8 South Australian reservoir reserves that are now open to the public

Like a change of scenery for your next walk, ride or picnic? Try one of these reservoir reserves.

Do you love getting out in nature but want to explore somewhere different? Visiting one of South Australia’s reservoir reserves might be just what you’re after.

SA Water’s reservoir reserves are being progressively opened for people to visit and enjoy – providing more rest and recreation opportunities right across the state.  

Eight are already open, and different activities are on offer at each reserve, depending on what suits the area.

But be mindful when you visit these picturesque places that they also store vital water supplies for our state. Because of this you can’t take the family dog with you, as they could contaminate the water and pose a risk to the safety of drinking water. However, it is okay to take an assistance animal if you are living with a disability.

Here are the eight reservoir reserves you can now visit and the activities you can enjoy when you get there:

1. Myponga Reservoir


Myponga Reservoir Reserve is nestled near the township of Myponga on the Fleurieu Peninsula, about an hour’s drive from Adelaide.

This reservoir is a huge hit with visitors. There’s a 3.3 km trail which is ideal for walking and running, and there’s room for families to enjoy a picnic. You can also head to the lookout to take in the scenic surrounds.

Myponga Reservoir Reserve offers a spectacular variety of flora and fauna – including more than 120 bird species and a variety of native animals.

Shore-based fishing is also now available in the fishing zone, but if you’re planning on casting out you’ll need a recreational fishing permit first.

2. Warren Reservoir


A short drive south-east of Williamstown in the Barossa Valley, Warren Reservoir is open for fishing either from the shore or from a canoe or kayak.

It is stocked with Murray cod (catch and release), golden perch and silver perch.

If you want to drop a line from the shore, or from a kayak or canoe, you will need a recreational fishing permit

There are also three picnic areas, perfect for laying out your picnic rug, and one area, on the north-west side of the reservoir, has toilet facilities.

3. Beetaloo Reservoir


Beetaloo Reservoir, the state’s smallest reservoir, is east of Port Pirie in the southern Flinders Ranges.

It offers shore-based fishing and is stocked with golden perch, silver perch and Murray cod. Once again, you’ll need a recreational fishing permit if you intend to fish. 

There’s a sheltered picnic area with barbeque facilities, and lots of birdlife to enjoy. Be mindful however that Beetaloo Reservoir is not open all year round, so check access details before you go. 

4. Mount Bold Reservoir


Mount Bold Reservoir, the largest reservoir in South Australia, is about 40 km south of Adelaide. The reserve is surrounded by more than 5,500 ha of land.

The area is mainly covered with stringybark woodland, but also has manna gum woodland, swamps and creeks. More than 160 native animals live in the area, including the southern brown bandicoot.

The reservoir doesn’t offer any specific recreational activities, but there’s a lookout and you will enjoy views of the impressive dam wall. There are also toilet facilities. 

5. Barossa Reservoir


The Barossa Reservoir is a popular tourist destination north of Adelaide, just an hour’s drive from the city centre. The reservoir is close to Williamstown and Gawler, just south of the Barossa Valley, making it a great day trip from Adelaide

This reservoir is famous for its Whispering Wall – the unusual acoustic phenomenon created by the shape and location of the dam wall. Sounds and voices, even a whisper, carry from one end of the wall to the other. So pack a picnic and take a secret to whisper to someone on the far side of the dam. The kids will love this.

6. Tod River Reservoir


The Tod River Reservoir is 27 km north of Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula, and an ideal spot for a barbeque picnic and a hit of tennis on the court.

You can also enjoy the view from the dam wall lookout and visit the local history museum which tells the story of water services in the area. 

7. Bundaleer Reservoir


Bundaleer Reservoir, near Spalding in the southern Flinders Ranges, is open for fishing. The reservoir is stocked with golden perch, silver perch, Murray cod, rainbow trout and brown trout.  With a recreational fishing permit, you can drop a line in from the shoreline inside the fishing zone. The area is also suitable for birdwatching. 

8. South Para Reservoir


South Para Reservoir Reserve is minutes away from Williamstown, south of the Barossa Valley, and is the second-largest reservoir in South Australia.

Bring along your mountain bike or hiking boots and follow the network of trails to explore the beautiful surrounds of the reservoir, or take to the water with your kayak or canoe for a short meander or a full-day adventure.

With a recreational fishing permit in hand you can cast your line out from the shoreline in the fishing zone, or on the water from your kayak or canoe. The reservoir is stocked with Murray cod (catch and release), golden perch and silver perch.

There are also two picnic areas, and one has toilet facilities. 

Future reservoir reserve openings

Along with these eight reservoir reserves that are open, more are in the pipeline including areas surrounding Happy Valley Reservoir (as part of the new Glenthorne National Park), and Hope Valley Reservoir. Expanded or new public access is also being considered for the reservoirs that are already open.

Top tip: It’s important to note that reservoir reserves are closed on days of total fire danger and on Christmas Day. So make sure you check access details and opening hours for each site before you head off, as some reservoirs are not open all year round.

Would you like some other ideas for how and where to spend time in nature? Read our stories about where to go whale-watching, national parks you can get to using Adelaide’s public transport, or for more of a getaway, 5 perfect parks for a winter escape.

This story was originally posted in June 2019.

Like what you just read? There’s plenty more where this came from. Make sure you don’t miss a post by subscribing to Good Living’s weekly e-news.


Log in to Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google to make a comment. If you would prefer not to log in you can still make a comment by selecting 'I'd rather post as a guest' after entering your name and email address.

Check our blog comments policy before posting.

This commenting service is powered by Disqus. Disqus is not affliated with the Department for Environment and Water