Onkaparinga River National Park
The rugged Onkaparinga River National Park features South Australia’s second-longest river as it slices through a steep valley and descends into an impressive gorge containing large rock pools. The national park, which takes its name from the local Kaurna word meaning ‘women’s river’, offers a range of activities from ﬁshing and canoeing to bushwalking and rock-climbing.
The river estuary and coastal wetlands of the Onkaparinga River Recreation Park are incorporated in the national park and you can walk from the Mount Lofty Ranges to the ocean. The Kaurna people were dispossessed soon after European farming began in the 1840s and Noarlunga became an agricultural business centre. The stone ruins of Pingle Farm, built in the late 1800s, are on the estuary side of Main South Road. Western grey kangaroos, echidnas and the occasional sleepy koala are among the park’s mammals, while reptiles are common and birdlife is abundant. The wetlands support ﬁsh and breeding habitats for wading birds. At times there are spectacular shows of butterﬂies and dragonﬂies. Vegetation includes peppermint box, river red gum, pink gum, she-oak, golden wattle and 27 species of native orchid.
The Echidna Trail (1.5 km, easy) is a leisurely wander through an amazing variety of remnant vegetation ranging from large river red gums to herbaceous groundcovers. The trail also takes you past the ruins of stone houses built in the 1880s. Fit and experienced bushwalkers will enjoy the Nature Trail (3.5 km, difﬁcult) that traverses steep sections of the gorge amid she-oaks and peppermint gums. This area is a good spot to see birds and lizards.
Location and access
35 km south of Adelaide; park is off Main South Rd near Old Noarlunga
- Parks SA (08) 8204 1910
- Parks SA Belair (08) 8278 5477
1544 ha (Onkaparinga National Park)
284 ha (Onkaparinga Recreation Park)
Adelaide 1300 655 276
- Onkaparinga River National Park, Eco-friendly activity