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Natural Areas in the Greater Adelaide Region

So you’re ready to contribute to the City Nature Challenge 2020: Greater Adelaide but aren’t sure where you should go to make observations? Check out the long, but hardly exhaustive, list of great natural areas in the Greater Adelaide region below.

The City Nature Challenge 2020: Greater Adelaide project covers a significant section of the most populated areas in the state. The area referred to as “Greater Adelaide” covers a total of 9,000 square kilometers with a population of around 1.5 million amassing approximately 85% of the population of SA. It includes all the Metropolitan Local Government Areas plus the District Council of Yankalilla, City of Victor Harbor, Alexandrina Council, The Rural City of Murray Bridge, Mount Barker District Council, Barossa Council, Light Regional Council and Adelaide Plains Council.


This area encompasses the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges, considered one of only 15 National Biodiversity Hotspots across Australia. There are an extensive range of natural areas to discover, most of which are open to the public with varying levels of accessibility. Local suburban parklands and trails, beaches and rocky reefs, conservation parks and reserves, river trails and wetlands.

Bassett Street Reserve, Willunga
Bassett Street Reserve, Willunga

You don’t have to travel far to find biodiverse areas. Local suburban and regional parks and waterways support many wild species. A visit to any of these can be a quick way to take a few dozen observations. Don’t forget to record the introduced species which can often be found in abundance in suburban areas, and can help to build up the total species recorded for the challenge. A small selection of interesting parks are listed below. Some of these have links to associated iNaturalist Collection projects where you can see all the observations that have been made at that location.

Place Name (Number of observations uploaded) (Number of species recorded) 
City of Onkaparinga NATUREhoodz – Umbrella project of all City of Onkaparinga natural areas (2638) (568)
Hazelwood Park (38) (31)
Grasby Memorial Park (269) (127)
Old Chapel Hill Diggings (237) (132)
Browns Road, Monarto (242) (51)
Adelaide Parklands
Roachdale Reserve
Malcolm Wicks Reserve
Michael Perry Botanic Reserve
Woorabinda Bushland Reserve
Engelbrook Reserve
Randell Park Reserve
Lynton & Sleeps Reserve
Hindmarsh Falls
Ingalalla Falls
Myponga Reservoir Trail
Willunga Hill Trail
Altona CSR Landcare Reserve

Oaklands Wetland and Reserve, South Australia
Oaklands Wetland & Reserve

There are many wetlands and river trails to choose from in the Greater Adelaide region. A visit to any of these will offer a good range of waterbirds to record and wetland plants. (Although as the focus for iNaturalist is ‘wild’ organisms, best to avoid recording plants known to have been planted, or if doing so make sure to mark them as Casual observations).

Place Name (Number of observations uploaded) (Number of species recorded)
Aldinga Washpool (139) (70)
Hart Road Wetland (111) (53)
Laratinga Wetlands (438) (105)
Brodie Road Wetland (198) (39)
Madeira Drive Wetland (58) (21)
Byards Wetland (373) (63)
Fountain Valley Reserve (89) (38)
Candy Road Wetland (48) (24)
Glade Crescent Wetland (8) (7)
Oaklands Wetland and Reserve (411) (73)
Gillman Wetlands (26) (15)
Swanport Wetlands (57) (37)
Paiwalla Wetlands
Riverglades Wetland
Rocky Gully Wetlands
Greenfields Wetlands, Mawson Lakes
St. Peters Billabong
Felixstow Wetlands
Warriparinga Wetlands (PDF Link)
Barker Wetlands South, Wingfield (PDF Link)
Apex Park and Breakout Creek Wetlands (PDF Link)

Aldinga Reef
Aldinga Reef

The Greater Adelaide region includes a long coastline, with large stretches of beachfront near Metropolitan Adelaide and at locations around the Fleurieu Peninsula. There are numerous shore accessible reefs and dive spots. The list below covers just some of the most biodiverse coastal sites in the Greater Adelaide region.

Place Name (Number of observations uploaded) (Number of species recorded)
Aldinga Reef (323) (147)
Noarlunga Reef (1039) (197)
Second Valley (404) (167)
Rapid Bay (741) (215)
Aldinga Beach Coastal Reserve (56) (41)
Moana Sands Coastal Reserve (48) (27)
Sellicks Beach Coastal Reserve (34) (33)
South Port Noarlunga Dunes (115) (72)
Hallett Cove rocky shore & Field River Mouth
Kingston Park Rock Pools
Thompson Beach
St Kilda Mangroves
Oliver’s Reef, Victor Harbor

Mount Lofty Botanic Garden Banner
Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens and Zoos can also offer great opportunity to record various species. Skip recording the captive Animals and cultivated Plants, but anything else is up for grabs (including THIS little Skink if you can find it).

Place Name (Number of observations uploaded) (Number of species recorded)
Adelaide Botanic Garden (416) (129)
Mount Lofty Botanic Garden (73) (44)
Wittunga Botanic Garden (9) (7)
Waite Arboretum

Monarto Zoo
Adelaide Zoo
Warrawong Sanctuary
Cleland Wildlife Park
Gorge Wildlife Park

Heysen Trail, Kyeema
Heysen Trail, Kyeema

The Greater Adelaide region includes a number of long hikes which pass through a diverse range of environments offering opportunities to record many different species.

Heysen Trail
Kidman Horse Trail
Pioneer Women’s Trail
Mawson Trail
Encounter Bikeway
Borossa Trail
Sea to Summit
Coast Park Path
Lavender Federation Trail
River Torrens Linear Trail
Coast to Vines Rail Trail

Backyards can also be unexpectedly biodiverse, particularly with regard to invertebrates. In April some groups of invertebrates may be a little harder to find, but introduced Plant species should be abundant. Record any Plants that have sprouted naturally. Birds are ever present, and don’t forget the nocturnal species. The Grey Headed Flying Foxes in the Adelaide colony head out each night frequently foraging up to 20km from the roost, but can occasionally be found up to 50km away, so may be present throughout much of the Greater Adelaide region.

Onkaparinga River NP Banner
Onkaparinga River National Park

There are many protected parks within Greater Adelaide worth a visit during the City Nature Challenge. Recreation Parks, Conservation Parks, National Parks, Forestry Reserves. Most of which are a great place to spend a day discovering what the natural world has to offer. Try standing in one spot and see how many species you can find within visual range. Every one is worth recording and uploading to iNaturalist.

All the below protected parks can be found in the umbrella project Protected Parks of South Australia.

Place Name (Number of observations uploaded) (Number of species recorded)

If you know of any other locations you’d like to recommend, please let us know in the comments section below.


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