Marino Conservation Park is on a highpoint where the Mt Lofty ranges curve towards the coast at Marino Rocks. The main entrance and car park is at the top of Nimboya Road. The closest public transport access point is the Marino Rocks railway station. From a distance the most noticeable feature is a lighthouse and from the crest near the lighthouse there are magnificent views over the city, and along Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches.
The park covers about 30 hectares and was proclaimed a conservation park in 1989. This is land of the Kaurna Nation but after European settlement it was used as grazing land and then for housing. A deep gully was used as a garbage tip by Marion Council.
A section of the park adjoining the rail corridor, is covered with coastal heath. This was the predominant vegetation along the Metropolitan coastline, but little has survived the spread of urbanisation. This area of some 8 hectares is the best remaining example of coastal heath vegetation in the Metropolitan area and was the main reason for proclaiming it a conservation park.
There are two quite different types of vegetation in the park, the coastal heath and open grassy woodland of drooping she-oak, mallee box and elegant wattle. Coastal heath comprises low-growing shrubby species rarely exceeding waist high. All are sclerophyllous, and many are rigid or have spiny leaves. But among them grow a wide variety of bulbs and other annuals. Most of the 130 indigenous plant species surviving in the Park are found in this area, including most of the 40 or so species of conservation significance. They flower between spring and autumn each year.
A large part of the heath was burnt in a fire in December 2020. Fortunately most of the plants are resilient and have already started to regenerate.
Join Friends of Marino Conservation Park
The Friends of Marino Conservation Park are a group of mostly local residents who meet regularly at the park to participate in a range of bush care activities to improve the park. The friends group, established for over 30 years, always welcomes new members. If you would like to join contact any of the members listed on the Contacts page or come along to one of the regular bush care mornings held first and third Thursdays and the last Sunday each month (except January).
The AGM is usually held in April/May at the Community Hall on Newland Avenue, Marino. Visitors are always welcome to attend and hear the guest speaker.
Bush Care Activities
The Friends undertake a wide range of bush care activities that complement the work undertaken by DEW Rangers and Green Adelaide.
Regular activities include weed control, direct seeding, seed propagation, and planting and watering of tube stock. Past activities have included mapping and counting of individual threatened species, and identifying and photographing indigenous species.
Weed control is especially important in areas affected by fire. In 2015, the Friends Group began construction of a Botanical Trail that loops through the park. This is now complete and gives visitors an easy but interesting walk through the park, that takes in the lighthouse on the top of the hill. Dogs are permitted in the park but they must be on a lead at all times.