What is it and why?
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. Grandpa’s Camp isn’t easy to find (that’s a good thing). All the nice places in the Adelaide Hills get trashed by vandals. I narrowed my search on Google maps and the online Heysen trail maps. 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 : Paid camping is now available at Onkaparinga Gorge national park and campsites will soon be available in Para Wirra Recreation Park. Click here for details.)
What’s it like?
After finally finding where the road ends, I hopped over a signposted gate and walked for ten minutes up the Heysen Trail, past some dams and a really nice house, into the forest. It’s not long before the camp is right in front of you. It’s got a fireplace, log seats, two shelters, and a stone table but bring your own water. The logbook has been filled out by more active walkers, some of them even walking the Heysen trail end to end! There’s a small creek that runs in winter. This is a very peaceful place.
To camp overnight there you’ll need to get 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.