Hallett Cove Conservation Park is a lovely day trip, just 25km south of Adelaide.
The park is a 126-acre reserve featuring cliff-top walks, rocky beaches and interesting geological formations.
Although surrounded by housing, it’s easy to forget you’re in suburbia. The park is like stepping back in time to experience the original landscape.
It is considered one of Australia’s most outstanding geological sites, recording an ice age that occurred some 280 million years ago and its importance as a geological monument is now internationally recognised.
Archaeologists have also recovered many Aboriginal artefacts at the park, more than 1700 of which are now housed at the South Australian Museum.
Native flora and fauna abound in the protected boundaries of the reserve. Although dogs are not permitted, we saw plenty of people walking their pets, some not even on a leash.
According to this website, the precious geological significance was realized by Professor Ralph Tate in 1877 when he discovered glacial striations or scratching along the exposed siltstones of the coastal cliff tops.
It was later revealed that these markings were made by the extensive Permian ice sheet that covered much of Gondwana, the Southern Hemisphere supercontinent, 280 million years ago.
The features of Permian age glaciation and associated rocks of Hallett Cove are recorded as Geological Monuments of South Australia.
We followed a boardwalk along the coast from the southern entrance to the north.
There are a couple of places where you can descend to the rocky beach below, and apparently seals can be seen from June to October.
Many local native species have been planted by a Friends Group in an ongoing effort to restore the native vegetation.
Fifty of the park’s indigenous plant species have regional conservation significance and the aim is to enhance and extend the areas where natural revegetation can proceed.
DENR says the coastal zone is colonised by local salt-tolerant plants including ruby saltbush, common boobialla, flax-lilies, angular pigface, cushion fanflower and numerous native grass species.
A small creek runs through the park to the sea. We followed it to the park boundary, but didn’t see or hear any frogs, which are reported to live there.
There’s a cafe at the southern entrance, where we enjoyed coffee and lunch after a pleasant hour of walking. It took about half an hour to drive from West Beach down Tapleys Hill Road and Brighton Road.