When visiting somewhere for the first time, it’s nice (if the option is available) to get to a high point and survey the lay of the land. Visitors to Adelaide will most often be taken to Windy Point, a wonderful lookout point just south of Adelaide in the suburb of Belair with a view west towards Glenelg and the ocean, and north to the city centre.
If you’re after something a little different, the path less-travelled to an equally good view in my opinion, then consider the nearby Sleeps Hill Walking Trail. Sleeps Hill is the next hilly outcrop south of Windy Point. The walking trail to a secluded and peaceful viewing point on Sleeps Hill (pictured above) can be accessed from the aptly-named suburb of Panorama. It is one of a network of trails maintained by Mitcham Council.
The Sleeps Hill Walking Trail skirts some disused quarries that were opened in 1916 to extract rocks for construction in Adelaide. The 2.5km quarry loop can be accessed from High Street (Belair) at the top, or Sleeps Hill Drive (Panorama) at the bottom. Park your car and do a round trip.
Alternatively, if you don’t have private transport you can catch a Belair Line train to the Lynton station. Getting off the train head up off the platform to the right (south) and along the road for 100 metres before the official trails start.
Word of warning: it’s a steep climb and the track is rocky in parts, so you need to be reasonably fit and mobile. But expending effort to get a great view is part of the fun. A smooth asphalt cycle/walk track runs parallel to the walking trail. Despite being smooth and enticing, it’s not suitable for gophers. I came across a couple of grey nomads on electric gophers at the bottom of the track recently. One was calling the local automobile association for help. His wife had applied the brakes coming down, causing the electrics to seize up in a smoking mess.
Access to the trail at the top end is from the very end of High Street. Before you get there you’ll pass the start of the cycling track, where you’ll find a convenient water bubbler. Half-way down the cycling track, if you take that route, you’ll find another convenient seat – good for having a break and writing a haiku or two.
If you’re arriving via the Lynton Railway Station entrance you might encounter mountain bikers at the end of their journey. The trail network includes a series of shared cycle/walking and cycle only trails popular with off-road cyclists (with ratings of Easy, Intermediate, Difficult, Very Difficult). To use the rail network to get to the top of the MTB track you need to catch it to Belair Train Station. From here you can cycle down, finishing at the Mitcham Council depot near the Lynton Railway Station, then catch a train back up and do it all again. Useful information for Sleeps Hill mountain bikers can be found here.
I’ve seen foxes along the trail in the early morning, and there’s always plenty of magpies, parrots, ravens and other native birds. Fortunately I’ve not encountered snakes, but that’s always a possibility in these rocky bush areas so stay alert.
And have a great trip!