Cleland Conservation Park

  • Accomm
  • Picnic Areas
  • Kiosk
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Public Transport
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Walking Trails
  • Cycling
PDF Park Brochure
Alerts 1

Trail closure

From Dec 2017 – September 2018, major restoration work will be done along the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail - detours will be in place at certain times.
Details >

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Cleland Conservation Park park locator map

The park features the internationally popular Cleland Wildlife Park, Mt Lofty Summit and the scenic Waterfall Gully, all of which can be explored using the extensive network of walking and cycling trails.

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

About

Cleland Conservation Park conserves an important area of bushland situated in the Adelaide Hills face zone. A fantastic network of walking and cycling trails introduces you to the diverse native wildlife, cultural heritage and spectacular views of the Adelaide Hills and surrounds. 

One of South Australia's most popular walking trails traverses this unique area from Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty Summit.

There is also a selection of trails and fire tracks where you can ride your bike on shared use trails within the park. Some of these popular trails include the Cleland link trail between Crafers and Mt Lofty, Wine Shanty trail, Chambers and Adventure loops.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

However, some of the attractions within the park have varied opening hours:

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. 

Contact details

Belair National Park Information Office

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

or

Natural Resource Centre - Black Hill

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

Regional Duty Officer: 0427 556 676

When to visit

Although this park is great to visit all your round, visiting in winter and spring will ensure waterfalls are flowing and the moss and fern filled valleys are flourishing with new life. 

Getting there

Cleland Conservation Park is located 22km south east of Adelaide. Major access points are via Mount Lofty Summit Road and Waterfall Gully Road, however a number of other access points off Greenhill and Old Mt Barker Roads are available depending on where you want to walk or ride.

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

Waterfall Gully

At Waterfall Gully there are lookout platforms, toilets, picnic shelter, foot paths, information and seating provided. The location of these facilities can be found within our park maps.

Utopia restaurant provides beverages and meals and can be contacted for bookings.

Mt Lofty Summit

At Mt Lofty Summit, a lookout area, toilets, walking trails, information and seating are provided. The location of these facilities can be found within our park maps.

Cleland Wildlife Park

Cleland Wildlife Park has extensive facilities to make your visit as enjoyable as possible.

Please note public transport is available to the Mt Lofty Summit area and Cleland Wildlife Park only.

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

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

On the 27th of March 1802, Matthew Flinders, sailing of the south coast of South Australia, sighted Mount Lofty.  Some time after, in 1831, Captain Collett Barker and two associates, Kent and Davis, made the first European ascent of Mount Lofty. They noted in this climb that one tree had a girth of nearly 15 metres, which introduced the area for logging.

Construction of roads started in 1839 with the development of the Waterfall Gully Road and then Greenhill Road in 1858 allowing improved access. Land ownership is difficult to trace, however, in 1856, Arthur Hardy used the land for sheep grazing and was known for building Mount Lofty House. He was reputed as being one of Adelaide's richest men of the time.

Sir Samuel Davenport owned much of Cleland Conservation Park in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Davenport was instrumental in establishing orchards and gardens in the gullies, where he tried growing imported plants such as tobacco, mulberry trees for silk worms, and grapes. Davenport continued to graze sheep in the northern section of the park and employed a shepherd named John Keir, whose cottage ruins are still evident in Cleland today.

Despite many changes to the landscape from mining, logging and grazing, Waterfall Gully was noted as a place of amusement and recreation of the public. The area was managed by the City of Burnside and became a National Pleasure Resort in 1912. It was at this time the kiosk (Utopia restaurant today) was built. It wasn't until the 1960s and the continued efforts of JB Cleland to protect its conservation value that it became the Cleland Wildlife Reserve in 1963.

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.

  • Visit Cleland during winter and spring to experience the creeks and waterfalls that exist in the park at their best.
  • Challenge yourself on one of South Australia's most popular walking trails - Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit.
  • Admire the views of both Mount Lofty and Adelaide whilst walking and riding along numerous trails throughout the park.
  • Admire fauna within the park ranging from a variety of birdlife such as superb blue wrens, grey fantails and white throated tree creepers. you can also see foraging mammals such as the echidna and the endangered southern brown bandicoot. You may even be lucky to spot a sleepy koala or two.

