Morialta Falls Conservation Park is one of Adelaide's most popular and natural areas. The park is incredibly accessible, as it is only 10km from the city. Hikers and rock climbers enjoy and appreciate Morialta on a daily basis.
But many people flock to the park without really knowing much about it. Sure, they might be able to tell you what hiking track is their favourite, or the quickest time they can run up to the First Falls and back. However, could they tell you anything about the history or significance of the land?
This list gives just a few facts that you might not know about Morialta so that you aren't like the people above. You can even use some of these facts to impress your friends next time you visit the location.
The word Morialta actually derives from the Indigenous word Moriatta - meaning 'ever-flowing creek'.
The water in Morialta Falls was once of great value and importance to the Kaurna (pronounced 'Garna') Indigenous people. Before 1840 and during the mid-1800's, Morialta was a reliable place to gather food and water.
It's important that when you explore the region, you respect the fauna and flora. It is still very significant to the Kaurna people.
Fourth Creek (which is the main creek flowing nearby the hiking paths) is quite different compared to creeks in other conservation areas in South Australia. Instead of being converted to a concrete drain, it has been essentially left in its natural state.
In fact, a lot of Morialta Falls is untouched by man. Of course, there have been some changes such as the creation of paths and development for recreational public use.
4) It's got history that goes back far before your time
A lot of the action in Morialta was occurring before Europeans had even set foot on Australia (or the world). Geologists say that millions of years ago, this section of South Australia was actually covered by sea. The rocks and landscapes were formed under water.
Then, about 50 million years ago, movements in the Earth's crust pushed the land and rocks upward to create the Mount Lofty Ranges.
In the late 1800s, European settlers planted willow and poplar trees near the lower reaches of Fourth Creek near Stradbroke Road. It was an attempt to recreate a landscape similar to that in Europe. In 1914, Morialta became a National Pleasure Resort.
5) It's the 'difficult' landscape that has kept it so natural
If it weren't for the interesting and challenging landscape of Morialta, with both its high peaks and low valleys, the entire area probably would have been converted to residential suburbs. Being only 20 minutes from the city, it is prime real estate.
Thankfully, many of the rocks and terrain prove too challenging to cut through or mould differently.
Nowadays, the conservation park is acknowledged as an important natural element of South Australia. It is home to thousands of species, and an unbeatable recreational destination for hikers and rock climbers.
6) It's all thanks to volunteers
Most of the people that work long and hard to maintain Morialta's beauty are volunteers. This includes the: Friends of Black Hill and Morialta Inc; Morialta Residents Association; local schools; and, Athelstone Kiwanis and Lions Clubs.
It has not been simple to protect the area over the years. There are often threats from introduced plants and animals. For example, over 187 different pest plants have been recorded.
In the 21st century, there has been a number of measures taken to preserve the land. This includes fox baiting programs, weed control plans, and rehabilitation of endangered plants.
The commitment and effort put in by the volunteers isn't admired enough.