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Morialta Conservation Park

Alerts

Morialta Conservation Park

Updated 29 October: Upgrade works are currently being undertaken on select sections of Centre Track. Please use alternative walking routes as per walking trail maps.
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  • Disabled toilets
  • Picnic areas
  • Public transport
  • Toilets
  • Bird watching
  • Dogs on lead
  • Rock climbing
  • Walking trails

About

For more than 100 years, Morialta Conservation Park has been a well-loved recreational escape, offering plenty to see and do for everyone. Enjoy exploring the creek, woodlands, gorges, and stunning waterfalls, which will make you feel miles away from the city.

Morialta Conservation Park is a fantastic place to visit all year round. Visit during winter to see the waterfalls flowing at their strongest, and in spring to see the wildflowers at their brightest.

If relaxation is more your thing, enjoy a stroll along First Falls walk to the main waterfall, or have a picnic and enjoy a fun-filled day interacting with nature around the Mukanthi Playspace. You may even spot a koala or kookaburra in the large gum trees!

For experienced rock climbers, Morialta Rock-climbing Zone is the most popular natural climbing area in the state. There are many climbs of varying difficulty and exposure that can be accessed from Climbers Track off Norton Summit Road.

Opening hours

Open daily.

Vehicle entry gates opened daily between 6:30am to 7pm (6:30am to 9pm during daylight savings time). Closed on Christmas Day.

Closures and safety

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

You can determine the current fire danger rating by checking the Fire Ban District map on the CFS website.

Check the CFS website or call the CFS Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 362 361 for:

Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.

Contact details

Visitor information, bookings and park management:

Black Hill National Park and Wildlife Service Office
Phone: (+61 8) 8336 0901
Email: DEW.NPWSNorthLofty@sa.gov.au

Emergency contacts:

Medical, fire (including bushfire) and police emergency situations
Phone: Triple Zero (000)

Police Assistance
Phone: 131 444 for non-urgent police assistance

National Parks and Wildlife Service SA – Duty officer
Phone: 0427 556 676

Injured wildlife:

Within the park
Please contact Black Hill National Park and Wildlife Service Office on (08) 8336 0901 or the duty officer on 0427 556 676

Outside of the park
Please contact a local wildlife rescue group

When to visit

Although any time of year is great to visit Morialta, to see the falls at their best, visit the park during spring or winter when the water flow is strongest and orchids and wildflowers are at their brightest.

Getting there

Morialta Conservation Park is located 10km north east of Adelaide. A car park is situated at the start of the walking trails.

Alternatively, park your vehicle at the Morialta Road entrance, Woodforde and walk 800 metres winding your way alongside the creek to the Morialta Falls car park precinct.

If you're in your own vehicle, you can find this park on the map.

There is also public transport to this park from the Adelaide city centre.

Accessibility

Facilities

Parking

There is accessible parking located at these locations within the park:

  • Five accessible car parks at the Natural Resource Centre car park.
  • Three accessible car parks at the Stradbroke Road car park (Mukanthi Playspace and picnic area).
  • Three accessible car parks at the First Falls car park.
Toilets

There are accessible toilets located at the first falls car park and at the Stradbroke Road car park (Mukanthi Playspace and picnic area)..

  • Two accessible (right hand and left habd) toilets at Mukanthi Playspace.
  • One accessible toilet (left hand) at the First Falls carpark.

See and do

Trails
First Falls Walk (3.6 km return)

The first part of this trail between the Stradbroke Road and Morialta Falls Trailhead carpark (2 km return) begins as compacted gravel and then becomes a bitumen trail ranging from 1 to 2 metres wide. There is a short incline just beyond the Morialta Playground after the intersection of the second footbridge from Wandilla Drive. From the Morialta Falls Trailhead to First Falls (1.6 km return) the incline rises gently on a wide hard packed gravel trail to reach the last section which is a short boardwalk to just below First Falls. This walk is a Grade 2 Easy to Moderate trail so some people may require assistance. This trail is suitable for prams.