Bushwalking

Walks in the park range from easy walks to more challenging hikes like the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit hike. While you're bushwalking in the park, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of native woodlands and forests, perched swamps and waterfalls.

Easy walks

  • Discovery Walk (40 mins, 1km)

    Discover the vegetation just below the Mt Lofty summit lookout.

    Take a photograph for citizen science at the fire monitoring station or just sit, relax and take in the view on the number of seats provided.

Moderate hikes

  • Crafers to Mt Lofty link trail (2 hr 30 mins, 4.5km)

    This newly formed trail provides an excellent alternative for visitors to walk or ride from Crafers to Mt Lofty summit avoiding the busy roads to get there. Starting opposite the Crafers bus stop, visitors can experience the serenity of the bush by walking or riding through Cleland Conservation Park. The trail consists of natural surfaces, existing fire tracks and areas of well formed trails.

  • Harford Trail (1 hour, 1.5km)

    This link provides access between Cleland Wildlife Park and Mt Lofty summit.

  • Measdays loop (2 hrs, 4km)

    Hike or ride on existing fire tracks and be introduced to some unique areas of Cleland Conservation Park.

    Starting from Measdays lookout, this trail follows the land contour gradually ending up in the creek line valley below. During the winter months you will be rewarded with the constant babble of a flowing creek.

  • Pioneer Women's Trail (1 hour 30 mins, 2km)

    Skirting the southern part of the Cleland Conservation Park, this trail provides sweeping views of the natural bush.

Hard hikes

  • Adventure loop (3 hr 30 mins, 10km)

    A great alternative loop trail to Mt Lofty summit for those wanting to get away from the crowds. This trail passes through areas of rocky creek lines and tall stringybark forest.

    It follows a walking trail and then a fire track before joining the Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty Summit trail. This trail has natural rough surfaces and is be steep in parts.

  • Bilba hike (1 hour, 1.5km)

    This short well formed trail link provides access from the Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike to Cleland Wildlife Park.

  • Chambers hike (2 hr 30 mins, 7km)

    Starting from Chambers Gully this loop trail winds its way up from the gully and enters Cleland at long ridge track. Once on the top follow the trail back down Bartrils Spur. This trail has natural rough surfaces and is be steep in parts.

  • Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Hike (2 hr 30 mins, 4.5km one way)

  • On almost any morning of the year the trail attracts a range of people: some casually walking, others using it as a training walk, some runners, and others with heavy-simulated packs training for distant hiking locations like Nepal. As the walk involves some steep sections, the time taken to walk the trail can vary significantly.

  • On a busy weekend, car parking at Waterfall Gully can be limited.

  • Please note, from December 2017 – August 2018, major restoration work will be done along the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail. More information and a detour map are available here.

  • Wine Shanty hike (4 hrs, 10km)

    This challenging hike/ride follows existing fire tracks through a variety of vegetation types of stringybark and blue gum woodlands.

    It traverses through cool, moist gullies with unique scenic value. Be on the lookout for Black Cockatoos feeding on the Oyster Bay Pines.

  • Yurrebilla Trail (2 hr 30 mins, 4.5km)

    This trail traverses the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges and passes through parts of Cleland Conservation Park.

Treks

  • Heysen Trail (1 hr 30 mins, 2km)

    This long distance trail passes through parts of Cleland Conservation Park.

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.

Check back here often, there are a lot of new trails under construction right now.

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.

  • Adventure trail (5km)

    A great alternative trail to Mt Lofty summit for those wanting to get away from the crowds. This trail traverses the Chinaman's Hut track and passes through areas of rocky creek lines and tall stringybark forest.

    It follows a fire track before joining up with the Measday's Trail. This trail has natural rough surfaces and is be steep in parts.

