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May - Para Wirra Conservation Park

You’re invited to celebrate Para Wirra Conservation Park this May.

Located less than one hours’ drive from Adelaide, this park is the perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway. It’s popular with groups of families and friends who enjoy the park’s wildlife, picnicking, mountain biking, walking and camping opportunities.

There are over 100 species of birds living in the park, including the cheeky emus you’ll see patrolling the picnic grounds. You can see kangaroos grazing at dawn and dusk, and on a warm day bearded dragons and sleepy lizards bask in the sunshine. If you’re in luck you might also spot a short-beaked echidna, a shy creature whose diggings can be found throughout the park. 

Each month we feature a different park as Park of the Month, find out what’s happening throughout the year and learn how to host your own event.

What’s on

Free vehicle entry during May

Dates: Wednesday 1 May 2019 until Friday 31 May 2019

About/information: 

Vehicle entry to Para Wirra Conservation Park will be free during May as we celebrate Park of the Month.

You are not required to purchase the vehicle entry fee to enter the park.

Parkapiki competition

Visit Para Wirra Conservation Park during May to go in the draw to win great prizes: Prizes include:

Judge's choice prize

 People's choice prize

Our friends at Parkapiki have used GPS technology to create a virtual boundary around the park. All you need to do is visit Para Wirra Conservation Park during May and when you’re there, open the competition page on your smart-phone or tablet, fill in the form and leave a creative comment about the park.

Don't worry if your out of mobile coverage, you can enter the competition by loading a digital photo you've taken in the park when you're back in range. 

Weeds on the nose

Date and time: Thursday 2 May, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

About/information: 

 Join Steve Taylor, the Friends of Para Wirra and park rangers on a walk and talk to Devils Nose. Steve Taylor was Senior Ranger at Para Wirra for nearly 20 years and has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the park. Along the way Steve will provide an insight into what makes Para Wirra such a loved park.

We will enjoy a morning tea and cake at Devils Nose, savoring the vista of the surrounding area before undertaking some weed control and restoration works to remove the invasive weed Boneseed. Boneseed poses one of the biggest threats to the beautiful vegetation of Para Wirra including the Devil’s Nose area. It can be controlled by hand pulling, and cutting and swabbing. Before we finish there will be time to get the binoculars out and do a spot of bird watching, hopefully finding the peregrine falcons that reside in the park.

You can extend your visit on your own and are welcome to enjoy a hike along the picturesque South Para Grand Hike loop.

What to bring:

  • water
  • hat/cap
  • long trousers and long-sleeved top
  • wear old clothing that you’re happy to get dirty
  • appropriate footwear.

Tools and gloves provided.

Meeting point: Devil’s Nose carpark. Follow the event signs.

Bookings: This event is FREE but registration is essential.

Ranger guided morning bird walk (Fully booked) 

Date and time: Saturday 4 May, 7:00 am – 09:00 am

About/information: 

Bring your binoculars and a sense of adventure as we go for an early morning ramble through some of Para Wirra’s beautiful woodland. Walk with the rangers to discover what birds can be found in the park and how to identify them by their calls and behaviour. Watch out for thornbills and treecreepers flitting between the trees and emus as they wander through the bush. 

If you have a smartphone, download one of the free Australian bird guide apps. Some suggestions include Morecombe’s Birds of Australia Lite version, Australian Bird Sounds by Appp.io, or Australian Birds Guide by Gaia Guide. 

What to bring:

  • waterproof jacket
  • hiking boots, preferably with ankle support
  • long trousers or shorts
  • long-sleeved light cotton or similar shirt
  • warm long-sleeve top for stops or if the weather is cool
  • sun hat
  • sun glasses
  • sunscreen and insect repellent
  • at least one, 1 litre water bottle
  • small day pack
  • binoculars
  • bird ID guide.

Meeting point: Para Wirra Central Visitor Precinct picnic area, Para Wirra Drive. 

Bookings: This event is FREE but registration is essential.

Smartphone nature photography

Date and time: Saturday 4 May, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

About/information: 

Bring along your smartphone to this photography workshop and see nature through a new lens. This is a creative and fun session that will get you moving and observing the world from a whole new perspective! 

