Accessed from Humbug Scrub road, Para Wirra Conservation Park is about 40km north east of Adelaide. Officially opened as a National Park in 1963 by the Premier Sir Thomas Playford, the title of the park changed to Para Wirra Recreation Park in 1972, to better reflect the park's role as a recreation facility in a bush setting. In 2015, the park was again reclassified to Conservation Park status in recognition of the parks natural and heritage value, by Environment Minister, Ian Hunter.
Beware of emus, they like to eat your food. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Offering a family friendly, bushland setting, the park is home to walking trails, a sporting oval, playground and multiple picnic and barbecue facilities. Western Grey kangaroos are seen around the park and emus are more than happy to strut around the picnic grounds, hoping to eat your lunch if you leave it unattended. Dogs on a lead are welcome in the park.
Keep a lookout for the Devils Nose Hike trailhead located in the car park near the main entrance of the park on Humbug Scrub Road. The trail travels 2.2km each way along an undulating path, with some steep and rocky sections on the way to the Devil's Nose rock formation. Numbered markers located along the trail align with information from the hike brochure.
The wide, well maintained trail is lined on either side by native vegetation and in the spring, a variety wildflowers add colour and interest to your walk. Take care to follow the right hand path at the fork in the trail about 1km from the trailhead. Soon after the fork, the trail narrows, becoming rocky and more difficult to manage, until reaching the Devil's Nose. As you walk along the ridge top, views of farmland to your left and rugged bushland to your right, form pleasant backdrops for the yaccas, wattles and grass trees that surround you.
The large, sandstone rock formations that are known as the Devil's Nose, developed from marine sediments laid down about 800 million years ago, sit behind the green signpost announcing that you have reached the Devil's Nose. Continue forward to the highest rocks, where you will be rewarded with 360-degree views prompting photographers to reach for their cameras. If its not too windy, this is a beautiful venue for a snack break.
Amazing views from the Devil's Nose trail. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
The loop walk travels along a narrow, winding path around the side of a hill toward the Knob Lookout and the North Oval. Take care on the path if it has rained recently, the combination of the sloping path and mud can make the path quite slippery. Crossing the creek can also be challenging in the wetter months. although stepping stones make it easier to negotiate.
After the rains, the trail can be slippery and submerged . Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Signage along the trail is often difficult to find, be sure not to miss the signpost labelled G6, turn right here to follow the wide fire track which rises steeply for about a kilometre on the way to the Knob Lookout.
After leaving the lookout, you'll come to a fork, take the narrow bush track behind the green gate, not the fire track. Follow the track past the North Oval, turning right towards the playground on the Lizard Rock Trail. The path is difficult to find but continue until there is a sign pointing to the Hissey trail that intersects with the Devils Hike Loop. Finishing with a short road walk back to the trailhead, the loop walk will take about 3 hours to complete.
To get to Para Wirra Conservation Park travelling via Golden Grove; turn off Golden Grove Road onto One Tree Hill Road and Humbug Scrub Road. From Main North Road, turn right onto Black Top Road, pass One Tree Hill and turn onto One Tree Hill Road.
Park Entry fees apply for vehicles entering the park, you can purchase on line or at the vending machine near the entrance. If you visit National Parks regularly, you might consider purchasing a multi pass, available for 2 to 12 months duration.
Wildflowers on the trail in spring. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Remember to take adequate water and sun protection. This walk is not suitable for very hot days as there is little shelter on the trail.
Para Wirra is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, except on Christmas Day and days forecast for Catastrophic Fire Danger. The park may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.
The Para Wirra Conservation Park has been a favourite for many years. Whether you walk the Devil's Nose trail, the Barossa Goldfields trails or just have a picnic and kick a footy, there is always fun on a visit to Para Wirra.
If you haven't been there, it's time to pack the picnic, put on your sneakers and get outdoors for some great fun in the bush.
Fast Facts: Devils Nose Trail
Distance 2.2km each way, Circuit Trail 9km
Time: 45 minutes each way, Circuit Trail:3 hours
Terrain: Undulating and rocky in places
Start: Devils Nose Trailhead Car Park, near the park entrance.