There are many trails through the Morialta Conservation Park, which is a short drive (10km) north-east of Adelaide. The bushwalk from Norton Summit with a loop through Morialta includes one section of the 54km Yurrebilla Trail, which stretches from the Belair Railway Station in Adelaide to Ambers Gully (River Torrens). The Yurrebilla Trail forms part of the very long Heyson Trail (Section 13).
I’m starting the walk at the Morialta Barns: the Barns are part of the Morialta House Estate built by John Baker, an early colonist who arrived in South Australia in 1838. The stone buildings are excellent examples of the early colonial agricultural and viticultural structures of South Australia. (The estate included two barns, a well house, a bakehouse, a dairy, stables, a stoned walled enclosure around the barns, stables and a coach house.)
The mansion on the estate, called Morialta, was built in 1847. By the 1860s Baker had established vineyards and was exporting wine to London.
The walk follows Colonial Drive, before entering Morialta Conservation Park at Gate 15. The Colonial Track follows the edge of the reserve, before reaching the Third Falls. where a timber platform over Fourth Creek provides a view of a small cascade. This is the smallest of the three waterfalls along the gorge which runs through Morialta. (The waterfalls along Fourth Creek are the best known feature of the park.)
From here I continue along the Yurrebilla Trail, which ascends above Fourth Creek.
There’s some nice views down into the gorge below the track, and of the quartzite cliffs which feature in the rugged landscape of the park.
From the Yurrebilla Trail there are views of the Adelaide skyline in the distance, beyond the valleys of the Morialta bushland.
After following the top of the cliffline past Deep View Lookout, the Yurrebilla Trail descends to Fourth Creek and the end of Morialta Falls Road. Just before reaching the road, I turn onto the First Falls Valley Walk. This follows the creek and gorge upstream, back in the direction I came from. While the Yurrebilla Trail is generally quite elevated, I’m now in the bottom of the steep valley. I make a small detour to have a look at Giant’s Cave, which was thought to have been used as a shelter by the Aboriginal people before European occupation.
I continue along the First Falls Valley Walk to the base of the First Falls – this is the largest of the three Morialta waterfalls. (The name of the Morialta Conservation Park comes from “moriatta”, which means ever flowing in the language of the original Kaurna people who used this area in winter. Unfortunately due to development around the park, Fourth Creek often dries up in summer, and the falls are best after decent rain.)
Retracing my steps, I cross take the Centre Track, which heads up the edge of the gorge above Fourth Creek. It passes the Eagles Nest Lookout, from which there is a much more photogenic view of the falls than from below.
Further along the track is a view of Second Falls, which drops steeply down a cliff.
I’m now also back on the Yurrebilla Trail, where I retrace my steps back to the car, passing the Third Falls for a second time… It’s been a great walk, despite the fact it’s a fairly hot January day. This walk is best done outside summer, and if possible after there’s been some decent rain.
More information on Norton Summit to Morialta walk & Yurrebilla Trail
- The Heysen Trail – Morialta Barns
- Sutori – Morialta Conservation Park History of Landscapes and Landforms
- Walking SA – Section 4: Norton Summit to Morialta, Yurrebilla Trail