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Outdoor School Holiday Fun on a Shoestring

Home > Adelaide > School Holiday Activities | Parks | Family | Cheap | School Holidays
by William Boland (subscribe)
Will is an Adelaide-based freelance writer, self-proclaimed outdoorsman, Dad and fun scout who sees his hometown as a frontier to be explored and discovered.
Published October 3rd 2019
Get Adventurous With These 5 Budget Friendly Activities
Well, almost without warning we've slammed into another school holiday period. For many, there's probably not much organised and it's a daily process of developing cunning plans to run the energy out, stave off the boredom and prevent sibling pitched battles throughout the household. There's plenty of shows and school holiday programs out there, but if you're not careful the costs can add up and fiscal stressors can start to kill the fun.

So if you're struggling for inspiration, here's five sure-fire ideas for getting the kids out and about around Adelaide and maybe even expanding horizons for both the little and big people alike.

1. Discover a new local playground

Get out into the local area and discover a new playground that you've never visited. Okay, it may sound like an obvious one, but the simple ones can be overlooked on occasion. The search alone can be a fun activity in itself and Mum and Dad can maybe even grab a takeaway coffee to sit and chill with as the kids explore their new playground scene. If you're within cooee of the east side of town, here's a few suggestions for playgrounds near good coffee.

Adelaide playgrounds, local playground, Burnside playground
Playground in Burnside, Hallett Road

2. Playspace with a nature favour

Nestled amidst the gums of the Adelaide foothills is the beautiful Morialta Conservation Park Nature Playground, aka Mukanthi Playspace. There's something to suit a range of ages here and will get their adventurous spirits singing. If the playing apparatus isn't enough, there's a meandering creekline with stepping stones and bridges and plenty of open grassy space for ball games and a picnic rug. A couple of other nature playground options around town include Cobbler Creek Recreation Park and Para Wirra nature play forest.

Mukanthi Playspace, Morialta Conservation Park, Morialta Conservation Park
One of the Mukanthi Playspace play areas, Morialta Conservation Park

3. Hiking micro-adventure

While we're talking nature, how about getting amongst the trails and introducing the kids to some easy hiking. Try some koala spotting along the way or searching for tadpoles in the creeklines. The Adelaide Hills offer some of the best bushwalking that can be found anywhere and there's a heap of options that offer family-friendly meanderings through the scrub. These include Morialta Conservation Park, Onkaparinga River National Park, Cleland Conservation Park and Para Wirra Conservation Park, just to name a few. Check out the Parks SA website for park options near you, including suggested hiking routes and sights to see.

Morialta Conservation Park, Adelaide hiking spots, Adelaide Hills
Bush views from one of Morialta's trails

4. Overnight camping adventure

While we're out amongst the leaves, why not consider staying the night and trying a spot of camping. There are many options beyond the fringes of Adelaide, but many of the local parks don't allow camping. One local option though right on the fringe of town is the fairly new Pink Gum Campground at Onkaparinga River National Park. It's a beautiful spot and puts you on the doorstep to some great hiking trails as well. Booking ahead here is advised, especially during periods of good weather and school holidays. Check out this article for some more info on the campground and how to make it happen.

Pink Gum Campground, Onkaparinga River National Park, camping Adelaide Hills, camping spots Adelaide
Pink Gum Campground, Onkaparinga River National Park

5. Jetty fishing

Possibly not for everyone, but a good little activity nonetheless for those that are game. From Largs Bay to Brighton in metro Adelaide, there's plenty of fishing spot options and further afield down the Fleurieu there's plenty more. Manage those expectations before you go though to quell the likelihood of a tantrum. As we all know, some days there won't even be a bite. This may apply to both kids and adults alike. The beauty is you've got a range of fallback options on the coast, including wading in the shallows, sandcastle building, rock skimming and shell collecting. You could even stay for fish and chips on the beach with a sunset. If your fishing prowess is anything like mine though, the fish will likely be purchased.

Adelaide fishing spots, jetty fishing Adelaide, Henley Jetty
Henley Jetty

Bonus parachuting tip

When the inevitable fatigue begins to set in and the fun starts giving way to the grumps and escalating snipes between siblings, you're gonna need a bail-out option or alternate plan. So, take advantage of the offerings at your local, friendly council library. Borrow a few free kid movie DVDs and head on home for a rejuvenating screening (DVD stores may be a thing for the kids' history classes, but the libraries at least are still keeping the dust off this archaic technology of civilisations past).
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Why? Because the outdoors are cool and it's cheap
When: Anytime
Where: Around Adelaide
Cost: Free to minimal costs
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