The Spring Gully Conservation Park in the Clare Valley is the only reserve in South Australia to contain the red stringybark tree, a type of eucalyptus characterised by fibrous bark that reveals a red trunk when removed.
The park is a stunning sanctuary of native bush covering approximately 400 hectares. There are eight different species of eucalypts in the park, but the South Australian blue gum and the red stringybark are the most prevalent.
It was originally created to protect the rare red stringybark, but now also preserves the vulnerable grassy woodland ecosystem and over 30 species of orchid, including the spider orchid, donkey orchid and sun orchid.
It's hard to see but there's a greenhood orchid in there
There are several walking tracks in the Spring Gully Conservation Park that range from easy to exhausting. The Cascades Walk begins at the Blue Gum Lookout and leads to the 18 metre high Cascades Waterfall.
It was a sunny day in the middle of winter and the region had recently experienced a heavy and consistent downpour of rain, prime waterfall viewing conditions.
The trickling waterfall provides a moment of tranquility
The walk is fairly easy and leads through beautiful surroundings. The track is a narrow, uneven dirt path that is a little hilly at times. Pay attention as there are a few rocks and tree roots along the way that present a tripping hazard.
It is 1.3 kilometres long and takes about 40 minutes to complete at a leisurely pace. It leads on to the 2.6 kilometre Wymans Hike which is about an hour round trip and slightly more vigorous.
The Blue Gum Lookout has a car park and park benches. It makes a nice spot for a picnic before or after your walk. Take note that there are no public toilets and dogs are not allowed in the park. Be sure to bring a bottle of water and wear sturdy walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat.
Spring Gully Conservation Park is a great place for bushwalking, picnicking, bird watching and nature photography. Spring is a nice time to visit as the native wildflowers and orchids are in bloom.
It is located in the Skilly Hills, which is about 8 kilometres south of Clare in the Mid North of South Australia. Follow the tourist signs from the turn off on Main North Road at Sevenhill.