How people with a disability can take to the trails at Deep Creek National Park

How people with a disability can take to the trails at Deep Creek National Park

This icon­ic South Aus­tralian park has acces­si­ble accom­mo­da­tion and free equip­ment to use. Here’s what’s available.

Deep Creek Nation­al Park is the largest por­tion of remain­ing nat­ur­al veg­e­ta­tion on the Fleurieu Penin­su­la and is home to an array of native wildlife such as west­ern grey kan­ga­roos, short-beaked echid­nas and 100 species of birds.

How people with a disability can take to the trails at Deep Creek National Park

It’s locat­ed with­in 100 km of Ade­laide – less than 2 hours’ dri­ve – mak­ing it a per­fect des­ti­na­tion for a day trip or week­end getaway.

Deep Creek real­ly is a park for every­one to enjoy, with acces­si­ble accom­mo­da­tion with­in the park and equip­ment avail­able for explor­ing the trails.

Here’s how to make the most of it:

Hire a Trail­Rid­er all-ter­rain wheel­chair for free

The Trail­Rid­er all-ter­rain wheel­chair allows peo­ple with lim­it­ed mobil­i­ty to explore Deep Creek Nation­al Park’s diverse trails. The one-wheeled chair is a cross between a wheel­bar­row and sedan chair.

The Trail­Rid­er requires a min­i­mum of two rea­son­ably fit peo­ple (one at each end of the chair) to con­trol and guide it. Depend­ing on the trails you wish to trav­el and the strength and lev­el of fit­ness of your helpers, you might need up to four fit helpers. The chair is motorised, mak­ing it eas­i­er to explore some steep­er and longer trails.

How people with a disability can take to the trails at Deep Creek National Park

You can hire a Trail­Rid­er from the Dis­trict Coun­cil of Yankalil­la for free for up to three days. Chair users are required to bring a bike hel­met and watch a short intro­duc­tion video before head­ing out on their adven­ture. The chair weighs 25 kg, but can eas­i­ly dis­as­sem­ble and fit in the back of most medi­um-sized SUVs.

Book­ings are essen­tial and can be made by con­tact­ing the Fleurieu Coast Vis­i­tor Infor­ma­tion Cen­tre on 08 8558 0240 or 1300 965 842, or by email. The vis­i­tor cen­tre is locat­ed a half-hour dri­ve away from Deep Creek Nation­al Park, on the way to the park if you’re trav­el­ling from Adelaide.

Now that you’re decked out with the right equip­ment, it’s time to decide which trail to tackle.

Where to go in Deep Creek Nation­al Park with the TrailRider

Check out the Trail­Rid­er Wheel­chair Sug­gest­ed Routes map to find out which walks to go on with the Trail­Rid­er and details about each trail.

There’s infor­ma­tion about the con­di­tion of the trails, any obsta­cles you might encounter along the way, such as tree roots, rocks or logs, and a track grad­ing sys­tem to help you choose a trail suit­able for your skill and fit­ness level.

Here’s a snapshot:

1. Kon­doli — Keep­er of the Fire Walk — (Begin­ner, 450 m, no ascent)
An easy loop route along a spray-sealed 1200 mm wide path, the trail includes sev­er­al spots to sit and take in the views, as well as under­cov­er pic­nic areas. Inter­pre­tive signs tell the sto­ry of how Ramind­jeri peo­ple came about the tools to cre­ate fire. The SA Nation­al Parks app pro­vides options for visu­al­ly or hear­ing impaired vis­i­tors includ­ing voiceover, audio tran­scripts and image descrip­tions. Mul­ti­lin­gual sup­port is also pro­vid­ed, with 27 lan­guages sup­port­ed.

2. Goon­dooloo Ridge Pic­nic Area along Goon­dooloo Ridge – (Begin­ner, 4.1 km and 68 m ascent)

An easy route along a wide trail which gives a good intro­duc­tion to oper­at­ing the Trail­Rid­er. As the trail descends and steep­ens slight­ly, there are a few small rocks that are eas­i­ly avoid­ed. The route fin­ish­es at the view­ing bench. Return to the start by the same route.

3. For­est Cir­cuit Walk – (Begin­ner, 2.6 km and 48 m ascent)

This cir­cuit is best under­tak­en clock­wise. There are small undu­la­tions in the trail sur­face which has a com­pact base. The sec­tion head­ing back to the Stringy­bark camp ground is on a nar­row trail.

4. Goon­dooloo Ridge Pic­nic Area to Eagle Water­hole – (Advanced, 4.4 km and 125 m ascent)

The first 1.5 km grad­u­al­ly descends on a hard packed track before steep­er sec­tions to Eagle Water­hole which pro­vides a good lunch stop. Return to the start by the same route, don’t be daunt­ed by the ascent as the motor on the Trail­Rid­er makes light work of it.

5. Stringy­bark Loop Walk – (Advanced, 0.8 km and 31 m ascent)

This trail is rel­a­tive­ly short but nar­row with rocks, tree roots and logs that will require good han­dling to nego­ti­ate the obsta­cles.

6. Spring Wild­flower Walk – (Advanced, 4.5 km and 90 m ascent)

The route is on most­ly good tracks although the first sec­tion into the gul­ly is steep and has some loose grav­el which the Trail­Rid­er han­dles with ease.

7. Boat Harbor/​Heysen Trail – (High­ly advanced, 6.8 km and 160 m ascent)

Start­ing from Pages Look­out car park the com­pact trail grad­u­al­ly descends towards Boat Har­bor. This is a nar­row trail but gives few tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties apart from a cou­ple of small rock steps. Although longer with slight­ly more ascent it makes for an adven­tur­ous excur­sion with stun­ning scenery through­out. The route ends at the bench/​viewpoint. Park­ing is avail­able at each end of this trail so you may be able to arrange to be picked up once you’ve
reached the end. Oth­er­wise return by the same route.

Stay in Deep Creek Nation­al Park at Ridgetop Retreats

South­ern Ocean Retreats offers pri­vate­ly-run accom­mo­da­tion in the park. One of their Ridgetop Retreats has been reviewed by Push Adven­tures and The Good Scout Trav­el Co as offer­ing good access’.

This retreat has open-plan kitchen liv­ing, an acces­si­ble wet­room includ­ing grab rails around the toi­let and show­er, a move­able show­er rose and safe­ty mats across exter­nal entries.

How people with a disability can take to the trails at Deep Creek National Park

How people with a disability can take to the trails at Deep Creek National Park

Entrance with access ramps

If you would like to com­ment about acces­si­bil­i­ty in South Australia’s parks, the team at Nation­al Parks SAwel­come your feedback.

Park of the Month

Through­out the month of June, Deep Creek Nation­al Park is being cel­e­brat­ed as one of Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice’s Parks of the Month. There are heaps of events and activ­i­ties to get involved in to help you explore the park. Check the web­site for all the details.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living