Belair National Park

  • Information Office
  • Picnic Areas
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Public Transport
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Dogs on Lead
  • Horse Riding
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Cycling
PDF Park Brochure
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Photo by Flow Mountain Bike
Belair SA location map

Whole generations of Adelaide families have visited – and continue to visit – Belair National Park to walk, ride bikes or horses, have picnics or barbecues, and use the sporting facilities.

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

Belair SA location map

Whole generations of Adelaide families have visited – and continue to visit – Belair National Park to walk, ride bikes or horses, have picnics or barbecues, and use the sporting facilities.

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

About

Set in beautiful natural bushland, Belair National Park is just 25 minutes from Adelaide city centre. It is the ideal place to get active in the great outdoors. There are woodlands and lakes to explore, walking and mountain biking trails to suit all levels of fitness, plus tennis courts and cricket pitches available for hire.

This is South Australia’s oldest national park, and is home to Old Government House – a significant heritage building. Also in the park is State Flora, the oldest plant nursery in South Australia and still going strong today. The park remains one of the few relatively undisturbed areas of native vegetation in the Adelaide Hills region, making it an important refuge for native plants and animals.

Opening hours

Summer: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm  (Closed on Christmas Day)
Winter: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm

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. 

Information Office

Mon - Fri: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Weekends and public holidays: 9:00 am - 4.30 pm

Old Government House buildings

Sunday and public holidays only: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
(tours also available by appointment)

State Flora Nursery in Belair National Park

Mon - Fri: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Weekends and public holidays: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
The nursery is closed Good Friday, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger (Mount Lofty Ranges Fire Ban District).

Belair Kiosk at the Adventure Playground

Open weekends, public holidays and school holidays: 10:30 am - 3:30 pm
(excluding times of inclement weather)

Contact details

Belair National Park Information Office

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

After hours regional duty officer: 0427 556 676

When to visit

In the warmer months, the park is a perfect spot for family picnics, barbecues and riding, with spring being the perfect time to visit if you love orchids and other wildflowers. Winter is the best time to view the waterfalls and attempt the more challenging hikes, it is also a good time of year for fungi. Visit mornings and evenings for the best chance to view most wildlife. For sporting activities, Belair National Park is great at any time of year.

Getting there

The park is located 13km south east of Adelaide. Access is via Upper Sturt Road, Belair.

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

You and your dog can enjoy this park providing you keep your dog on a lead and under your control at all times. Don't forget to bring your disposable 'doggie-doo' bag to clean up after your dog.

Facilities

Tennis courts, ovals, and pavilions (popular for school sporting events, excursions, weddings and corporate events) are available for hire online. The gas barbecues and formal picnic areas around the park can also be hired online.

Hireable facilities can be booked up to 12 months in advance. Popular facilities such as tennis courts adjacent to the playground are often booked up to six months in advance. To avoid missing out on the facilities you would like to hire, ensure you book in advance if you are planning a large group gathering. 

Free facilities

You can find many informal picnic areas tucked away off the sides of roads and nestled in surrounding bushland. There is no fee to use these. There are also free barbecues and picnic tables next to the Adventure Playground, at Playford Lake alongside the very popular Wood Duck Walk and between Willows and the Karka Pavilion.

Category  Shelter BBQ Toilet
Oval
 
Main (full oval)
Y
Gums 1 (half oval) Y Y Y
Gums 2 (half oval) Y Y Y
Gums (full oval) Y Y Y
Pavillions      
Karka Pavillion Y   Y
Main Pavillion Y   Y
Open space picnic areas      
Willows Picnic Ground Y   Y
Long Gully Picnic Ground
Karka Picnic Ground  
Gold Escort Picnic Ground Y Y
Pines Area 1 Y Y Y
Pines Area 2 Y Y Y
Joseph Fisher Picnic Area Y Y Y
Government Farm Area 1 Y Y Y
Government Farm Area 2 Y Y Y
Walnut Paddock Y Y Y

Useful information

  • Mobile phone coverage can be patchy and unreliable in this park, especially if you are in low-lying areas.

