Morialta Conservation Park Visitors Guide
Discover the Natural Splendor of Morialta Waterfalls: Your Ultimate Guide to Exploring Morialta Conservation Park
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to live just a stone’s throw away from Morialta Conservation Park, making it my go-to spot for regular hikes. One of my favourite things about my frequent visits is the almost guaranteed sighting of a koala—yes, your chances of spotting one here are extremely high!
When it comes to trails, Morialta offers something for everyone, from beginners to seasoned hikers. But what sets this place apart for me are the breathtaking waterfalls and rock formations. If you have time for just one hike during your stay in Adelaide, make it Morialta. While Mt Lofty might be the more well-known hiking spot, Morialta offers a quieter, less crowded experience, and in my opinion, a far more enriching one.
Overview of Morialta Conservation Park
Situated just 20-30 minutes east of Adelaide’s CBD in the suburb of Woodforde, Morialta Conservation Park spans 372.2 hectares. The park is renowned for its varied trails catering to casual walkers and those looking for a more challenging hike.
Alongside its trails, Morialta waterfalls serve as the park’s signature attraction, offering a beautiful natural setting perfect for both relaxation and photography. This close-to-the-city escape combines the best of Adelaide’s natural beauty with the convenience of accessible facilities, making it a must-visit location for anyone interested in the outdoors.
Morialta is open daily.
Vehicle entry gates opened daily between
6:30am to 7pm
6:30am to 9pm during daylight savings time
Closed on Christmas Day.
How to Get to Morialta Conservation Park
Drive To Morialta Conservation Park
If you’re coming from Adelaide’s CBD, getting to Morialta Conservation Park is straightforward. Head straight out of the city onto Magill Road for 10.4 km then take a slight left onto Norton Summit Road which turns into Glen Stuart Road which leads right to Morialta Road, taking you straight to the park entrance. The drive usually takes around 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. Click Here for precise directions.
Parking At Morialta
There are multiple car parks at Morialta Conservation Park but they are small and can fill up on busy days like weekends and public holidays. The best strategy is to enter the park and drive all the way to the end of the road where the parking area is shown on this map and work your way back to the further parks if there isn’t a spot free. If there are no parks you can park on the street and walk in but check for signs and follow directions to avoid fines.
Public Bus To Morialta
Stop 26 Morialta Rd is the bus stop at the park entrance. The H30, X30 & 530 service this stop. You can tap your credit card or debit card on the bus to pay without needing to buy a ticket. The easiest way to plan your trip is to use the public transport option on Google Maps to find the times the bus runs. It takes around 30-40 minutes on the bus from the centre of Adelaide.
Visit Morialta Falls With A Tour Guide
Embark on a 4.5-hour guided adventure through Morialta Conservation Park’s stunning landscapes. Enjoy round-trip transportation from Adelaide hotels, and walk through seasonal waterfalls and rugged gorges, spotting local wildlife like koalas and kangaroos. This small-group tour is limited to eight participants and offers a more personalized experience. Tours are available on select dates only. Hotel pickup starts at 8:00 AM and return at 12:30pm.
Best Time to Visit Morialta Conservation Park
The ideal time to visit Morialta Conservation Park varies depending on what you want to experience:
- Spring (September to November): This is the best season for wildflower spotting. The park comes alive with colourful blooms, and you’re likely to encounter various wildlife like kangaroos and birds.
- Winter (June to August): This is the peak season for waterfalls. If you’re interested in seeing Morialta Falls at its most spectacular, this is the time to visit.
- Summer (December to February): Generally dry and hot. In summer the waterfalls can dry up completely.
- Autumn (March to May): A good time for comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds, though the falls may not be as active as in the winter.
Time of Day To Visit
- Morning: The morning light often casts a magical glow on the waterfalls and gorges, offering perfect photo opportunities. During summer it is advisable to visit early in the morning as the middle of the day can be very hot and it is dangerous to spend time outdoors in the heat.
- Late Afternoon: Golden hour is beautiful at Morialta with the rocks becoming extra vibrant with the afternoon sun. If you are hiking late in the day make sure you have enough time to complete your walk before the daylight fades.
Morialta Trails and Hiking
At Morialta Conservation Park there are a lot of interconnecting trails offering hikes of different lengths. The trails are well signposted but I recommend downloading a copy of the map here.
Morialta Hiking Trails
First Falls Valley Walk
Length: 1.7 km
Time: 45 mins return
Second Falls Hike
Length: 5.73 km
Time: 1.5-2.5 hour loop
None of the trail guides online show my exact route for second falls but this one is the closest . Just add a slight detour to the second falls to make the 5.73km loop.
Third Falls Hike
Length: 7.7 km
Time: 2-3.5 hour loop
Length: 2.5 km
Time: 45-90 mins loop
Section 13: Cleland to Montacute Heights
This walk is part of the 1200km Heysen Trail.
Length: 26 km
Time: Full Day
Morialta to Norton Summit
This walk is part of the 54 km Yurrebilla Trail.
Length: 7.5 km
Time: 2.5-4 hours one way
Morialta Conservation Park has 3 waterfalls – First Falls, Second Falls & Third Falls. Very creatively named I know!
First Falls is the easiest to access via the valley walk which is a flat, wide and well-maintained trail. This is an easy walk for kids with no incline and it leads to the base of the first Morialta waterfall.
The Second Falls loop takes you across a wooden bridge above the waterfall.
