I walk around Adelaide with a camera and a tripod.
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.
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.
Stream crossings during the walk make for some fun photographs
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.
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.
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.
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.