I walk around Adelaide with a camera and a tripod.
Getty Images: https://tinyurl.com/ycg9zne3
Published July 2nd 2015
The coldest, shortest and gloomiest days of winter are fast approaching. However, as achingly miserable as driving to and from work in the blinding chill of inky darkness may become, Winter is also the perfect season to visit a few of Adelaide's small but memorable waterfalls.
While it is certainly pleasant to visualise reclining in a rustic hammock amid warbling birdsong next to an idyllic waterfall lagoon, the unfortunate reality is that waterfalls are at their best in the worst weather; that to witness the thunderous majesty of a waterfall at its zenith often requires the watcher to be shivering, sodden, numb and faintly bilious under driving drizzle.
Here are list of a few waterfalls in and around Adelaide. This is far from a comprehensive list - Ingallala Falls for example isn't included but is definitely worth a visit - but hopefully this short list of falls provides enough sights to outweigh any momentary physical discomfort. These waterfalls are relatively easy to get to.
Warning: I accept no responsibility for any injuries sustained during travel to these locations. Algae, slick rocks and wet grass can be slippery - travel with a friend, be prepared and exercise caution!
1. Morialta Falls
Morialta Conservation Park is approximately 10 kilometres east of Adelaide. The area is well signposted - enter via Morialta Falls Road. From the gate it is only a short drive to the car park. There are numerous well marked trails along Fourth Creek leading to the three waterfalls. Although there are flows in three of the four seasons, all of the falls are at their best on a rainy day in winter. Even if you aren't there for the waterfalls, it's still a pleasant hike with the opportunity to see many native trees and wildlife. For the more adventurous rock climbing is available.
Waterfall Gully is home to the very popular Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty Hike. It can be very difficult to find a car park after 7 am, so get there early to ensure that you have a spot. A viewing platform and short path lead to First Falls, but it is a bit inaccessible with a large pool of water at the base marked with "no swimming" signs.
A 10 to 15 minute walk uphill leads to the beautiful Second Falls, which is smaller but far easier to visit/photograph. In the winter it is a generous cascade, but in the warmer months it is best avoided, the flows slowing to an intermittent trickle feeding stagnant puddles of water.
The remainder of the waterfalls along the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty hike are very difficult to get to without climbing gear, but occasional, teasing views can be glimpsed through thick foliage. Listen carefully and the faint echo of falling water rises and fades momentarily before being swept away by the swirling gully wind. Sometimes, slightly delirious from hiking uphill, one wonders if it was ever heard at all.
3. Horsnell Gully Falls
Horsnell Gully Falls is a challenging hike and can become an exercise in frustration such that succeeding in finding the falls can result in unbridled euphoria. The undisciplined and rambling trail is marked as "4 kilometres" but feels much longer. It is poorly signposted and requires some curse-inducing scrambling over loose rocks and mud if you're not busy wheezing. The fall itself is, however, magnificent and leads the eye perfectly to the Adelaide skyline in a postcard worthy scene. Until I finally found it the falls were an elusive Atlantis and I was beginning to doubt their existence. This is helped by the fact that Horsnell Gully Falls is seasonal and only really exists after a few rainy days in Winter.
Hindmarsh Falls is only 13 kilometres out from Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and can be reached by driving up Hindmarsh Tiers Road to Hindmarsh Falls Road. There is plenty of picnic space and taking to route to the top leads to a small, often deserted car park and viewing area. The flows can be stunning in Winter but I prefer it here in Autumn with the gold and brown of the leaves providing a perfect backdrop to the rushing water. Furthermore the weather in Autumn is more acceptable for picnicking. There isn't much of a walk here and the waterfall it a bit difficult to get to, but the rarely visited area is perfect to sit around awhile to enjoy the tranquil scenery.
Thorndon Park in Paradise is a large open area with barbecue and picnic facilities, a playground and a reservoir. While it used to be a popular place for fishing and catching yabbies, these activities are now prohibited. It is not uncommon to stand at the edge of the reservoir and catch, for the briefest of moments, the fantastic silhouette of large Carp in the undisturbed water. Away from the reservoir are a series of small pools with waterfalls fed by a pump at the top of a hill. Although not a natural series of waterfalls, the ponds are a nice spot to relax.
Very interesting. You forgot the Mannum falls which are fantastic & can provide a great day trip for a family to enjoy. Drive to Murray Bridge and turn left at the Mannum Road turnoff. Head towards Mannum for approximately 19km or so and keep your eyes peeled as there is only a small sign indicating the turn off. Great climbing adventure for kids and adults alike. You can begin at the top or the bottom car parks and experience a different view. For a full day of fun then head off to Mannum for a picnic lunch by the river. This waterfall is great in winter months but be careful in the warmer weather as it is real snake territory. You will need good climbing shoes or at minimum shoes with a reasonable sole. The other waterfall that is in the metro area is in Sturt Gorge which is located some streets back behind Flinders Uni. There are some falls located off the tracks here that are quite good depending on the weather.
There's another fake fall in Salisbury, at Pitman park. Can be pretty, sometimes looks neglected. Hale Conservation park has a waterfall which can't be missed if you are on the loop trail, usually has some flow unless its very dry , & it and has been good this winter. I was pleasantly surprised to see an even larger fall on the Mack Creek walk at Para Wirra. If the fall is good, there will be creek crossings but we're talking ankle deep, nothing worse. Mark Oliphant CP has n a small fall, not the challenge of Horsenells but can be a little hard to find.