I'm a resident of the northern suburbs of Adelaide, keen to share interesting ideas for weekend activities, especially but not exclusively, north of Gepps Cross.
Published November 23rd 2015
Walking on sand doesn't have to be at the beach
Just off the Barossa Valley Highway, between Sandy Creek and Lyndoch lies the Sandy Creek Conservation Park - 142 hectares of the original woodland which once dominated the Barossa Valley landscape. Surrounded by farming, vineyards and with a deep sand mine, next door, Sandy Creek Conservation Park is a haven for native flora and fauna.
Woodlands along the Trail
A valley is formed when a river cuts it's way through the surrounding land, and this is how the Barossa Valley began around thirty-five million years ago. The sand from which Sandy Creek gets it's name, was laid down as the ancient river system deposited sediment in the Barossa Valley lowlands. Prior to European settlement, the land where the Park now is, was used by three Aboriginal groups - the Kaurna, who lived on the Adelaide Plains, the Peramangk, who lived in the Adelaide Hills and the Ngayawung, who lived near the Murray River. More recently, in the early part of the twentieth century,a vineyard was planted on the southern part of the area now dedicated to the Sandy Creek Conservation Park, but later abandoned because of the poor growing medium which the ancient sands provided. The Park was established in 1965.
The best way to enter the Park is on Conservation Road, clearly signposted from the Barossa Valley Highway, just after Sandy Creek. The second entry point is from Pimpala Road and is not marked and easy to miss - head towards Williamstown from Sandy Creek and turn left at the first petrol station. Keep driving for 3.1km and entry point is on your left. If you end up in Lyndoch, you have gone too far - which is exactly what I did!
Sandy Creek Conservation Park has two well marked trails - Wren Walk and Boundary Walk. Honeyeater Link connects the two walks and Firetail Link offers a shortcut to Wren Walk from the carpark on Conservation Road. Wren Walk takes about an hour to complete and Boundary Walk takes about an hour and a half. The walks are very easy, the ground is flat and the trails are well maintained. There are lots of kangaroos, and we also saw a lizard basking in the sun. The two main birds to watch out for, apart from the ubiquitous honeyeater, are the Diamond Firetail and the Superb Fairy Wren, which has electric blue colourings on it's head. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources brochure is available here.