Distance: 10.9 km
Time: 3 hours at a good pace (parks and wildlife estimate 7 hours)
Difficulty: Hard is what is described and that is a reasonable description with lots of steep up and down and a bit of scrambling.
Deep Creek Conservation Park is situated on the Fleurieu Peninsula just south of Adelaide and on the east coast of the peninsula. The Heysen trail which is the SA long distance footpath runs through the park creating a number of good hikes to suit different abilities. One of the hikes we had planned was to complete the Deep Creek Circuit Hike which is a 10.9 km hike and parks and wildlife suggest this is a 7 hour circuit and rate it as hard. We took 3 hours to complete this so the 7 hour estimate is very conservative, however we did go at a reasonable pace and didn’t stop for lunch until the end of the circuit.
The hike starts from the Trig Campground which is accessible by a good gravel road. The campsite looks like a great place to camp nicely laid out and decent long drop toilets. I downloaded the PDF Maps through the Avenza Maps app to my iPhone. These maps are GPS enabled so you can track your progress on the circuit. The hike is well signposted so you are unlikely to get lost but certainly having the maps is useful either on a device or a print out.
The first section of the hike descends quite steeply into Deep Creek Cove which you can do as a hike down and then return to the campsite but much better to do the loop if you have time. There are some great views out to the ocean and down into Deep Creek as you descend. Deep Creek Cove is nice for spending a bit of time and crossing the river is fairly easy without getting wet feet when the water levels are low. By the looks of it at high levels it would be pretty tricky to cross and could be dangerous. This was the reason we undertook the circuit this way around as we could check out the condition of the river and return if necessary without having to go right back around the circuit.
The path from the Cove up to Tapanappa lookout is steep climbing out the cove but once on the main path heading up to the lookout it is reasonable going although still fairly steep at times. After passing the lookout there will be a path junction where to complete the circuit a left turn is required otherwise you will end up at Tapanappa Campsite. This is where the Heysen trail is joined so well marked with red markers and also a very well maintained track heading along the range and winding through the creeks, certainly very beautiful and a lot of work has gone into creating steps in places where you need it. A highlight along this section is the waterfall which is certainly worth spending some time at. Remember to return back along the path to pick up the Heysen trail showing you where to cross downstream of the waterfall. Heading up from the waterfall there has been a lot of work undertaken bringing in staircases that take you out of the creek. Eventually you end up back on the gravel road taking a left back down to the carpark at Trig Campground.
We decided to write this hike up as it certainly has been a highlight and makes it into our top 10 hikes in Australia so far! The stats and link to the route in Garmin can be found by clicking on the image below.
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