Take a walk in Para Wirra Conservation Park: the Mack Creek Hike

Take a walk in Para Wirra Conservation Park: the Mack Creek Hike

Explore a new walk­ing trail each month in one of South Australia’s nation­al parks. Here’s one to try next.

The Mack Creek Hike is a chal­leng­ing hike in Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park, which is locat­ed 41km north of Adelaide.

Start­ing at the carpark of the West Gate entrance, this 7.5km hike will take you about 4 hours to complete.

It fol­lows the Mack Creek, where it guides you through a vari­ety of habi­tats, and takes you from the top of the ridge down to the val­ley below, which is lined with riv­er red gums.

If you don’t feel like tack­ling the entire 7.5km, you can walk up Ruins Track through a tough uphill sec­tion that will ulti­mate­ly short­en the hike.

The park’s rangers can’t rec­om­mend this hike enough – it offers some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent com­pared to the rest of the park.

The hike fol­lows a nice stretch of the creek where there are some beau­ti­ful views over the water, and there are lots of lit­tle rock ferns, lichens and water­course plants to see along the way.

It’s also qui­eter in this area of the park, with a few lush green open grassy areas to take a break or enjoy a dis­tant view of Ade­laide (from the upper north side of the loop).

If you tack­le this hike in spring, keep your eyes peeled – wild­flow­ers and an assort­ment of orchids are in full bloom.

Your four legged friends are also wel­come to join you on this hike as Para Wirra is a dog-friend­ly nation­al park. Just make sure you keep your dog on a lead no more than 2m long and stick to the des­ig­nat­ed walk­ing trails.

Learn more about explor­ing nation­al parks with your dog in our sto­ry: Every­thing you need to know about tak­ing dogs in SA’s nation­al parks.

Get­ting there

Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park has sev­er­al entrances, with the main entrance being via the West Gate of off Hum­bug Scrub Road at Yattalunga. 

Before you go down­load the park map via the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice SA web­site or down­load it on the Aven­za Map App. This app uses your phone’s in-built GPS to place your loca­tion direct­ly onto the map.

Read our sto­ry to learn how it works.

What else can you do in Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park?

There are so many things to see and do in Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park:


The Wirra Camp­ground is the per­fect camp­ing spot if you’re look­ing for some­where close to Adelaide. 

Sit­u­at­ed at the east­ern end of the park, among the pink gums, grass trees and hop bush, this camp­ground has 19 camp­sites, includ­ing six that are suit­able for small camper­vans (RVs) and camper trailers.

All of the camp­sites at Wirra Camp­ground are wheel­chair acces­si­ble. They are on flat ground with a com­pact­ed grav­el surface.

Toi­lets, a basic camp kitchen and gas bar­be­cues are also on hand, and fire pits are locat­ed at each camp­site for use out­side the fire ban season.

Moun­tain biking

For the adven­tur­ous type, why not take on one of the moun­tain bik­ing trails and explore the park by bike.

Spe­cial­ly des­ig­nat­ed shared-use trails in the main cen­tral area of the park allow fam­i­lies to explore the park at an easy pace.

They also pro­vide links to the most pop­u­lar fea­tures of the park, includ­ing the lake, the nature play for­est, the Gawler View Pic­nic Area, The Knob Look­out and the Wirra Campground.


The park is open dai­ly and three of its pic­nic areas have toi­let facil­i­ties – Gawler View Pic­nic Area, the Wirra Pic­nic area and the Hissey Pic­nic Area – so it’s a con­ve­nient spot for a get-togeth­er with fam­i­ly and friends.


Here’s some­thing the kids will love – the Nature­play For­est. Locat­ed in the Gawler View Pic­nic Area, the play­space has plen­ty to explore includ­ing climb­ing trees, the dry creek bed, rope and sand play, a tun­nel run and rocky amphithe­atre, as well as a very pop­u­lar and long fly­ing fox.

Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park is Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Australia’s Park of the Month for Sep­tem­ber. Read our blogs onHow to spend a week­end in Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion ParkandRanger Tips: Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living