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Onkaparinga River National & Recreation Park

Home > Adelaide > Free | National Parks | Nature | Outdoor | Walks
Published June 5th 2022
A diverse range of hiking trails
Located just 40 kilometres south of the city, Onkaparinga River National & Recreation Park offers a diverse range of hiking trails along ridgetops and through the gorge as well as serene wetlands for picnicking, fishing and kayaking. I've completed most of the trails and these would have to be some of my favourites.

Onkaparinga Gorge
Onkaparinga Gorge


The easy Punchbowl Lookout Trail requires no bushwalking experience but leads you to a stunning near 360-degree view of the Onkaparinga Gorge. From the lookout platform, you can see where the Punchbowl Waterhole lies below. This leisurely stroll through grey box woodland is on compacted gravel and therefore suits people of all abilities including those with prams and limited mobility.

punchbowl lookout trail
Grey box woodland


For the slightly more adventurous walkers, you'll enjoy the moderately sloped Echidna Hike with some ruins of houses built in the late 19th century. There is also a seasonal waterfall if you happen to visit at the right time. Unfortunately, it hasn't been raining much and so the water wasn't falling when we were there.

swinging bridge
Swinging bridge


Sundews Ridge Hike is a good trail for views of rocky outcrops and the river flowing through Onkaparinga Gorge. Unlike the waterfall, here we did actually see a modest flow of water in the river. The trail runs along the ridgetop and has a lookout and picnic table for your convenience. This is of course where we stopped for morning tea too.

onkaparinga river
Onkaparinga River


If you're after a good workout on a challenging hike, then the 6-kilometre Gorge Hike is for you. This trail descends sharply to the bottom of the gorge and returns once again up steep slopes.

Old Noarlunga
Old Noarlunga


From the township of Old Noarlunga, another trail awaits all experienced bushwalkers. Old Noarlunga Hike rewards you with magnificent views of the Onkaparinga River estuary. The trail starts by crossing the swinging bridge and then continues up (and up) the hill. I would recommend wearing gaiters if you're walking in the warmer months as any form of extra protection is great amidst long limbless reptiles.

Onkaparinga River estuary
Perrys Bend


Towards the western end of the park is a moderate trail with more ruins. The remains of Pingle Farm house, which include a dwelling, limestone barn and underground tank, can be seen as you walk the 4.5-kilometre Pingle Farm Trail. The area near the ruins is a nice spot for morning tea.

Perrys Bend
Perrys Bend


Last but not least, Wetlands Loop Trail takes you on relatively flat boardwalks and gravel paths around freshwater ponds. Here you'll notice a variety of birds, frogs and fish. The trail is suitable for those with prams and limited mobility with accessible parking and toilets available at Perrys Bend.
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Why? A diverse range of hiking trails
When: Anytime
Where: Various locations
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Great article on a great location Audrey. You certainly gave it a blanket coverage.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4377) 115 days ago
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