Playground and picnic area

Watch the kids explore the Mukanthi playspace whilst you enjoy an open-air picnic. The playspace is located near accessible parking, toilets and barbecue areas.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

As per the dogs in parks and reserves policy, if the dog is not an accredited assistance dog, they must be trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate that disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a dog in a public place. However, refusal may be given if the person with the disability is unable to produce evidence the dog is an assistance dog with the appropriate training.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park that does not normally allow dogs, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or contact the visitor service centre via email or on Facebook, or you can live chat with a customer service representative on the website Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Dogs allowed (in designated zone only) on lead

Dogs allowed (in designated zone only) on lead

Dogs on a lead are permitted in the recreation zone of the park between Stradbroke Road carpark and the First Falls Carpark. This includes the picnic area, playground, along the walking trail next to Morialta Falls Road as far as the Morialta Falls Trailhead carpark Dogs are not allowed in the rest of the park.

Please ensure you:

  • Keep your dog under control and on a lead no more than two metres in length.
  • Stick to designated walking trails.
  • Bring disposable bags to clean up your dog’s faeces (please be aware there are no bins in national parks).

Dogs are not permitted in other areas of the park.

Discover other parks you can walk your dog in on our find a park tool or read 12 dog-friendly walks in Adelaide Parks by Good Living for inspiration.

Facilities

Morialta Conservation Park has a variety of facilities available to park visitors, including picnic areas, BBQs, toilets, disabled toilets, public transport and a playground.

The location of these facilities can be found within our park maps.

Useful information

  • Mobile phone coverage can be patchy and unreliable in this park, especially if you are in low-lying areas.
  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Dead wood plays a vital role in providing shelter for animals and adding nutrients to the soil.

Teach and learn resources

If you are looking to visit Morialta Conservation Park for educational purposes, you might like to check out our Morialta Conservation Park education pack and the Morialta Conservation Park kids pack.

These were developed for schools and families by park rangers and the Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges’ NRM Education team.

Learning in nature virtual tour

This virtual tour has been created as a resource for teachers to assist with outdoor learning. It can be used before and after visiting Morialta Conservation Park, and can even be used by students in the classroom.

This tour complements the 'Learning in nature at Morialta Conservation Park - professional development (PD) for teachers' resource.The PD resource and this virtual tour contain a number of activity stops based around learning concepts tied back to the curriculum. This virtual tour also contains additional information about plants, animals, learning ideas and links to additional educational resources.

Pests and diseases

Phytophthora (fy-TOFF-thora), otherwise known as root-rot fungus, is killing our native plants and threatens the survival of animals depending on plants for food and shelter.

This introduced fungus can be found in plant roots, soil and water. Help stop the spread by using hygiene stations, staying on tracks and trails and by complying with all Phytophthora management signs.

Plants and animals

Plants

The vegetation of Morialta is diverse. The understorey vegetation is influenced by land use and fire regimes as well as underlying geology. There is considerable species diversity within the park with Morialta recording 302 native and 52 introduced species.

Vegetation associations vary and include savanna type woodlands with herbaceous understorey and sclerophyllous open forests dominated by canopy species such as stringybark, pink gum, blue gum, red gum and manna gum.

Animals

The park supports a variety of wildlife habitats, including a range of birds, a small number of mammals and a small number of amphibian species along Fourth Creek. Be on the look out for the blue wrens, southern boobook and tawny frog mouth owls, black-faced cuckoo-shrikes and kangaroos on the grassy slopes. Frogs can be heard in the creek lines.

Of importance are the heath covered ridge lines that support the endangered chestnut-rumped heath wren, while the southern brown bandicoot will seek out the gullies in the park.

Flora and fauna species lists

To download flora (plants) and fauna (animals) species lists for this park, use the 'Create Simple Species List' tab under 'Flora Tools' or 'Fauna Tools' in NatureMaps.

Traditional owners

The area is part of the traditional lands of the Kaurna (‘Gar-na) people. They used the land for hunting and gathering and obtaining wood for fire and shelter during their seasonal relocation from the coast. One of the group’s most important tools was fire to aid hunting and encourage regrowth. Morialta gets its name from the Kaurna word ‘morialta’, meaning ‘ever-flowing’.

Aboriginal peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state.

There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations. At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia.