Please note, to comply with the Emergency Services Act, on days of total fire ban, fixed BBQ's will be turned off and portable BBQ's will not be permitted. Some hireable picnic grounds may be used on total fire bans. Wood or coal BBQ's are not allowed at any time throughout the year. 

Call the Information Office between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm on weekdays for more information.
Phone: (+61 8) 8278 8279

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

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.

Traditional owners

The Kaurna Aboriginal people were the original inhabitants of the area. The Kaurna people referred to the area now known as Belair as Piradli, which means ‘baldness’. This was in reference to the area’s appearance when looking south from the Adelaide Plains – ‘bald like the moon’. The description provides an insight into the fire stick farming activities of the Kaurna people.

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

Belair National Park has important natural, cultural, historical and recreational values and is the birthplace of the national parks system in South Australia.

The first European people known to have visited the Belair area were crewmen from the ship Coromandel in 1837. Governor Gawler later set this land aside as a government farm in 1840 upon which sick horses and bullocks could be agisted. A few years later the government gained legal title to the farm and proceeded to grow hay and take care of stock belonging to the survey and police departments.

Between 1849 and 1852, the Commissioner of Police took charge of the farm and used it for horses employed in the Gold Escort and other police services.

In the early 1880s, an attempt to subdivide the land was rejected and a bill was passed stating the farm could not be sold. While the farm could not be sold, there were no restrictions on what the land could be used for, so, in 1886, 202 hectares were handed over to the Woods and Forest Department as a forest reserve.

Dedicated in 1891, Belair became the first national park to be established in South Australia and the second national park in Australia. In 1892, the first board of commissioners was appointed.

By the 1920s, after pressure from groups such as the Native Fauna and Flora Protection Committee, policies changed in regards to the conservation of native plants and animals in the park. As a result, the last large scale planting of non-Australian species in the park occurred in 1922 - 700 Japanese cherries were planted on six hectares of land in Sparkes Gully - and in 1923 it was decided all future plantings were to be native to the state.

By 1929, the now well-established Belair National Park had developed 42 tennis courts, several pavilions and ovals and a well-developed road network. This was to accommodate the increasing number of visitors and play an important social function during and after the years of the Great Depression. The park's facilities were also used for military camps during the Second World War.

In 1934, trees were cleared to make way for a nine hole golf course which was built as a means to raise revenue for the park. This course was later extended to an 18 hole golf course in 1941.

In 1972, the National Parks Commission was terminated and control of the park was passed to the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Belair Recreation Park was gazetted in 1972 and was re-dedicated to Belair National Park in 1991.

See and do

Belair 125th anniversary

This year we are celebrating Belair National Park’s 125th anniversary. There will be several events throughout the year to explore the natural and historical beauty of one of South Australia’s favourite parks. Come and celebrate with us!

Event Date Time Details
Guided Walks  23 August,
27 September and
25 October  
TBA  Learn more about the natural and cultural features of the park. Free entry into the park for participants only.  
Belair Open Day 11 September All day Join in with ranger led family activities, free guided tours and refreshment vendors. Free entry into the park. Read more about the Open Day in the tab below.
Belair National Park Birthday 3 December  All day  A birthday gift to visitors, enjoy the park for free and celebrate the park’s birthday. Free entry into the park.

For more information about the events contact Belair National Park on (+61 8) 8278 5477 or belairnationalpark@sa.gov.au.

Belair Open Day 2016

When: 11 September 2016
Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost: Free entry and activities

So much to see and do!

For one and a quarter centuries, Belair National Park has been a central part of South Australian life. 

Join us on this special day for loads of family activities and free guided tours.  

