Black Hill Conservation Park

  • Information Office
  • Toilets
  • Public Transport
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
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Black Hill Conservation Park park locator map

Enjoy spectacular scenery of rugged ridges and a wide variety of native plants and animals along Black Hill Conservation Park's extensive network of walking trails. While you're visiting the park, take a walk through the landscaped Wildflower Garden that dates back to the late 1940s.

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About

Enjoy the undulating hills with native scenery of rugged ridges and a variety of native plants and animals along Black Hill Conservation Park's extensive network of walking trails. The park contains a wide variety of flora that offers a stunning display of native flowers in the spring including many delicate and colourful orchid species. While visiting the park, take a walk through the landscaped Wildflower Garden that dates back to the late 1940s.

The park covers an area of 684 hectares and features the low sheoaks which give Black Hill its name. The foliage of the sheoaks gradually matures to a dark rusty, almost black colour, as summer progresses. As you look from the Adelaide Plains, the hills appear to be black in colour. 

Opening hours

The park is open to vehicles from 8.30 am - 4.30 pm weekdays

Walkers can access the park from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week.

The park office is closed weekends and public holidays.

Contact details

Natural Resource Centre - Black Hill

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

After hours regional duty officer: 0427 556 676

When to visit

Black Hill can be visited at any time of the year but it best appreciated during the months of March to November. The summer months of December to February can be very hot, walkers should be prepared for high temperatures.

Getting there

Black Hill can be accessed via Maryvale, Gorge Road and Montacute Road, as well as Addison Avenue.

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

This park contains an information office, leafy picnic areas and toilets. 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, this was particularly useful in fire management practices which encouraged vegetation regrowth. The seasonal use of Black Hill would have have allowed game populations to recover, maintaining a relatively steady food supply.

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

Interest was shown in Black Hill's potential as a park as early as 1859 when members of the Field Naturalists Association were impressed with the flora flourishing on the hillside as they walked to the summit. Black HIll was proclaimed a reserve in 1860 with an initial portion of just 4 ha of land dedicated. The alluvial flats adjacent to 5th Creek were developed as market gardens during this period and Black Hill became a source of wood for building materials. Wattle bark was collected in the park for the supply of tannin to the leather goods industry.   

From 1900 onwards, mining occurred within Black Hill for road making material and for barites, a mineral used in the production of paint pigment. In the late 1940s, FC Payne established a garden of 250 native plants from all over Australia. This later became known nationally as the Athelstone Wildflower Garden and was bought by the City of Campbelltown in 1963.

The State Government was keen to purchase land in the Black Hill area during the 1960s when the Adelaide Metropolitan Development Plan had proposed the creation of a regional park in the vicinity to cater for open space requirements of the north east suburbs. Between 1970 and 1975, the State Government progressively acquired the parcels of land that were to be proclaimed Black Hill Conservation Park in 1975, this included the Athelstone Wildflower Garden.

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.

  • Watching out for honeyeaters and thornbills among the woodlands that cover the hills.
  • Following the popular trails and count koalas on the way.
  • Enjoying a picnic lunch and hunting for tadpoles with the kids in the creeks and rock pools.

Bushwalking

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.

  • Yurrebilla Trail (2.5 - 3 hrs, 5km)

    The Yurrebilla Trail enters into Black Hill off Montacute Rd after leaving Morilata Conservation Park. The trail takes you across the ridge line offering views over Adelaide, past a frozen (crystaline tufa) waterfall and the Ambers Gully ruins of an old shepherds hut.

  • Orchard Hike (1 hour return, 2km)

    A short hike takes you to an old waterfall and past a historic orchard landscape. Use this walk to explore further up the Orchard Track returning back down along the Eagle Track.

  • Buffer Zone Track

    Starting from the Administration Centre on Maryvale Road, the walk leads to a nursery area via the arid zone garden and around the lake. The track highlights the contrast between the native scrub of the park and the neighbouring suburbs. This walk offers excellent views of the Barker Inlet and the Adelaide Plains.

Hard hikes

  • Black Hill Summit Hike (2.5 - 4 hrs, 4.2km)

    An excellent hike to the summit of Black Hill (467 m), offering spectacular views over Adelaide. The trail is steep in sections and follows the creekline, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Wander through the wildflower garden on Addison Ave at the end of the walk. Wear sturdy boots and take water with you. Car parking is available at Addison Ave.

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.

Bird watching

There are many native bird species to be seen in Black Hill Conservation Park including thornbills, wattlebirds, treecreepers, finches, lorikeets and several birds of prey. The chestnut-rumped heathwren is a threatened species that can be found in both parks. Be sure to bring binoculars and a bird identification field guide when walking, you will be amazed by how many different species you can discover.

Wildflower garden

The Wildflower Garden was first developed in the late 1940s by FC Payne on his property at the top of Addison Avenue, Black Hill. Originally known as Payne's Nursery, the garden was open to the public for them to enjoy the diverse array of Australian plants.

In September 1963, the Campbelltown Council purchased the property from Payne to preserve the landscaped garden and protect it from being subdivided by investors. The Council not only wanted to extend the nursery service, they also wanted provide a facility where the people could receive advice on growing native plants.

Plans were announced in March 1973 to develop a conservation park in the Black Hill area as a major native flora reserve and bird sanctuary. The inclusion of the Wildflower Garden in the park raised concerns about the future of the garden.

The Campbelltown Council finally agreed to allow the government to acquire the garden on the condition that the facility and its services were maintained and remained open to the public. In December 1974, the Wildflower Garden and its nursery were sold to the state government and managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation, and later by the National Parks and Wildlife division.

However, in June 1976, primarily due to an outbreak of the fungal disease Phytophthora cinnamoni in the nursery of the Wildflower Garden, the garden and nursery were closed. A great deal of work was required to clear the area of Phytophthora and the entire stock of plants in the nursery had their tops cut off and burnt.

In 1977, work began on the $600 000, four-year development scheme for the Black Hill Native Flora Park. The development included a complete relocation of the native plant nursery to Maryvale Road where it was officially opened by the Minister of Environment, the Honourable John Cornwall on 11 May 1979.

The new nursery covered approximately one hectare and included a potting shed, two glasshouses, a shade house, seed room, store room, offices and other facilities.

Today, the Wildflower Garden still contains many of the original species planted by Payne and is looked after by the Friends of Black Hill and Morialta Conservation Parks.

Flora

The vegetation of Black Hill 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 parks with Black Hill 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, although past land use such as grazing and cropping have had an impact on the diversity of native wildlife. Be on the look out for the blue wrens, southern boobook owls, black-faced cuckoo-shrikes and the occasional falcon that will hunt along the ridgelines of the park. 

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 gully habitats.

Volunteering

 

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges – Volunteering.

Want to join others and become a Park Friend?

To find out more about Friends of Parks groups please visit Friends of Parks South Australia.

You could join others to help look after a park. You can take part in working bees, training and other events.

Safety

Bushwalking

  • After rain, creek levels rise quickly and some creek crossings may become slippery and dangerous. Do not cross deep, fast-flowing creeks.
  • Choose a trail appropriate to your level of fitness and always leave yourself plenty of time.
  • Keep to defined vehicle tracks and walking trails at all times – don’t try to take short cuts or wander off the trails.
  • Pay attention to the weather – be extra careful in extreme weather conditions.
  • Wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen. Make sure you have appropriate wet weather clothing.
  • Carry enough food and drinking water to be self-sufficient. The hotter the conditions the more water you will need.
  • Do not rely on tanks or creeks in the park for drinking water.
  • Carry a map of the park and the walks at all times. 

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.

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.

Maps

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. 

PDF Park Brochure