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Published August 5th 2013
The hills are alive with the sound of wattle birds
Suburbs South of Adelaide Seen from O'Halloran Hill Recreation Park
The O'Halloran Hill Recreation Park is a large green space stretching from Ocean Boulevard in the west to South Road in the east, and covering much of the area from Seacombe Heights to Majors Road in the south of Adelaide.
Prior to European settlement the land was the home of the Kaurna people and originally contained stringybark eucalypt forests, but trees were cleared so that the land could be farmed. For more information, see here.
Entry to the park can be made via Majors Road or the southern extremity of Morphett Road. For some reason the council has blocked the end of the road, so you need to detour briefly via Moore Street and Braeside Avenue to get to the park entry at the very end of Morphett Road. Limited off street parking is provided.
Pedestrian access to walking trails is also available from several streets between Morphett Road and Davenport Terrace, but parking is extremely limited at these places.
Signs at the entrances indicate that cycling is permitted, and that the parks are dog friendly, but they must be kept on leash.
After walking into the park at Davenport Terrace, I followed the main walking trail which ran parallel to the house fences backing on to the reserve. As it climbed the hill the path was progressively steeper, and I got hotter despite it being a quite cool day.
The heat probably did not improve my frame of mind, and I began to wonder why I was toiling up the hill past a collection of ugly backyards. This is not a reflection on the people who live there - I just don't think most people would think back yards are the best view of their properties.
I wanted to enjoy tranquility in a park. And tranquility was quite elusive, because a succession of dogs barked repeatedly at me as I walked by. The clay path was also getting more stony and slippery as I passed other entry points, and I soon decided to return to my car and try walking other parts of the park.
At the entrance to the park from Morphett Road some pleasant views overlooking Adelaide and the southern suburbs are visible. I could also see the end of the walking trail which I had begun at Davenport Terrace
I could veer south east down the hill, but elected to follow the fire trail dirt road south towards Majors Road. While it was fairly easy walk, I didn't think it that enjoyable. Traffic noise from Ocean Boulevard was quite audible, while digging work from major construction at the Southern Expressway was also noticeable.
My main experience of local fauna was the unpredictable cries of wattle birds - mostly raucous squawks and clicks, but with occasionally musical calls.
Perhaps I'm being unfairly critical, but a shipping container lying near the track and a heavy construction vehicle park ahead of me combined to distract me from relaxing like I have in many other parks.
It wasn't unpleasant - just not the best recreation park that I have visited. Locals obviously find it dog friendly, as dog owners were the only people I saw.
On another visit to the O'Halloran Hill Recreation Park, I decided to follow a narrow winding track from the Morphett Road entrance. This walking trail led down into a gully and back up the next hill east of Morphett Road. It had been a foggy morning, and the views were quite limited as the mist still hadn't dispersed.
After passing some of the inevitable stobie poles, the vegetation became more dense, and there was little ambient noise. There was no noise of construction work despite being quite close to where it was happening, although signs indicated that paths ahead were closed.
Walking in this area was my most enjoyable experience in O'Halloran Hill Recreation Park, although I was a little surprised to see signs banning cycling - perhaps because the paths are narrower.
I heard birds in the area but was only able to photograph one. With luck this will change, as plenty of new plantings were apparent on the hillside.
City Views from the Recreation Park
The O'Halloran Hill Recreation Park south of Adelaide is a great open space for locals. People into walking and cycling have a large area to explore, although the walking trails only cover a small part of the park.
Being dog friendly, the park enables anyone to exercise with their dogs - just steer clear of areas close to houses to avoid a chain reaction of barking.
The only ruins in the park are on the other side of the Southern Expressway (adjacent to South Road), and not really accessible. This limits the attraction to urban explorers.
Be aware that there are no facilities in or near the park - not even seats or bins. If you can work around that, then why not take a look? You may have a different view from me - if so, tell me in the comments!
More information about the park is available on the City of Marion website here.