Deep Creek Conservation Park

If attempting any of the hikes in Deep Creek Conservation Park, please make sure you are prepared.  Take adequate water and let someone know your destination and time of return.  Don't rely on the water in the creeks or in the tanks at the campgrounds.  The hikes are best attempted in cooler weather.

Good fishing is available from the coast at several spots (Blowhole Beach, Deep Creek Cove, Boat Harbour Beach) but usually requires a long, hard, steep walk (with the exception of Blowhole Beach if you have a 4WD). 

Like Yorke Peninsula, most of the Fleurieu Peninsula has been cleared, so very little native vegetation remains.  The largest slab of native vegetation is situated within Deep Creek Conservation Park.

The Park is just over 100 kilometres south of Adelaide.  The easiest way to get there is to travel along Main South Road to Myponga, the onto Nomanville, Second Valley, past the Rapid Bay turn off, until you reach the little settlement of Delamere.  

Immediately after the store at Delamere, turn left.  This sealed road leads to Victor Harbour, but the unselaed roads to Deep Creek Conservation Park and the camping grounds are clearly marked.  Although the roads are unsealed they are suitable for all vehicles and are quite well maintained, except for the occasional (?) pothole.

This is a beautiful part of the State.  The Park consists of densely forested hills and valleys with a spectacular coastline.  The numerous walks in the Park are challenging, but are well worth it.  There are views across Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island, as well as views of the coastline itself.  A section of the Heysen Trail meanders through the Park also. 

 

Looking towards Boat Harbour Beach from Tapanappa Lookout.

Bird watchers will love it here.  There are apparently over 100 different species of birds recorded.  Kangaroos are everywhere and are a common sight at all the campgrounds.

I'll describe each of the four camping grounds individually, as they are well separated.  There is a fifth camping ground, but it is for hikers only.

Campfires are allowed at all the campgrounds, but only outside of Fire Danger season (1st of November until 30th of April).  You must bring your own firewood.  Firewood collection in the Park is not allowed.

 COBBLERS HILL CAMP GROUND

This is probably the smallest campground, although there are still quite a few sites.  All have areas for campfires (they call them "firepads") which are the grey areas in the photo.  There is a toilet here and rainwater.  All the sites are fairly small and not really suitable for caravans.  Tents are the go here.  You won't have any problems pitching.

All the sites are dirt, but it's not the horrible, sticky, muddy stuff, and there is usually a fair bit of leaf litter lying around, so the rain won't cause too many problems.  There is only sparse shelter given by the eucalyptus trees.  The sites are not particularly well screened from one another, but they are clearly numbered.

The amenities at Cobbler Hill.  2 long drop loos.

Just up the road from this campground is a picnic area.  A lovely spot, and the start of the walk to Blowhole Creek.  Now, if you are a South Australian, you may have heard of Blowhole Creek.  It's a spectacular part of the coast and was very popular with fisherman.  It was infamous for the steep descent to the beach.  So steep in fact that some vehicles were unable to make it back out again.  Now the road from the picnic area to Blowhole Creek is 4WD only.  It is still very steep and I would not like to try and drive out of there after rain, even in a 4WD.

You can imagine then, how steep the walk to Blowhole Creek is.  Very steep.  It is only a short hike, but trekking back out again up that slope is hard work.  It is listed as a "hard" hike in the bushwalking guide.

This is the beach at Blowhole Creek.  Still a popular fishing and swimming spot.

Kangaroos are nearly always present at the Cobbler Hill campground,

Spring and Autumn would be the best time to visit, due mainly to the more agreeable weather.  In Summer, it may be too hot to hike and in winter in can be very cold and windy.  The campground itself is at the top of the hill, so it is exposed to the wind.

Camping fees are $9 per car to enter the park and then $12 a night to camp.  (It's cheaper if you are on a motorbike).

STRINGYBARK CAMP GROUND

In my humble opinion, the best of the campgrounds and, probably, the largest.  Not only are hot showers available, but the sites are set amongst a beautiful Stringybark forest.  All sites are numbered.

 The sites are large and well spaced.  Caravans are OK here, as there is plenty of room to manoeuvre. 

It is a fairly sheltered site, but can still be wind affected.  The trees do offer a degree of shade from the sun.

There are three easy walks accessible from the Stringybark campground.  The longest is a 5km return trip.  All three are circuit walks that weave through the Stringybark forest and the dense fern undergrowth. 

Kangaroos and a surprising amout of bird life can be found in and around the campground.  Crimson Rosellas are common, along with magpies, wrens and robins. 

   A Stringybark campsite

 Toilets and showers at Stringybark

Camping fees are a little more expensive here.  It will cost you $9 a car to enter the park, then $21 a night to camp here (per car).  Payment can be made at the self registration station near the entrance to the campground, or at the Ranger Station.

TRIG CAMPGROUND

Large open sites set up around a central open area categorises Trig Campground.  There are quite a few good size sites here, although they are not suitable for caravans.  Each site is separated from the next by trees and shrubs, offering some sort of privacy.  The sites are close together though.  All sites are numbered.

There are toilets available but not showers.  Limited rainwater is also available.  

 

Kangaroos are regulars at this site too.

Being an open area, this campground is affected by the wind.  I would be chosing a fair weather trip here, although not too hot for walking.

Two hikes leave from the camping area.  One. the Deep Creek Cove Hike, is listed as "moderate".  It is 6.4km return.  The other is listed as "hard".  This is a 10.9 km return hike - the Deep Creek Circuit Hike.  Both have numerous steep sections, but spectacular coastal views.

On the road leading into the campground, there are two spots where the Deep Creek Waterfall Hike starts.  This is a 3.5k return hike to a permanent waterhole, with a small waterfall.  It's a nice spot and worth the walk.  Be warned though, the last 800 metres to the waterfall from this side is very steep.  Going in it's no worries.  Coming back out though - a different story.  A reasonable level of fitness is all that's required though.

Same entry fees apply, and it's $12 a night per car for this site.

TAPANAPPA CAMP GROUND

Similar to Trig Campground, Tapanappa has 17 sites situated around a large open area.  There is a one way road that circles the site and the campsites are all just off of the road.  Each site is marked with a post.  The sites are small, not suitable for caravans, and are close together, although the low trees and shrubs do provide some screening.

There are 3 (I think) toilet blocks here, but no showers.

A Tapanappa campsite.

The campground is along the top of a ridge and, although it set back from the point, it is still open to the wind.

Kangaroos are present here, especially early morning and late afternoon.

From near the campground the 7.3km return Boat Harbour Circuit Hike will take you to the cove at the mouth of Boat Harbour Creek.  Spectacular views are the reward here, but it's not easy, designated as "hard".

Just up the road a bit is the Tapanappa Lookout.  Probably the most popular starting point for hikers in the park.  Several walks can be accessed from here.  The Deep Creek Waterfall is accessible from the lookout, but it's 7km return and in the "hard" category.  The Deep Creek Cove Hike is only 3.4km return, but it's a steep one - also "hard".  The Deep Creek Circuit Hike can start and finish here and it's 10.9km of hell - I mean beautiful coastal scenery.

 

Deep Creek Waterfall

It is $12 a night per car to camp at Tapanappa and the same entry fees apply.  There is a self registration station at the entrance to the campground.

Deep Creek Conservation Park is arguably the best place to camp on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  It's spectacular views and unspoilt terrain make it a must see.