Skip to content
Find a Park > Adelaide

Hallett Cove Conservation Park

  • Kiosk
  • Public Transport
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Swimming
  • Scuba / Snorkelling
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating

About

An interpretative walking trail describes the park's cultural and geological heritage, including evidence of an Australian ice age some 280 million years ago. The outstanding glacial pavements along the northern cliff tops are recognised as the best record of Permian glaciation in Australia and have international significance. This park's beach is also popular for swimming.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Closures and safety

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

You can determine the current fire danger rating by checking the Fire Ban District map on the CFS website.

Check the CFS website or call the CFS Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 362 361 for:

Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.

Contact details

Natural Resources Centre - Black Hill

Phone: (+61 8) 8336 0901
Email: DEW.AMLRBlackHillOffice@sa.gov.au

Regional Duty Officer: 0427 556 676

When to visit

Hallett Cove Conservation Park is beautiful all year round. Spring sees the wildflowers come in to bloom and animals start to become active again after the cooler months. Summer shows the harsh nature of the Adelaide Coastline as many plants revert to 'survival mode' with the ocean cliffs offering a cool retreat during the high summer heat. Autumn has the plants regaining their vigour with many bird species on show. Winter can bring spectacular storms with the beach conditions changing daily - from pure pebbles to sand almost over night. 

Getting there

Hallett Cove Conservation Park is located 22km south of Adelaide. 

If you're in your own vehicle, you can find this park on the map.

There is also public transport to this park from the Adelaide city centre. 

Accessibility

Facilities 

Parking

There is a council owned car park, with 2 accessible parks located at the south end of Hallett Cove Conservation Park.

Toilets

There is an accessible (left hand) toilet located next to the Boatshed Café at the car park.

See and do

Trails

A bitumen path leads from the café towards Black Cliff Lookout where the trail steepens considerably (up to 12%). Assistance will be required in this section to the lookout. Check out our video of the access trails at Hallett Cove Conservation Park.

Check out Push Adventures – Hallett Cove to Black Point Coastal Trail blog for accessible trail descriptions and photos.

Dogs not allowed

Dogs are not permitted in this park.

Discover which parks you can walk your dog in on our find a park tool or read 12 dog-friendly walks in Adelaide Parks by Good Living for inspiration.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

As per the dogs in parks and reserves policy, if the dog is not an accredited assistance dog, they must be trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate that disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a dog in a public place. However, refusal may be given if the person with the disability is unable to produce evidence the dog is an assistance dog with the appropriate training.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park that does not normally allow dogs, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or call the information line on (+61 8) 8204 1910.

Facilities

There is no vehicle access into the park but car parking is available at the northern, eastern and southern entrances. The walking trails are shown on the trailhead at each entrance and give a good perspective of Hallett Cove. The walk tracing the geological history along the cliff top gives excellent views of the coastline. Snorkelling and swimming are permitted along the beach in the south-western corner of the park. There is a cafe at the southern beach end.

Council managed public toilets are located in the Boatshed Café at the Heron Way entrance to the Park. 

The location of these facilities can be found within our park maps.

Useful information

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Dead wood plays a vital role in providing shelter for animals and adding nutrients to the soil.

Plants and animals

Plants

Many local native species have been planted by the Friends Group in an ongoing effort to restore the native vegetation. The coastal zone is colonised by local salt-tolerant plants including ruby saltbush, common boobialla, flax-lilies, angular pigface, cushion fanflower and numerous native grass species.

The slopes of the Amphitheatre are covered by a coastal heath of great diversity, including pale turpentine bush, coast twinleaf and sea box.

The areas beyond the coast and Amphitheatre are gradually being returned to an open scrubland of melaleucas, eucalypts and pittosporums.

Animals

Along Waterfall Creek there are a number of species of frogs. Across the park are small lizards, legless lizards, skinks, and eastern brown snakes. Many species of birds have been sighted in the park. You might see colourful superb fairy-wrens, honeyeaters and kestrels as well as a variety of shore-wading and sea birds. 

Flora and fauna species lists

To download flora (plants) and fauna (animals) species lists for this park, use the 'Create Simple Species List' tab under 'Flora Tools' or 'Fauna Tools'  in NatureMaps

Traditional owners

Aboriginal stone implements were first discovered at Hallett Cove in 1934 and over a period of 30 years, more than 1700 artefacts were collected, and are now part of the South Australian Museum collection.

Aboriginal peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations.  At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia. 

