From boutique wineries and family-owned farms to pristine turquoise beaches and sprawling countryside hills filled with lush greenery, South Australia boasts a diverse landscape and is rich in natural attractions to satisfy your wanderlust. Many of them are often overlooked and relatively untouched, waiting to be discovered. If you want to explore the extraordinary wonders of nature in South Australia while immersing yourself in the state’s history, art, and food, there’s no better place to start than the parks in Adelaide.
From hiking and walking trails to sand dunes and the best picnic spots, South Australia’s capital is surrounded by hidden gems and parks to enrich people’s quality of life and well-being. It’s the country’s first National Park City, with Adelaide Park Lands covering more than 760 hectares of space for relaxation, recreation, sports, and exercise. Often referred to as the nation’s biggest backyard, Adelaide Park Lands also hosts many public events and features barbecue and picnic areas, walking and cycling trails, fitness facilities, and numerous play areas for younger visitors.
Arriving in the city via Adelaide Railway Station or landing at Adelaide Airport? Either way, put a park outing on your itinerary. Take the guesswork out of your next outdoor adventure with our list of the best Adelaide parks, gardens, and other green spaces. Do you want to go camping for an extended time outdoors but have too many items to carry? Looking to stop for a quiet moment of reflection after shopping but bags are weighing you down? Bounce luggage storage service in Adelaide has solutions for you, offering reliable and safe places to drop your belongings in many locations throughout the city.
Belair National Park
Established in 1891, Belair National Park is the first national park in South Australia and the second in the country. It’s set in natural bushland in the Adelaide Hills wine region, about twenty minutes from the CBD, making it an ideal destination for a family day trip with plenty to see and do. There are lakes and woodlands to explore, tennis courts, cricket pitches, and trails for mountain biking and walking.
Belair National Park is home to the State Flora, South Australia’s oldest plant nursery, with over one thousand native plants from Australia. Sitting in the heart of the park is the Old Government House, the former summer home of some of the state’s early governors. If you look closely, you’ll also find Aboriginal tree carvings and ancient trees with fire scars.
For those who want to stay active, the lakes, creeks, waterfalls, woodlands, trails, and recreational facilities will keep you engaged for hours. There’s also an adventure playground for children and open spaces for picnics, barbecues, and group gatherings, especially in the warmer months. If you want more challenging hikes, winter is usually the best time, but start early morning to get the best chance to encounter most wildlife. Belair National Park has numerous accessible toilets and parking areas, including a car park near the information center, the picnic grounds, Karka Pavilion, and Walnut Paddock.
Hallett Cove Conservation Park
Drive a little further to the southern coastal suburbs from the national park of Belair, about half an hour from the city center to get to Hallet Cove Conservation Park. It’s a great place to visit, no matter what time of the year. You can snorkel off the coast in summer to see the underwater world and escape the summer heat and stroll along the trails in cooler fall weather. In spring, you’ll fall in love with the burst of colors that coastal vegetation and wildflowers bring, while the gray skies and stormy seas in winter make dramatic backdrops for photography.
Hallet Cove Conservation Park boasts one of the country’s most outstanding archaeological sites, with more than 1,700 Aboriginal artifacts found there. If you’re interested in ancient glaciers and geology, take the interpretative walking trail to learn more about the park’s geological and cultural heritage and see the proof of an ice age that happened some 280 million years ago. There are also magnificent glacial pavements along the cliff tops now known to the world.
Besides bushwalking to navigate the trails at Hallet Cove, swimming is also a favorite activity here. You can also head out and paddle to get a different insight into the cliffs, stroll along the beach, or sit at the edge of the water and bask in the sun. On a calm day, visitors are welcome to snorkel and spot marine creatures, including sea lions and dolphins, that visit occasionally. Truly a beautiful place, this is an excellent playground for nature lovers.
Adelaide Himeji Gardens
No need to leave South Australia to witness and experience what a Japanese garden is like; make your way to Adelaide Himeji Gardens. It’s one of the city’s most famous attractions that shows the strong bond between the sister cities Adelaide and Himeji. The proclamation that formalized the relationship was signed on April 19, 1982, in the City of Himeji. Then Adelaide Himeji Gardens opened in 1985 on South Terrace in Adelaide City Centre.
Although relatively small, this garden is a quiet and peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. It has a traditional minimalist Japanese garden style with dry and wet sections, featuring still ponds, sand, well-manicured shrubs, rocky areas, and trees, including a black pine tree that symbolizes courage in immortality and diversity. Several structures can also be found in the garden, such as a tea ceremony well and a zodiac stone lantern.
Adelaide Himeji Gardens is a lovely, hidden spot to escape the chaos of city life but still within easy reach of the Adelaide CBD. Though it doesn’t have expansive lawns, it has ample space for picnics, including shaded and sunny areas, making it comfortable to visit no matter the season. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a tranquil spot in the city to relax or read a book.
Adelaide Botanic Garden
Spend a few hours among Adelaide Botanic Garden's fifty hectares of beautifully maintained gardens, impressive buildings, and historical attractions. It opened in 1857 and has undergone countless changes to look like what it is today. It has numerous themed gardens, including a Cactus and Succulent Garden that houses plants from Africa and South America, an Economic Garden that displays different spices, herbs, fibers, and oils in their plant form, and an Australian Native Garden, where you’ll understand how to use the native plants from different parts of Australia.
