Whether you are an adventure seeker, a picnic enthusiast, or love taking photos of the natural landscape, the Onkaparinga River National Park is a must see in the region.

A natural wonder of the region, the Onkaparinga River National Park is full of spectacular flora and fauna, some unique to the park. Within 10 minutes drive of McLaren Vale, the park is an oasis to explore. To start your journey, pop into the Natural Resources Centre in Willunga (Aldinga Road) to speak with a ranger and pick up a map and a brochure, or download them online at National Parks South Australia.

Responsible ranger Steve Johnson says the park continues to surprise and delight visitors. “The gorge and river within the park are truly spectacular – starting with woodlands and the ridge tops over the gorge, ending at the estuary and river mouth. The recreational opportunities are just as diverse as the landscapes.” From late 2017, the new campground at Onkaparinga River National Park will be operational o™ffering new trails, car parks, viewing platforms, toilets and other facilities. Steve says the proximity to the surrounding wine regions means you can make the most of both worlds. “My ultimate day would include bushwalking and wine tasting on a sunny winter’s morning, lunch at a winery, pub, café or bakery, then dinner by the campfire at Onkaparinga River National Park.”

McLaren Vale Visitor Guide Onkaparinga River National Park

Onkaparinga River National Park image supplied courtesy of Ben Heide.

For those seeking adventure, relaxation or stunning photographs, here’s some inspiration:


  • See the park at a di™fferent angle by rock climbing. The eastern end of the gorge has a designated cliff™ face for people wanting to give it a try. Adventure companies o™er rock climbing sessions.
  • If you are a keen mountain biker, there are a number of trails throughout the park to test your skills and satisfy your inner thrill seeker.
  • Try your hand at water sports on the picturesque Onkaparinga River. Grab your kayak, canoe or paddle board or hire from Easy Kayaks right by the river mouth.
  • See nature at its best with a hike along the Hardy’s Scrub track. A moderate hike taking 2-3 hours, it’s a great way to see some of the most pristine nature the park has to o™ffer.


  • Enjoy the peace and quiet of the Onkaparinga River whilst fishing along the river mouth. It’s common to catch mullet, mulloway and bream in the area, whilst being captivated by the beautiful scenery.
  • Throughout the park, there are a number of designated picnic areas to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Some o™er barbecue facilities for a hearty feast surrounded by nature.


  • For the budding photographer, the Sundews Lookout is a must visit. With views across the spectacular Onkaparinga Gorge – it’s a gorgeous spot to capture an amazing photo.

Found a favourite spot or snapped a great photo of the Onkaparinga River National Park? Share it on social media using the hashtag #mclarenvaleguide

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