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Published: June 19th 2006
Entrance to the park
Yes it was cold in the valley - but we soon warmed up!
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Montacute Conservation was a surprise, but beware, the walk is not for the weak of heart. According to this brochure
the park is 200 hectares of park, 17 kms from Adelaide.
The walk we did is number 42 in George Driscoll’s book, 50 real bushwalks around Adelaide
. It takes in part of the Heysen trail and the Mawson trail and because it is very steep - it provides a very tough work out.
How to get there ...
To get there travel from the city to North Tce, Magill Road, Payneham Road which then turns into Montacute Road. It is a pleasant drive along Montacute, passing the Black Hill Conservation Park on your left, Morialta on your right and following Fifth creek. After you have travelled through the parks, and passed the Institute Road turn off on your right, take the next turn off on your left off of Montacute road and onto the aptly-named Corkscrew road. This road goes onto Valley road (which links Montacute and Gorge roads). Turn left onto Valley road and then right onto a dirt road with a large brown sign indicating Montacute Conservation Park. This dirt track was an interesting drive too as its
Half of this walk through Monacute is along the Heysen trail as this marker shows
on a one-way road with grand houses and creek crossings. Park at the gate at the end of the road, but it is a good idea to get the car into a ‘drive out’ position if possible, while there is room to manoeuvre.
What happened ...
It was a bright, sunny, but cool winter’s day of 14 degrees in Adelaide. The walk started in the valley following the Heysen trail. Then the uphill section started, lasting for a solid hour. It was steady, with occasional flat areas to allow you to catch your breath. At times when it was hard, we took George Driscoll’s advice: When confronted with a daunting up track, a method of tackling these is to count 50 steps, stop, count to 20 and then do another 50 steps
You were re-energised in those 20 seconds of waiting and you started the next section of the climb with freshly oxygenated muscles. (BTW - Peter didn’t use the technique and he was quite stiff the next day, while Dan and I were fine, and yes, there could be other factors here).
It turned out to be an hour uphill before
Uphill in the sun
Leaving the cool of the valley to climb the hills - there was about an hour of climbing before we got to the down hill part.
we reached the end of the park. It is then over the fence and turn right along another broad trail which obviously has been used by cows. There was some steep down and up here but it was all very pleasant. You then go over another fence and up to the Heysen-Mawson interchange where a map has been erected to show the Mawson trail. You progress west, along the very broad Mawson trail with some lovely views of the Kangaroo creek Reservoir and further west to the Barker inlet and the gulf. There is a fork in the road, where you head along the higher, but smaller trail to get an “in the bush” feeling. This track broadens again as it travels further west. There is another fence crossing where they have used a pool ladder, rather than a fence style. It is then downhill - do watch out for the moss - it is very slippery. We walked on any grass that was there to sure our step.
Just after a Mawson trail post there is a sharp left hand turn onto a 4WD track (marked with a green triangle D 965 382 4WD). This descends into the
valley and along this path we saw many weird and wonderful types of fungi. A lovely walk into the cool valley and then left and back to the car. There were plenty of birds to be seen and heard along the walk such as wrens, finches, wedge tail eagles, parrots and kookaburras, as well as Monarch butterflies to entertain us.
In total we took 2 1/2 hours to do this walk including breaking for lunch for 20 minutes, and with Peter telling us to hurry up every 5 minutes or so. George Driscoll says it would take 3 1/2 hours, which sounds much more humane.
Dan Says ...
Phew that was hard work!
No one, as a child, would dare to do this walk. You would only get exercise, serenity and see lots of worthless cow poop. But all that fungi!!! It was so weird. One type looked like a black ball of dung, another was orange and shaped like a tree and another was furry like penicillin. You have to admit that we see a lot of weird stuff on our walks.
I’m just trying to keep an open mind.
This week I have a riddle for you:
Q: What can run, but not walk and has a mouth but can’t talk?
A: A river
I have included a few snaps from a June 2012 visit.
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