European history

First settlement of the area around Morialta began in 1840 with tree felling, mining and quarrying and grazing having dramatic effects on the native vegetation. The area around Fourth Creek was occupied by a variety of owners, all utilising the land for primary production with Angora goats being introduced into this area during the 1870's.

In 1901, James Smith Reid purchased 405 hectares around the headwaters of Fourth Creek. In August 1912, he donated 120 hectares of land to the State Government and sold a further 90 hectares. This land was placed in the control of the National Pleasure Resort on 20 March 1913 and Morialta Falls proclaimed in the Government Gazette of 15 July 1915 as a National Pleasure Resort.

In July 1972, an area comprising 372.2 hectares, was combined under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 and renamed Morialta Conservation Park.

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • Visiting Morialta during spring or winter when the waterfalls are at their best.
  • Watching out for honeyeaters and thornbills among the woodlands that cover the hills.
  • Following the popular trail to the First Falls in Morialta, try counting koalas on the way.
  • Enjoying a picnic lunch and hunting for tadpoles with the kids in the creeks and rock pools.
  • Listen for the sounds of frogs, try to identify the different frogs in the park.
  • Walk to Deep View Lookout and enjoy the views over the park.
  • Pull weeds and do something for the environment on a working bee with the Friends of Black Hill and Morialta.
  • Check out Nature Play SA's 40 things to do in Morialta Conservation Parks.

Bushwalking

There are plenty of interesting walking trails throughout the park, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes.

Bushwalking is a fantastic way to connect with nature, keep fit and spend time with family and friends. South Australia's national parks feature a range of trails that let you experience a diversity of landscapes.

Please note that in winter and spring the water levels of the creeks can become quite high, making creek crossings hard to pass in some sections.

Easy walks

No bushwalking experience is required. Trails are clearly sign posted. The track is a compacted surface and has gentle undulating sections, but may have minor tripping hazards, for example leaf litter, some rocks and loose gravel.

First Falls Walk (2 hours, 3.6 km)

Take a walk along Fourth Creek through the remarkable Morialta Gorge and past Giants Cave to First Falls, which flows on all but the driest months of the year. This is a great family walk which offers fantastic opportunities for wildlife encounters. Look for koalas and kookaburras in the trees and listen for frogs in the creek. To reduce this walk by one hour start the trail from the Morialta Falls Trailhead.

Hard hikes

Bushwalking experience is recommended. Trails may be long with rough surfaces and very steep. Trail signage may be limited.

Plateau Hike (1 hour 30 mins, 2.5 km)

This hike begins along Fourth Creek and then ascends above the valley floor to Giants Cave. Enjoy the stunning views of Morialta Gorge from the Kookaburra Rock Lookout, the top of First Falls and Eagles Nest Lookout. Take care, this trail includes steep sections and rocky, uneven surfaces that may be slippery when wet.

Rangers recommend doing this hike in an anticlockwise direction.

Second Falls Hike (2 hours 30 minutes, 5.3 km)

This trail will reward you with outstanding panoramic views across Adelaide and of Morialta Gorge and First and Second Falls. Enjoy visiting the Kookaburra Rock, Eagles Nest and Deep View lookouts. Take care, this trail includes steep sections and rocky, uneven surfaces that may be slippery when wet.

Rangers recommend doing this hike in an anticlockwise direction.

Third Falls Hike (3 hours 30 minutes, 7.3 km)

This adventurous trail offers additional views of dramatic cliffs and all three waterfalls in Morialta. The hike includes outstanding lookouts of Morialta Gorge from Deep View and Kookaburra Rock lookout. Take care, this trail includes steep sections and rocky, uneven surfaces that may be slippery when wet.

Rangers recommend doing this hike in a clockwise direction.

Treks

Walks that pass through multiple parks. You choose how far you would like to go.

Heysen Trail

The Heysen Trail enters Morialta at Colonial Drive and Moores Road. Walk through beautiful bushland in the upper park, keeping an eye out for native birds and wildflowers. Enjoy visiting Third Falls, and experience views of First Falls and the scenic Morialta Gorge from Deep View Lookout. The section of the Heysen Trail that passes through Morialta is classified as a Grade 4 Hard Hike.