  • Ride your bike with a ranger 
  • Catch water bugs at Playford Lake with NRM Education
  • Build a cubby with Nature Play SA
  • Watch environmental short films and enjoy a Devonshire Tea at the Volunteer Centre
  • Satisfy your cravings! Belair Kiosk, food and coffee vendors, or a sausage sizzle to support Friends of Blackwood Forest Recreation Park
  • Go orienteering with Onkaparinga Hills Orienteering Club
  • Learn about fire safety with Smokey the Koala and the Upper Sturt CFS
  • Have fun with creative kids activities including origami animals and environmental art
  • Once only sales and giveaways at State Flora Nursery
  • Ultimate Frisbee, learn to play with SA Ultimate
  • Come and try tennis or play a game with Blackwood Tennis Club
  • Play a round of Frisbee-Golf with SA Disc Golf
  • Learn to ID bird calls with Friends of Black Hill and Morialta 

Other activities - bookings required

Bus tours with Friends of Belair National Park

Bus tours will run at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm and will be capped at 22 people per tour.

The tours will leave from (and arrive back to) the southern end of Gums Oval and will be approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour in length.

Please contact Belair National Park on (+61 8) 8278 5477 to book. 

Guided walks with Nature Conservation Society of SA

Booking details to come.

FREE online booking of a tennis court, picnic area, or pavilion for the day

Visit our online booking system to reserve one of these facilities.

Get more information

Download the poster

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.

  • Exploring Old Government House on a guided tour.
  • Visiting the Upper Waterfall and surrounding eucalyptus woodland vegetation.
  • Finding Amphitheatre Rock, a large rocky overhang located near the south-eastern corner of the park.
  • Enjoying the magnificent views of the park and surrounding hills as you walk along Jubilee Drive.
  • Riding your horse along the Tom Roberts Trail.
  • Playing tennis on one of the 39 courts among the gum trees.
  • Bushwalking on the marked trails throughout the park.
  • Letting the kids loose in the adventure playground (equipment includes tunnels and a wooden fort).
  • Hiring a sports oval in the western section of the park and gathering everyone you know for a giant game of cricket. The ovals are close to shelters, barbecues and toilets.
  • Walking your dog (remember dogs must be on a lead at all times).
  • Riding your bike on the roads, cycling trails and tracks.

Bushwalking

Walks in the parks range from easy walks to more challenging hikes. While you're bushwalking in the park, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of native woodlands, lakes and seasonal waterfalls.

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.

Generally both cyclists and walkers give way to horses, and cyclists give way to walkers.

Easy walk

  • Wood Duck Walk (30 mins return, 1km)

    This pleasant walk around Playford Lake is popular with young children, people with limited mobility and those who want to experience the park’s wildlife.

    The trail starts at Playford Lake.

  • Lorikeet Loop Walk (1 hr 25 mins return, 3km)

    Wind your way past Old Government House and the State Flora Nursery, then stop for a rest at the playground – an ideal spot for family groups. Majestic old red and blue gums are the perfect habitat for lorikeets, rosellas and koalas. The wide gravelled surface is suitable for most abilities, and for strollers.

    The trail starts at the Information Office.

  • Heritage Tree Walk (20 mins, 1km)

    This easy walk winds its way around prominent heritage trees such as oak, poplar, sequoia, cork oak, pine and horse chestnut. These species were planted in the late 1890s to the 1920s to ‘improve the attractiveness’ of the park. They are reminders of the early heritage of Belair. Look for historic trees, including pines, oaks and the towering sequoias.

  • RSL Walk (20 mins, 1km)

    The spring fed creek that flows through Sparkes Gully supports important perched swamp vegetation found nowhere else in the park. This is a tranquil location that is ideal for quiet reflection and bird watching.

    A cool and shady spot during summer, ornamental trees provide a display of colourful foliage during autumn.

    Discover the remnants of the historic Japanese cherry plantation, which was planted from 1922 as a living memorial to World War I soldiers. Continue further along the creek to discover sequoias that were planted in the 1960s as a World War II memorial.

