Morialta Falls: 2nd December 2015
I’ve often heard visitors to England’s landmark waterfalls express disappointment that it wasn’t what they were expecting. The trouble is, most visitors come in the holidays, which is (hopefully) the driest time of the year when the falls, a truly magnificent sight in the winter, are but a feeble trickle, and a fraction of their wet-season grandeur.
It’s not confined to England, either. Mark Twain once described the honeymoon destination of Niagara Falls as ‘ … the American bride’s second great disappointment’. From this statement a) I deduce that he visited at the wrong time of year and b) I feel rather sorry for Mrs. Twain.
Or, Australia! In Adelaide, I made two visits, three years apart, to the Morialta Falls.
There are several creeks flowing from the Adelaide Hills into the Torrens River … incidentally, a ‘river’ in name only. With a lamentable lack of imagination, the early settlers named them First Creek, Second Creek, Third Creek … et.seq; ad. inf. and ad. naus!
In several places, the creeks have formed waterfalls, the best known of which is the triple falls at Morialta … which (probably) the same soulless person has called the First Fall, the Second Fall and the Third Fall. But, they can be quite spectacular in the rainy season.
The First Fall is a fair walk from the car park, but it’s a relatively flat one, along the floor of a wooded, ever-narrowing gorge. There’s better views of all three falls if you take one of the more strenuous Loop Walks up the red gorge walls. These elevated paths give some good views of Adelaide, too. But, we only took a short walk; and only viewed the two upper falls from a distance.
There’s much to be seen at close hand too; a little lizard scurrying across the path, and up a tree … I think this is the first time I’ve seen one outside a sanctuary or a wildlife park … a sleeping koala.
I found that the barrier at the entrance was out of use, and reached the conclusion that maybe they only charge admission that they only charge admission when there’s actually water in the falls. There was only the slightest trickle … and, when I visited again, three years later … there wasn’t any!
In spite of the rain the previous night, night, all we saw was an arid cliff-face where the lower fall should be. I did ask a friendly conservation volunteer what time they turned the water on. She knew at once I was joking … but I later reflected this was probably how all those entries on ‘stupid things tourists say’ lists originated.
(Actually, it’s not so stupid; at the Kondalilla Falls in Queensland, which we visited in 2010, they do actually open the sluices in a dam above the falls at set times)