Hallett Cove Conservation Park

  • Kiosk
  • Public Transport
  • Swimming
  • Scuba / Snorkelling
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
PDF Park Brochure
Photo by Cath Leo
Photo by Cath Leo
Photo by Cath Leo
Photo by Marianne Lim
Photo by Dylan Toh
Hallett Cove Conservation Park park locator map

Come and discover one of Australia's most outstanding geological and archaeological sites at the Hallett Cove Conservation Park, where more than 1,700 Aboriginal artefacts have been found.

Tag your Instagram pics with #halletcoveconservationpark to see them displayed on this page

Hallett Cove Conservation Park park locator map

Come and discover one of Australia's most outstanding geological and archaeological sites at the Hallett Cove Conservation Park, where more than 1,700 Aboriginal artefacts have been found.

Tag your Instagram pics with #halletcoveconservationpark to see them displayed on this page

About

An interpretative walking trail describes the park's cultural and geological heritage, including evidence of an Australian ice age some 280 million years ago. The outstanding glacial pavements along the northern cliff tops are recognised as the best record of Permian glaciation in Australia and have international significance. This park's beach is also popular for swimming.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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

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

Contact details

Natural Resource Centre - Black Hill

Phone: (+61 8) 8336 0901
Email: DEWNR.AMLRBlackHillOffice@sa.gov.au

Regional Duty Officer: 0427 556 676

When to visit

Hallett Cove Conservation Park is beautiful all year round. Spring sees the wildflowers come in to bloom and animals start to become active again after the cooler months. Summer shows the harsh nature of the Adelaide Coastline as many plants revert to 'survival mode' with the ocean cliffs offering a cool retreat during the high summer heat. Autumn has the plants regaining their vigour with many bird species on show. Winter can bring spectacular storms with the beach conditions changing daily - from pure pebbles to sand almost over night. 

Getting there

Hallett Cove Conservation Park is located 22km south of Adelaide. 

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. 

Pets in parks

Pets are not permitted within this park. There are however, a number of South Australian National Parks where you can take your dog on a lead. 

Facilities

There is no vehicle access into the park but car parking is available at the northern, eastern and southern entrances. The walking trails are shown on the trailhead at each entrance and give a good perspective of Hallett Cove. The walk tracing the geological history along the cliff top gives excellent views of the coastline. Snorkelling and swimming are permitted along the beach in the south-western corner of the park. There is a cafe at the southern beach end.

Council managed public toilets are located in the Boatshed Café at the Heron Way entrance to the Park. 

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

Useful information

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Traditional owners

Aboriginal stone implements were first discovered at Hallett Cove in 1934 and over a period of 30 years, more than 1700 artefacts were collected, and are now part of the South Australian Museum collection.

Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, 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. 

Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.

History

This area was proclaimed as a conservation park in 1976 primarily to conserve its geological features. These features are of worldwide significance, particularly as a record of an ice age about 280 million years ago. Four main periods of geological history in the Hallett Cove area are described on the trailheads at the entrances and along the trails. The park also conserves native flora and fauna.

In 1875, Professor Ralph Tate found the smoothed and striated ‘glacial’ pavement at Black Cliff and was the first person to realise that South Australia had been subjected to an ice age. But which one? The age of the glaciation was debated until in 1895 Professor Walter Howchin suggested that it was of Permian-Carboniferous age, that is about 280 million years old.

Subsequent geological work has demonstrated that at that time Australia was much closer to Antarctica and was part of the ancient land mass called Gondwana. During that time the south-western two-thirds of Australia, including much of South Australia, was covered by an ice cap and glaciers, similar to present day Antarctica.

In 1957, Professor AR Alderman from the University of Adelaide wrote to the National Trust recommending that the excellent glacial pavements along the coastal cliff tops of Hallett Cove be preserved. For the 19 years following this letter, conservationists and community groups fought to preserve these valuable geological sites against suburban development. Finally, in 1976 the park was dedicated for the protection of features of scientific (geological) and historic interest in the Hallett Cove area.

See and do

Park of the month events

Sunday 19 February

Ranger guided walk and smartphone photography

Time: 3pm - 5pm

Details: Free family and kids (suitable for age 10 and above) guided walk and fun smartphone photography class.

Join Hallett Cove Ranger Jae Ellis for a fun afternoon of exploring and learning about the history and unique geology of Hallett Cove. Accompanying Jae will be photographer Shane Reid and under his guidance learn how to make the most of your smartphone camera while exploring the park. 

The walking is easy with some ascent but there will be plenty of stops and time to experiment with your camera phone and listen to Jae talk about the significance of Hallett Cove.

Meeting point: Entrance to Hallett Cove Conservation Park next to the Boatshed Café.

Car Parking: Parking is available next to the Boatshed and along Heron Way.

What to bring:

  • Smartphone and any accessories (mini tripod or holders)
  • Water
  • Sun cream
  • Hat/cap
  • Appropriate footwear

Bookings:

Phone: (08) 8278 5477
Email: BelairNationalPark@sa.gov.au

Saturday 25 February

Reef Watch SA - rock pool walk n' talk*

Time: 10am to 11am

Details: Guided rock pool walk and talk exploring Hallett Cove Conservation Park

Who's it for: The walk is suitable for all and children over the age of five. Further information and bookings.