Third Falls is the least accessible as the trail is narrow, and rough and you need to cross over a small stream.
Wildlife At Morialta Conservation Park
Koalas are often a delightful sight as they lounge in the eucalyptus trees.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos are commonly seen, especially during the cooler parts of the day.
Echidnas might be spotted rummaging in the underbrush if you’re lucky.
Southern Brown Bandicoots are a rare sight at Morialta. I have never seen one here but keep your eyes peeled at dusk.
Commonly Spotted Birds At Morialta
Superb Fairy Wren
These small, vibrant birds are known for their striking blue plumage and sweet melodies.
Easily recognizable by their distinctive call, which resembles human laughter, these birds are a common sight in the park.
With their bright, multi-coloured feathers, these parrots add a splash of colour to the greenery.
Keep an eye on the sky for a glimpse of this swift predator, renowned as the fastest bird in the world.
The males of this species boast a striking yellow and black colouration and a melodic whistle.
Admire these parrots’ beautiful red and blue patterns as they flit between the trees.
Wildflowers At Morialta
Activities Other than Hiking At Morialta
Picnic spots- Near the entrance of Morialta park you will find a beautiful picnic area with BBQ’s, public toilets, a shelter and a nature playground. Location Here.
Playground – Morialta Mukanthi Nature Play Space Beautiful playground for kids. Not ideal for toddlers and there are ledges and it is not enclosed.
Rock climbing at Morialta
Rock climbing at Morialta Conservation Park is a popular activity, drawing enthusiasts from all over. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, the park offers a variety of routes that cater to different skill levels. Guided tours enhance the experience by providing necessary equipment and professional instruction, allowing you to focus on the climb and the stunning views. For those looking to try this exhilarating activity, consider booking a tour to get the full Morialta rock climbing experience
Morialta Conservation Park is a haven for photographers, boasting an array of stunning subjects from the rugged rock faces to the gentle flow of Morialta Falls. With the changing light of dawn or dusk casting dramatic shadows across the landscape, photographers can capture the raw beauty of nature in its purest form. The park’s varied terrain, rich in biodiversity, offers endless opportunities for both amateur and seasoned photographers to snap that perfect shot.
Remember to respect the natural habitat and stay on designated paths while framing your shots.
For those interested in discovering more photogenic spots around Adelaide, check out our curated list of top photography locations, which includes insider tips and location details to help you find the best angles the city has to offer. Visit Top Photography Spots in Adelaide for more information.
The Giant’s Cave
One of the must-see features at Moriatla is the Giant’s Cave. Although the cave is shallow, the rock formations are beautiful and it has a sense of timelessness. Countless people and animals have visited this cave other hundreds of thousands of years.
Tips for Visiting Morialta
What to Bring:
- Water: Always carry plenty of water, as exploring the park can be physically demanding and there are limited sources for refills.
- Snacks: Pack some energy-boosting snacks like nuts, fruit, or granola bars to keep your energy levels up during hikes.
- Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy, comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots for the uneven and potentially slippery trails.
- Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Check the forecast and dress in layers if necessary. A hat and sunscreen are advisable on sunny days, while a waterproof jacket might be necessary during the rainy season.
- Map: Carry a map of the park’s trails. Download one to your phone or take a photo of the sign at the beginning of the hike.
- Stay on Designated Trails: To protect both the environment and yourself, stay on the marked paths. Many trails feature steep drop-offs so take it easy especially when the trail is uneven with loose rocks and gravel.
- Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not feed or attempt to touch the animals.
- Tell Someone: Let someone know your plans, especially if you’re hiking alone or heading out on one of the longer trails.
- First Aid Kit: A basic first aid kit can be very useful for minor injuries.
- Fully charged Mobile Phone: Although the phone coverage at Morialta is a bit patchy, it does have some service and you should hopefully be able to find a decent spot to make an emergency call.
- Respect Barriers: Do not climb over barriers or onto rocks at lookout points; they are there for your protection.
By being mindful of these precautions and equipped with the right gear, you’ll be set for a fantastic hiking experience. For a comprehensive checklist on what to take on your hike, visit What to Take Hiking.
Morialta Conservation Park FAQ
How long does it take to hike Morialta Falls?
As there are 3 different waterfalls and and extensive trail network this depends on the kind of experience you want to have. The easiest waterfall to reach is First Falls which takes around 15-20 minutes.
How many waterfalls are there in Morialta?
Morialta Conservation Park is home to three stunning waterfalls: First Falls, Second Falls, and Third Falls, each offering its unique beauty and natural surroundings.
Where do you park for Morialta Falls?
There are quite a few car parking spots along the road inside Morialta Conservation Park. Additional parking is available along Stradbroke Road for overflow on busy days.
Are there snakes in Morialta Conservation Park?
Yes, as a natural bushland area, Morialta Conservation Park is home to various wildlife, including snakes. Always be vigilant while hiking, especially in warmer months, as snakes are more active during this time.
Can you fly a drone at Morialta Conservation Park?
No. Drones cannot be flown in any South Australian National or Conservation parks.
It is an offence to fly drones (remotely piloted aircraft) South Australia’s national parks, conservation parks, game reserves, recreation parks or regional reserves and marine park restricted access zones without a permit. Permits are considered for scientific research and commercial filming only. – Read more at Parks SA
Can you camp at Morialta?
No, there is no camping permitted in the Morialta Conservation Park.
Enjoy Your Visit To Morialta
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy your visit! If you have any questions please feel free to reach at – [email protected]