Two creative foodies out to discover enticing flavours and food ideas. When we aren't tucking into our latest delicious find, we're photographing and designing our hearts out.
Published August 7th 2014
Amber's Nature Trail is a little-known track that's 25 minutes from the Adelaide CBD by car. It's easily accessible from a car park located just off a little bend on Gorge Rd at Montacute, if you know where to look. It's part of Black Hill National Park; the more common hike in this area is Black Hill Summit, a steep and strenuous short hike that takes you right to the top with no opportunities of city views. Amber's Nature Trail however promises better views and interest along the way – and it did not disappoint.
August is a great time of year to be up here due to the cooler weather and bright green foliage. The trail is well signed and worn in making it perfect for beginners and fitness buffs alike. The steady incline will keep your heart racing while the views will take your breath away. This path is family friendly with options to walk all the way to the top or just to the cave and back. Proper footwear with good grip is recommended as some sections of the hike have uneven ground, loose rocks and slippery clay when wet. Allow up to 2 hours to complete the trail up and back.
The start of the path is situated just past some houses and the entrance to a nearby quarry. In one property we passed we noticed a neat little veggie patch which is clearly given lots of loving attention: it was a profusion of edible greenery interspersed with bright colours. A little further up the trail are the remains of a small hut known as Amber's Cottage, now a ruin protected by the local council. It's always intriguing when we come across ruins like this and trying to think who and what it was built for. This one had two simple rooms and the remnants of a fireplace.
Here's the beginning - which is easy to miss if you are following the fire track!
After a brief investigation of the ruin the true trail began off to the right of the fire track. The skinny trail started off as a gentle incline which continued to increase the whole way until it was steep enough to get the heart pumping in the ears. If you are new to hiking,make sure you walk slowly and stop often for quick catch up breaths (and spectacular views!). The trail leads up past an interesting 'frozen waterfall' – formed by the presence of high concentrations of calcium in the rock. Up close you can see inside a small cave in the side of the waterfall and view the amazing sculpted formations inside.
Further on, the path climbs higher and higher around the side of the hill, along here we were lucky enough to see a tiny koala resting high up on a tree branch! Eventually the path reached a small plateau of lush green grass interspersed with a few trees. It would have been absolutely perfect if not for a string of power lines crossing overhead. We diverged from the path a bit here to investigate an interesting looking fallen tree trunk; from on top we could see over the trees and hills and, far off in the background, the small grey buildings of the city of Adelaide. This is probably the clearest spot away from the trees for panoramic photo opportunities of the city.
Back amongst the gums and slippery clay path, we headed onwards and upwards again before making our way up some stone steps onto a broad gravel fire track. Here a sign informed us that Amber's Nature Trail had joined onto the Sugar Loaves Trail. This location proved to be another great photographic opportunity. Since we much prefer exploring proper natural trails than walking along gravel tracks we decided to turn around and go back the way we came in order to return to the car park. The Adelaide Hills is a great place waiting on your doorstep to be explored. Get out next weekend and check this place out while the weather is good. Remember to hike only in hiking season (around April to November), always bring an adequate amount of food and water, and always let someone know where you are if it's your first time.