Exploring Waterfall Gully & Breakfast at Utopia Restaurant

Exploring Waterfall Gully & Breakfast at Utopia Restaurant

Just ten minutes east of the city, along a winding road through the Adelaide foothills, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the stunning natural landscape of Waterfall Gully. 

Located in Cleland Conservation Park, Waterfall Gully is home to the impressive First Falls, an 18 metre waterfall that flows all year round.  Equally stunning in the cooler months surrounded in mist as it is in the warmer months, this protected bushland has an abundance of natural vegetation, a huge variety of flora and fauna and is home to a diverse range of native wildlife.

First Falls is a gentle walk from the carpark, with seating areas and plenty of space to stand and admire the waterfall.  If you would like to view the waterfall from the top, it doesn’t take too long to walk to the viewing area overlooking the valley.  It is a fairly steep climb to this section, but the path is fully paved.  The view is beautiful and it’s quite incredible when you realise how close this natural gem is to the city of Adelaide.  The view is most definitely worth the effort!

If you continue along the trail a little further you will reach the Second Falls waterfalls.  In 2011 the walking trails were upgraded and an open area for children to explore was created between the First and Second Falls.  Second Falls is a lot smaller than First Falls, but you can get much closer to the waterfall here.  There is a stone bench to sit on and kids can splash around at the base just down the path from the waterfall.

The remaining walking trail to the summit was upgraded and completed in 2020 – read more here about the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Hike.

Once you’re back down in the gully you can wander around the base of the First Falls waterfall and enjoy the gardens.  There’s a footbridge, park benches, picnic areas and public toilets near the car park.  This area makes a fabulous photo shoot backdrop so it’s the ideal place to take some family snaps.

Utopia @ Waterfall Gully

Utopia is the only restaurant in Australia situated at the base of a naturally flowing waterfall.  With stunning views, the building is a heritage listed stone cottage originally built as a teahouse in 1912.  Currently owned and operated by a couple with children, the restaurant is a family friendly venue with a delightful kids menu and a toy area for little ones.  As well as restaurant table service, there is also a kiosk for drinks and ice creams if you’re not planning on eating in.

Open daily for breakfast, brunch and lunch, our favourite time to visit is for a weekend breakfast before heading off to explore the beautiful surrounding bushland.  As there is only one car park located at the end of Waterfall Gully Road, it can be very difficult to find a park, especially on weekends.  There is also limited parking along Waterfall Gully Road, but be sure to be respectable to residents when parking alongside privately owned properties.

The gates to the Waterfall Gully car park are open from 6am-7pm Monday to Sunday, and 6am-9pm Monday to Sunday during daylight savings.

Utopia Restaurant is open 9am-5pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and public holidays and from 8am-5pm on weekends.  

Visit Utopia’s website here for more information.

How to get to Waterfall Gully

It’s a slow, winding drive up Waterfall Gully Road from Waterfall Terrace in Burnside, however be aware the road is shared by walkers and cyclists too.  The road ends at the top when you reach the parking area in front of Utopia Restaurant, at the base of First Falls.  There is often a line of cars waiting to find a park, so be prepared to be very patient, especially on weekends. This is the meeting spot for an estimated 40,000 people a year who make the trip between Waterfall Gully and Mt Lofty Summit.

things to do in Adelaide for families


For more information and all equiries please visit the Parks SA website or follow Utopia Restaurant on Facebook.

What:   Waterfall Gully & Utopia Restaurant

When:   All Year (see times above)

Where:   Waterfall Gully Road, Waterfall Gully (see map)

Who:   Everyone

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 Play & Go 2013

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