Take a walk in Para Wirra Conservation Park: the Mack Creek Hike

Explore a new walking trail each month in one of South Australia’s national parks. Here’s one to try next.

The Mack Creek Hike is a challenging hike in Para Wirra Conservation Park, which is located 41km north of Adelaide.

Starting at the carpark of the West Gate entrance, this 7.5km hike will take you about 4 hours to complete.

It follows the Mack Creek, where it guides you through a variety of habitats, and takes you from the top of the ridge down to the valley below, which is lined with river red gums.

If you don’t feel like tackling the entire 7.5km, you can walk up Ruins Track through a tough uphill section that will ultimately shorten the hike.

The park’s rangers can’t recommend this hike enough – it offers something a bit different compared to the rest of the park.

The hike follows a nice stretch of the creek where there are some beautiful views over the water, and there are lots of little rock ferns, lichens and watercourse plants to see along the way.

It’s also quieter in this area of the park, with a few lush green open grassy areas to take a break or enjoy a distant view of Adelaide (from the upper north side of the loop).

If you tackle this hike in spring, keep your eyes peeled – wildflowers and an assortment of orchids are in full bloom.

Your four legged friends are also welcome to join you on this hike as Para Wirra is a dog-friendly national park. Just make sure you keep your dog on a lead no more than 2m long and stick to the designated walking trails.

Learn more about exploring national parks with your dog in our story: Everything you need to know about taking dogs in SA’s national parks.

Getting there

Para Wirra Conservation Park has several entrances, with the main entrance being via the West Gate of off Humbug Scrub Road at Yattalunga.  

Before you go download the park map via the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA website or download it on the Avenza Map App. This app uses your phone's in-built GPS to place your location directly onto the map.

Read our story to learn how it works.

What else can you do in Para Wirra Conservation Park?

There are so many things to see and do in Para Wirra Conservation Park:

Camping

The Wirra Campground is the perfect camping spot if you’re looking for somewhere close to Adelaide.  

Situated at the eastern end of the park, among the pink gums, grass trees and hop bush, this campground has 19 campsites, including six that are suitable for small campervans (RVs) and camper trailers.

All of the campsites at Wirra Campground are wheelchair accessible. They are on flat ground with a compacted gravel surface.

Toilets, a basic camp kitchen and gas barbecues are also on hand, and fire pits are located at each campsite for use outside the fire ban season.

Mountain biking

For the adventurous type, why not take on one of the mountain biking trails and explore the park by bike.

Specially designated shared-use trails in the main central area of the park allow families to explore the park at an easy pace.

They also provide links to the most popular features of the park, including the lake, the nature play forest, the Gawler View Picnic Area, The Knob Lookout and the Wirra Campground.

Picnicking

The park is open daily and three of its picnic areas have toilet facilities – Gawler View Picnic Area, the Wirra Picnic area and the Hissey Picnic Area – so it’s a convenient spot for a get-together with family and friends.

Playspace

Here’s something the kids will love – the Natureplay Forest. Located in the Gawler View Picnic Area, the playspace has plenty to explore including climbing trees, the dry creek bed, rope and sand play, a tunnel run and rocky amphitheatre, as well as a very popular and long flying fox.

Para Wirra Conservation Park is National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia’s Park of the Month for September. Read our blogs on How to spend a weekend in Para Wirra Conservation Park and Ranger Tips: Para Wirra Conservation Park.   

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