5 treasures in Belair National Park
Our Belair insider shares some top tips about SA’s first national park – which is this month’s Park of the Month.
Boasting a range of attractions including Old Government House, State Flora and the adventure playground, Belair National Park has been a favourite with South Australians for generations.
Located just 25 minutes from Adelaide’s city centre, the park is an ideal day out for families, tourists and nature lovers alike, with mountain bike trails, barbeque and sporting facilities, and the chance to see wild kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras and endangered bandicoots along easily accessible trails.
Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, now is the perfect time to rediscover this special park and explore some of its best kept secrets.
Senior Ranger Donna Ferschl shares her insider tips on some hidden treasures to discover on your next visit.
1. RSL Walk
Starting at the World War I memorial cherry plantation, this short walk follows a boardwalk and path through native bushland where you are sure to spot plenty of koalas and maybe even a bandicoot.
The plantation of Japanese cherry trees was once one of the most important WWI memorials in Australia. The remaining trees are a reminder of the past and those they honour.
The walk ends at a dramatic avenue of tall sequoias, commemorating Australian and American forces that served in WWII and Korea.
Early spring is the perfect time of year to explore the RSL Walk and see the cherry trees in full bloom.
2. Amphitheatre Rock
This well-hidden cave surrounded by native bushland was dug out of the rock-face as part of works to build the Adelaide to Melbourne railway line that runs through the park.
With the recent heavy rains, you might be lucky enough to see the waterfall flowing over the entrance to the ‘amphitheatre’.
From Karka Picnic Ground, follow the path from the car park until you see a narrow track on the right-hand side. Amphitheatre Rock is a short walk up the track.
3. Echo Tunnel
Children and adults alike enjoy listening to the sounds echo as they travel through this long, dark tunnel.
It is also the gateway to a large section of the park, as it is the only safe place to cross under the railway line.
Follow the signs and park at the Pines, and then walk along Echo Track to Echo Tunnel, and beyond to the rest of the park.
4. Upper and lower waterfalls
During winter and following heavy rains, the flowing creeks create two spectacular waterfalls.
The lower waterfall is just a short walk beyond Echo Tunnel and a special boardwalk has been created to provide great views of the upper waterfall.
These waterfalls don’t run all year, but are worth a visit for their beautiful setting in any season.
Either starting at Old Government House or the Pines, follow the Waterfall Hike to explore these hidden treasures.
5. Queen Jubilee Drive
Discover the beautiful views across the Adelaide Plains and down to the sea along Queen Jubilee Drive.
Either park near Old Government House to start uphill, or walk down from Saddle Hill, keeping a look out for koalas and emus on the way. There is a bench half way along the track where you can sit and admire the scenery.
Insider tip: The views are spectacular at sunset, but remember gates close at 7 pm so park outside Gate 13 on Sheoak Road and walk down to enjoy this beautiful site.
Explore Belair National Park in September
Throughout the month of September, Belair National Park is celebrated as Park of Month – an initiative between Nature Play SA and DEW.
Why not explore the park at the Belair Open Day on 11 September and join the rangers for loads of family activities and free guided tours. Don’t forget to share pictures of your visit on Instragram and tag #belairnationalpark.