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Marino Conservation Park

Home > Adelaide > Escape the City | Family | Free | National Parks | Parks
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. Please click the link to Like my articles, and subscribe to see more. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au
Published November 8th 2013
Beware the chest hairs
park, conservation park, lighthouse, botanical, trail, marino, national parks, dog, cycling, bench
A Bench Seat in Marino Conservation Park


I do try hard in my articles to be positive, to show the best side of Adelaide and to encourage others to join me in exploring places in South Australia that they wouldn't normally go.

But this time it will be a struggle. Partly my own fault, but a struggle still.

It started on a recent hot day - the first 30 degree day for a while, and I was looking forward to the warm weather. My dog was pestering me to get out, and the alternative reserve I looked at going to stated please keep your pets at home.

park, conservation park, lighthouse, botanical, trail, marino, national parks, dog, cycling, entrance
The Entrance to Marino Conservation Park


Marino Conservation Park isn't far away and had the promise of a cool sea breeze, so after a detour to a bakery on Seacombe Road I headed for the hills of Marino.

The National Parks website mentions there are three pedestrian access points but coyly omits to say where they are. However a car park on Nimboya Road is mentioned and that's where I headed. I really should have used my GPS as nearly half the street signs seem to be missing in the area, but I eventually found the spot.

park, conservation park, lighthouse, botanical, trail, marino, national parks, dog, cycling, walking
Walking the Botanical Trail


My hopes of a shady car park melted in the hot sun, which felt rather over 30 degrees - there are no trees overhanging the small car park. Undeterred, dog and I set off along a narrow dirt track marked as the Botanical Trail.

We almost missed trail marker 2 (and several later) because of the long grass, but it didn't really matter as there was nothing to tell what the marker meant. It was only when I got home that I discovered that the Friends of Marino Conservation Park have a brochure online to guide visitors along the Botanical Trail.

park, conservation park, lighthouse, botanical, trail, marino, national parks, dog, cycling, marker
This Trail Marker Was Hard to See


While both National Parks and Marion Council websites refer to the botanical trail, only the Council has a link to download the brochure. The National Parks website also referred to designated dog walking trails but these don't exist, and the only picture on their website shows a pretty photo of Marino Rocks beach (which isn't even in the park).

I was on the lookout for birds or local fauna, but only saw a couple of pigeons and magpies. I did hear a very musical bird call several times, but it was coming from dense bushes so I couldn't find the bird.

park, conservation park, lighthouse, botanical, trail, marino, national parks, dog, cycling, uphill
The Trail Uphill to the Marino Rocks Lighthouse


The Botanical Trail widened at times to car width (probably doubling as a fire trail), but I still managed to miss a few markers and lost the trail at one point. Occasionally narrow paths branched off, with no indication why or where they were going. By the time we reached the Marino Lighthouse at the top of the hill, both dog and I had had enough, but weren't game to take a short cut through long grass (and possible snakes) to get back to the car.

While we had slowed down, the flies had not. They easily kept abreast - and behind, and all around - even in our nostrils.

park, conservation park, lighthouse, botanical, trail, marino, national parks, dog, cycling
Marino Rocks Lighthouse


Fortunately the trip back from the lighthouse was easy. I was relieved, as I had discovered a grass seed that was new to me (in addition to the normal types). This innocuous seed looks a bit like a curly chest or pubic hair, but has a needle sharp point and is very irritating when you collect several in your socks.

On returning to the Botanical Trail sign at the car park, I noticed a well placed bench seat nearby which I was grateful for. There are a few others scattered along the trail, but no other facilities at all. The nearest public toilets are at the beach, and of course BBQ facilities are not an option due to fire risk.

In retrospect I would have enjoyed this outing much more if I had taken the Botanical Trail guide with me. There were several plants that I wasn't sure were natives, and there is a lot more information in it that would have made the walk more enjoyable. I still wouldn't recommend a visit here on a hot day - at least do it early morning or on a cool evening when you will find it more pleasant.

park, conservation park, lighthouse, botanical, trail, marino, national parks, dog, cycling, flowering
A Flowering Plant in the Park


Full marks to the Friends of Marino Conservation Park for their plantings and park maintenance. Without their work this park south of Adelaide would not be very attractive at all, as it seems no other organisation maintains it.

Note that dogs are permitted here on leash, but cycling, horse riding and camping are not allowed.
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Why? Enjoy the sea views
When: Anytime
Where: Nimboya Road, Marino
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Love your stories Dave Walsh….also - regarding Coffee Palace in Hindley Street…upstairs used to house opium dens…Sister Ruth from Adelaide Mission used to care for these (sometimes dying) men We had five opium dens in that area of Adelaide at that time..the most of any Aust. city.
Really appreciate your photos. Diane dyoz@bigpond.com
by dyoz (score: 0|7) 2196 days ago
Well, your flowering plant is the weed 'scabious'. Sorry! But good (?) news! The grass seed you refer to would be from one of our lovely native spear grasses. Well named, no? Quite a pretty grass but you certainly want to avoid getting the seeds lodged in your clothing, or skin, or dog, for that matter.
by leann (score: 1|32) 2195 days ago
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