Yurrebilla Trail

The Yurrebilla Trail enters Morialta at Colonial Drive and Montacute Road, and continues into Black Hill Conservation Park. Walk through beautiful bushland in the upper park, keeping an eye out for native birds and wildflowers. Enjoy visiting Third Falls, and experience views of First Falls and Morialta Gorge from Deep View Lookout. The section of the Yurrebilla Trail that passes through Morialta is classified as a Grade 4 Hard Hike.

Mukanthi playspace

Adelaide’s biggest playground at Stradbroke Road picnic area, in Morialta Conservation Park, just 10km from the city. There are five play areas to explore: Frog Island, Eagle’s Perch, Great Snake, Bird Nests, climbing boulders, paths and climbing trees.

For more than 100 years Morialta Conservation Park has been a favourite escape for Adelaide families. The playspace is set to inspire a new generation of park visitors with a focus on natural materials and experiences to challenge a range of ages. Climb giant nests at different heights at the Birds Nest area, discover an Aboriginal fire pit at Frog Island, find the secret tunnel at Great Snake and reach the peak at Eagle’s Perch.

The reviews are in from Adelaide’s playground experts, who are calling the new space “gorgeous” and “a brilliant outcome”.

“This play space is sure to be a favourite and makes Morialta Conservation Park a must visit destination for South Australian families and visitors alike.” Play and Go Adelaide

“Well done guys, it is our favourite Adelaide national park and we are so happy that you have designed a nature playground that is sympathetic to the environment, suits the park that we know and have loved forever and pretty much that the state of SA is better for having this gorgeous play space. I know this will be destination number one to take our next interstate and overseas visitor families!” Baby and Toddler Destinations Adelaide

The playground has been designed by Climbing Tree and incorporates suggestions from Linden Park Primary School children who entered a State Government competition last year to design a national park using the Minecraft computer game.

The upgrades to Morialta Conservation Park are part of a raft of changes to parks across the metropolitan area. We’re spending more than $10 million on new facilities. In 2015 we asked you what would make you visit parks more often and you told us you wanted more walking and cycling trails, public toilets, barbecue and picnic areas, and playgrounds – so that’s what we’re building.

The playspace is located near accessible parking, toilets and barbecue areas amid the park’s existing network of bush walking, mountain biking and rock climbing trails.

Rock climbing and abseiling

Being only 10 km from the centre of Adelaide, Morialta Conservation Park, is probably the most popular spot for climbing in South Australia. There are many climbs of varying difficulty. It is a popular spot for both experienced and beginner climbers, and offers both top rope and lead climbing.

The views down the Fourth Creek gully toward Adelaide city are impressive. The rock climbing and abseiling area is located off Norton Summit Road between First and Third Falls. Limited car parking space is available on the southern side of the road.

Rock climbing and abseiling have the potential to be dangerous and care must be taken. It is recommended that you are suitably skilled in these activities or are guided by a qualified trainer.

Those intending to undertake these activities are reminded that they do so at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety.

The reliability of any existing fixed protection (bolts, etc.) or rock surfaces is not guaranteed. Rock faces may have loose rocks that could fall. Climbers are reminded to take adequate safety precautions when undertaking these activities.

Use holdfasts to tie off in preference to trees. If trees must be used, please ensure tree protection is used.

Check out The Crag for specific information on rock climbing routes and grades.

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

  • Use Find a Park to discover which parks you can camp in.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is permitted in this park on particular designated vehicle tracks only. These tracks are shared use and there are no trails designated for mountain bike use only. Always obey park signage and be considerate and keep an eye out for other trail users at all times.

Learn more about mountain biking in SA parks, including the code of practise and other parks offering mountain biking trails.

Volunteering

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges – Volunteering.

Want to join others and become a Park Friend?

To find out more about Friends of Parks groups please visit Friends of Parks South Australia.

You could join others to help look after a park. You can take part in working bees, training and other events.

