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Horsnell Gully Waterfall Hike

Home > Adelaide > Free | Photography | Rainy Day | Walks
by Reductio ad absurdum (subscribe)
I walk around Adelaide with a camera and a tripod. www.edmundkhoophotography.com Getty Images: https://tinyurl.com/ycg9zne3
Published July 4th 2020
Do you want to climb a waterfall?
When a winter morning dawns dark and overcast with clouds haemorrhaging sheets of biting drizzle - the conditions are perfect for waterfall photography.

The Atlantis of Adelaide's waterfalls is Horsnell Gully Waterfall, situated approximately 10km east of the CBD at the end of Horsnell Gully Road near the Hanson White Quarry.

To hope to glimpse this whimsical wonder requires the confluence of multiple fugacious factors; a day in winter or spring after rainfall, waterproof footwear or resignation to wet feet and socks, adequate cartilage in one's knees, and an acceptance that the signage is poor and the path is overgrown.

Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Trail from the Car Park


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Earth Ball fungus (I think) at the beginning of the trail


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
There are hundreds of these grapefruit sized things!


Getting soaked - by steady drizzle, squeezing past wet leaves and branches, or from the waterfall itself, is inevitable.

Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Main Valley Trail


Accept these conditions and it's one of the few experiences in Adelaide where you can climb up a waterfall.

From a small car park next to a quarry, follow the sign "Main Valley Walking Trail to Waterfalls and Coach Road." There are few if any signs other than warnings about loose and slippery surfaces after that.

Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Stream crossings during the walk make for some fun photographs


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Slippery Stream Crossing


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Small stream photography


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Playing with perspective


From there, it's a slippery stumble through a trail requiring some stream crossings (be careful with loose wet stones) in an approximate half-hour scramble made more challenging by rain, mud, anxiety about the weatherproofing of your phone and whether you can get back before the park gates shut at sunset.

Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
The Horsnell Gully Waterfall


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
The Horsnell Gully Waterfall


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Climb a Waterfall


While the car park is often full, I've rarely encountered anyone on the trail in winter. As one approaches the waterfall, the sound of birds and wind rustling through leaves fades before a warbling crescendo of water. Seeing the waterfall itself evokes a haunting sense of adventure and solitude, the icy chill of wet clothes forgotten.

Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
The climb down


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
A fleeting moment of light


The fall of water, even after heavy rainfall, is gentle, tumbling and bubbling down a series of small rocky ledges. It's a short ten to fifteen-minute ascent alongside. Some of the tiny cascades end in small pools of sand-like miniature infinity lagoons fed by multiple rivulets.

Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Stone textures


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Collared Earth Star fungi


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Horsnell Gully Waterfall


Horsnell Gully Waterfall Adelaide Waterfall Park Hike Weekend Adventure wildlife south australia tourist destination
Foreground Flow


I've only hiked the rest of the trail a few times. Sitting by one of the small pools, with the steady soundtrack of falling water behind, and watching an overcast sky ahead fracture with argent beams of golden sunlight, is where my trail ends.


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Why? To climb a waterfall
When: Daylight hours
Where: Horsnell Gully Road, approximately 10km east of the CBD
Cost: Free
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