Enter the 'Land of Curious Creatures', where visitors connect with nature and discover diverse and internationally significant landscapes.
Wildlife highlights include:
- Cleland Wildlife Park at Crafers is home to some 130 native Australian species, including kangaroos, wallabies, emus, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, wombats, koalas and reptiles. The park offers feed-time keeper talks, daily koala and reptile holding experiences, and organised nocturnal walks during day light savings months. Kangaroos, emus and potoroos roam freely through the park, which is so accessible from Adelaide - it's just 20 minutes by car and can be accessed by public bus.
- At Gorge Wildlife Park in Cudlee Creek visitors can get up close with the animals. The 14 acre property contains Australian native animals such as koalas, kangaroos and wombats, plus exotic species including monkeys, alligators, meerkats, otters and more. The park also features a fast range of birds, from Superb Fairy-wrens to ostriches. Koala holding sessions are held daily.
- Take sanctuary in the timeless bushland of Saunders Gorge, the largest privately-owned conservation project in the Hills. This steep, rugged land on the eastern slopes of the Adelaide Hills - previously part of a sheep station - is again home to a diverse range of reptiles, marsupials, birds and plant life that thrive in its spectacular gorges. The property also has self-contained accommodation, bush camping sites and a number of 4WD trails and scenic walks.
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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Landscapes and Biodiversity:
A diverse patchwork of National Parks, native animal refuges and heritage conservation areas intermingled with century old market gardens, organic orchards and beef and sheep enterprises make up the remarkable Adelaide Hills landscape.
World Heritage listing with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is being pursued for the Mount Lofty Ranges, of which the Adelaide Hills are an integral part. The World Heritage list seeks to encourage the identification, protection, preservation and promotion of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. Proponents of the Mount Lofty Ranges Working Agrarian Landscape World Heritage Bid are hoping to have the significance of the region's landscape recognised, which will help to preserve its unique character.
The Mount Lofty Ranges are one of 15 areas in Australia identified by the Australian Government as Biodiversity Hotspots. These are areas that support natural ecosystems that are largely intact and where native species and communities associated with these ecosystems are well represented. They are also areas with a high diversity of locally endemic species, which are species that are not found or are rarely found outside the hotspot.