The Mount Crawford Forest is situated about an hours drive north of Adelaide amongst the Northern Adelaide Hills, just south of the Warren Reservoir. Both towns Gumeracha, well known as the home of the Big Rocking Horse and Williamstown bordering the Barossa Valley are close townships to the Mount Crawford Forest.
Land was first purchased for forestry at Mount Crawford in 1909. The plantation mainly consists of native eucalyptus species (South Australian Blue gum, Narrow leaved Ironbark) and Pine species (Maritime pine and Radiata), these plantations started to progress from 1914. The current reserve area is 12,367 hectares and the annual timber harvested at Mount Crawford is about 70,000 tonnes. Along with the impressive size and the beautiful and peaceful environment that surrounds, there are many activities you can do at Mount Crawford Forest. Many people come to enjoy the serenity such as campers, bushwalkers, cyclists, horse riders, fossickers or even those wishing to do a simple activity such as walking their pets throughout one of the many tracks.
Exploring the Mount Crawford Forest is a great adventure, and you are bound to come across some of the native wildlife. Regular sightings can include the Gray Kangaroo, bird life and feral deer. Conservation and bio-diversity are under constant protection at Mount Crawford Forest, so if you are to bring along your pet make sure to keep them on a leash and keep to the walking trails on your weekend outing. There is plenty to explore keeping to the permitted areas and trails, and this also ensures visitors, plantations in forest and the native wildlife are all kept safe. As you drive, walk, ride or cycle through the tracks you must also be conscious that there are multiple use trails in the forest so it's a good idea to always take due care.
Activities at Mount Crawford Forest.
Camping, Campgrounds and Picnic Areas: Campers must always use designated areas in the forest and must require a permit from the Mount Crawford Information Centre. Campers must also be very conscious of lighting fires, there are responsibilities to put camp fires out and for fires to be distant from flammable materials as well as keeping fires to a minimal size. At your campsite, wood for fires can be collected from the ground, any small pieces may be used but it is an offence to take from standing trees and shrubbery, if in need of more firewood you can obtain a permit. Other BBQ and picnic areas are sprawled across the forest, these include Gumeracha Agro Forestry car park, Mount Road Arboretum, Blue Gums, Tower Sailors Gully, Lone Pine and Red Gums. When camping it is always a good idea to ask about lighting fires at camp and to be taught all rules.
There are multiple campgrounds that are on offer as well as different facilities to hire. The campground areas are Chalks, Rocky Paddock and Centennial Drive. They are located in different areas of the forest amongst the plantations, but are only each a few kilometres from the information centre. They offer picnic tables, rainwater and toilets. Chalks camping ground and Centennial drive offer some sheltered area. If you wish to experience a night out in the forest but not a tent camper then there are sites with more facilities, such as the YHA area, Old Schoolhouse, Fromms Farm and Cromer Shed. These spots have shed areas for sleeping, with the schoolhouse offering an old historic building to sleep.
The Rocky Paddock camping site truly lives up to its name
Often there are local digs at the Mount Crawford Forest, there has been many to strike gold in the past and many try their luck today, with proving gold sites still existing . Fossicking is certainly a different activity to try out that will keep you intrigued and busy. Metal detectors, pans and sluicers are permitted for use, although you must require a permit and only dig in the assigned areas. So ask a family member if they have any equipment and try your luck at Mount Crawford.
Horse Riding: A network of tracks in the Mount Crawford Forest are available for horse riding. These tracks are usually multiple use tracks, therefore riding in a shared environment. Encounters can include walkers or cyclists or vehicles. It is enjoyable to see avid horse riders out enjoying the relaxed environment of the forest, it is a great place to take animals as long as they are all under full control. Horse owners must have a permit for taking horses into Mount Crawford, likewise to the other activities offered at the reserve.
Mount Crawford Forest is a great place to escape from your busy abode, explore and enjoy the tranquillity of the reserve. Whether you wish to stroll, drive or ride around the tracks and take in the scenery, or wish to get involved in the recreational activities and camp the night, the forest is sure to capture your attention and interest and is a great way to spend a weekend away. Find out more information here