Reef Watch SA - intertidal reef survey*

Time: 11am - 1pm

Details: Intertidal survey with training provided.

Meeting point: Meet at the ANZAC memorial BBQ shelter, Beachfront Heron Reserve (Heron Way, Hallett Cove).

RSVP: Please advise Carl Charter on 0466 278 187 or carl.charter@conservationsa.org.au if you wish to attend.

Introduction to digital SLR photography workshop*

Time: 6:30pm - 9pm

Details: Join photographer Shane Reid for a sunset photography class at Hallett Cove. The aim is to get you started on the road to making the most of your DSLR camera. Using the unique features of Hallett Cove make for an inspiring backdrop for this workshop.

This free photography introductory course is limited to 10 places.

Who's it for: This event is suitable for the beginner photographer who wants to make the most of their DSLR camera.

Meeting point: Entrance to Hallett Cove Conservation Park next to the Boatshed Café. Parking is available next to the Boatshed and along Heron Way

What to bring:

  • Water
  • Sun cream
  • Hat/cap
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Torch or head lamp
  • DSLR
  • Camera Tripod (to do long exposures)
  • Camera cable release or any accessories (inbuilt camera self-timer will be fine also)
  • External flash (not essential as Shane will bring a spare to share)

Bookings:

Phone: (+61 8) 8278 5477
Email: BelairNationalPark@sa.gov.au

Sunday 26 February

Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries - snorkel Hallett Cove reef*

Times:
10am to 11am (beginner to intermediate time slot)
12pm to 1pm (beginner to intermediate time slot)
3pm to 4pm (intermediate and advanced time slot)

Details:Guided snorkel exploring the underwater world of Hallett Cove reef.

Who’s it for: The snorkel is suitable for all and children over the age of five. For further information and bookings, use the promotional code ‘natureplay’.

 * NOTE THESE EVENTS ARE WEATHER DEPENDENT AND MAY BE CANCELLED AT SHORT NOTICE IF CONDITIONS ARE NOT SUITABLE – PLEASE CHECK BACK HERE FOR UPDATED INFORMATION.

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.

  • Visit the granite boulder at the base of the beach access ramp, it is a great example of a granite erratic. This piece of granite has been transported by glacial activity all the way from Port Elliott and deposited on Hallett Cove beach.
  • Watching out for singing honeyeaters in the dune shrubs.
  • Watching the Nankeen Kestrals hover as they search for prey in the grass.
  • Looking for sea stars, urchins and crabs in the rockpool shallows of the wave cut platform, then count the steps back to the top of the cliff.

Bushwalking

The Coast Park Path boardwalk is the main trail which follows the coastal cliffs through the park. The Glacial Hike takes visitors inland to the geological points of interest, such as the Sugarloaf and Amphitheatre, and offers some beautiful photo opportunities within the park. Interpretive signs along the Glacial Hike tell the Geological, Aboriginal  and European story of the area.

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. Our trails cater for all levels of fitness and adventure and our classification system makes it easy to select an experience suitable for you.

Moderate hikes

  • Glacial Hike (2 hrs, 3km return)

    Wooden boardwalk and natural surface trail takes visitors to geological and historic points of interest with interpretive signs. Other trails branch and loop from this main trail.

  • Coast Park Path (7.2km one way)

    Wooden boardwalk followning the Marion coastline from Marino to Hallett Headland via Hallett Cove Conservation Park.

Teach and learn resources

If you are looking to visit Hallett Cove Conservation Park for educational purposes, you might like to peruse our Educational Pack tailored to Hallett Cove Park. This pack was developed for schools and families by Nature Play SA and the Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges’ NRM Education team.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

Flora

Many local native species have been planted by the Friends Group in an ongoing effort to restore the native vegetation. 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.

The slopes of the Amphitheatre are covered by a coastal heath of great diversity, including pale turpentine bush, coast twinleaf and sea box.

The areas beyond the coast and Amphitheatre are gradually being returned to an open scrubland of melaleucas, eucalypts and pittosporums.

Fauna

Along Waterfall Creek there are a number of species of frogs. Across the park are small lizards, legless lizards, skinks, and eastern brown snakes. Many species of birds have been sighted in the park. You might see colourful superb fairy-wrens, honeyeaters and kestrels as well as a variety of shore-wading and sea birds. 

Volunteering

The Friends of Hallett Cove Conservation Park

A local group who assist with the maintenance of the environment and facilities within this reserve. New members are always welcome.

Visit the Friends' various websites:

If you think you might be interested in volunteering opportunities within this park please contact our Volunteer Support Unit.

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?

Fire

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

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

Fire restrictions

  • Wood fires, gas fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Water

Strong currents and rips can make swimming dangerous in this area.

Do not climb on, or fish from slippery rocks. 

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:

  • leave your pets at home
  • 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 - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it 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.

Map

Park maps

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF 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 PDF maps app from the app store 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 app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza PDF map app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.

Fees

Entry fees

Come and enjoy this park for free. 

Park pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

Camping and accommodation

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park. 

Other fees and permits

There are no other fees or permits associated with this park.