close encounter experiences (additional cost) including Breakfast with the Birds and the Cleland Wombat Experience. The park is just 20 minutes by car from Adelaide and serviced by public bus.

Feeding Potoroos, Cleland Wildlife Park, Crafers, Adelaide Hills - credit Lauren Bath
Potoroos at Cleland Wildlife Park, Crafers

Gorge Wildlife Park, Cudlee Creek

At Gorge Wildlife Park in Cudlee Creek visitors can get up close with Australian native animals such as koalas, kangaroos and wombats, plus exotic species including monkeys, alligators, meerkats, otters and more. Koala interaction sessions are held three times daily during which visitors can pat and take photos next to a koala as part of their park entry, or hold a koala for an additional fee. The 14 acre park also features a vast range of birds, from Superb Fairy-wrens to ostriches.

Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary

Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary in Mylor is the only place on mainland South Australia where you may see the elusive platypus. The Sanctuary is a thriving eco-system where hundreds of Australian native animals flourish. Koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots, potoroos, bettongs, and birds, rarely seen outside the feral-proof fence, all live safely at Warrawong, which was established as a conservation project in 1969. Experience the tranquil haven of Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary by booking an animal encounter, behind the scenes experience, show, tour, or camp. The Junior Keeper program is popular during school holidays and the café

Koala Holding Tip

Adelaide Hills offers a rare opportunity to hold koalas at Cleland Wildlife Park and Gorge Wildlife Park. The welfare of these gorgeous creatures is paramount so in warm weather it may not be possible – check the websites for details.

Koala Hold Experience, Cleland Wildlife Park, Crafers, Adelaide Hills
Cleland Wildlife Park, Crafers

Other Highlights

While Hahndorf Farm Barn specialises in farm animals, you’ll also find Eastern Grey and Red kangaroos to feed, and reptiles (snakes and lizards) to hold.

There is also a small wildlife park at The Toy Factory (home of The Big Rocking Horse) in Gumeracha where you can hand-feed the animals including kangaroos, wallabies and emus.

Sinclair’s Gully in Norton Summit is a private 20-acre sanctuary just 20 minutes from Adelaide with a candlebark forest, sustainable eco winery and outdoor events.

National Parks & Forests

Walk, run, ride, climb and play in the forests and parks of the Adelaide Hills – nature’s playground. Some of South Australia's best known and most frequently visited National Parks and Conservation Parks are found in the Adelaide Hills, including Cleland Wildlife Park, Belair National Park, Morialta Conservation Park and popular sites such as Waterfall Gully and Mount Lofty Summit.

Belair National Park, Belair

Belair National Park is Australia's second oldest national park. Just twenty minutes from Adelaide by car accessible by public train (Belair station) State Flora Nursery bushwalking, cycling, horse riding, picnic or barbecue, tennis peaceful bush sanctuary adventure playground and lake An entry fee is payable per vehicle but there is no cost to enter on foot or by bicycle.

Giants Cave, Morialta Conservation Park, Woodforde, Adelaide Hills
Morialta Conservation Park, Woodforde

Morialta Conservation Park, Woodforde

Morialta Conservation Park in Woodforde, just a 25-minute drive from Adelaide, offers a host of walking trails to suit everyone from the casual ambler to the experienced hiker. Highlights include seasonal waterfalls, fern gullies, stringybark forests, creeks, gorges and ridges. The park is popular with experienced rock climbers.

Morialta Conservation Park

Cleland Conservation Park

Waterfall Gully, Mount Lofty Summit and Cleland Wildlife Park are all located within Cleland Conservation Park. At Mount Lofty Summit visitors enjoy sweeping views of the city skyline across the Adelaide Plains, Piccadilly Valley and Gulf St Vincent from the highest point in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges. The steep trail of approximately 3.8 kilometres from Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit is hugely popular especially on weekends, taking walkers past cascading waterfalls, scenic gorges and lush fern bullies brimming with bush birds and wildflowers.

Waterfall Gully
Cycling in Cleland Conservation Park, Adelaide Hills
Cleland Conservation Park

Forest Reserves

Kuitpo Forest and Mount Crawford Forest are perfect for picnics and nature play, with camping and hut-style accommodation for those craving a night out under the stars around a campfire. Well-marked multiple use trails and fire tracks are a magnet for bushwalkers, mountain bikers and horse riders, with sections of the famous Kidman Trail passing through both forests.

Kuitpo Forest, Adelaide Hills
Kuitpo Forest

Gardens

Enjoy the Adelaide Hills’ four distinct seasons at some of South Australia’s finest public and private gardens, featuring bulbs and wildflowers in spring, lush fern valleys in summer, colourful foliage in autumn and stunning camellias in winter. There are stunning gardens to explore, from free public and private gardens regularly open to the public for a fee (or donation to charity), and others welcoming visitors by arrangement.

Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Crafers, Adelaide Hills
Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Crafers

Nature Trails

Step in our direction and hike the trails, explore the hills on horseback, or feel the rush as you ride the curves. Explore our parks, forests and recreational reserves using an extensive network of trails, from short family-friendly strolls to sections of South Australia's epic Heysen Trail.

Bushwalking in Belair National Park, Belair, Adelaide Hills
Belair National Park