To celebrate National Parks South Australia's 'Park of the Month', we’re partnering a local expert with a photographer so you can learn more about the area you’ll be exploring before diving into the workshop. We’ll cover photographic concepts and theories before putting your new skills into practice at Para Wirra Conservation Park. Each participant with have a chance to spend 1:1 time with the instructor. 

You will leave this class with a new skillset that will enable your creativity to soar and take better photos with your smartphone. 

This class is great for anyone who would like learn about photography and how to get the most out of their phone while travelling, blogging or just appreciating the moments in everyday life.

No previous photography experience required. Parent/guardian to accompany children who attend. 

The workshop will follow the Lizard Rock Hike (1.6km return, 45 mins). The hike is an enjoyable loop trail with easy grades and picturesque views across Wild Dog Creek valley. Explore the rock formations along the ridge and see if you can spot the Lizard Rock! Great for family groups. For safety, please supervise children near rocky outcrops. 

Brought to you by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board.

What you will learn:

  • basic photographic concepts, including: composition, phone basics, working with natural light and taking pictures of nature
  • how to edit with your phone using the best free apps and achieve amazing images perfect for social networks

What you will get:

  • 2.5 hours tuition, with time for 1:1 with instructor
  • handout on photographic tips
  • recommendations for free editing apps 

What to bring:

  • fully charged phone with lots of free space to shoot photos
  • Instagram account (recommended, but not essential)
  • pen and something to lean on to take notes
  • waterproof jacket
  • hiking boots, preferably with ankle support
  • long trousers or shorts
  • long sleeved light cotton or similar shirt
  • warm long sleeve top for stops or if the weather is cool
  • sun hat
  • sun glasses
  • sunscreen and insect repellent
  • at least one, one litre water bottle
  • some snacks
  • small day pack
  • Insect repellent

Meeting point: Lizard Rock Hike Trailhead, Gawler View car park, Para Wirra Drive.

Bookings: This event costs $22.19 (including booking fee), book online.

Nature journaling

Date and time: Sunday 5 May, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

About/information:

Stop and notice the wonders around you, with journaling guide Jenny Deans. Explore Para Wirra Conservation Park with fresh eyes through drawing, writing and scribbling.

Discover tips and learn skills for observing, drawing and thinking about the natural world. Our presenter makes drawing easy and brings all the materials that you will need.

The workshop will follow the Lizard Rock Hike (1.6km return, 45 mins). The hike is an enjoyable loop trail with easy grades and picturesque views across Wild Dog Creek valley. Explore the rock formations along the ridge and see if you can spot the Lizard Rock! Great for family groups. For safety, please supervise children near rocky outcrops.

Who for?

This class is great for anyone who likes to take the time to sit and contemplate nature - adults and/or children. No drawing or artistic experience required.

This workshop is recommended for ages 8+ but may also suit other school-aged children.

Parent/guardian to accompany children who attend.

Brought to you by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board. 

What you will learn:

  • Tips and practical skills for observing, thinking about and drawing the natural world around you 

What you will get:

  • notebook and drawing pencils are supplied, but you are welcome to bring your own materials too
  • 2 hours tuition, with time for 1:1 with instructor
  • handout with nature journaling tips and links to resources

What to bring:

  • waterproof jacket
  • hiking boots, preferably with ankle support
  • long trousers or shorts
  • long sleeved light cotton or similar shirt
  • warm long sleeve top for stops or if the weather is cool
  • sun hat
  • sun glasses
  • sunscreen and insect repellent
  • at least one, one litre water bottle
  • some snacks
  • small day pack
  • Insect repellent

Meeting point: Lizard Rock Hike Trailhead, Gawler View car park, Para Wirra Drive.

Bookings: This event costs $11.64 (including booking fee), book online.

Friends of the Heysen Trail walk

Date: Sunday 5 May          

About/information:

Join the Friends of the Heysen Trail on a hike in Para Wirra Conservation Park.

This is a bush-walk through very picturesque country linking the major features in the park. The scenery rivals some areas of the Flinders Ranges with its beauty, and the proximity to Adelaide is a bonus. Birds of prey and colored birds in addition to native animals can be seen in the quieter northern parts of the park.

The terrain provides a good training ground for End*to-end walks etc.,as the route will be undulating, incorporating some significant climbs and gentle descents. Our return to the start point will be via a more recent established track.