  • Chambers loop trail (7km)

    Starting from Chambers Gully this loop trail winds its way up from the gully and joins the Wine Shanty ride. Follow the Wine Shanty ride where the trail enters Cleland Wildlife Park car park at long ridge track. Once on the top follow Long Ridge track to the Bartrils Spur track and return back to Chambers Gully. 

    This trail has natural rough surfaces and is be steep in parts.

  • Pioneer Women's Trail (2km)

    Skirting the southern part of the Cleland Conservation Park, this trail provides sweeping views of the natural bush.

  • Wine Shanty trail hike (10km)

    The trail starts at either Long Ridge Track or Gate 6 Greenhill Road. This challenging ride follows existing fire tracks through a variety of vegetation types of stringybark and blue gum woodlands.

    It traverses through cool, moist gullies with unique scenic value. Be on the lookout for Black Cockatoos feeding on the Oyster Bay Pines.

Easy

  • Measdays loop (4km)

    Ride on existing fire tracks and be introduced to some unique areas of Cleland Conservation Park.

    Starting from Measdays lookout, this trail follows the land contour gradually ending up in the creek line valley below. During the winter months you will be rewarded with the constant babble of a flowing creek.

  • Crafers to Mt Lofty link trail (1 hr 30 mins, 4.5km)

    This newly formed trail provides an excellent alternative for visitors to walk or ride from Crafers to Mt Lofty summit avoiding the busy roads to get there. Starting opposite the Crafers bus stop, visitors can experience the serenity of the bush by walking or riding through Cleland Conservation Park. The trail consists of natural surfaces, existing fire tracks and areas of well formed trails.

Attractions

Cleland Conservation Park is well known for three iconic places located within it. Please visit the park pages below for specific information on each of these unique sights.

Stay in the park

Accommodation is available at the Mt Lofty YHA located in the park.

Flora

The flora on the higher slopes is predominantly stringybark forest with a complex understorey of small trees and shrubs. The lower woodlands on the northern side of the park contain significant stands of blue gums and manna gum which give way to open grasslands.

Fauna

The fauna within the park ranges from a variety of birdlife, such as superb blue wrens, grey fantails and white throated tree creepers, to foraging mammals, such as the echidna and the endangered southern brown bandicoot. You may be lucky enough to see kangaroos bounding along in the distance and keep your eyes open for sleepy koalas high in the trees.

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

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

  • When hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • Make sure you have appropriate weather clothing
  • Carry enough 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, but also to prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park

Throughout the park there are emergency markers set up on trail markers which refer to information on a map indicating grid references.  Please use these in an event of an emergency

Mountain biking

To protect the surrounding environment and to ensure the safety of all riders and shared trail users, please be aware of the international Trail Users Code of Practice when using shared trails. Important points to remember include:

  • plan your ride
  • comply with all signs
  • ride only on formed tracks/trails
  • share the trail - obey give way rules
  • avoid riding in wet, muddy conditions
  • ride lightly and leave no trace or rubbish
  • control your bike within your limits
  • clean your bike to avoid the spread of weeds or plant diseases
  • carry sufficient food and drinking water
  • respect the rights of others
  • tell others about the code

Fire

Gas fires are permitted in designated areas only (other than on days of total fire ban). Designated areas include Waterfall Gully and Cleland Wildlife Park car parking area. Gas barbecues are available in shelters in the Cleland Wildlife Park car parking area, or you may bring your own gas barbecue.

Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited all year round.

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. 

Water

Swimming is not permitted at the base of the waterfall at Waterfall Gully.

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

Fees

Entry fees

You can enter this park for free, however fees apply for entry to Cleland Wildlife Park (located within Cleland Conservation Park) and also to park at Mount Lofty Summit.

Park pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

Camping and accommodation

Accommodation is available at the Mt Lofty YHA located in the park. Refer to their website for a list of fees.

Other fees and permits

There are no other fees or permits associated with this park. 

PDF Park Brochure
Alerts 1

Trail closure

From Dec 2017 – September 2018, major restoration work will be done along the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail - detours will be in place at certain times.
Details >