In the eastern area of the National Park a low open forest of Grey Box and Sheoak can be seen. On the upper ridges and higher valleys a low woodland of pink gum, dryland tea-tree and sheoak is present. On wetter sites throughout the eastern section of the reserve, an open forest formation of blue gum and manna gum can be seen. Along the creek and riverbanks a riparian association dominated by river red gum occurs.
Within the floodplain and estuary area of the Recreation Park, important samphire flats occur. These areas, along with their saline margins, support communities of samphire, chenopods, saltbush and sedges. Samphire's include Sarcocornia blackiana and Arthrocnemum halocnemoides. Aquatic estuarine flora is dominated by Garweed and various algae.
Mammals present within the park include western grey kangaroo, common brushtail possum, common ringtail possum and echidna. The lesser long-eared bat and the southern forest bat.
You’ll see all kinds of birdlife in the Onkaparinga River Natiopnal Park, particularly if you take a few moments to be still. There is a diverse range of species that live in, or visit, the park – many of conservation significance. Hunting birds, such as the peregrine falcon, scour the landscape in search of birds, small mammals and lizards. You’ll probably hear the yellow-tailed black cockatoo long before you see one, their raucous cries announce their presence well in advance.
Approximately 20 fish species are recorded for the estuary and river. The major fish species include jumping mullet, black bream and yellow-eye mullet. Algae, molluscs and garweed form the major diet of the fish species.
Amphibian records include: common froglet, banjo frog, spotted marsh frog and brown tree frog. At least 20 reptile species have been recorded in the reserves. These include cunningham's skink, eastern bearded dragon and barking gecko.
Common butterfly species include: meadow argus, cabbage white, saltbush blue, australian painted lady, common grass-blue and lesser wanderer. Gahnia filum sedge-lands in the estuary may provide habitat for populations of the endangered yellowish sedge-skipper.
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.