This challenging, well signposted, walk (8km return) begins in Waterfall Gully at the 1st Falls lookout and continues past the 2nd Falls from where the trail climbs steeply up to the remains of Chinaman’s Hut (1.1kms – picture 2). Archaeologists have been unable to find any sign of past Chinese occupation and the hut was more likely occupied by European woodcutters in around 1900.
The track continues through Wilson’s Bog where ferns cascade over path edge. This is a very luscious and somewhat cooler section on what can be a very hot walk in summer.
After this the track gets steep again and joins the Heysen Trail continuing upwards past Mt Lofty Youth Hostel (formally a shepherds hut) and across Mt Lofty Summit Rd before a final ascent to Mt Lofty Summit . The aftermath of Ash Wednesday 1983 bushfires which ripped through the area is still evident at many points along the walk.
En-route, at the remains of Chinaman’s hut, a side trip diversion (2.2kms return) can be made to the Eagle on the Hill. Also further up a diversion (2kms return) can be made to visit Cleland Wildlife Park.
This is an ‘open’ zoo the aim of is to let you get up close to native Australia animals are 35 hectares of open bushland habitat where visitors can interact with Australian wildlife. Having entered the park and armed yourself with a bag of animal feed (fee in addition to the park entrance fee) you are pretty much free to wander around at will among the safer of the animals – kangaroos, lorikeets, emus, wallabies etc. Less safe ones (and the more reserved) are available for inspection in their enclosures – including nocturnal animals such as bilbies and bats, as well as venomous snakes and native lizards.
Back to the walk – the track is very well maintained and you will not be alone. This is a popular training track for Adelaide’s power walker and joggers.
In terms of practicalities wear proper shoes, protect yourself against the sun (some parts of walk exposed) and take sufficient water. Water can be replenished at the summit. While at the summit enjoy a coffee, cold drink or a full meal – you have earned it.
The gates to the Waterfall Gully car park are open 6am-7pm Monday to Sunday, and 6am-9pm Monday to Sunday during the daylight savings period.
By car or taxi (or walk down from Mt Lofty – recommended if you don’t have a vehicle as Mt Lofty can be reached by public transport). Car parking at Waterfall Gully can be difficult especially at weekends due to limited spaces and the popularity of this walk.
Contrary to what you may find written elsewhere there is no bus service to Waterfall Gully – the closest stop is approximately 4km away necessitating a 4 km walk along a windy, busy, footpathless road though, admittedly through a nice area of the city.