Winter is officially here and we all know what that means. Time to exchange our bathers and shorts for long coats and pants and give up doing any fun outdoor activities. In exchange we get to be trapped inside, bored over the long cold months. Right? Wrong!

If you are gloomily resigning yourself to three months of longing looks out the window, or the doldrums of being stuck in front of the telly 24/7, then do we have news for you. Colder weather does not mean the loss of all fun here in South Australia. If anything, it opens the doorway to all sorts of activities that are actually harder to do during our scorching Summer months.

Outdoor Activities in Winter Bushwalking

Give it up for Bushwalking!

“What?” we hear you gasp. “Walking outside in the rain? Egads!”

Now take a step back and think about it. There is a reason Australia is called a sunburnt country. We love living here but there can be no doubt that during Summer it is HOT. Not only is it hot but our less cuddly locals like snakes are living it large and a lot of our vegetation is taking its heatwave break. Basically, the local flora is dead, you are sweating buckets the moment you step outside and you have to watch your step, so you don’t upset a slithering local reptile.

In Winter however all that changes. The Australian bush is at its best during the cold season, alive and green with new growth. Small brooks and waterfalls that dry up during the hot months are full and flowing. Areas that are usually too hot to navigate are now cool reservoirs, often protected from rainfall by overhead trees. And best of all, the local snakes are taking a nap, so you can wander freely without upsetting their (or your) day.

During Winter we highly recommend checking out your local conservation and national parks. Morialta Conservation Park is especially beautiful at this time of year and its Waterfall Gully is a must-see destination*.

If you are looking for something further afield, then why not check out Warren Gorge in the Flinders Ranges? Blisteringly hot during Summer the Flinders are idyllic places to visit during Winter and in daylight still manage to retain a bit more warmth than coastal areas. (If you’ve got a group of 8 or more we can always organise a private tour to the Flinders from Adelaide. Just send through an enquiry form.)

*Local tour company Pure SA offer some amazing guided walks through the park. Check them out here.

Outdoor Activities in Winter Mountain Biking

Embrace the fun of muddy track Mountain Biking

“Biking in the mud? Isn’t that… hard?”

In our opinion Mountain Biking is quite possibly one of the easiest and most amusing outdoor adventure activities you can undertake during Winter. We are lucky here in South Australia that there are many local bike tracks to be found that are free to use by the public. There are even paid tours available for the less confident.

(For those of you with kids, check out the school holiday programs run by our friends at Wilderness Escape. Your kids will love their mountain biking days).

We recommend checking out what your local nature reserves have in way of tracks, but if we had to choose then the different trails down at Kuipto Forest Reserve are top choice for us. We often head down there ourselves for a bit of riding or bushwalking and it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours exploring without having to head out into deep wilderness. Just don’t forget to put on clothes you don’t mind getting a little mud splattered!

Enjoy the thrill of Rock-Climbing

I didn’t even know rock-climbing happened around here.

We know.

Seeing the world from half way up a cliff is always an amazing experience but during winter rock-climbing really (if you will forgive the pun) reaches new heights.

South Australia boasts a lot of natural rock-climbing gorges, most of which are located in national parks. Climbing during Winter has the benefit of ensuring that cliff faces are not as hot, so you aren’t as limited in what times of day you can climb (unlike Summer).

We do need to mention at this point that we do not recommend rock climbing unless you are accompanied by a fully trained rock-climbing guide. Good news is there are plenty of options out there for novices to get out and have fun together. Earth Adventure offers rock climbing tours every weekend at either Morialta Conservation Park or Onkaparinga River National Park. You can book them here.

Looking to ease into your rock-climbing journey? Then we have to recommend the outdoor rock-climbing tower at Mount Lofty Adventure Hub. The tallest artificial rock-climbing wall in Australia, Mount Lofty Adventure Hub also provides qualified guides for your rock-climbing experience. You can learn more about them here.

Outdoor Activities in Winter Kayaking

Paddle your way to fun with a Kayak

You – Don’t you need to worry about getting rained on when kayaking in Winter?
Us, having already accidentally splashed ourselves ten times with our paddle – I don’t think the rain is the issue here.

Kayaking is one of our favourite activities in general as it is an all year event! Sure it is a lot of fun going out on the water during Summer (and quite refreshing when you accidentally splash yourself) but it is equally fun during Winter!

Here in South Australia we are extremely lucky to have quite a few amazing locations that provide spectacular places to go for a kayak. In 2021 local reservoirs like South Para and Myponga opened up to kayakers. Great places for kayak beginners and families these reservoirs offer excellent locations for short or long paddles in an enclosed, safe location. We’ve taken a few people down there and they have all had a blast!

Another great place to go kayaking is the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary down at Port Adelaide. A completely unique ecosystem, featuring its own pod of bottlenose dolphins, there is no location like it in the world. With a push off point from the boat ramp at Garden Island, you can explore the Sanctuary, local mangrove forests and the Ships Graveyard. We highly recommend the tours run by Adventure Kayaking SA and they also offer kayak hire for those who want to go exploring on their own.

We can’t possibly forget to mention our kayak tour on the River Torrens in Adelaide. That’s right, you don’t even have to leave Adelaide CBD to go on a kayak! Now that’s what we call convenient (and fun).

Outdoor Activities in Winter Whale Watching

Have a Whale of a Time Whale Watching

“I miss visiting beach areas during Winter but there is nothing to do.” – Think again.

You are probably thinking that Winter is the time to start avoiding the ocean but the opposite is true! It’s the time of year when our biggest and rarest locals make an appearance. Breeding season for the Southern Right Whale runs from late April to end of November with peak viewing months being right smack bang in the middle of winter.

Without a doubt the best place to view these marine giants is the Head of the Bight at the Great Australian Bight, but it is a bit of a trek, even for those who live closer to the Nullarbor (although if you are interested in organising a private group tour to take you on an adventure, drop us a line).

Instead, for those down South looking for a day activity, we recommend heading down to Victor Harbour. The local visitor information centre always keeps their ears to the ground on whale sightings and there are many choice places to try and catch a glimpse. The Bluff is great for those looking to take on a bit of extra exercise (and gosh, we love those views), or you can try and spot them while visiting Granite Island.

If you are looking for something a bit different, our friends over at Pure SA offer a tour in the area that will give you the chance to spot the endangered marine mammals both by boat or from the island (and do a whole bunch of other fun things at the same time). You can check them out here.

So why not get some friends together and head on out for some amazing local (and not so local) outdoor adventures!