Exploring Telowie Gorge – yet another hidden gem in the Southern Flinders Ranges!
by Katrina Gogel
After years of saying ‘we must call in there’ we finally took the turn off from the highway near Port Pirie and ventured into beautiful Telowie Gorge Conservation Park for a family bushwalk.
Telowie Gorge is home to dramatic scenery and a rich variety of habitats for animals and plants, in particular the Yellow-footed rock-wallaby. There is little information to be found online about the bushwalk into the Gorge, so it was great to come across the interpretive signage in the carpark outlining details about the park and its only trail; the Nukunu trail.
The Nukunu trail, named after the traditional owners of the Southern Flinders Ranges, is 700 metres long and takes approximately half an hour to walk. This formal trail meanders beside a creek into the entrance of Telowie Gorge, and is flat and easy to navigate. It’s a great bushwalk for kids!
The only obstacle you will face on this section of the trail is Telowie Creek. In winter months it is highly likely the creek will have some water flowing in it, and like us, you’ll need to rock hop your way over to the trail on the other side. We found this easy enough to do, with my husband carrying our three-year-old across, while Master six carefully navigated his way over by himself.
The scenery along the trail is beautiful, particularly in late winter/early spring when the surrounds are green and the creek is flowing. It was fascinating to see large amounts of debris from previous floods caught in the trees along the trail here. This sparked a conversation with our six-year-old who was curious to know why the water had become so high, and caused all the big branches and logs to become stuck in the trees.
After walking for about fifteen minutes you will come to a signpost, which is the end of the formal Nukunu trail. At this point visitors can either choose to turn around, or continue on to further explore the gorge. We’d met some friendly park volunteers back in the carpark who said the extended walk into the gorge was beautiful, so we opted to explore a bit further.
From this point on there is no formal trail or markers, and bushwalkers need to take responsibility for their own safety. With a six-year-old and three-year-old in tow, we were very mindful of this and proceeded with caution, agreeing that if the trail became too dangerous for the boys we would just turn around.
To our surprise this unmarked section was okay, and no harder than the trails you’d find in nearby Alligator Gorge (read our Alligator Gorge review here). Using the creek bed to guide us into the gorge, we spent another fifteen minutes scrambling over large rocks, and criss-crossing our way across narrow parts of the creek to follow the trail. At one point along the trail there was a sheer drop off- but we kept the boys close by our sides and carefully navigated this short section.
With each step we took the scenery changed around us and soon we were deep below the towering red ochre walls of stunning Telowie Gorge. We came to a large pool of water and decided that this would be the perfect place to stop for a drink and snack, and to relax for a little while. Here the boys found some logs to climb on, and threw pebbles into the water- listening to the ‘plop’ sound echo throughout the gorge. We even tried to catch sight of some Yellow-footed rock-wallabies, but with two noisy boys our chances were slim, and we didn’t see any!
Needing to get back on the road, we decided to end our adventure here and commenced our return to the carpark- but not before agreeing that this is a place we MUST visit again soon!
What we liked about Telowie Gorge Conservation Park:
- The Nukunu walk is short and easy- perfect for kids
- Exploring further into the gorge is great fun
- We had the whole place to ourselves
- The park is not far from the Augusta highway
- Telowie Gorge is a stunning, hidden gem
- It’s free!
Things to Consider:
- There are no toilets or picnic facilities in Telowie Gorge Conservation Park
- There are no rubbish bins- take all of your rubbish with you
- No pets are allowed
- The trail is not pram friendly
- The park is closed on days of catastrophic fire danger, and may also be closed on days of extreme fire danger
- After heavy rainfall the Telowie Creek may be high and fast flowing. Do not attempt to cross it in these conditions
- The Nukunu walk takes approx. half an hour to walk, but you will need to allow longer if you plan to venture further into the gorge (past the white sign). We walked approximately 2 kilometres return from the carpark to get into the Gorge, taking us just over one hour to complete
- The walk into the gorge past the white warning sign is unmarked and the trail is undefined in some sections. Some children may find this part of the walk difficult, and at times scary
- Ensure you let someone know of your intention to hike, especially when in remote areas
- There is Telstra mobile coverage in the gorge
- Ensure you are carrying sufficient water and food, as well as sunscreen/hats for your hike
Things to see and do nearby:
- Visit the small seaside town of Port Germein, which is home to South Australia’s longest jetty. It also has a great little playground. Read our review here.
- Tackle the nearby Bridle Track in your 4wd
- Call into Harry’s on your way out of the Gorge for a bite to eat, or to buy some homemade goodies
- The regional cities of Port Pirie and Port Augusta are both nearby and make great places for a stopover
Telowie Gorge Conservation Park is a ten minute drive from the Augusta Highway near Port Pirie (approximately 270 kms north of Adelaide). Follow the signs from the highway to the entrance of the park.
For more information and all enquiries please visit the Telowie Gorge Conservation Park website.
What: Nukunu Trail in Telowie Gorge Conservation Park
Where: Telowie, South Australia (270kms north of Adelaide)
Who: Bushwalking fans
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Image Source: All photos by Katrina Gogel
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