Waterfalls - Nature Play SA

Adelaide’s top 7 family waterfall walks

By Claire Lock

 

 

Worried about the kids climbing the walls these holidays? Never fear! Winter is the perfect time to rug up and release all that pent-up energy on South Australia’s magical waterfall trails.

 

From short strolls to hikes that will challenge the most active of families, we’re sharing seven of Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula’s most coveted waterfall locations.

 

Trust us, the kids will agree #ItsBetterOutside in no time.

1. Morialta Falls

 

Three tumbling waterfalls, a Giants Cave, rugged ridges, and flowing creek lines make Morialta Conservation Park a firm favourite for winter outings. (Fun fact: the name ‘Morialta’ comes from the Kaurna phrase ’moriatta’, meaning ‘ever-flowing’)

 

Distance from Adelaide: 10 km northeast

Parking and amenities: Parking and public toilets available

Trail options: Morialta Falls Valley Walk is an easy wander to the 30 metre-tall First Falls (1.7km return, 45 mins). For moderate walks, try Second Falls Gorge Hike (5.3km, 2.5 hours) or Three Falls Grand Hike which takes you to all three waterfalls (7.3km, 3.5 hours)

 

More things to do: Morialta is a well-loved spot for picnicking, playing at Mukanthi Play Space, bushwalking, creek adventures, bird and wildlife watching. Explore more Morialta nature play ideas here.

2. Waterfall Gully

 

The 30 metre fall at Waterfall Gully is a sight to behold in winter, earning recognition as the most impressive and accessible of seven waterfalls within Cleland Conservation Park.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 8km east

Parking and amenities: Parking, public toilets, café available

Trail options: Stroll 300m to First Falls and – for little legs that can make it further – head 500m up-trail to Second Falls. Families up for an iconic challenge can tackle a hard hike from Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty Summit (7.8km return, 1.5 – 3 hours)

 

More things to do: Take in panoramic views of Adelaide from Mt Lofty. Keep your eyes peeled for endangered Southern Brown Bandicoots, winter wildflowers, and birdlife on the Summit hike. Enjoy a warm cuppa at Waterfall Gully or Mt Lofty cafes.

 

3. Belair Waterfall Hike

 

The Lower and Upper Falls in Belair National Park only flow after heavy rainfall but don’t let this infrequency deter you: the trail will guide you through the mysterious Echo Tunnel and along ridgelines with awe-inspiring treetop views.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 13km south

Parking and amenities: Parking and toilets are located at the Pines Picnic Ground

Trail options: Waterfall Hike is a steep moderate loop walk taking you to both falls (6.5km, 3 hours)

 

More things to do: Test why Echo Tunnel gets its name (packing a torch is also fun). Look for koalas, kangaroos, and winter fungi. Pack a hot thermos and snacks for a pitstop. See what else you can discover in Adelaide’s oldest National Park here.

 

4. Ingalalla Falls

 

Take in the Second Valley pine forest and local bushland as you stroll to this special Fleurieu Peninsula waterfall, nestled amongst cliffs and trees.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 85 km south (10 km south of Normanville)

Parking and amenities: Car park, picnic tables. No toilet facilities

Trail options: Ingalalla Falls is an easy, flat walk from the carpark (0.5km, 45 mins return)

 

More things to do: Listen to the Upper and Lower Falls, balance upon rocks and logs, relax over a picnic, and explore the bridge and creek line. Search for fungi and observe birds like the Superb Fairywren and New Holland Honeyeater.

5. Hindmarsh Falls

Another Fleurieu Peninsula treasure, Hindmarsh Falls cascade 20 – 25 metres over numerous pools, offering an accessible winter waterfall for families of all ages.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 70 km south (10 km from Victor Harbor)

Parking and amenities: Upper and lower carparking available. No toilet facilities

Trail options: Hindmarsh Falls are a short undulating walk from the carpark (0.2km, 15 mins)

 

More things to do: Take in views from the lookout. Relax with a picnic or hot thermos at the tables and lawns provided. Find blooming wattle flowers in the bushland. Listen and spot birdlife like White Browed Scrubwrens and Striated Thornbills.

6. Deep Creek Waterfall

 

Soak up spectacular bushland and coastal views hiking to this secluded waterfall and waterhole oasis in the heart of Deep Creek Conservation Park.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 100km south

Parking and amenities: Toilets are available at Trig campground (start of Tent Rock trail)

Trail options: Two main options are available for families – try the steep, moderate grade hike from Tent Rock Road (Trig Campground, 4km return, 2 hours) or step it up a notch with a steep hard hike from Tapanappa Lookout (6.6km return, 3.5 hours)

 

More things to do: Enjoy a packed lunch and balancing on rocks by the waterhole. Marvel at giant Grass Trees, orchids, and winter wildflowers along the trails. Enjoy the Falls as a day trip or book to camp in nearby Trig or Tapanappa grounds. Find more ideas here.

 

Image: Claire Lock

7. Sturt Gorge Falls

 

After heavy rains, explore the ancient rock formations and tiered waterfall in Sturt Gorge (in winter you may also encounter small waterfalls flowing down the gorge into the River).

 

Distance from Adelaide: 13km south of CBD

Parking and amenities: No facilities

Trail options: Follow the Magpie Creek Trail (1km, 30 mins) to find the waterfall. For a longer hike, the River Trail also meanders past the waterfall (this 8 km trail can easily be broken into smaller sections for families)

 

More things to do: Admire the Sturt River, geological formations, and grassy woodlands. Balance upon logs and scramble across rocks. Listen for frogs and different sounds of moving water. Observe the world from the Sturt Gorge Dam wall. Find more ideas here.

 

 

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Discover why #ItsBetterOutside these school holidays with more handy tips and ideas for families.