First time trail walkers are encouraged to participate, a strategy for group cohesion will be in place. The walk distance is about 14Km consisting of a loop from the Devils Nose car park via the gold fields and return by a different route.Some sections are narrow with tripping hazard requiring undivided attention, please stop walking to admire the view in these areas.

Meeting point: Meeting location details will be provided after you have registered for this walk. 

Bookings: This event costs $10 per person (under 18 years of age $1). Book online, registrations close 3pm Friday 3 May.

Weekend walks for women with Big Heart Adventures

Dates and times:
Saturday 18 May, 08:00 am – 10:30 am
Sunday 19 May, 08:30 am – 12:30 pm                                                                                                 

About/information:                                                                                                                                           

Join Big Heart Adventures on their weekend walks for women in Para Wirra.

Bookings:

Tickets for Saturday 18 May are $25pp plus booking fee and can be made through Eventbrite.
Tickets for Sunday 19 May are $33pp plus booking fee and can be made through Eventbrite.

Bowden’s Cottage open days 

Dates and times: Tuesday 7, 14, 21 and 28, May, 9 am – 12:30 pm

About/information:

As part of History Month visit historic Bowden’s Cottage, a restored settler’s cottage in the heart of the Barossa Goldfields where gold was first discovered in 1868. Discover the Barossa’s gold mining history and explore gold mining displays.

After visiting Bowden’s Cottage venture out on the Victoria Hill Circuit (1.5 km) or one of the other hikes in the park from the Barossa Goldfields trail head.

Bookings: This event is FREE and for further information visit Barossa Goldfields Society.

Ranger guided overnight hike (Fully booked)

Date and time: 12:00 pm Saturday 18 May - 12:00 pm Sunday 19 May 

About/information:

Keen on an adventure? This Ranger overnight hike could be for you. Join Para Wirra Ranger Peter Hannon on a 2-day hike through the magnificent Para Wirra Conservation Park. Starting on Saturday afternoon enjoy a Journey through southern section of the, across Devil’s Nose and down to South Para River via the South Para Grand Hike. Along the way you’ll learn about fire history in the park and enjoy scenery ranging from enclosed woodland to open rock outcrops with exceptional views of the South Para River and beyond. Overnight, enjoy a self-sufficient camping experience next to the South Para River in an exclusive section of the park that is usually closed to the public. Day two of the hike will cover the Barossa Goldfields section of the park. Following the Lady Pearce walking trail will pass mining relics from South Australia’s very own gold rush. The route also passes section the park is where rangers and Friends of Parks volunteers have worked tirelessly to restore grassy woodland ecosystems.

The hike will require a reasonable level of fitness and will serve as a great introduction for those looking to experience hiking and self-sufficient camping.

**Remember to vote in the Federal Election before heading off on your hike.

What to bring:

A detail kit list will be provided although you will need a:

  • a hiking pack
  • lightweight tent
  • 3 season sleeping bag
  • sleeping mat
  • lightweight cooking stove, fuel.
  • lunch and dinner for the first day and breakfast and lunch for the second day.
  • sturdy hiking boots
  • a raincoat
  • a torch
  • A fully charged smart phone with the Avenza Maps App.

Meeting point: Para Wirra Central

Bookings:This event is FREE but registration is essential.

Barossa Goldfields open day

Date and time: Sunday 19 May, 10 am – 4 pm               

About/information:

As Part of history month as well as Park of the Month Celebrations, the Barossa Goldfields Society is holding an open day. The day provides an opportunity to experience the life as it was during the gold rush. You can visit the museum, tool shed, gaol cell and Bowden’s Cottage.  Marvel at the working Goldfields era machinery, try your hand at gold panning and enjoy some camp-oven damper with delicious homemade jams. As part of the day the Goldfield’s volunteers will be running guided tours from of the Victoria Hill mines w tours leaving at 11am and 1pm. 

Meeting point: Bowden’s Cottage; corner Allendale Road and Para Wirra Road, Barossa Goldfields, SA

Bookings: A gold coin donation at the gate will cover running costs for the day for more information visit the Barossa Goldfields Society.

Big night out at Wirra Campground (Fully booked)

Date and time: 2:00 pm Saturday 25 May - 11:00 am Sunday 26 May 

About/information:

New to camping, new to Para Wirra? Then join us for the Big Night Out at Wirra campground. This family event will help you feel more comfortable camping in our national parks. On Saturday afternoon we’ll have a range of family activities followed by nocturnal nature adventures with the rangers. In the morning we’ll provide a simple cooked breakfast, but for the early risers join the rangers on a short guided walk.

