Just 10kms south east of the Adelaide CBD in the Mount Lofty Ranges lies Waterfall gully, in the Cleland Conservation Park. Drive south along Waterfall Gully road and you will find yourself at the impressive 30m high waterfall known as First Falls. The drive along Waterfall Gully road cuts right through the gorge with steep banks on either site and lush vegetation. Some expensive houses have been built here. It even makes a pleasant walk itself, but be careful of the traffic as the narrow road has no designated footpath in some places.
The Waterfall Gully-Mt Lofty summit trail is a challenging ascent of the west side of Mt Lofty. Parts of the long distance Heysen and Yurrebilla trails can also be accessed which run north-south on higher ground in the east of the park. The Falls are seasonal, so it's best to visit the park during spring or winter when the water flow is strongest.
Some koalas enjoying a mid-morning sleep-in. The park also has Western Grey kangaroos, echidnas, bush rats, possums and bats. Image by writer.
The challenging walk to the top of Mt Lofty takes approximately 1 hour. The exposed aggregate path is great as it provides good traction however the track does have some steep sections. Fortunately there are plenty of rest areas and seats along the way. The lookout at the top has sweeping panoramic views of the city and coast below. There is a café at the top that serves breakfast, coffee and cake, and has a fully stocked bar. A small tourist shop with information about SA is adjacent.
The view from the top of the Adelaide Plains and the CBD. Image by writer.
Utopia café and restaurant is nestled at the base of First Falls and looks like it belongs in the Bavarian Alps rather than on Adelaide's doorstep. Open from 9am-5pm Wednesday to Friday and 8am-5pm on weekends this charming old building is a great place to relax on the balcony with a coffee or a $10 devonshire tea. They offer table service for breakfast and lunch, quick kiosk for drinks and ice creams, or customised menus for weddings or special events. Multi award winning chef Justin serves up an array of mouth watering, modern Australian fare showcasing some of SA's finest local produce and wine.
Utopia at First falls. The timber interior and vaulted ceiling in the restaurant is impressive. Image by writer.