Walk of the Month: Kinchina Conservation Park, Rocky Gully
Graham Hallandal offers you a guided walk through a patch of nature on Murray Bridge's western outskirts.
At the western outskirts of Murray Bridge is Kinchina Conservation Park which, at 414 hectares, is the largest area of native vegetation in the Monarto Crown Lands region.
The Parks SA website states:
In the later parts of the year the area is blossoming with orchids, lilies and beautiful spring wildflowers. It is definitely worth a visit at this time. Patience might reward you with a sighting of several rare birds, including the diamond firetail, restless flycatcher or a hooded robin. The protection of these species, which are in decline in the Mount Lofty Ranges, are amongst the reasons the park was proclaimed. The park also protects grassy woodland communities, a declining habitat across the Mount Lofty Ranges. There are populations of threatened plant species, such as Monarto mintbush and Menzel’s wattle in the park. In fact, this park is the only area where Menzel’s wattle is formally protected, with over 4000 plants in the park.
The area was declared a conservation park in November 2016.
Our walk covers three of the nine multi-use walking/mountain bike trails within Kinchina.
The total distance of this walk is 5.4 kilometers with a shorter option of 2.2km.
Our start point is the car park on the northern side of Maurice Road, at the top of the rise on the road a kilometer from Netley Road.
There is ample parking for more than 12 cars.
The route for this walk follows sections of the green, pink and orange trails.
All trails are marked at regular intervals with signage along the trail and at trail intersections colour-coded to the map.
Trails are well defined and easy to follow.
Some sections in the southern areas have some rocky areas, so wear suitable footwear.
Cross Maurice Road to the Jailhouse Rocks Loop Trail-connecting spur trail.
Take care – Maurice Road at this location has a 100-kilometre-per-hour limit, with many quarry trucks using the road.
A short walk takes you to the Jailhouse Rocks Loop Trail, green on the map.
Turn left and follow the trail to the start of the Cemetery Trail, pink on the map.
Head south on the Cemetery Trail.
If undertaking the short walk, continue following the Jailhouse Rocks Loop Trail signs back to the spur trail and to the car park.
The Cemetery Trail is 1.7km long.
Look out for the old horse-drawn land roller and sign to the stock self-feeder and sheds, huts and living quarters from the 1930s and 40s.
The next section of this trail has many colourful native plants you can find if observant.
There are glimpses of Murray Bridge and the River Murray before you reach the intersection of the Cemetery Spur Trail.
This trail leads to and through the Bremer Road Cemetery, another start point for a future walk.
Continue along the pink Cemetery Trail.
The next section is more uneven under foot as denser vegetation is reached and the route travels around gullies before heading south-east.
Glimpses of some of the communication towers and the Princes Highway can be seen.
It is along this section that keen observers will spot rare native orchards on the trail’s edge.
At the end of the Cemetery Trail, turn right onto the orange Jailbreak Trail and head north.
This is the longest trail within the park at 4.2km and, in the northern section, the most used, attracting more than 3000 users per month during cooler times of the year.
The Jailbreak Trail initially climbs, has outcrops of rock and is narrow with close vegetation and glimpses of Murray Bridge and the river before opening up with a firm, sandy surface.
At the intersection of the Jailhouse Rocks Loop Trail, take the section ahead of you – clockwise – onto the Jailhouse Rocks Loop spur trail you started the walk from and return to the car park.
It is highly recommended you print off and take with you a copy of the Kinchina Conservation Park map embedded near the top of this post, and available from the Parks SA website or Lavender Federation Trail website.
The Jailhouse Rocks Spur Trail is marked and easily followed but, as a newly constructed trail, does not yet appear on official maps.
The trails within Kinchina were constructed and are maintained by a team of volunteer walkers and mountain bikers.
Please respect and appreciate the effort by these volunteers and take the time to appreciate the great asset created for the community.
More information: www.parks.sa.gov.au.
More walks of the month
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