Morialta Conservation Park

  • Picnic Areas
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Public Transport
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Rock Climbing
  • Dogs on Lead
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
Alerts 1

Other alert

Visiting the new Morialta Play Space? Click here for parking information and ranger tips.
Details >

Morialta-firstfalls-hero.jpg
morialta-playspace-hero.jpg
Morialta-thirdfalls2-hero.jpg
morialta-lookout-hero.jpg
Morialta-rock-climbing3-hero.jpg
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. 

Accessibility

Facilities

Parking

There is accessible parking located at these locations within the park:

  • One accessible carpark at the Natural Resource Centre.
  • Three accessible carparks at the Stradbroke Road carpark and picnic area.
  • Three accessible carparks at the First Falls carpark.
Toilets

There are accessible toilets located at the first falls car park and at the Stradbroke Road car park.

  • One accessible (right hand) toilet at Mukanthi Playspace.
  • One accessible toilet at the First Falls carpark.

See and do

Trails
Morialta Falls Valley Walk (1.6km)

The trail rises gently on a wide hard packed gravel trail to just below the first falls. The last section is on a boardwalk to below the falls.

Fourth Creek Trail

The first half of the trail is compacted gravel, and the second half is bitumen, both about 1 meter wide. The trail is suitable for prams, although there is a short incline near the start, just beyond the Morialta Playground and after the footbridge.

Playground and picnic area

Watch the kids explore the Mukanthi playspace whilst you enjoy an open-air picnic. The playspace is located near accessible parking, toilets and barbecue areas.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

As per the dogs in parks and reserves policy, if the dog is not an accredited assistance dog, they must be trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate that disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a dog in a public place. However, refusal may be given if the person with the disability is unable to produce evidence the dog is an assistance dog with the appropriate training.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park that does not normally allow dogs, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or call the information line on (+61 8) 8204 1910.

Dogs allowed (on lead in designated areas)

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.

Please ensure you:

  • Keep your dog under control and on a lead no more than two metres in length.
  • Stick to designated walking trails.
  • Bring disposable bags to clean up your dog’s faeces (please be aware there are no bins in national parks).

Dogs are not permitted in other areas of the park.

Discover other parks you can walk your dog in on our find a park tool or read 12 dog-friendly walks in Adelaide Parks by Good Living for inspiration.

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 is 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 peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, 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. 

There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations.  At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia. 

European 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.
  • Check out Nature Play SA's 40 things to do in Morialta Conservation Parks.

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.

Mukanthi playspace

 

Adelaide’s biggest playground at Stradbroke Road picnic area, in Morialta Conservation Park, just 10km from the city. There are five play areas to explore: Frog Island, Eagle’s Perch, Great Snake, Bird Nests, climbing boulders, paths and climbing trees.

For more than 100 years Morialta Conservation Park has been a favourite escape for Adelaide families. The playspace is set to inspire a new generation of park visitors with a focus on natural materials and experiences to challenge a range of ages. Climb giant nests at different heights at the Birds Nest area, discover an Aboriginal fire pit at Frog Island, find the secret tunnel at Great Snake and reach the peak at Eagle’s Perch.

The reviews are in from Adelaide’s playground experts, who are calling the new space “gorgeous” and “a brilliant outcome”.

“This play space is sure to be a favourite and makes Morialta Conservation Park a must visit destination for South Australian families and visitors alike.” Play and Go Adelaide

“Well done guys, it is our favourite Adelaide national park and we are so happy that you have designed a nature playground that is sympathetic to the environment, suits the park that we know and have loved forever and pretty much that the state of SA is better for having this gorgeous play space. I know this will be destination number one to take our next interstate and overseas visitor families!” Baby and Toddler Destinations Adelaide

The playground has been designed by Climbing Tree and incorporates suggestions from Linden Park Primary School children who entered a State Government competition last year to design a national park using the Minecraft computer game.

The upgrades to Morialta Conservation Park are part of a raft of changes to parks across the metropolitan area. We’re spending more than $10 million on new facilities. In 2015 we asked you what would make you visit parks more often and you told us you wanted more walking and cycling trails, public toilets, barbecue and picnic areas, and playgrounds – so that’s what we’re building.

The playspace is located near accessible parking, toilets and barbecue areas amid the park’s existing network of bush walking, mountain biking and rock climbing trails.

Rock climbing and abseiling

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. It is a popular spot for both experienced and beginner climbers, and offers both top rope and lead climbing.

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 parking space is available on the northern side of the road.

Rock climbing and abseiling have the potential to be dangerous and care must be taken. It is recommended that you are suitably skilled in these activities or are guided by a qualified trainer.

Those intending to undertake these activities are reminded that they do so at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety.

The reliability of any existing fixed protection (bolts, etc.) or rock surfaces is not guaranteed. Rock faces may have loose rocks that could fall. Climbers are reminded to take adequate safety precautions when undertaking these activities.

Use holdfasts to tie off in preference to trees. If trees must be used, please ensure tree protection is used.

Check out The Crag for specific information on rock climbing routes and grades. 

Teach and learn resources

If you are looking to visit Morialta Conservation Park for educational purposes, you might like to check out our Morialta Conservation Park education pack and the Morialta Conservation Park kids pack.

These were developed for schools and families by park rangers and the Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges’ NRM Education team.

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

  • Use Find a Park to discover which parks you can camp in.

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.

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

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.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • 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.

Dogs

Why does my dog need to be on a lead?

If your dog is off lead, it is more likely to impact on native wildlife and other visitors in a park and be at risk itself.

Risks to wildlife:

  • Dogs off tracks will leave a scent in the bush that will keep wildlife away.
  • Uncontrolled dogs may frighten wildlife and disrupt their natural behaviour.
  • Some dogs will kill or injure wildlife.

Risks to other park visitors

  • Dogs may be aggressive to other park visitors.
  • Even friendly dogs can knock people over causing injury.
  • Some people want to enjoy parks without dogs.

Risks to your dog

  • Poison baits may be laid to control foxes. Baits can be fatal to dogs.
  • Even if your dog is friendly, other dogs may not be.
  • Your dog can catch parasites (such as fleas and ticks) from wildlife.
  • Snake bites are a real risk in natural areas such as parks.
  • Wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas will defend themselves if threatened by a dog and can cause significant injury to or the death of your dog.

European wasps

European wasps are common throughout the Adelaide and Adelaide Hills area. They are about the same size as a bee, but are easily identifiable by their bright yellow body, triangular black markings and are less hairy.

If you see a European wasp, leave it alone – it will only attack if provoked. Unlike a bee, which can only sting once, the European wasp can sting repeatedly.

Although they are painful, wasp stings rarely cause serious problems. However, the venom contains toxins that can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Tips to prevent being stung

  • Cover food and drink during a barbecue or picnic.

  • Don’t drink straight from a can or bottle.  Use clear containers or drink from a straw.

  • Don’t leave used plates and picnic-ware exposed.

  • If you see one, leave it alone and don’t panic.

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

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 12 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 not just for this park, but up to an additional 10 parks as well!

Venue hire

Morialta Resource Centre venue hire

Up to 4 hours: $123
Full day (more than four hours): $220
Full day (educational institutions): $112

Phone for bookings: (+61 8) 8336 0901  

PDF Park Brochure
Alerts 1

Other alert

Visiting the new Morialta Play Space? Click here for parking information and ranger tips.
Details >