Moderate hikes

  • The Valley Loop (1 hour, 3km)

    This trail follows the forested banks and lower slopes of Minnow Creek between the adventure playground and Long Gully. Please supervise children near the dam wall which can be slippery, and when crossing the sometimes busy road at Long Gully.

    The trail starts at the playground.

  • Microcarpa Hike (1 hr 45mins, 4km)

    Walk through one of the most diverse and best-preserved woodland areas remaining in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Just off the trail on Sir Edwin Avenue you’ll find historic sugar gum plantings, the Hawthorn Maze and Belair Railway Station. An off-road stroller would be suitable in dry conditions. Some sections of the trail can become waterlogged, slippery or muddy during winter or wet weather.

    The trail starts at the park Information Office.

  • Waterfall Hike (3 hours, 6.5km)

    The most challenging trail in the park takes you through Echo Tunnel and to the picturesque rock escarpments of the upper and lower waterfalls. Take care at both waterfalls, the escarpment lookouts are not fenced and can be slippery near the cliff edge. Children must be supervised at all times. The trail has some moderate slopes and can become slippery after rain. It is not suitable for prams or strollers.

    The trail starts at the Pines area.

Hard hikes

  • Adventure Loop Trail (6.5 hours return, 13km)

    The challenging Adventure Loop ride sends you climbing from The Valley Road up Queen Jubilee Drive to the north east corner of the park, on Sheoak Road. From there the loop descends a tight and technical singletrack section into the valley. At the bottom, the loop hugs the eastern boundary of the park, following the challenging steep fire road up to Cherry Plantation Road. Follow the loop around the southern boundary of the park before dropping back into the valley along another great section of technical singletrack.

Mountain biking

You can ride your bike on public roads and any specific cycling trails and tracks on offer in this park. 

Please obey signs and use the trail classifications and descriptions, where available, to select trails suitable to your ability. Many trails are shared, so always keep an eye out for others. Generally, cyclists give way to pedestrians. Please be considerate of all trail users at all times.

Make sure you check which trails are shared use.

Generally both cyclists and walkers give way to horses, and cyclists give way to walkers.

Learn more about cycling in SA's parks, including other parks offering cycle tracks, trail classification and read the trail user code of practice for important points to remember when planning your bike ride.

Intermediate

  • Adventure Loop Trail (13km)

    The challenging Adventure Loop ride sends you climbing from The Valley Road up Queen Jubilee Drive to the north east corner of the park, on Sheoak Road. From there the loop descends a tight and technical singletrack section into the valley. At the bottom, the loop hugs the eastern boundary of the park, following the challenging steep fire road up to Cherry Plantation Road. Follow the loop around the southern boundary of the park before dropping back into the valley along another great section of technical singletrack.

Horse riding

Ride your horse along the Tom Roberts Trail. There are also shared use trails that you can ride along. 

Generally both cyclists and walkers give way to horses, and cyclists give way to walkers.

Old Government House

The summer residence of South Australia’s early governors, Old Government House, sits in the heart of Belair National Park. The house is an excellent example of Victorian architecture and is set amongst magnificent gardens. It was built on the Government farm as the former summer residence of several early Governors of South Australia.

The cottage is an excellent example of Victorian-style architecture. It is looked after by a dedicated group of volunteers and the Friends of Old Government House in conjunction with DEWNR.

You can take a guided tour of the buildings and surrounding heritage gardens. Tours are run by the Friends of old Government house on Sundays by gold coin donation and by appointment. Phone: (+61 8) 8278 5477

Old Government House opening hours

Sunday and public holidays only: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm (tours by appointment also available)

If you are interested in volunteer at Old Government House please see the 'Volunteering' tab below for more information.

Sports

Play tennis on one of the 43 tennis courts available for hire surrounded by gum trees.

Hire a sports oval located in the western section of the park. The ovals are close to shelters, barbecues and toilets. 

Please take your rubbish with you.

Adventure playground

Let the kids run wild on the adventure playground which has plenty of playground equipment including tunnels and a wooden fort. Picnic facilities are also available. Grab a coffee, ice cream or snack at the Belair kiosk, located in the playground, open weekends, public holidays and school holidays (excluding days of inclement weather).

