Morialta Conservation Park

  • Picnic Areas
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Public Transport
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Rock Climbing
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
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Photo by Nature Palay SA - Jason Tyndall
Photo by Nature Play SA - Jason Tyndall
Photo by Armstrong
Photo by Cath Leo
Morialta SA location map

For over 100 years, the gorges, waterfalls and woodlands of Morialta have provided a recreational escape for walkers and rock climbers just 10km from the city of Adelaide.

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

Morialta SA location map

For over 100 years, the gorges, waterfalls and woodlands of Morialta have provided a recreational escape for walkers and rock climbers just 10km from the city of Adelaide.

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

About

Enjoy the rugged ridges, gully scenery and seasonal waterfalls that make up Morialta Conservation Park. The three waterfalls along Fourth Creek are popular features of the park and are linked by an extensive network of walking trails. The views from the rock climbing zone also provide opportunities to admire Morialta Gorge and the nearby Adelaide plains.

The first two falls are the grandest, each cascading over sheer quartzite cliffs after rain. To see the falls at their best, visit the park during spring or winter when the water flow is strongest. For wildlife lovers, the park's rock pools and creeks provide habitat for small reptiles, frogs and birds. Watch out for honeyeaters and thornbills among the woodlands that cover the hills.

Opening hours

The park is open to vehicles from 8.30 am to 15 minutes before sunset (closed on Christmas Day).

Walkers can access the park from sunrise to sunset.

Contact details

Natural Resource Centre - Black Hill

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

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. 

Pets in parks

Dogs can be walked on a lead in the recreation area of the park. You can walk your dog from the Morialta picnic area, along the Morialta Falls Road to the Morialta Falls car park.

You must 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.

Pets are not permitted in other areas of the park.

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 park also contains the Morialta Resource Centre which is a unique venue available for hire.
Phone:  (+61 8) 8336 0901 for bookings

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.

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 area was originally 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 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

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.

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

Easy walks

  • Morialta Falls Valley Walk (45 mins, 1.6km)

    Follow Fourth Creek to the heart of Morialta Gorge along a stroller accessible trail. After autumn and winter rains, water tumbles 30 metres from the top of Morialta's best-known landmark, Morialta Falls.

  • Fourth Creek Walk

    Follow Fourth Creek from the picnic area, allow plenty of time for the kids to explore, count koalas, or listen to the "bonk" of the Southern Banjo Frog.

Moderate hikes

  • Morialta Falls Plateau Hike (1 hour 30 mins, 2.5km)

    Rising above the valley floor, this trail takes you to the top of First Falls, overlooking Morialta Gorge. The trail ascends about 60 steep steps to Giants Cave. Take care descending the steep trail below Eagles Nest Lookout.

  • Second Falls Gorge Hike (2 hr 30 mins, 5.3km)

    This trail skirts the rim of the escarpment and offers outstanding views of the gorge from First Falls and Second Falls lookouts. If you prefer an easier gradient, hike in an anti-clockwise direction.

  • Three Falls Grand Hike (3 hr 30 mins, 7.3km)

    Visit all three of the waterfalls. Admire dramatic cliffs, gorges and scenic vistas over Morialta, Adelaide Plains and the River Torrens. Experienced hikers can continue beyond the gorges to Norton Summit Road and the stringybark woodlands.

  • Deep View Lookout Hike

    Cross the creek and follow the Morialta Falls Plateau Hike to climb out of the valley floor. Views back to Adelaide city and to the northern suburbs. In winter walkers will be rewarded with a stunning array of orchids flowering on the side of the trail. Views form Deep View lookout gives a panoramic view of the valley with First Falls just visible. Look for Brown and Peregrine Falcons using the valley.

Treks

  • Yurrebilla Trail

    The Yurrebilla Trail enters Morialta at Colonial Drive and makes its way through Morialta and Black Hill parks to its northern limit, the River Torrens, near Ambers Gully.

  • Heysen Trail

    The Heysen Trail is one of the world's great walking trails and the longest dedicated walking trail in Australia. Part of the Heysen trail passes through this park.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is not permitted in this park yet. However, there are projects underway for the development of upgraded walking and cycling tracks through Morialta and Black Hill Conservation Parks. Watch this space for mountain biking updates in this area.

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

Rock climbing

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. 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 Second and Third Falls. Limited car park space is available on either side of the road.

Rock climbing can be dangerous, we recommend joining a rock climbing club and climb with experienced climbers. Before doing any climbing, it is recommended that you attend a rock climbing skills course.

Commercial tour groups must be recognised by the South Australian Rock Climbing Association and have a permit issued by DEWNR.

Please obey the signs describing conditions of use for these areas.

Picnics and family fun

The picnic area on Stradbroke Road offers an excellent place to have a picnic, throw a ball, and let the kids discover the playground. Use the BBQs supplied to cook your lunch, or throw a rug on the lawns, relax and enjoy the sounds of the creek and the birds.

The Stradbroke Road picnic area can be located in the park map.

Flora

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 sclerophyllus open forests dominated by canopy species such as stringybark, pink gum, blue gum, red gum and manna gum.

Fauna

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.

Volunteering

Friends of Black Hill and Morialta

The Friends of Black Hill and Morialta is a community-based group of volunteers who work to protect and develop the natural and cultural heritage in the park. 

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
  • 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 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.

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 - 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

Maps on your mobile

Search for this park in the Avenza PDF Maps app, download the free park map for your mobile device when you have an internet connection. 

Because our maps are geo-enabled, whether you have internet or not, you will always have your location dot no matter where you are. The app allows you to calculate distances and (with sufficient GPS signal) locate yourself within the park.

Fees

Entry fees

Come and enjoy this park for free. 

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. 

Other fees and permits

Morialta Resource Centre venue hire

Up to 4 hours: $120
Full day (more than four hours): $215
Full day (educational institutions): $110

Phone for bookings: (+61 8) 8336 0901