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Find a Park > Adelaide Hills

Mark Oliphant Conservation Park

  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching

About

Renamed in honour of former state Governor Sir Mark Oliphant's contribution to conservation, Mark Oliphant Conservation Park provides plenty of bushwalking opportunities to enjoy the forest landscape.

Look out for the native birds that are commonly seen in the area, including the scarlet robin, golden whistler and the Adelaide rosellas. The park is also important habitat for the nationally endangered southern brown bandicoot.

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

Getting there

Mark Oliphant Conservation Park is located 22km south east from Adelaide. 

Access is via South-Eastern Freeway.

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 are no facilities in the park. Please ensure you carry sufficient water, food and supplies for your entire visit. It is also a good idea to let a responsible person know of your intended movements and when you expect to return.

Useful information

  • Mobile phone coverage can be patchy and unreliable in this park, especially if you are in low-lying areas.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Plants and animals

Plants

Messmate stringybark and brown stringybark dominate the forest canopy, and there is a small stand of candlebark gums near the oval. This tall eucalypt with white bark is rare and only found in the higher rainfall areas of the Adelaide Hills. Tiny patches of pink gum, manna gum and blue gum also occur in the park. In the forest understorey, there are many spring-flowering shrubs, including myrtle-leaved wattle, beaked hakea and large-leaved bush-pea. The park’s flora was affected by bushfires in February 1980 and January 1995, but weeds are the main threat to native plants.

Animals

The rare southern brown bandicoot and yellow-footed antechinus, along with several lizard, snake and frog species, inhabit the park, but most are rarely seen. Birdwatchers might see the superb fairy-wren, scarlet robin, golden whistler, Adelaide rosella and honeyeater species. Invertebrates are the smallest but most abundant and diverse animal group. Look closely at the shapes, colours and behaviours of ants, beetles and butterflies.

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

Before European settlement, the area provided food, wood and shelter for the Peramangk Peoples of the greater Adelaide Hills region, and was a major travelling route to the Adelaide Plains and coast.

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

The park was first used for recreation in the 1930s, and in 1945 was purchased by the YMCA. It was acquired by the State Government in 1953 and proclaimed the Loftia Recreation Park in 1972. The park was expanded in 1992 and 1995, and renamed in 1996 in recognition of its conservation values and to honour physicist and humanitarian Sir Mark Oliphant’s contribution to conservation.

The YMCA camp buildings were removed in the late 2000’s and work on restoring the native vegetation around the old camp continues today.

See and do

Bushwalking

Bushwalking is a fantastic way to connect with nature, keep fit and spend time with family and friends. South Australia's national parks feature a range of trails that let you experience a diversity of landscapes.

Skink Trail loop (3km, 45 min)

This easy loop walk starts from the Loftia Fire Track which you can access from the car park at Gate 1.

Follow the bitumen track down until you get past the Camp Track sign and from there you will see a totem that indicates the Bandicoot Trail at the start of Loftia Track and the Bandicoot Trail which heads up into the native vegetation. From there you can head along the Bandicoot Trail to the Skink Trail or along the Loftia Fire Track to the Skink Trail.

Bandicoot Trail loop (4.5km, 1.5 hrs)

You can access this trail from the car park off Scott Creek Rd and enter via Gate 1.

Follow the bitumen track down until you get past the Camp Track sign and from there you will see a totem which indicates the start of this trail which heads up into the native vegetation. This hike heads up towards Evans Drive and can be quite steep in some places. Follow Evans drive until you find a pictogram totem which indicates the trail heading back into the park. Please take care along Evans Drive as this is a public road. From here head down towards the old water tank and there you will join up with Camp track which will take you back to Gate 1.

Waterfall Hike loop (2km, 1 hr)

Enter this track at the mesh gate on Thornbill Track (Gate 12) . This hike is easy in the beginning but after the waterfall it can be steep as you head down the gully next to the creek line. This short loop joins up with Camp Track which takes you back to Gate 1 and the beginning of Thornbill Track.

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.

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:

  • keep to defined walking trails and follow the trail markers
  • wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • carry sufficient drinking water
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • 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.

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.

Maps

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. 

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