Take a walk – or 2 – in Mark Oliphant Conservation Park

Take a walk – or 2 – in Mark Oliphant Conservation Park

Mark Oliphant Con­ser­va­tion Park is a beau­ti­ful patch of Ade­laide Hills’ bush­land. Sit­u­at­ed 5 km from Stir­ling on Scott Creek Road, it has some incred­i­ble native plants and ani­mals for you to discover. 

Named in hon­our of Sir Mark Oliphant’s con­tri­bu­tion to con­ser­va­tion, the park helps pro­tect vital pop­u­la­tions of endan­gered ani­mals and rare plants and is a great place to enjoy a bush­walk through the for­est landscape. 

Mark Oliphant Con­ser­va­tion Park is dom­i­nat­ed by rough-barked and beau­ti­ful stringy­bark gum trees. 

The park con­sists of one short Grade 2 walk to the old oval with­in the old Lof­tia park site, and 3 Grade 4 walks through the chal­leng­ing south-fac­ing slopes through Mark Oliphant Con­ser­va­tion Park. 

Take a read to find out more about each of the trails: 

1. Can­dle­bark Trail 

The Can­dle­bark trail is a short 250 m smooth, flat trail that leads you to the shel­ter and pic­nic area near mighty can­dle­bark gum trees that only grow in high rain­fall areas of the Ade­laide Hills. 

These rare can­dle­bark gums stand proud­ly along­side their stringy­bark neigh­bours and can grow as tall as 40 m, while their del­i­cate white flow­ers pro­vide food for many dif­fer­ent insects and birds.

The shel­ter and small oval that you reach at the end of this trail is per­fect for a fam­i­ly pic­nic. Kick back and relax while you enjoy these grand trees. 

This trail is well-suit­ed for fam­i­lies with young chil­dren and for mobil­i­ty impaired vis­i­tors, but it may require assistance. 

2. Heath Trail 

The Heath trail is an adven­tur­ous 2 km loop trail with uneven foot­ing but spec­tac­u­lar scenery. It’ll take approx­i­mate­ly 1 hour to complete. 

In the win­ter months you might see the ephemer­al water­fall, and be sure to look out for antech­i­nus climb­ing the trees while you’re there. 

These lit­tle guys may look a bit like mice, but don’t let their appear­ance fool you! These are brave lit­tle hunters that will take on a huge vari­ety of prey, tack­ling spi­ders, moths, cen­tipedes, and even small reptiles. 

These fero­cious lit­tle preda­tors live in tree hol­lows in the stringy­bark gums, and can have up to 14 young cling­ing tight­ly to their mother’s tummy. 

3. Bandi­coot Trail 

The 4.5 km Bandi­coot trail mean­ders through the cen­tre of the park and takes you into many of the dif­fer­ent envi­ron­ments that the park has to offer. It will take about 1.5 hours to complete. 

Take care on Evans Dri­ve as well as any steep or slip­pery sections.

Keep an eye out for endan­gered south­ern brown bandi­coots along this trail. They are nature’s gar­den­ers – they dig and turn over the soil through the park, hunt­ing fun­giand insects for a feast. 

Known as ecosys­tem engi­neers, they help to keep the bush healthy by aer­at­ing the soil, mov­ing seeds, and encour­ag­ing fun­gi to grow. 

These cute crit­ters are endan­gered because of habi­tat loss and intro­duced preda­tors. Mark Oliphant Con­ser­va­tion Park is an essen­tial refuge for this fas­ci­nat­ing species.

4. Skink Trail 

The Skink trail is a gen­tle 3 km loop trail with some steep and uneven sec­tions that’ll take about 45 min­utes to complete. 

Enjoy the grand stringy­bark gum trees and vibrant under­storey plants along the way. 

If you’re a keen bird­watch­er, keep an eye out for some bold and bright­ly coloured cryp­tic birds. Also see if you can spot rosel­las, kook­abur­ras, wrens, treecreep­ers, and the secre­tive bass­ian thrush tucked away in the dense bushland. 

Things to pre­pare before you go

Plen­ty of car park­ing is avail­able at the park’s Scott Creek Road entrance. Near­by is a pic­nic shel­ter with an acces­si­ble path con­nect­ing the facil­i­ties to the new­ly redesigned car park.

Make sure you pack enough drink­ing water and food for your vis­it. It’s also a good idea to pack sun pro­tec­tion (a hat, sun­glass­es and sun­screen) and insect repel­lent. It’s also essen­tial you wear suit­able cloth­ing for walk­ing, such as long pants.

Some sec­tions of the trail can be slip­pery or unsta­ble under­foot so be sure to wear stur­dy shoes.

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

Is this the first time you’ve heard of Mark Oliphant Con­ser­va­tion Park? There are many more less­er-known parks out there. Check out this list of 10 nation­al parks near Ade­laide you might not have heard of to begin exploring. 

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living