Located in the Mt Lofty Ranges, about 58km from Adelaide, the 90 hectare protected area of bushland links the Finniss Conservation Park in the east and the Kyeema Conservation Park to the northwest. Access to the park is from Blackfellows Creek Road or Mt. Magnificent Road.
This well-worn grassy trail is perfect for those who love to climb and scramble up loose rocks and dirt tracks to reach the summit. Mobs of Western Grey Kangaroos often pause to watch hikers pass, before bounding off in an effortless manner. It's not so easy for hikers; there is only one way to the top, one foot after the other.
It's a short climb to the 380-metre summit, requiring a moderate level of fitness, particularly the last section that is very steep. The summit provides amazing 360-degree views of lush green farmland and rural land, as far as Lake Alexandrina. Stacks of rocks located at the summit provide a windbreak to enjoy a snack or drink.
Climbing Mt. Magnificent works up an appetite, luckily Mount Compass is only down the hill, 8km from the Conservation Park, situated between the renowned McLaren Vale wineries and the beaches of the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula.
The small community of Mount Compass, traditionally supported by market gardens and dairy farming, is a welcoming tourist hub with scenic landscape.
Reportedly named in reference to a compass lost by Governor Gawler in 1840, Mount Compass was first surveyed as large farming blocks in the 1880s and again in the 1890s to include small blocks for market gardening.
Seasonal produce is on offer from a variety of outlets, you can pick your own strawberries between October and May at Harvest the Fleurieu or visit the Blueberry Patch, to pick your own blueberries and sample blueberry ice cream from the small farm shop. Check out the Produce and Tourist Trail Map for more information about the variety of produce on offer.
The town became known for the significant contribution to the dairy industry. Mount Compass was home to the Dairy Vale factory, originally known as the United Co-operative of Dairymen Ltd, from 1956 until it closed in1996. Until 1960s, the milk was transported from the local dairies in 10-gallon milk cans before progressing to the use of collection by tankers. Today, the dairy Farmers continue to supply fresh dairy products to South Australians. The La Casa Del Formagio, a partnership between seven local families, provides dairy produce from a mixture of Friesian and Jersey cows. The award winning Alexandrina Cheese Company, located near Mount Compass, provides the opportunity to view the cheese making process and purchase produce.
Today, the small town has a welcoming hotel, bakery and eateries including locally owned Fleurieu Dish, which serves light meals and coffee, indoors, and outdoors, with a play area for the children and scenic views of Mt. Moon and the surrounding hills. The Country Picnic Bakery is open early for coffee and an amazing range of pastries.
Country Picnic Bakery, Mt Compass. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
So, if you have skipped the climb to the Mt. Magnificent summit and headed straight to Mount Compass for some fresh produce or a pastry, it's ok, you can always climb to the summit to enjoy the amazing views while you eat your purchases.