By Vanessa Keys
Brand SA News journalist Vanessa Keys has recently returned to South Australia after more than a decade living interstate and overseas. Since being back on home soil, Vanessa has revisited some of the state’s best attractions, beaches, parks and boardwalks, all by public transport! She shares her top five SA day trips below.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Adelaide is that you need a car to see all the good stuff. This is absolutely not true – and I speak with confidence, having recently moved back to Adelaide after a 12 year hiatus, sans car. I haven’t driven in a decade and my London-born partner is yet to learn, but this hasn’t been a barrier to falling in love with South Australia. In the last four months, we’ve picked strawberries at Beerenberg Farm, hiked through Morialta Falls, picnicked at Port Willunga, swam at Moana, walked along towering cliff tops in Hallett Cove, and more.
Here’s five car-free ideas for getting out of the city:
1. Moana Beach and Port Willunga
It’s only 35km south of the city, but Moana’s stretch of golden sand, sloping dunes and gentle surf gives it a bona fide holiday vibe. After you’ve spent a few hours soaking up the sun, catch a bus through vineyards and paddocks to picturesque Port Willunga. This beach is a real beauty: long expanses of white sand and cliffs that shield swimmers from the wind. When hunger strikes, order from the kiosk at The Star of Greece – you can get grilled Kangaroo Island whiting for a fraction of the price that you’d pay inside at the restaurant. They have an epic wine list, too.
Getting there: Take the Seaford (SEAFRD) line from Adelaide Railway Station until the last stop, Seaford. Walk south along Griffiths Drive for 20 minutes until you reach Moana Beach. To continue to Port Willunga, leave the beach and walk eight minutes to Commercial Road. Take the 750 bus from stop 89 until you reach stop 109 at The Esplanade. To return, catch the 750 outside The Star of Greece to Seaford, and catch the train to Adelaide Railway Station.
2. Morialta Conservation Park
Lace up your walking shoes, grab a hat and pack a picnic: Adelaide’s best bushwalking spot is a speedy 30-minute bus ride from the centre of the city. Morialta Conservation Park is set around a narrow gorge, framed by three waterfalls and bound by steep ridges and cliffs. There’s trails for every age and ability, from families with strollers to experienced hikers. And don’t forget to look up – we spotted eight koalas and a kookaburra on our last visit.
Getting there: Catch the H30 bus from stop I1 on North Terrace, and get off at stop 26 on Morialta Road. Take the path past the playground until you reach the First Falls car park – all the hikes start from there.
3. Port Adelaide
Once an industrial harbour, Port Adelaide’s colonial buildings are now home to an eclectic mix of theatres, artist spaces, bars and restaurants. From the train station, it’s an easy 15-minute walk to the wharf, where you can admire the heritage-listed buildings (historic Hart’s Mill is a highlight) and enjoy a coffee at Folklore Cafe, where every table has a view of the water.
Seafarers can climb aboard the Dolphin Explorer, a cruise that travels along the Port River through the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, while landlubbers might prefer to discover the Port’s history at the Maritime Museum, the National Railway Museum or the Aviation Museum. Hungry? Make a beeline for the renovated Port Admiral Hotel. Order a pint of their house lager – The Port Local – and the crumbed mac and cheese croquettes. Trust me on this one.
Getting there: Take the Outer Harbour (OUTHA) line from Adelaide Railway Station to Port Adelaide.
4. Hallett Cove boardwalk
Suspended above spectacular cliffs, the Hallett Cove boardwalk is a signposted walk that follows the coast between Marino Rocks and Hallett Cove. You can begin the walk at either end, but if it’s hot and you fancy finishing with a swim, I recommend starting at Hallett Cove (check out the glacial pavements along the northern cliff tops) and walk south past Marino until you get to Seacliff or Brighton beach – after that long walk, the water feels so good.
Getting there: Take the Seaford (SEAFRD) line from Adelaide railway station and alight at either Marino Rocks or Hallett Cove beach.
5. Hahndorf and Beerenberg
The quaint German village of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills has everything a day trip requires: a hearty breakfast (try the homemade crumpets at Udder Delights), wineries (Landhaus do generous tastings for $5 a head), bakeries (Otto’s is legendary) and more German bratwurst and pretzels than you can shake a stick at. After you’ve finished perusing Main Street, walk 450m south until you reach Beerenberg Farm. Here, it costs $4 a head (12 years and under go free) to pick berries until your heart’s content. Cap off the day with a gin flight and produce plate at Ambleside Distillery – and don’t worry, the bus stop is within stumbling distance.
Getting there: Catch the 864 along various stops in the CBD, including Currie Street and Pulteney Street, continuing your trip through Stirling, Aldgate, Bridgewater and Verdun, until you reach Hahndorf. Visit Adelaide Metro to plan your journey.
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