There’s a few caravan parks around the hills sure…but there aren’t any bush camp sites close to the city in the Adelaide Hills and Grandpa’s Camp isn’t easy to find (that’s a good thing). Too many nice places in the Adelaide Hills get trashed by vandals. I narrowed my search on Google maps and the online Heysen trail maps. I was determined to find it. I parked and trekked up Snake Gully to get a look at the only spot you can go bush camping in the hills close to Adelaide.
(Edit : There’s paid camping now available at Onkaparinga Gorge national park and campsites will soon be available in Para Wirra Recreation Park. Click here for details.)
After finally finding where the road ends, it’s only a hop over a gate and a ten minute walk up the Heysen Trail past some dams and a really nice house into the forest. The camp is soon right in front of you. It has a fireplace, log seats, two shelters, and a stone table. Bring your own water. The logbook has been filled out by more active walkers, some of them walking the Heysen trail end to end. The creek runs in winter and makes this a very peaceful spot.
To camp overnight there you’ll need a permit from Mt Crawford forest office. It’s part of the Forestry SA camping areas around Mt Crawford Forest. Check the site here for details. If you’re doing the lazy drive in (rather than walk in) camping, allow another hour to drive up to the office, get your permit and get back.