10 ways to connect with nature just 10 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD

20 June 2023

From practising mindfulness at the Adelaide Himeji Garden to cycling along River Torrens, here are 10 ways you can connect with nature, all within 10 minutes of Adelaide's CBD.

Southern Cultural Immersion. Image credit: Josh Geelen, South Australian Tourism Commission.

Do you find yourself running between meetings, trying to meet deadlines, and ending up dead-tired? You’re not alone. The relentlessness of the rinse-and-repeat Monday to Friday routine is all too real.

In 2022, Deloitte’s ‘The mental health of Gen Zs and millennials in the new world of work’ report found that nearly half of Gen Zs and just under four in ten millennials said that they feel stressed or anxious all or most of the time.

The promising news is that studies have found one antidote might just be a little closer to home (or work) than you think — especially if you live in Adelaide, South Australia.

The simple act of spending more time in nature can work wonders for your mental health and wellbeing; positively impacting everything from your concentration and creativity to your overall enjoyment of work.

Nature abounds in South Australia — in fact, Adelaide is the only city in the world built inside a park, and in 2021, Adelaide was awarded Australia’s first National Park City, and only the second globally.

From practising mindfulness at the Adelaide Himeji Garden to cycling along River Torrens, here are 10 ways you can connect with nature, all within 10 minutes of Adelaide’s CBD.

Photo: Himeji Garden, Tom Stuart

Adelaide Himeji Garden

The Adelaide Himeji Garden — a little pocket of Japan tucked away in Adelaide’s southern parklands, just minutes from cosmopolitan Hutt Street — is a place of peace, reflection and solitude. Opening in the mid-eighties, the Garden was a gift from Himeji, Adelaide’s sister city in Japan, and contains perfectly manicured features that are of profound cultural significance to the Japanese people. These days, the garden provides a quiet escape for nearby residents, workers and tourists; and is open from 8am to 5:30pm daily.

Walyu Yarta/Veale Gardens

Further down South Terrace, you’ll find Veale Gardens. Complete with a creek, a rose garden (featuring more than 50 varieties of rose on display), mini waterfalls and a water fountain in the centre of the park, this picturesque spot is a favourite for lovebirds tying the knot. Grab some local produce from the Central Markets, stroll down King William Street and savour the afternoon sunshine with a picnic lunch.

Tree Climb

Take the higher ground and immerse yourself in nature from the treetops at Tree Climb, Adelaide’s first inner-city, nature-based aerial adventure park. Set within Kurrangga Park in the Adelaide City Park Lands, Tree Climb features eight elevated tree top courses, including zip lines and a Tarzan swing for adrenaline junkies, and interactive education elements that highlight the importance of conservation and the environment.

Photo: Waterfall Gully, Ben Goode

Waterfall Gully

Just eight kilometres east of Adelaide’s CBD is Waterfall Gully, part of the Cle­land Nation­al Park. Like its name suggests, Waterfall Gully is home to the largest of sev­en water­falls that exist in the park…but to most locals, it’s best known for the pop­u­lar and stren­u­ous Water­fall Gul­ly to Mount Lofty Hike. On almost any morn­ing of the year, the trail attracts a range of peo­ple: some casu­al­ly walk­ing, oth­ers with heavy packs train­ing for dis­tant hik­ing loca­tions like Nepal…and guarantees spec­tac­u­lar views over Adelaide.

Pakapakanthi/Victoria Park

Staying in the east of the CBD is Victoria Park. In a former life the Park was a racecourse, but these days, it’s best known as Adelaide’s home of exercise (and the Adelaide 500). Featuring five different stations with exercise equipment, a Criterium Track, grass, gravel and bitumen tracks for runners, and a new wetland area for walking, it’s the perfect spot for a quick lunchtime power walk, or leisurely stroll with coffee in-hand from the cafe in the iconic Grandstand.

Karrawirra Parri/Torrens Linear Park

Running alongside Adelaide’s River Torrens, the 30km Torrens Linear Park trail stretches from Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs, through the Northern Parklands of the City of Adelaide (passing by many notable landmarks including the Adelaide Zoo, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, the Festival Theatre and Elder Park), and ends at the river mouth at Henley Beach in the west. Lined with River Red Gums and reed beds, it’s one of the most picturesque ways to commute into the CBD for work each day if you live north-east or west of the city!

Murlawirrapurka/Rymill Park

Rymill Park is a little oasis in Adelaide’s East End. When it’s not being used for one of Adelaide’s many cultural and sporting events, including Fringe-hub Gluttony, grab lunch to-go from Munooshi Cafe or Nano Cafe and pass your lunch hour sitting by the artificial lake and meandering along the Park’s many paths.

Photo: Restaurant Botanic, Jonathan van der Knaap

Adelaide Botanic Gardens

It’s not hard to get lost in the beautifully-landscaped gardens, majestic avenues and stunning architecture of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Spanning 50 hectares on the eastern edge of Adelaide’s CBD (neighbouring the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct), the Gardens are open 365 days a year and entry is free. If all this time in nature has increased your appetite, Restaurant Botanic, nestled in the heart of the Gardens, will sort you out. Booking in advance is recommended though, after it was named Australia’s restaurant of the year in 2022 by Gourmet Traveller!

Tainmuntilla/Botanic Park

Botanic Park lies adjacent to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens; separated by a stately avenue of plane trees planted in 1874. The 34-hectare expanse of grass, dotted with century-old Moreton Bay Fig trees, once played host to lively public debate every Sunday — giving it a reputation for being Adelaide’s version of Hyde Park, the celebrated locale for free speech in London. These days, Botanic Park is best known as the home of world music festival, WOMADelaide, and for being the ultimate picnic spot on lazy, sunny weekends.

Elder Park

Elder Park is the centrepiece of Adelaide’s stunning Riverbank Precinct, situated in front of the architectural Adelaide Festival Centre, and along the banks of the Torrens Lake. The park itself — a popular spot for community events throughout the year — is almost secondary to the range of activities you can enjoy on the water. While early morning rowers and dragon boat teams can be spotted at the crack of dawn, those who value their sleep can take one of the iconic paddle boats for a spin at a much more leisurely pace!

Is nature calling you? Make your move and discover your New State of Mind. Check out more stories, tips and advice for moving to our wonderful state of South Australia here.