Forget the new year’s resolutions and try a nature bucket list instead. Here’s 8 nature experiences to connect you with Adelaide’s environment this year.

nature activities

Spending time in nature does wonders for your mental health. It can help reduce your stress levels, improve your concentration and help you to feel happier.

A 2020 study found that people who spend 2-hours a week in the natural environment, either all at once or spaced over several visits – were more likely to report good health and wellbeing than those who don’t.

So, kick start your 2022 good health and wellbeing by getting out and enjoying South Australia’s natural environment.

Here’s a list of 8 metropolitan Adelaide nature activities to help you reach the 2-hour a week goal:

couple hiking at Para Wirra Conservation Park

1. Try a few hikes in nature

There are so many outstanding nature walks around metropolitan Adelaide – short and long – in conservation parks, along beaches and around the ‘burbs.

Explore and have-a-go at Walking SA’s 240 walks around metropolitan SA.

Top tip: Don’t forget your water bottle.

picnic in Carisbrook Park in Salisbury

2. Have a picnic in the park

With an array of excellent greenspace around Adelaide, picnicking can be a great way to kick back and relax, and connect with friends and family.

You can go all out with catering, or simply pack dips and crackers. If it’s a BBQ that you’re after, then check out some top BBQ spots in Adelaide’s national parks.

Top tip: Take crockery and cutlery from home. It’ll save you money from buying disposable items and it’ll minimise your waste.

hands and a seedling

3. Get pottering in a garden

Do you struggle sleeping? Maybe gardening can help!

Use the Adelaide Botanic Garden’s plant selector for ideas of what to plant in your area. If you need help on the basics, or a pathway to revamp your own yard download our gardening guides.

Research suggests that the odds of getting 7 solid hours of sleep a night are higher for those who garden. It’s also a full-body workout.

Top tip: Plant species that are suitable for your area. This can reduce water and fertiliser usage, and create a low maintenance garden for your home.

playing basketball in an Adelaide CBD park

4. Play an outdoor sport

Playing sport helps you stay fit, improves your time management skills, and playing outdoors provides you a good dose of vitamin D.

So get your friends together and find a suitable outdoor sport this year like basketball, soccer, cricket, netball, footy or hockey - or give them all a go. Don’t forget to be sun smart!

If basketball is your sport of choice, check out this map for courts around the city.

nature journaling at Para Wirra Conservation Park

5. Give nature journaling a go

Nature journaling simply means heading outdoors and drawing or writing (or both) about your surroundings. Try these creative prompts to get you started.

As far as nature journaling equipment goes – make it simple with a pen and paper, or go all out with art supplies and a big sketchbook.

Not only will nature journaling connect you with nature, it’ll also improve your curiosity and creative thinking skills.

Top tip: There’s no need to travel far, just look up, and be inspired by the clouds.

birdwatching at Adelaide Botanic Garden
Photo: Sam Ryan

6. Try out birdwatching

Birdwatching can be relaxing, or you can level-it-up to be an adventure to explore new places. Give yourself a target number of bird species to spot, and tick them off your list.

Never done it before? Give birdwatching a trial run by spotting Adelaide’s 9 most common birds first.

Get to know other bird spotting lovers too. You can connect with local budding birders online. Try joining South Aussie Birding on Facebook, or going on a field trip with Birds SA.

bike riding at Glenthorne National Park

7. Go on a bike ride

This low-impact exercise has so many benefits – from strengthening your bones to preventing diseases – and it’s fun for everyone too.

Take it up as a hobby, or use it to get from A to B, saving you money and reducing your carbon emissions. Research shows that choosing to cycle over driving a car for just one day a week can make a big difference for the environment.


8. Get on the water with a canoe or kayak

You can either buy (they are around $300), or hire a canoe or kayak to explore the sea, rivers, lakes and wetlands around metropolitan Adelaide. The main differences between a canoe and a kayak are:

  • A canoe is an open vessel, whereas a kayak is a closed vessel.
  • You kneel in a canoe, and extend your legs in a kayak.
  • A canoe has a single-bladed paddle, whereas a kayak has a double-bladed paddle.

Whether you kayak or canoe you’ll increase your strength and cardio fitness, while exploring somewhere beautiful, and you'll see the world from a different perspective.

A good place to try out your kayaking skills is the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary – it’s only 20 minutes from the CBD, and you can join a kayak tour with a guide and kayak hire.

Get involved with Adelaide’s green movement

On 10 December 2021, Adelaide became the world’s 2nd and Australia’s 1st National Park City.

The green movement aims to create a future Greater Adelaide where people and nature are better connected. Everyone, everywhere and everyday can be involved.

Enjoy Adelaide’s nature experiences and join the movement by signing the Adelaide National Park City Charter.

Learn more on the Adelaide National Park City website.

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