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Published October 9th 2015
Discovering the Fleurieu's secret waterfalls
There is something about waterfalls that creates excitement and anticipation within people. Perhaps it is the unknown as to how the waterfall is flowing after a period of rain or midway during a long hot summer. Maybe it is the mesmerising effect of water running over rocks and stones. Or could it just be the culmination of a walk or hike, often over some interesting terrain.
For me, I was all of the above when I saw the road sign in Normanville that suggested it was 10km along the Hay Flat Road to the Ingalalla Waterfalls. A quick check on Google and it was noted as an all-weather waterfall and also pet-friendly, so off we went. Hay Flat Road has a couple of kilometres of bitumen before becoming an easy-to-traverse gravel road for the remainder up to the entrance of the surprisingly large picnic grounds.
Situated alongside the Second Valley Forest Reserve, the picnic ground surrounding the car park comprises a constructed shelter, several tables and chairs and numerous large trees including some beautiful deciduous ones to create shade in summer and light in winter.
The waterfall is a short 300m walk alongside an unnamed creek that originates in this forest near one of South Australia's coolest towns in Parawa. Constant seabreezes keep the temperature down, and a forest environment retains moisture thus guaranteeing a constant supply of water along the creek all year around.
A small wooden bridge and another set of picnic tables set amongst more trees and alongside the creek provide further places to relax and appreciate the environment about halfway along the walk. And being spring we were greeted with some beautiful wild lilies growing almost everywhere, and fighting the ferns for sunlight and attention.
The lower waterfall is soon reached and a quick cross of the creek provides access to the best views. Sitting approximately 10m tall the waterfall has a solid and constant flow of water creating that steady crashing noise and a great mist of water spray. The pond where the water crashes in to is small yet dark, making it difficult to determine its depth and whether it is suitable for a dip or not.
A steep path to the left of the waterfall takes the adventurous up to the upper waterfall, which like its lower neighbour is gushing strongly and sparkling in the spring sunshine. Again the water is clear, yet the dark rocks of the waterfall and pond mean that depth analysis can only occur through the dipping of toes, something we didn't try.
Having completed the fast walk to the waterfalls it was now time to dawdle back along the trail to the picnic area and take some time to see the pieces we missed on the first pass. The tall radiata pine of the forest create a shelter for the lilies, ferns and other sprinklings of wildflowers, and contribute to climate required to facilitate the all weather running of this waterfall.
The Ingalalla Waterfalls are one of the Fleurieu's hidden secrets. Less than 10 minutes from Normanville, the Waterfalls are worth a look and with ample picnic facilities (no toilets), they are worthy of an extended stay. The Yankalilla Tourist Information Centre advises that the waterfall runs all year around, albeit it has its greatest and most spectacular flows following the winter and spring rains.
Very disappointed to arrive with what looks like a nuclear detonation of the pine forestry all cleared around the entry to falls. Could council approach state government to purchase land to make the entry attractive. Further the entire Ingalala area needs a good weed and more planting of natives.
Otherwise a very small area of pleasant respite from otherwise barren land.