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Published June 1st 2016
Why not try them all ?
Walking to the top of a mountain is a challenge everyone loves, and when it is within 20 minutes of the City, then why not. But which way do we go ? Here are ten different ways to enjoy a walk to one of Adelaide's most popular destinations.
Starting from the end of Waterfall Gully Road, this is the most popular route and it is easy to see why. A large car park, bathroom facilities and a cafe at the bottom add to the ease before the walk commences along a sealed path past a series of waterfalls to the top. It is hard to get lost on this route as it is so popular - in fact sometimes so popular that getting a car park becomes a challenge, and alternatives are required.
Starting from the carpark at the lookout about 500m north of Eagle on the Hill, this walk proceeds down a short decline to join Chinamans Hut Track. Follow this track along a short gully and across a creek or two, before commencing the uphill ascent across the range and joining up with the Waterfall Gully path near the top for the last 500m. A challenging hill early in the piece is sure to test the muscles.
Another 200m further on from Measday's Lookout is a small carpark and entrance to the Park where a trail that circumnavigates the lower section of the park commences. Follow the Mireen Track east before joining the Birriee Track, the Carro Track and then the Nangare Track which joins the main Waterfall Gully path near the Summit. This trail has less ups and downs and passes across the top of the ranges with some stunning views.
After being washed out a few years ago the Crafers Hike has been repaired, and is back. Leaving the centre of Crafers, this well signposted trail takes walkers through a couple of side-streets before hitting the trail as it meanders on the eastern side of Summit Road. The trail then crosses the road near the Botanic Gardens, and takes in some great views of the City before joining the Nangare Track to the Summit.
Perhaps the most scenic, this trail starts in the lower carpark and follows the Heysen Trail through the Gardens to the upper carpark before crossing the road and joining the Crafers Hike and Nangare Track. This trail is only available during opening hours of the Botanic Gardens.
For Heysen Trail followers wanting to walk after hours, the alternative route takes walkers from Piccadilly up the eastern side of the mountain to the rear of the summit. This is the shortest of the walks, which lends itself to also being the steepest overall.
The northern boundary of the Park is accessed from the carpark near the corner of Greenhill and Yarrabee Roads. Follow the Wine Shanty Track on a beautiful circuitous tour of the Northern Park before joining the Lodge Track, Chinamans Hut Track and the Main Track to the Summit. This trail is also less demanding than others and offers further varied views of the hills and surrounds.
Possibly the second most popular route to the Summit, this trail starts from Waterfall Gully road and walks the length of Chambers Gully. Upon reaching the T-Junction at a crest, the trail to the Summit turns left and follows Long Ridge Track, Chinamans Hut Track and the Main Track. If taking a camera, this walk may be the most time consuming as the koalas along Chambers Gully make regular appearances when cameras are in the vicinity.
A small shed and carpark about 3km along Waterfall Gully Road is the starting point of this climb. The Winter Track heads east from here and steadily climbs through a gully leading up to Long Ridge Track where spectacular and uninterrupted views of the City are afforded. Continuing the uphill climb the Long Ridge Track is joined by the Chambers Gully track, and both make their way past the Wildlife Park to the Main Track.
Again starting from Waterfall Gully Road, an easy short leg up the Winter Track is met by a vicious (and slippery) climb known as the Pengana Spur Track. Possibly an omission from the Kokoda Training Walks list, this track goes uphill for what seems like an eternity before joining the Perimeter Track around the Wildlife Park where a number of smaller tracks to the right / south will join up with the Main Track to the Summit.
Of the tracks mentioned above, only the Main Waterfall Gully Track is sealed. All other tracks are predominantly wide fire access tracks with occasional single trail pieces. The Cleland Conservation Park is well signposted throughout, so getting lost is difficult. The Park is also part of the Shared Trails network, so it is common to see bikers on a number of these tracks, as well as plenty of native fauna, flora and many seasonal delights.