Morialta Conservation Park

On Sunday afternoon, 12th October, 2014, I headed over to the Morialta Conservation Park (CP), which is about 30 km north west from my home (by road).  This was to be the first time that I had activated the Morialta CP.  On my way to the park I spoke with Mark VK5QI who advised that he was heading out with Gary VK5FGRY to activate some parks that afternoon and would meet up with me in the Morialta CP.

Morialta CP is located 10 km from Adelaide, in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  The park which is 5.33 km² in size (533 ha), contains three seasonal waterfalls located alongside Fourth Creek which runs through the park.  Morilata CP has an extensive network of walking trails and is also popular for rock climbing and abseiling.  The park supports a wide variety of wildlife.  The rock pools and creeks provide habitat for many small reptiles and frogs.  Western Grey kangaroos, koalas, Southern Brown bandicoots, and echidnas call the park their home.  Numerous birds can be found in the park including hornbills, wattlebirds, treecreepers, finches, lorikeets and several birds of prey.  The threatened species, the Chestnut-rumped Heathwren can be found in the park.

Screenshot 2014-10-14 19.13.03

Morialta derives its name from the local aboriginal Kaurna language meaning “ever flowing” or “running water”.  The area which is now Morialta Conservation Park was originally acquired by pastoralists in 1839.  In 1847, John Baker bought the land and built the grand Morialta House and Morialta Barns on Fourth Creek, near the head of the gorge.  John Smith Reid was also a major landholder in the area, and in 1911, he offered to donate part of his land as a national reserve.

Reid donated 218 hectares (540 acres) in 1913, and in 1915 the area was declared a National Pleasure Resort. Much of the construction work in the park was begun in the 1920s and 1930s, although floods and bushfires have destroyed much of this original work.  In 1966 additional property to the east was added, and the park was declared a National park. In 1972 the park was re-proclaimed as Morialta Conservation Park.


Above picture is courtesy of

Click on the link below to view a historic video on the Morialta Conservation Park…..

I drove up Moores Road, which runs off Marble Hill Road, and continued west until I reached the north eastern corner of the park on the southern side of Moores Road.  There is a carpark here on the northern side of Moores Road.  Moores Road is a dirt road, but is easily passed by 2WD vehicle.  I set up on Third Falls Track, just inside the park boundary.

Screenshot 2014-10-14 19.13.39

I used my Yaesu FT-450 and the 20m/40m linked dipole for this activation, and ran 40 watts.  After making myself comfortable on my deck chair, at the fold up table, I tuned around the 40m band and found Mark VK5QI who was portable in the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park, operating on 7.105.  That was a nice start, to get a park to park contact.  I then tuned down to 7.100 and spoke with Chris VK4FR/5 for another park to park contact.  Chris was operating from the Morgan Conservation Park in the Riverland region of South Australia.

I then went down to 7.085 and first station worked there was Steve Vk5SFA, followed by John Vk5FTCT, and Greg VK5GJ operating QRP again (5 watts) with his home brew transceiver.  A nice signal as always Greg.  Seven contacts later I was called by Damien VK5FDEC who was portable in the Port Gawler Conservation Park, operating with Steve VK5AIM.  It was great to see so many activators out and about in the parks, enjoying the sunshine.

I continued to work a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3 & VK5, and was then called by Mark again, VK5QI, who this time, was operating portable from the Giles Conservation Park.  This made four park to park contacts for this activation.  Many thanks to the other park activators.

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After working a total of 23 stations on 40m SSB, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole, and then out our a few CQ calls on 20m.  First taker there was Greg VK5LG, followed by Adam VK2YK, and then Mike VK6MB.  It was a little too early for any DX on 20m.  In fact the band was very quiet, with some very low down signals from eastern Europe.  Thanks to Col VK5HCF for spotting me on parksnpeaks.

The goat bleated on my SOTA Goat app on the iPhone, alerting me to Peter VK3PF, being on 7.090.  So the squid pole was lowered again, and the crocodile clips attached, allowing me to operate on the 40m band.  I quickly tuned the VFO to 7.105 and worked Peter who was on Sams Hill, VK3/ VG-049, for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.

After an hour in the park, Mark VK5QI and Gary VK5FGRY arrived.  After a chat and a quick inspection of each others gear, they set up their station and started calling CQ.  I was the first in their log, whilst in was mobile along Moores Road, on my way to my next activation at the Black Hill Conservation Park.


The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

Mark VK5QI/p (Horsnell Gully CP); Chris VK4FR/5 (Morgan CP); Steve VK5SFA; John VK5FTCT; Greg VK5GJ; Larry VK5LY; Arno VK5ZAR; David VK5NQP; Tony VK5FTVR; Stu VK5STU; Col VK5HCF; Damien VK5FDEC/p (Port Gawler CP); Brian VK5FMID; Bob VK5FO; Bon VK5FPAC; Paul VK3FALC; Amanda VK3FQSO; Ian VK3VIN; Nick VK3ANL; Joe VK3YSP/m; John VK2AWJ; Peter VK3TKK; Mark VK5QI/p (Giles CP); and Peter VK3PF/p (SOTA).

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

Greg VK5LG; Adam VK2YK; & Mike VK6MB.



Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, 2014, ‘Morialta and Black Hill Conservation Parks

Wikipedia, 2014, ‘Morialta Conservation Park, viewed 14th October 2014 <;

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