Located 17km from Adelaide, the Montacute Conservation Park is 200 hectares of South Australian bush land with a diverse range of native birds and animals. Established in 1971, the Conservation Park incorporates sections of the Heysen and Mawson Trails.
Greeted near the entrance by a friendly kangaroo. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Small creeks run through the park, with creek banks lined by tall river red gums, with flowering plants and grasses closer to the ground. Sleepy lizards can often be seen sitting on the grass around the creeks on warmer days.
If you look carefully, you can find sleepy lizards resting in the grass. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Commencing from Gate 1 on Valley Road, the 6km loop trail passes 570 million year old Precambrian dolomite rocks along the undulating dirt path on Fire track 1B.
The steep sections of the trail can be challenging in places, although the kangaroos, which are a common sight throughout the park, seem to have little difficulty bounding up the slopes. For those who find steeper sections challenging, a pause to admire the views of the surrounding areas will make you glad you brought your camera, or disappointed that you didn't.
The well marked trail varies from easy to challenging. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Keep a lookout for the variety of bird life in the trees, including Cockatoos, Adelaide Rosellas and Fairy Wrens. The trail continues through the Stringybark and blue gums along Fire Track 1C. The pine tree plantation near Gate 9 signals the approach to the turning point onto Stone Hut Road. The Stonyfell Quartzite rock formations provide the backdrop to this section of the walking trail. To complete the trail, take fire track 15/1D and return to the start at Gate 1.
A great place for a nap;if you are a koala. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
The 2-hour loop trail through the rugged hills and bush land is not wheelchair or stroller friendly due to the undulating terrain and pets are not permitted in the Conservation Park. The park is open to the public 24/7, except on days of catastrophic and extreme fire danger.
Cockatoos and other birds watch from the trees. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Suitable for moderate levels of fitness, the well-marked trail will provide a challenge in some sections but your efforts will be rewarded with the opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife and great views.
You may even come across an Echidna, although once it sees you, it will scamper back into the bushes.