What to bring:

• tent, sleeping bag and mattress

• waterproof jacket

• sturdy hiking boots, preferably with ankle support

• long trousers or shorts

• long sleeved light cotton or similar shirt

• warm long sleeve top for stops or if the weather is cool

• sun hat

• sun glasses

• sunscreen and insect repellent

• at least one, one liter water bottle

• small day pack

• lunch, snacks, fruit and nuts (and chocolate!)

Meeting point: Wirra campground, Wirra Road

Bookings: This event is free but registration is essential.

Stars, planets and the night sky (Fully booked)

Date and time: 7:00 pm Saturday 25 May 

About/information:

Come along for an evening of wonder as Para Wirra opens its gates for a special star-gazing event. The moon phase on the night of the 25th will be optimal for gazing out into the clear night skies over Para Wirra and the bushland setting will only add to the experience. Members from the South Australian Astronomical Society will be onsite with telescopes and laser pointers to guide you through the milky way.

As a contingency for cloudy conditions the event will move to the Para Wirra Natural Resource Centre where the Astronomical Society will provide presentations on the cosmos.

What to bring:

  • A torch
  • Warm Clothes
  • A Raincoat
  • Snacks and Warm Drinks

What you will learn:

  • How to use Astronomical equipment
  • Stars, planets and constellations visible from our own backyard   

Meeting point: The Gawler View Precinct, Para Wirra Conservation Park

Bookings: This event is free but registration is essential.

Come and try Aussie Rules with Auskick

Date and time: Sunday 26 May, 10 am – 11:30 am

About/information:

10 am – 10:45 am fun football activities with Auskick instructors (for 5 to 15 year olds)

10:45 am – 11:30 am free time to kick the football with parents and friends (for all ages)

Explore the world of AFL at the Para Wirra Bush Oval, learn and build football skills and play in a safe and super fun setting with instructors from NAB AFL Auskick.

Activities are designed to let kids learn through play. Kids will have the freedom to run, jump, kick, laugh and express themselves while learning how to play Aussie Rules football in a natural setting.

No experience or skill level required and instructors will cater to each individual’s needs.

Parents can also enjoy NAB AFL Auskick knowing their child is safe, included and active. They can enjoy a kick with their children in the 45 minutes of free time after the activities.

What to bring:

  • loose fitted clothing
  • sneakers or football boots (if you have them)
  • sun hat
  • sun glasses
  • sunscreen
  • at least one, 1 litre water bottle per person
  • small day pack
  • snacks, fruit and muesli bars.

Meeting point: The Bush Oval, Gawler View, Para Wirra Drive.

Bookings: The first session of the event is for children between the ages of 5 and 15. This event is FREE but registration is essential.+

Ecology walk

Date and times: Thursday 30 May, 9:30 am – 10:30 am and 11:00 am - 12:00 pm.

About/information:

Join Jason van Weenen, Species Ecologist in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Region, on a one hour walk along Lizard Rock Hike as he describes the diverse vegetation communities and the wide range of birds, mammals and reptiles that call Para Wirra Conservation Park home.

Jason’s wealth of knowledge of the diverse northern hills landscape, its habitats and the species that inhabit them will make this walk one not to miss! 

The walk will follow the Lizard Rock Hike (1.6km return, 45 mins). The hike is an enjoyable loop trail with easy grades and picturesque views across Wild Dog Creek valley. Explore the rock formations along the ridge and see if you can spot the Lizard Rock. This event is great for family groups or anyone who is keen to learn more about the diverse ecosystems of the Adelaide Hills. 

What to bring:

  • waterproof jacket
  • hiking boots, preferably with ankle support
  • long trousers or shorts
  • long-sleeved light cotton or similar shirt
  • warm long-sleeve top for stops or if the weather is cool
  • sun hat
  • sun glasses
  • sunscreen and insect repellent
  • at least one, 1 litre water bottle
  • small day pack.

Meeting point: Lizard Rock Hike Trailhead, Gawler View car park, Para Wirra Drive.

Bookings: This event is FREE but registration is essential.

 

Insider tips for Para Wirra Conservation Park

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Your guide to camping at Para Wirra Conservation Park

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