A day in the Adelaide Hills

On every ‘must do’ list we had seen for Adelaide was a trip into the Adelaide Hills, the area to the east of the city which is a popular weekend getaway for the cities residents. So we decided to spend a full day exploring the area and it’s many attractions.

We started with a morning hike in the Morialta Consevation park which was just a 15 minute drive from our campsite. Just before we started our walk, a friendly park ranger pointed out several koala bears in the trees above us. An incredible experience seeing them in the wild, which is apparently quite rare.

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We chose to walk the Second Falls Gorge hike, a 5km loop which took us past several of the parks larger waterfalls, as well as providing panoramic views of the Adelaide skyline (far less impressive than Perth’s).There was lots more wildlife to be found in the park, and at one point we were surrounded by a huge number of loud, multicoloured birds. This definitely made a change from the pigeons we are more used to seeing, although they are not the easiest subject to photograph.

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Our next stop was the nearby Gorge Wildlife Park, which is full of animals native to Australia. Despite only being a small park, it was a great way to spend a few hours, and tickets were a very reasonable $12 (£7.50) per person.

One of the highlights of this was feeding kangaroos in the large enclosure which you are able to walk through. This was great fun after seeing so many in the wild from a distance, although the albino ones were very creepy. We also felt a little bad using the park’s BBQ facilities shortly after this to cook some kanga bangas for our lunch.

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Later we got the chance to hold a very cuddly (and very large) koala bear. This was another great experience, although the Koala was far more interested in the eucalyptus branches used to keep him occupied as he is passed between strangers.

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We also found time to visit several of the regions larger towns, where as with seemingly everywhere in Australia, there was yet more food and drink tastings on offer.

Our favourite town Hahndorf, the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia, and now a leafy, affluent town, very popular with tourists. Walking along the main street, there was definitely a very European feel about the place. Although, this may have just been the cooler weather up in the hills!

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We didn’t go quite as wild on the free tastings this time, but did manage to fit in a brewery, chocolatier and a cheese factory. All of the beers at the Prancing Pony Brewery were very impressive, in particular the Pagan’s Empire pale ale. While at the Melba chocolate factory in nearby Woodside, we were given all sorts of chocolates to sample including a banana flavoured one (much nicer than it sounds).

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We rounded off our trip to the Hills with a visit to the summit of Mount Lofty. At 727m, this is the highest point in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, and another very popular tourist attraction.

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Free to enter, the lookout provides brilliant views across the city of Adelaide and to the coastal towns in the distance. We timed our visit in the hope of another sunset, but unfortunately the thick cloud had different ideas. Nevertheless the views from the top were still very impressive.

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