Mount Lofty summit (710m) is about 15 km east of the centre of Adelaide and affords reasonable panoramic views of the city and the Adelaide plains and foothills. I say reasonable instead of good or great as 15kms is a little far (even on a clear day) to see things in a lot of detail.
On its own, I don’t think its worth the trip out of the city but if passing by anyway or when combined with a visit to the excellent Mount Lofty Botanical Garden and or Cleland Wildlife Park it certainly is well worth going to.
There is a restaurant/café – (breakfast and lunch daily and dinner Wed – Sun) and a very helpful souvenir shop / tourist information office (9am – 5 pm daily) at the summit. On my last visit I was even able to secure the loan of a wheel chair for a fellow traveller from the tourist office.
In 1902 – the centenary of Flinders’ sighting and naming of Mt. Lofty – the white obelisk at the summit, a Trigonometrical Survey Station, was dedicated to Matthew Flinders in a ceremony officiated by the then-Governor, Lord Tennyson.
On the ridge near the summit are three television transmission towers and the Mount Lofty Fire Tower. The area suffered severe damage in the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires.
Wrap up well as it can be very cold at the summit in winter. Snow is not unknown.
There are a number of walking options from or to the summit. You can walk down to the botanical gardens by joining the famous Heysen Trail. Alternatively take the popular walk down to Waterfall Gully (8 kms return – allow 2.5-3hrs), or take the walking trail through native bushland to nearby Cleland Wildlife Park.
Access is via car or bus.
By Car – from the city (20-30mins) take Glen Osmond Road to the South Eastern Freeway, take the Crafers turn off and head up Mount Lofty Summit Road, travelling past the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, until you reach the Summit.
By Bus – Adelaide bus (route number 823 from Crafters Ramp (stop 24/24A) noting very limited service for this bus). A number of buses from city stop at Crafters ramp eg 840, 860, 863 and 864. Refer http://www.adelaidemetro.com.au/ for route details. Allow an hour with a carefully timed connection – best connections with 864/864F (I understand but can’t confirm, that the 823 waits for these if they are late).
Admission: Free but fee for car parking – A$3 all day.
Address: Mt Lofty Summit Road, Cleland
Directions: By Car or Bus – see text for detail.