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Trusty Trail Guide Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit

Trusty Trail Guide: Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit

Ever dreamed of conquering a trail that leads you from the enchanting beauty of cascading waterfalls to the awe-inspiring heights of a majestic summit? We got the spot for you: the Waterfall Gully–Mount Lofty Summit trail!

On this trail, you can journey through Waterfall Gully’s lush embrace to the challenging, wildlife-filled steps toward Mount Lofty’s jaw-dropping peak. Our article below will be your trusty travel guide!

Things to Know

Address: Waterfall Gully Rd, Waterfall Gully SA 5066
Contact Details: (08) 8278 5477
Operating Hours: Daily – Open 24 hrs
Duration: 1.5 to 3 hrs
Distance: 7.8 km (return)
Difficulty: Hard
Travel Time from the CBD: around 1 hr

How to Get from Adelaide CBD to Waterfall Gully

How to Get from Adelaide CBD to Waterfall Gully

Fastest Way: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1nqeMxvuWpyLRfFIBbIfCTlf4xprUP20&ll=-34.904618903974054%2C138.6208631585693&z=12

The fastest way to get from the CBD of Adelaide to the start of the Waterfall Gully and the Mount Lofty Summit trail is by car or taxi. You’ll start by heading southeast from the CBD on South Terrace, then take a right turn onto Glen Osmond Road. 

Continue driving along Glen Osmond Road until you reach the intersection with Greenhill Rd where you’ll drive east. 

Just drive until you reach the roundabout leading to the southern section of Glynburn Rd where you’ll drive to its intersection with Waterfall Terrace.

How to Get from Adelaide CBD to Waterfall Gully

Drive about 120 m toward its intersection with Waterfall Gully Rd, where you’ll turn and drive south for about 4 km until you reach Waterfall Gully’s car park. 

If you prefer biking, the only difference in the route is you’ll turn south of Strathspey Ave from Greenhill Rd instead of going to the roundabout. 

From Strathspey Ave, pedal toward the eastern way of Russel Ave and connect with Waterfall Terrace and Waterfall Gully Rd.

Best Time to Hike the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail

Best Time to Hike the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail

The best time to hike the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit trail is autumn, with average temperatures of 18°C to 24°C. You can enjoy the pleasant weather and stunning foliage colors without sweating buckets or freezing your toes off!

Where to Stay on the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail

Cleland Cottage (Mt Lofty Cottage YHA)

Cleland Cottage (Mt Lofty Cottage YHA)

Address: Summit Rd, Cleland, SA 5152
Contact Details: 08 8414 3000

This charming, traditional abode near Mount Lofty Summit accommodates up to ten individuals, providing three bedrooms—two furnished with queen-sized beds and the third equipped with three bunk bed sets. 

Cleland Cottage’s main draw for our team, though, is its unparalleled views of the beautiful city of Adelaide, visible through the abundant greenery surrounding the cottage.

In addition, the cottage boasts all the essentials, including crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, and pots and pans. 

And if you’re staying during winter like we did, be sure to dress warmly, and you should also consider bringing a compact fan heater, as the temperature can get quite chilly.

Where to Eat on the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail

Utopia @ Waterfall Gully

Address: 170 Waterfall Gully Rd, Waterfall Gully, SA 5066
Contact Details: (08) 8379 2488
Operating Hours: 

  • Mon to Tue – Closed
  • Wed to Thu – 9 am to 4 pm
  • Sat to Sun – 8 am to 5 pm

Pricing: $$

Utopia @ Waterfall Gully is a stone’s throw away from the trail’s starting point, making it a prime spot for pre-hiking meals. 

In addition, our team loves this garden restaurant because of its tranquil vibe, an energizing and pleasant atmosphere needed before the steep climb!

Our team’s go-to dish at the restaurant is the hearty and savory Big Gully breakfast because it’s packed with two Rhode’s free-range eggs, Barossa bacon, chorizo, and more. If you want to get fancy, their high tea course is the way to go!

The restaurant’s delectable avo smash, topped with quinoa tabouli, beetroot hummus, and a poached egg, is another flavorful and invigorating meal our team’s hikers strongly suggest.

The Summit Cafe and Function Center

Address: 266 Mount Lofty Summit Rd, Crafers SA 5152
Contact Details: (08) 8339 2600
Operating Hours: 

  • Mon to Fri – 9 am to 4 pm
  • Sat to Sun – 8 am to 4:30 pm

Pricing: $$$

The Summit Cafe and Function Center is the best spot to end your Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit hike because of these reasons: the stunning sights and the fulfilling chow. 

This cafe is atop Mount Lofty, so the view is simply breathtaking, offering panoramic vistas of rolling hills, lush woodlands, and the CBD’s stately buildings. 

The cafe’s zesty citrus curd berries served with velvety vanilla cream on a stack of fluffy pancakes are a sweet reward for completing the trail. 

The sausages paired with smashed potatoes and topped with savory onion gravy and tangy tomato relish are salty and meaty alternatives that will load you up with energy for the return trip.

Things to Do in Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail

Have a picnic at Waterfall Gully

With its picturesque setting and serene ambiance enveloped by rock outcrops and river red gums, Waterfall Gully promises an unforgettable picnic experience whether you’re in for a me-time or group fun!

The best picnic spot here? Look no further than the banks of the crystal-clear creek a few steps from the waterfall, where you can bask in the cool shade of lush trees and feel the waterfall’s refreshing mist on your skin. 

But if you happen to itch for a swim while picnicking, do your best to contain it, as swimming in the waterfall is prohibited!

Use the trail for training

Long-distance hikers often use the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit trail for their practice sessions, and it’s no surprise why! 

The ascent offers a perfect blend of steep sections and varied terrain, while the 700 m elevation of this Grade 4 hike prepares them for more formidable challenges like the Nepalese mountains.

If you want to follow the long-distance hikers’ route or are just looking for a new workout routine, we suggest hitting the trail with heavy training packs that will surely burn some muscles.

Just don’t forget to load up your backpack with essentials like plenty of water to quench your thirst and nutritious snacks to keep your energy soaring. 

Also, bring a camera because, trust us, you’ll want to capture those victorious moments at the Mt Lofty Summit!

Check the local flora and fauna

Check the local flora and fauna

As you venture through the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail, try to spot the enchanting birdlife, such as the colorful rainbow lorikeets and the melodious fairywrens flitting among the treetops. 

You may also spot adorable marsupials like the agile antechinus or the elusive brush-tailed possum that play hide-and-seek amid the trail’s radiant foliage!

Speaking of the foliage, towering blue and red gum and stringybark trees provide the trail with comforting shade. 

Check the local flora and fauna

In addition, delicate wildflowers like the common heath and the purple fan-flower add vibrant bursts of color to the landscape, while native ferns create a lush carpet underfoot. 

And, of course, you should take a moment to appreciate the resilience of the Xanthorrhoea, commonly known as grass trees, a striking plant with tall spikes and fire-resistant adaptations!

Head to First Falls and Second Falls’ viewing platforms

First Falls and Second Falls are natural wonders providing much-needed breaks and Insta-worthy backdrops. 

Hikers can enjoy convenient viewing platforms and seats at these falls, providing the perfect spot to take a breather and admire the scenery. Both have large pools of water, but First Falls’ proximity to a valley makes it more visually stunning for our team!

Second Falls is smaller and typically less crowded, so we suggest heading here if you’re in the mood for some zen time. The clear water contained by the falls’ mossy and rocky pool looks tempting, but just like First Falls, swimming is a no-no here. 

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