European history

This area was proclaimed as a conservation park in 1976 primarily to conserve its geological features. These features are of worldwide significance, particularly as a record of an ice age about 280 million years ago. Four main periods of geological history in the Hallett Cove area are described on the trailheads at the entrances and along the trails. The park also conserves native flora and fauna.

In 1875, Professor Ralph Tate found the smoothed and striated ‘glacial’ pavement at Black Cliff and was the first person to realise that South Australia had been subjected to an ice age. But which one? The age of the glaciation was debated until in 1895 Professor Walter Howchin suggested that it was of Permian-Carboniferous age, that is about 280 million years old.

Subsequent geological work has demonstrated that at that time Australia was much closer to Antarctica and was part of the ancient land mass called Gondwana. During that time the south-western two-thirds of Australia, including much of South Australia, was covered by an ice cap and glaciers, similar to present day Antarctica.

In 1957, Professor AR Alderman from the University of Adelaide wrote to the National Trust recommending that the excellent glacial pavements along the coastal cliff tops of Hallett Cove be preserved. For the 19 years following this letter, conservationists and community groups fought to preserve these valuable geological sites against suburban development. Finally, in 1976 the park was dedicated for the protection of features of scientific (geological) and historic interest in the Hallett Cove area.

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • Visit the granite boulder at the base of the beach access ramp, it is a great example of a granite erratic. This piece of granite has been transported by glacial activity all the way from Port Elliott and deposited on Hallett Cove beach.
  • Watching out for singing honeyeaters in the dune shrubs.
  • Watching the Nankeen Kestrals hover as they search for prey in the grass.
  • Looking for sea stars, urchins and crabs in the rockpool shallows of the wave cut platform, then count the steps back to the top of the cliff.
  • Discover 10 things to see and do at Hallett Cove on the Good Living blog.
  • Check out Nature Play SA's 40 things to do in Hallett Cove Conservation Parks.

Bushwalking

The Coast Park Path boardwalk is the main trail which follows the coastal cliffs through the park. The Glacial Hike takes visitors inland to the geological points of interest, such as the Sugarloaf and Amphitheatre, and offers some beautiful photo opportunities within the park. Interpretive signs along the Glacial Hike tell the Geological, Aboriginal  and European story of the area.

Moderate hikes

  • Glacial Hike (2 hrs, 3km return)

    This moderate hike features a bitumen path to Black Cliff Lookout, making it more accessible to those with access needs. A natural surface trail takes visitors to geological and historic points of interest with interpretive signs. Other trails branch off and loop from this main trail.

    Check out a video of the access trails at Hallett Cove Conservation Park

  • Coast Park Path (7.2km one way)

    This moderate hike features a bitumen path to Black Cliff Lookout, making it more accessible to those with access needs. The trail follows the Marion coastline from Marino to Hallett Headland via Hallett Cove Conservation Park.

Teach and learn resources

If you are looking to visit Hallett Cove Conservation Park for educational purposes, you might like to peruse our Educational Pack tailored to Hallett Cove Park. This pack was developed for schools and families by Nature Play SA and the Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges’ NRM Education team.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

  • Use Find a Park to discover which parks you can camp in.

Fishing

Fishing is actively managed in South Australia by the Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA.
Check out these useful links before embarking on your fishing adventure:

 

Volunteering

 

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges – Volunteering.

Want to join others and become a Park Friend?

To find out more about Friends of Parks groups please visit Friends of Parks South Australia.

You could join others to help look after a park. You can take part in working bees, training and other events.

Safety

Bushwalking

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Fire

 

Can I have a fire or barbecue?

  • Wood fires, solid fuel, gas fires and liquid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

 

Closures and safety

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

You can determine the current fire danger rating by checking the Fire Ban District map on the CFS website.

Check the CFS website or call the CFS Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 362 361 for:

Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.

 

Water

Strong currents and rips can make swimming dangerous in this area.

Do not climb on, or fish from slippery rocks. 

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Dead wood plays a vital role in providing shelter for animals and adding nutrients to the soil.

Map

Park maps

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF Map app and have interactive national park maps on hand when you need them.

The app uses your device's built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos and drop placemark pins. 

How to get it working on your device:

1. Download the Avenza PDF maps app from the app store whilst you are still in range (its free!).
2. Open up the app and click the shopping cart icon.
3. Click ‘Find’ and type the name of the national park or reserve you are looking for.
4. Click on the map you are after and install it (all our maps are free).
5. You will now find a list of your installed maps on the home page of the Avenza app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza PDF map app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.

Fees

Entry fees

Come and enjoy this park for free. 

Park pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

Camping and accommodation

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park. 

Other fees and permits

There are no other fees or permits associated with this park. 

PDF Park Brochure