Safety

Bushwalking

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Rock climbing and abseiling

Please be aware:

  • Rock climbing and abseiling have the potential to be dangerous and care must be taken.
  • That if you do not have the skills required, please ensure you are guided by a qualified trainer.
  • If you are planning a rock climbing or abseiling trip please be aware that you do so at your own risk and are responsible for your own safety.
  • The reliability of any existing fixed protection (bolts, etc.) or rock surfaces is not guaranteed.
  • Rock faces may have loose rocks that could fall.
  • Climbers are reminded to take adequate safety precautions.

If you want to learn more about rock climbing, why not connect with like-minded people in the Climbing Club of South Australia.

Fire

Can I have a fire or barbecue?

  • Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Gas fires and liquid fuel fires are permitted in designated area only, other than on days of total fire ban.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Closures and safety

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

You can determine the current fire danger rating by checking the Fire Ban District map on the CFS website.

Check the CFS website or call the CFS Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 362 361 for:

Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.

Water

Heavy rainfall can cause creeks to rise and flow rapidly. Please do not cross rapidly flowing creeks as there is a risk of slipping and falling.

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • keep your dog on a lead at all times and check if there are areas of the park where dogs are not allowed
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - there are no bins in national parks, please come prepared to take your rubbish with you.
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.
  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Dead wood plays a vital role in providing shelter for animals and adding nutrients to the soil.

Dogs

Why does my dog need to be on a lead?

If your dog is off lead, it is more likely to impact on native wildlife and other visitors in a park and be at risk itself.

Risks to wildlife:

  • Dogs off tracks will leave a scent in the bush that will keep wildlife away.
  • Uncontrolled dogs may frighten wildlife and disrupt their natural behaviour.
  • Some dogs will kill or injure wildlife.

Risks to other park visitors

  • Dogs may be aggressive to other park visitors.
  • Even friendly dogs can knock people over causing injury.
  • Some people want to enjoy parks without dogs.

Risks to your dog

  • Poison baits may be laid to control foxes. Baits can be fatal to dogs.
  • Even if your dog is friendly, other dogs may not be.
  • Your dog can catch parasites (such as fleas and ticks) from wildlife.
  • Snake bites are a real risk in natural areas such as parks.
  • Wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas will defend themselves if threatened by a dog and can cause significant injury to or the death of your dog.

European wasps

European wasps are common throughout the Adelaide and Adelaide Hills area. They are about the same size as a bee, but are easily identifiable by their bright yellow body, triangular black markings and are less hairy.

If you see a European wasp, leave it alone – it will only attack if provoked. Unlike a bee, which can only sting once, the European wasp can sting repeatedly.

Although they are painful, wasp stings rarely cause serious problems. However, the venom contains toxins that can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Tips to prevent being stung

  • Cover food and drink during a barbecue or picnic.

  • Don’t drink straight from a can or bottle. Use clear containers or drink from a straw.

  • Don’t leave used plates and picnic-ware exposed.

  • If you see one, leave it alone and don’t panic.

Maps

Park maps

Walking trail map

Rock climbing zones map

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza Map app and have interactive national park maps on hand when you need them.

The app uses your device's built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos and drop placemark pins.

How to get it working on your device:

1. Download the Avenza Maps app from the app store (iOS/Android) whilst you are still in range (its free!).
2. Open up the app and click the shopping cart icon.
3. Click ‘Find’ and type the name of the national park or reserve you are looking for.
4. Click on the map you are after and install it (all our maps are free).
5. You will now find a list of your installed maps on the home page of the Avenza Maps app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza Mapa app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.

Google Street View

Want to explore a trail before you leave home or use Google Maps to navigate straight from your door to the trailhead?

We’ve worked with Google to film more than 600km of walking trails, park roads, campgrounds and waterways in some of our most beautiful places. Click to see what the parks offer and the available facilities before you go. This is an especially great tool if you have accessibility needs, are visiting with people of varying ages or fitness levels or are pushing a pram and want to view a trail before leaving home.

You can start exploring this park on Google Street View using the links below.

Adventure playground

Walking tracks and trails

Fees

Entry fees

Come and enjoy this park for free.

Alerts

Morialta Conservation Park

Updated 29 October: Upgrade works are currently being undertaken on select sections of Centre Track. Please use alternative walking routes as per walking trail maps.
Details >