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Hallett Cove Conservation Park

Hallett Cove is one of Australia's most outstanding geological and archaeological sites, recording an Australian ice age some 280 million years ago and providing a treasure chest of more than 1,700 Aboriginal artefacts.

Magnificently developed glacial pavements along the northern cliff tops are recognised as the best record of Permian glaciation in Australia and being of worldwide significance.

The park also conserves native flora and fauna and has a beach for swimming and fishing.

Marion Coastal Walk

The Marion Coastal Walking Trail extends 7.2 km from Marino in the north, to the Hallett Headland Reserve at Hallett Cove in the south.

It features stunning views, educational signs, and a great work out!

Frequently Asked Questions


The park is accessible via Main South Road, Majors Road, Lonsdale Road and right into The Cove Road.

There are three main entrances to the park all serviced by an interpretive walking trail:

  • Eastern entrance off Dutchman Drive.
  • Southern entrance off Heron Way
  • Northern entrance off South Avenue.

For train travellers, the northern entrance is in easy walking distance of the Hallett Cove railway station and the southern entrance from the Hallett Cove Beach railway station.

History of the park

Aboriginal stone implements were first discovered in Hallett Cove in 1934 with more than 1,700 artefacts being collected over a period of 30 years.

Professor Ralph Tate was the first person to realise that South Australia had been subjected to an ice age when he discovered the cove's smoothed and striated glacial pavement in 1875. The area was proclaimed as a conservation park in 1976 for the protection of its outstanding scientific and historic features.

The Friends of Hallett Cove volunteer group can be contacted through the Natural Resource Centre - Black Hill on 8336 0901.

Facilities near the park

Toilets and the Boatshed Cafe are located at the entrance to the park near Heron Way Reserve at the old Surf Life Saving Club building.

There is no vehicle access to the park but car parking is available at the northern and southern entrances. Walking trails all shown on the interpretative panels give a good perspective of Hallett Cove.

Fishing and swimming are permitted along the beach in the south-western corner of the park.

Further information on the park is available from the Natural Resource Centre - Black Hill on 8336 0901.

Can I take my dog in the park?

Dogs are not permitted in the Hallett Cove Conservation Park.

Natural attractions

The fascinating geological history of Hallett Cove is traced in its dark Pre-Cambrian rocks which were once under a sea that covered a vast area of South Australia 600 million years ago.

About 500 million years ago the region was squeezed by massive earth movements which folded rocks and formed them into mountain ranges. Such folds are clearly seen at the southern foot of Black Cliff and along the wave cut platform to the north.

Four main periods of the geological history of Hallett Cove are described along the park's interpretative walking trails.

What's the Sugarloaf?

The Sugarloaf, named for its resemblance to a mass of hard refined sugar, is the best known feature in the Hallett Cove Conservation Park.

Its shape is due to erosion by rain and wind over the last few thousand years. However the layes tell a much longer story:

Around 280 million years ago southern Australia (including Hallett Cove) was covered by an ice cap. It melted about 270 million years ago. The distinct red and white layers of sediment were deposited on the bottom of an ancient glacial meltwater lake.

The 'red beds' are sand and clay that contain dropstones. The regular layering indicates that the clay was deposited in calm water.

White sand forms the main portion of the Sugarloaf. At the base of the Sugarloaf is a layer of clay and boulders that fell from ice floating across the lake. The Sugarloaf is capped by a thin 'young' layer of brown alluvial clay which was deposited by a river between one to two million years ago.

Fauna and flora

Hallett Cove Conservation Park's coastal environment also enables it to host an unusual variety of marine and on-shore fauna and flora, including wading and oceanic birds and salt tolerant plants such as sea rocket, ruby saltbush and sea box.

Contact details

Find out more about the Hallett Cove Conservation Park on the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources website.

Natural Resource Centre - Black Hill Phone: 8336 0901

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