Top 3 Adelaide national parks for your toddler to enjoy mud, glorious mud

Top 3 Adelaide national parks for your toddler to enjoy mud, glorious mud

Test out the kids’ gum­boots with a splash in the mud at one of Adelaide’s parks. Here’s where we suggest.

Won­der­ing what to do with the kids on a rainy day?

Once they’ve put food in their hair, emp­tied the kitchen cup­boards and annoyed the cat, it’s time to do the oth­er thing that tod­dlers like best – splash­ing around in mud.

Parks and reserves around Ade­laide have plen­ty of places for kids to test out their gum­boots and rain­coats with a splash in a shal­low creek or a slop in a mud­dy puddle.

After road-test­ing these spots with a thrilled 2‑year-old, we’ve come up with this pack­ing list for a fam­i­ly-friend­ly day out near Adelaide:

  • gum­boots
  • a change of clothes – prob­a­bly for all of you
  • a tow­el
  • a pic­nic lunch
  • a cam­era to cap­ture hap­py faces.

Tod­dler enjoys mud­dy fun 

Here’s our top three parks for your next stomp and splash session:

1. Mori­al­ta Con­ser­va­tion Park

Mori­al­ta Recre­ation Area near the cor­ner of Strad­broke Road and Wandil­la Dri­ve at Mori­al­ta Con­ser­va­tion Park in Ade­laide’s east is our favourite splashy spot, com­bin­ing the shal­lows of Fourth Creek, the epic Mukan­thi Nature Play­space, shel­tered areas, easy access to pub­lic trans­port, local cycling trails, park­ing and pub­lic toilets.

Water lev­els vary with rain­fall, but there can be small­er, shal­low­er trib­u­taries run­ning off the creek at the east­ern end of the recre­ation area. The sides of the creek often widen to peb­bly spots where you can pick up rocks to chuck in the water with a sat­is­fy­ing plonk.

The Strad­broke Road Pic­nic Area carpark has 3 access carparks and paved trails lead­ing to pic­nic areas and access toi­lets with left-hand and right-hand dismount.

Entry to Mori­al­ta Con­ser­va­tion Park is free.

Note: the main pools at the Mori­al­ta Falls area are not safe for chil­dren. Vis­i­tors should not enter beyond the barricade.

2. Belair Nation­al Park

Gen­er­a­tions of Ade­laide fam­i­lies have had a splashy good time at Belair Nation­al Park in the cool­er months. Australia’s sec­ond-old­est nation­al park, 25 min­utes south of Ade­laide’s CBD, has plen­ty of good pud­dles around the Adven­ture play­ground and near Min­no Creek (south of the play­ground, near the bot­tom of the Gold Escort Pic­nic area). There are toi­lets and bar­be­cues near the playground.

Deep­er in the park there are sev­er­al creeks run­ning through the Long Gul­ly pic­nic area. They’re quite shal­low and kid-friend­ly where they run through the mid­dle of the grassed area. Vis­it this part of the park after rain in win­ter and you’ll find a bit of a quag­mire with plen­ty of good mud­dy spots. There are toi­lets and bar­be­cues near the Long Gul­ly Pavilion.

If you wish to take your car into the park you can pay your vehi­cle entry fees online before you vis­it, or when you get there at the Belair Infor­ma­tion Office. Park entry to Belair is free on foot or bike.

3. Brown­hill Creek Recre­ation Park

Ven­ture just 8 km south of the city to Brown­hill Creek Recre­ation Park. Its nar­row creek flows through a steep-sided val­ley stud­ded with riv­er red gums – some more than 300 years old. 

Stomp through cross­ings of Brown­hill Creek on the Wirra­paringa Trail, which criss-cross­es the creek on its 2.3 km, or 45-minute, one-way journey.

The kids might not notice this, but you can also stop to appre­ci­ate the small, threat­ened ecosys­tem of grey­box grassy wood­land that the park supports.

Entry to Brown­hill Creek Recre­ation Park is free – but note, there are no pub­lic toi­lets there.

Look­ing for more ideas to explore nature in the cool­er and often wet­ter months? Check out our sto­ry for inspi­ra­tion: Your guide to enjoy­ing South Australia’s nation­al parks in the cool­er months.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in August 2017.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living