Orienteering

Get involved in two permanent orienteering courses in the park, maps are available from the Orienteering SA website or the Belair Information Office.

Teach and learn

If you are looking to visit Belair for educational purposes, you might like to peruse our Educational Pack tailored to Belair National Park. This pack was developed for schools and families by park rangers and the Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges’ NRM Education team.

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

However, adjacent to the Belair National Park, is the Belair National Park Caravan Park offering a range of accommodation options, from shaded camping sites to fully self-contained family cabins that sleep up to six people. There are a number of facilities for all guests including hot showers, a camp kitchen, picnic areas and gas BBQs.

A swimming pool (open in summer only) and a playground will keep the kids entertained as you wind down from the day’s activities. 

Flora

You may be surprised by the variety of orchids and other wildflowers that bloom in Belair National Park. State Flora, one of South Australia’s original plant nurseries, is also in the park. State Flora specialises in native Australian plants – they grow and sell thousands every year. State Flora has a gift shop with a range of gardening aids, gifts and books.

Fauna

Take the time to sit and enjoy the lively and colourful displays of our native birdlife. Walkers are likely to come across kangaroos in the early and later hours of the day. You might even catch a glimpse of the shy southern brown bandicoot scratching about in the undergrowth. These marsupials are a special feature of Belair’s wildlife.

Volunteering

The Friends of Belair National Park

The Friends of Belair National Park are a group of volunteers who help to maintain the natural habitat in the park, and manage bookings of the Volunteer Centre.

Friends of Old Government House

The Friends of Old Government House help to maintain the heritage assets and conduct tours at Old Government House.

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

Videos

Take a virtual tour of this park, see what Belair National Park has to offer with beautiful autumn foliage, tennis courts, oval facilities, Old Government House and more available to explore!

Safety

Bushwalking

Generally both cyclists and walkers give way to horses, and cyclists give way to walkers.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • 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

Please note, to comply with the Emergency Services Act, on days of total fire ban, fixed BBQs will be turned off and portable BBQs will not be permitted. Some hireable picnic grounds may be used on total fire bans. Wood or coal BBQs are not allowed at any time throughout the year. 

Call the Information Office between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm on weekdays for more information.
Phone: (+61 8) 8278 8279

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

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 - 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.

Maps

Park maps

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the Avenza PDF Map app to get the most out of our maps.

The app displays park maps and interact with GPS signals. It will show your location on a park map and calculate distances even if there is no internet access in the park.

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

Entry on foot or bike: Free
Vehicle entry: $12.00
Vehicle entry (concession): $9.50

You can pay vehicle entry online before arrival or at the park information office upon arrival, location of this office can be found within the park map.

Group entry 

Please note, you can purchase group entry for all your event guests when booking an event facility online - $265 (flat rate).

Facility hire

Tennis courts, ovals, picnic grounds and pavilions can be booked online up to 12 months in advance. Follow the below booking link for further information and pricing.

Popular facilities such as tennis courts adjacent to the playground are often booked up to six months in advance.

Group entry 

Please note, you can also purchase group entry for all your event guests when booking an event facility online - $265 (flat rate).

For booking information contact the Belair Office between 10am - 3pm, Monday to Friday.
Phone: (+61 8) 8278 8279

Park pass

If you intend to visit often, you may like to purchase any of the below park passes.

Single Park Pass

Is this your favourite park? If you visit often, it's more economical to purchase a Single Park Pass giving you vehicle entry to this park for 12 months. 

There are 13 parks that are part of the Single Park Pass system.  

Holiday Park Pass and Multi Park Pass

Want to explore SA’s parks all year round? Purchase a Multi Park Pass (12 months), or a Holiday Park Pass (for 2 months) which entitles you to vehicle entry and optional camping not just for this park, but up to an additional 58 parks as well!

Camping and accommodation

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park.