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Walking Trails at Cox Scrub

Home > Adelaide > Escape the City | Nature | Walks
by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. I'm on an indulgent quest and I'd love you to follow at
Published June 5th 2016
For bushwalkers, birdwatchers and those who enjoy nature
Cox Scrub Conservation Park is one of the largest parks on the Fleurieu Peninsula. It boasts a river, a spring-fed creek, a swamp, 350 plant species, 80 species of birds, 15 species of mammals, 11 species of reptiles and 6 species of frogs. Whew!

It also has manageable walking trails so I set off recently to see if I might spot some reptiles, frogs or mammals.

Cox Scrub
Cox Scrub Conservation Park

When I say manageable, I like a walking trail of around 7-9kms, with no steep hills and a cafe at the end. I researched the trails at Cox Scrub and found three:

Quarry Hike - 3.5 km loop
Stringybark Hike - 4 km loop
Emu Wren Hike - 8.5 km loop

Three trails
Three trails

Clearly Emu Wren was the trail for me so I packed some water and fruit and allowed myself 2.5 hours for the walk and an extra hour for the cafe reward. I convinced a friend to come along for company and safety.

The park is located 70km south of Adelaide and accessed from the Bull Creek Road (also known as the Adelaide to Goolwa Road) which is 8km south of Ashbourne.

There is a handy guide for Cox Scrub trails which I printed from the internet to take with me and I suggest you do this. It helps identify flora and fauna and also has a handy map.

The small car park is signposted and easy to spot from Bull Creek Road. There are no toilet facilities, so be prepared.

The park has a few information boards regarding flora and fauna but you'll find the printed guide more informative.

Southern Brown Bandicoots are not rats
Southern Brown Bandicoots are not rats

The Stringybark Hike and the Quarry Hike are smaller loops within the Emu Wren Hike and the paths are mostly sand.

Sandy path
Sandy path

There are arrow markers along the way although I really didn't find them easy to follow. Colour coded arrows would have more clearly indicated the different trails.

It seems we had the park to ourselves that day as we saw no other walkers. As we walked further from the road, the sound of passing cars gave way to the sounds of birds.

We saw plenty of gums which were easy to identify.

And lots of Banksias which we also easily recognised.

The wildflowers were lovely but I admit defeat in identifying them.


I've heard of a phone app that identifies plants, an amazing concept, but one I may explore before my next nature walk.

I failed to spot any reptiles or frogs but we did see two very large mammals, in the form of Kangaroos.

There were no tricky hills but the gradual incline availed us of expansive views. At one point we saw a body of water which my friend informed me was Lake Alexandrina.

It was a beautiful nature walk and one I will do again. However I recommend going with a friend and letting your family know where you are going as a precautionary measure. The arrow markers were few and far between and it would be easy to become lost.

And my Cafe suggestion? The small town of Meadows is about 20kms away and this is where you will find Mawson House Cafe, a favourite of mine.

And half way between Cox Scrub and Meadows is the even smaller town of Ashbourne where you can buy the most delicious, crunchy apples in the entire world from small stalls on the side of the road.
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Why? Perfect if you feel like a 9km walk in nature.
When: 7 days, 24 hours
Phone: 08 8532 9100
Where: Cox Scrub Conservation Park, South Australia
Cost: Free
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