Morialta Conservation Park is a splendid natural reserve just 14km from the centre of Adelaide, featuring waterfalls, creeks, gullies, a gorge and caves.
The three waterfalls along Fourth Creek are popular attractions, linked by an extensive network of walking trails.
Rock climbing is also popular and there are excellent vantage points to admire the gorge and nearby Adelaide Plains.
There’s not a lot of parking at the entrance off Morialta Falls Road, but we were lucky enough to snare a spot this morning.
The valley walk is an easy 1.6km return trip to First Falls and back. There are plenty of other, more difficult walking trails, which we chose not to explore today given the wet conditions.
The creek was flowing fast, much to the croaking delight of resident frogs. The waterfalls are most spectacular in winter and spring after rain.
Morialta Conservation Park covers 5.33 square km in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Construction of trails and bridges began mostly in the 1920s.
The park dates back to 1912 when the South Australian Government acquired the land from John Smith Reid for a “pleasure resort”.
The Mail newspaper reported the original purchase was 525 acres comprising land, a house and some buildings for 2500 pounds.
With considerable foresight, the government of the day resolved to protect the natural beauty of the area from development, as The Mail article here attests (love the interview style and overall understatement).
The park doesn’t feature in tourist brochures for Adelaide that I have seen, but like Hallett Cove, I consider it a hidden gem and well worth a visit.