How to spend a day in South Australia’s Deep Creek National Park

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Deep Creek National Park

Want to make the most of your vis­it to this icon­ic park? We’ve got you cov­ered with this one-day itinerary.

Com­bin­ing the best of the bush and the beach, Deep Creek Nation­al Park has long been a favourite of vis­i­tors who want to immerse them­selves in nature less than 2‑hours’ dri­ve from Adelaide.

The park is home to a stretch of old growth stringy­bark for­est that’s the largest por­tion of remain­ing native veg­e­ta­tion on South Australia’s Fleurieu Penin­su­la, so it’s home to an array of native wildlife such as west­ern grey kan­ga­roos, short-beaked echid­nas and more than 100 species of birds.

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Deep Creek National Park

Back­ing on to Encounter Marine Park, the park also offers the chance to spot dol­phins frol­ick­ing in the waves or hike to seclud­ed cove beaches.

There are 15 walk­ing trails in the park that pro­vide spec­tac­u­lar scenery of Back­stairs Pas­sage, Kan­ga­roo Island and the rugged Deep Creek Val­ley. There’s a walk for every­one with trails from easy to very dif­fi­cult, includ­ing the Wild South Coast Way on the Hey­sen Trail. 

This itin­er­ary cov­ers park high­lights that you can see in one day with a 2WD on sealed roads and a mod­er­ate amount of hik­ing expe­ri­ence. To see more of the park in one day you can go with a 4WD and take some unsealed roads to loca­tions such as Blow­hole Beach and Boat Har­bour Beach.

If you choose to stay overnight you can relax under the stars at one of the five camp­grounds dot­ted through­out the park, or enjoy a roof over your head at a rus­tic set­tlers’ cot­tage or mod­ern nature-based hol­i­day retreat.


Kick off your day at Deep Creek Nation­al Park by chas­ing water­falls. Locat­ed about halfway in between the Tapanap­pa Look­out and the Trig Camp­ground and pic­nic area there’s a water­fall that flows in win­ter and after rains, as well as a per­ma­nent waterhole.

You can get to the water­fall from either the Tapanap­pa Look­out or Trig Camp­ground. For this itin­er­ary, we sug­gest tak­ing the eas­i­er walk from the Trig Camp­ground and pic­nic area on Tent Rock Road for a 4km, 2‑hour return jour­ney that’s a mod­er­ate hike.

Park ranger Simon Oster rec­om­mends leav­ing plen­ty of time to sit and take in the sur­rounds at the water­fall and enjoy the peace and qui­et, per­haps with a bite to eat.

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Deep Creek National Park


Enjoy lunch at Tapanap­pa Look­out with fan­tas­tic South­ern Ocean views out to the Pages Islands and even to Cape Willough­by Light­house on Kan­ga­roo Island.


After lunch, jump in the car and dri­ve to the west­ern side of the park to the Cob­bler Hill pic­nic area for a walk down to Blow­hole Beach.

Trip Advi­sor review­ers give this beach four-and-a-half stars for its trans­par­ent water and stun­ning land­scape. They’re also impressed by the views out to Kan­ga­roo Island on the walk to the beach and the chances to spot kan­ga­roos along the way.

To get to Blow­hole Beach, which is a small, seclud­ed cove, park in the Cob­bler Hill car park and walk about 1.5km down the hill. You might find local surfers or fish­ers on the beach and even a kan­ga­roo hav­ing a splash. It’s steep going on the way back up so be sure to leave enough time to stop for a rest along the way.

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Deep Creek National Park

After dark

Ranger Simon rec­om­mends stick­ing around after dark and tak­ing a torch for a night hike on the For­est Cir­cuit Walk. This 1‑hour return, 2.6km hike is a fair­ly flat and easy stroll through tall stringy­bark for­est which starts from Stringy­bark Camp­ground, oppo­site site 10.

There’s also a short, rel­a­tive­ly flat walk through the stringy­bark for­est on the Stringy­bark Loop Walk – a 30-minute, 1.5km loop where you can take in the calls of birds such as black cock­a­toos and sul­phur crest­ed cock­a­toos as they come into roost. You might even spot an echid­na and get a beau­ti­ful view of the night sky.

How to spend a day in South Australia’s Deep Creek National Park

Why not stay the night?

Deep Creek Nation­al Park’s camp­grounds are par­tic­u­lar­ly pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies who like being able to book a camp­site before they go in a loca­tion that’s rel­a­tive­ly close to Ade­laide. Be sure to book ahead of time, espe­cial­ly dur­ing busy hol­i­day periods.

If you pre­fer to sleep with a roof over your head, South­ern Ocean Retreats is a pri­vate­ly-owned com­pa­ny that oper­ates rus­tic set­tlers’ cot­tages and the mod­ern Ridgetop Retreats in the park.

Top tip: Check out our Camp­ing guide to Deep Creek Nation­al Park. It’s full of great infor­ma­tion to help you select your camp­site and make the most of your stay.

Things to pre­pare before you go

Before you head into the park to start your day of adven­ture, buy your vehi­cle entry pass either online or from one of the book­ing agents on your way.

It’s also a good idea to down­load park and camp­ground maps on your phone while you still have inter­net recep­tion. Anoth­er option is to get the Aven­za Maps app and down­load the park maps. When you’re in the park, the app will use your phone’s built-in GPS to plot your real-time loca­tion onto a map – even when you don’t have inter­net reception.

The park tru­ly is a rugged wilder­ness, and that also means there’s lim­it­ed facil­i­ties avail­able, so you’ll need to come prepared.

Make sure you pack enough drink­ing water and food as there are no shops locat­ed with­in the park. It’s also a good idea to pack sun pro­tec­tion (a hat, sun­glass­es and sun­screen) and insect repel­lent. If you’re plan­ning on hik­ing, it’s also essen­tial you wear suit­able footwear and cloth­ing, such as long pants.

There are no bins in nation­al parks, so you’ll also have to think about how you can take your rub­bish home. 

No dogs allowed

Leave your pooch at home – Deep Creek Nation­al Park is a dog-free zone.

Drones (remote­ly pilot­ed aircraft)

While it might be tempt­ing to get out into a nation­al park with a drone – remem­ber it’s actu­al­ly an offence to fly one in South Aus­trali­a’s nation­al parks, reserves and marine park restrict­ed access zones with­out a permit.

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