Despite our late return from Kangaroo Island the night before, day 6 of our one week holiday in Adelaide had us waking up early for our next adventure.
What were we going to do now? Well in my research earlier in the week I found Escapegoat Adventures, a mountain bike tour company with great ratings on Trip Advisor.
I have never mountain biked before but I have a friend who loves it and has spent more than a couple of lunch hours showing me Youtube videos. I’d always kinda wanted to try it as I love bike riding, but the wildness of mountain biking scares me a bit. I’ve always been cautious about sports that have an element of letting go and potentially getting hurt (hiking and yoga are more my thing!) Well, sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new gives you the best experiences. I really liked all the info on Escapegoat’s website, they sounded very considerate of all rider levels including beginners so I pitched the idea to my sister and she gamely agreed to give it a try.
We booked online for the 4 hour Lofty Descents tour and arranged to be picked up at our hotel. Before that we had time to squeeze in one other must-do beforehand – we took an early morning walk over to Adelaide Central Market.
We had a great wander through the hustle and bustle and stopped for the most delicious breakfast at T Bar Tea Salon, including the best coffee I had in Adelaide the whole trip!
We hot-footed it back to the hotel where Ian, the owner of Escapegoat Adventures picked us up in his van with his dad who was visiting from England for the holidays. Surprisingly we were the only ones booked for that day so we were very lucky to have a private ride with Ian.
We drove up to the Mount Lofty summit where Ian’s dad dropped us off with our bikes and helmets. We enjoyed the view of Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills from the highest point in the Mount Lofty Ranges.
After a little ride around at the lookout to get our bearings on the bike we followed Ian down the mountain.
It was an awesome ride! Over the total 18km we took a combination of road and dirt paths. The mountain trail parts were not always easy, there were some hairy moments, but I always felt in control of what I had to do.
On top of that Ian is also a champion koala spotter, we saw so many thoughout the whole ride, right in the branches leaning over the track.
Part of the tour is a stop at the Cleland Wildlife Park to visit the Australian natives and enjoy morning tea. This was an unexpected delight, the animals are free to roam around, we saw emus, dingos, tasmanian devils, kangaroos, and koalas amongst others.
We hand-fed the kangaroos puffed rice, holding out my cupped hands and feeling their whiskered muzzles tickling my palm made me laugh.
There are a number of koalas there, and thanks to Ian being such a familar face at the park he was able to approach one of the koala keepers as she was carrying one huge koala from the enclosure. We got to pat his fur and take a photo, he was humongous! Usually only seeing koalas in trees decieves how big they actually can be!
From the wildlife park we got back on our bikes and entered the dirt track of the Cleland Conservation Park.
Ian was so patient and encouraging with our novice abilities, he suggested exactly how to pick a path through some steep corners of the track and encouraged me to give it a go when I got a bit daunted. There was one particularly steep, gravelly U-turn in the dirt path that genuinely scared me. I took one look at it and knew I’d get off the bike and walk down. Ian stopped and said to me ‘I reckon you can do this, just watch me go down and then give it a try’. He looked at Jo who had been taking things more cautiously and said kindly to her that he suggested she walk the bike down which she gratefully agreed with. I really appreciated that, I knew at that moment that he was properly guiding us and ensuring we had the best ride possible. I got on my bike, clamped my fingers around the handle bars and went for it. And I did it! I was so proud of myself and so grateful Ian gave me the encouragement to give it a go!
We enjoyed the trail about 10km which took us down to the outer suburbs of Adelaide. We cruised through some lovely neighbourhoods to a park near the CBD where we found Ian’s dad waiting for us, ready to drop us back at our hotel.
It was such a great half day adventure!
I should also add that the bike gear was in excellent condition which is pretty important for safety’s sake.
To anyone visiting Adelaide I highly recommend booking a bike tour with Escapegoat Adventures. It really is a must-do if you’re in the area!
I’ll end with some kangaroo out-takes too good not to share!