Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Morialta Conservation Park

So, it's a long weekend coming up in South Australia and you're looking for something to calm the nerves from all the Mad March shenanigans!  Put on your walking shoes, and refresh your mind and soul with a walk through Morialta Conservation Park.

Morialta Conservation Park is located 10km north east of Adelaide (take Magill Rd, turn left onto Norton Summit Road, left into Glen Stuart Rd and right into Morialta Rd.  Once in the park gates you can continue on to the car park situated at the start of the walking trails, however parking fees do apply.  Personally, I prefer to park at the Morialta Road entrance carpark and walk to the Morialta Falls walking trails (it's only about 750 metres and I'm going to be walking anyway so why not start with a warm up?).

The park is open to vehicles from 8.30am until 15 minutes before sunset, however, walkers are able to access the park from sunrise to sunset.

There are a number of walking trails meandering off in various directions.  Paths are well signposted but you may prefer to obtain a map from the Department of Environment before starting off - Morialta Falls website.  On my last visit, we tackled the Three Falls Grand Hike - a 7.3 km loop which takes you above the cliffs, then down through the various valleys and canyons.

The scenery is spectacular with rugged cliffs, deep gorges, seasonal waterfalls and native flora and fauna.  The park is popular with walkers and runners, particularly on weekends, but peaceful none the less.  Considering you're only 15 minutes from the city centre the serenity of the place is staggering.  The climb to the top can be quite steep in places but the view from the various lookouts is well worth it.  There are various viewing platforms along the walking trails which overlook the gorge and Adelaide skyline and coast.  Great photo opportunities abound and wildlife are in abundance.

To see the falls at their finest it is obviously ideal to go in winter or early spring, but some water still flows during the summer months.  The first two falls are the most spectacular as they cascade over the sheer quartzite cliffs of the park.

 There are many combinations of walking trails throughout the park, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes.  The more adventurous can walk right through to Norton Summit, whilst others may prefer the short climb to the Giants Cave and First Falls. For something more adventurous the rock faces in the Morialta Gorge provide some of the best local rock climbing and abseiling.  The rock climbing and abseiling area is located off Norton Summit Road between Second and Third Falls, with climbs of varying difficulty.  Various companies in Adelaide can provide info on this - Adelaide Rockclimbing

Picnic spots are plentiful, and there are barbecue facilities at the entrance to the park.  It's a great spot to get away from life and clear the mind.  It's also FREE, and a great way to get the kids outside.  Why not check it out this weekend?

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