The Adelaide Hills is finally feeling confident enough to throw off its grey overcoat and wow there is spectacular spring colour underneath. There is no better example of this than the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. My last visit to this tucked away gem in the hills was in autumn with fiery trees and crunchy brown leaves everywhere so I couldn’t wait to see what spring would look like.
You certainly won’t be disappointed when you visit. I recommend parking in the lower carpark, off Piccadilly Road, there is plenty of space and for only $2 you can park for the whole day. The garden is open every day of the week, from 8.30 to 4pm Monday to Friday and weekends from 10am to 6pm, now that daylight saving has arrived. Parking is free on Sunday but as that is the most popular day I’d advise a week day if possible to avoid crowds.
Don’t forget to pack in water, wear good walking shoes (some of the terrain is steep and has uneven paths) you can stick to the smooth and wide main pathways though if you wish. Make sure you have plenty of space and battery power for your camera or phone too because you will want to go nuts with photos, or is that just me?
My favourite places at this time of year would be the fern gully, somewhere green and cool to walk. This does have some steep terrain though so take your time.
The other standout at the moment is Rhododendron Gully, the colours are so intense and everywhere you look there is a carpet of plants blooming. Just one feast for the eyes after another.
The sounds of the birds and frogs in the garden are almost deafening. The unmistakable sound of the banjo frog surrounds you as you walk the pathways, they are so loud but nothing compared to the cacophony when you get to the main lake. You would swear that the sound of banjo frogs, screeching coots and rasping cockatoos is being amplified from hidden speakers, the noise is that intense.
Once you make it back to the main lake area, near the lower carpark, there is a large grassed area perfect if you’ve packed in a picnic.
For a shorter visit or something suitable for prams, the elderly and those with mobility issues, I’d recommend taking the Lakeside trail which takes a 1 kilometre loop around the lake. On the way you will spot 8 plant themed artworks all which carry a different message about the world around us and how we notice and interact with our environment.
Each of the artworks has their message engraved at the base of the sculptures as well as in braille for vision impaired people.
The Mount Lofty Botanic Garden is a great spot for the peace and exercise and when you’ve finished your visit you can always continue on through the hills to one of the many fine hotels or wineries.