One of its latest additions is the Threatened Plant Seed Orchard, which launched in October 2022. It houses some of the state’s most threatened plant species. The seed orchard is designed to protect them from extinction and preserve their seeds for the future.
The Bicentennial Conservatory is an obligatory stop for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts. It was built in 1989 and is the largest single-span glasshouse you’ll find in the Southern Hemisphere. Other buildings you’ll find in the garden are the 1877 Palm House, Amazon Waterlily Pavilion, Simpson Shadehouse, Schomburgk Pavilion, and the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, featuring a classical Greek-style façade constructed in 1881.
Need a quick break to fill your hungry belly? There are eateries in the garden serving snack items, lunch, and beverages like eat, coffee, and wine. Before leaving, stop by Diggers Garden Shop for plants, bulbs, seeds, gifts, books, and more. Adelaide Botanical Garden is accessible by car and public transportation, with a tram stop outside the main gate on North Terrace.
Located at the corner of Rundle Rd and East Terrace, a short walk from Adelaide Botanic Garden, Rymill Park is a favorite spot for residents for fresh air and to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a family-friendly park in Adelaide with a children’s playground, BBQ facilities, picnic tables, and green spaces and pathways ideal for afternoon or early morning strolls.
Besides the sprawling lawns, the highlight of this picturesque urban oasis is the scenic lake, where you can hire a paddleboard and have a leisurely ride. You can also sit by the lake and read your favorite book or watch ducks and other waterfowl playing on the water. If you want to bring your kids to play in a stunning location, Rymill Park is the place to be. The Quentin Kenihan Inclusive Playground at the park has a range of play equipment for all abilities and ages. It includes water play, a sound and sensory garden, a wheelchair trampoline, a spinning carousel, swings, and more.
Rymill Park /Murlawirrapurka (Park 14) is, without a doubt, a pleasant retreat that blends urban living and nature. It also hosts numerous festivals and other open-air events, adding to its energetic atmosphere. Other features include a rose garden, a pleasant bridge, a fountain, and excellent food and drinks.
Morialta Conservation Park
Morialta Conservation Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Adelaide. It has been a highly visited recreational place for over a century, with plenty of sightseeing opportunities and wildlife adventures. Its woodlands, waterfalls, gorges, and bushwalking and bike trails allow visitors to participate in different activities and reconnect with nature, just about ten kilometers from central Adelaide.
The park is open daily, and though it’s a pleasant destination year-round, the winter and spring seasons are the best time to admire the falls at their best and see the wildflowers and orchids bloom throughout the area. There are numerous trails to mountain bike, hike, bushwalk, and walk, so if you’re looking for a place to stretch your muscles and stay active, it’s one of the top parks in South Australia.
Not fond of hiking or bushwalking? Stroll to the main waterfall and do wildlife spotting on your way, organize a picnic with families and friends while interacting with nature, or watch your little ones enjoy the slides and have fun with imaginative play at the children’s playground.
Nestled between Adelaide Zoo and Adelaide Botanic Garden, this 34-hectare green oasis offers a restful break, just a short walk from the city center. Its history dates back to 1866 when Adelaide Botanic Garden bought the land for this park. Not long after its establishment, it became the country’s version of Hyde Park, a known locale for free speech and demonstrations since the 19th century.
With well-manicured lawns and massive trees providing shade on hot summers, Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla can be an ideal setting to throw down your blanket and read a book, lounge on the lush grass, and watch children run around, climb trees, and kick a ball. It’s also a great locale for romantic walks and makes a stunning backdrop for a photoshoot.
In addition to being a preferred location for photography and picnics near the CBD, Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla is also a wonderful venue for events like Moonlight Cinema and WOMADelaide. If you’re curious about its history and the ancient trees planted here, join the free guided walking tours every Monday at 2 PM.
Bonython Park/Tulya Wardli
It’s the school holidays, and you want to take your children to a kid-friendly park in Adelaide to give them hours of entertainment and fun while you unwind and soak in the fresh air and natural environment. Or maybe, you can want to spend time alone in a tranquil place away from your source of worries. No matter the case, Bonython Park/Tulya Wardli allows you to escape and unwind without leaving the city and provides children with fantastic opportunities to be challenged and have fun.
Bonython Park/Tulya Wardli is one of the best parks in Adelaide for children and families, with inclusive play areas designed for everyone of all ages and abilities. The extensive water zone is always a favorite, complete with a watermill, pumps, and gates. The large mouse wheel is also popular among energetic kids, as well as the communication boards, the nest swing, the twin 25-meter flying fox, and the wheelchair-accessible carousel. If you’re not here to play, there are BBQ facilities, shaded areas, and biking trails for young cyclists learning to ride or practicing traffic and road safety.
Escape to the great outdoors in Adelaide
You’ll immediately feel nature’s soothing embrace and enjoy the fresh air when you visit a park in Adelaide. Some are a short walk from the city center, while others are within an hour’s drive from CBD. Thorndon Park in Hamilton Terrace is a family favorite and the River Torrens Linear Park Trail is ideal if you're looking for a lengthy promenade, as it stretches over 40 kilometers. Pick your preferred adventure outdoors, and you’ll find the perfect green area for your needs.