Skip to product information
1 of 1

Australian Parks

Belair National Park

Belair National Park

Find Tours

Belair National Park: South Australia's Conservation Jewel

Nestled 9 kilometres southeast of Adelaide city centre, Belair National Park stands as a testament to South Australia's commitment to preserving its natural treasures. Covering a sprawling 835 hectares, this protected area, formerly known as the National Park and later as Belair Recreation Park, holds a unique place in the state's environmental history.

Historical Significance: Proclaimed in 1891, Belair National Park holds the distinction of being South Australia's first national park, the second in Australia after Sydney's Royal National Park, and the tenth in the world. It has been an integral part of the Adelaide Hills and Mitcham council area, contributing to a network of protected areas along the Adelaide Hills Face Zone. Administered by the Department of Environment, Water, and Natural Resources, the park's evolution reflects its enduring importance in the region.

Evolution of Naming: The park's nomenclature has undergone transformations over the years. Initially known as the 'National Park,' it transitioned to 'Belair Recreation Park' from 1972 to 1991. In 1991, a pivotal shift occurred as the Belair Recreation Park was dissolved, and the land officially constituted as a national park, now bearing the name "Belair National Park."

Historical Inhabitants and European Settlement: Belair's historical roots extend to the Kaurna Aboriginal people, who named the area "Pradli," meaning "baldness." European presence dates back to 1837, with the first settlement by E. Nicholas Foott in 1839. The land's complex history involves government farming, temporary settlements, and the eventual establishment of a public park in 1892, driven by advocates like Walter Gooch and the Royal Society of South Australia.

Old Government House: The iconic Old Government House, a heritage-listed building within the park, serves as a tangible link to South Australia's colonial past. Constructed as a residence for the farm manager and later used by governors, it stands as a living testament to the region's historical tapestry.

Golf Course and Conservation Challenges: The park faced unique challenges during the Great Depression, leading to the creation of a golf course in 1934. This venture aimed to generate funds for park maintenance, ultimately evolving into an 18-hole course. Recent discussions around repurposing part of the golf course sparked community engagement, emphasizing the delicate balance between development and conservation.

Heritage Recognition and Weed Invasion: In 1985, Belair National Park received recognition as a state heritage area under the South Australian Heritage Act. However, invasive weed species pose ongoing challenges, impacting the park's ecosystems. Despite this, remnants of rare native plants endemic to the Mt Lofty Ranges persist, highlighting the resilience of the local flora.

Geographical Significance: Situated 13 km southeast of Adelaide in the suburb of Belair, the park represents one of the last bastions of relatively undisturbed native vegetation in the Adelaide Hills.

Diverse Walking Trails: Belair National Park beckons nature enthusiasts with a network of captivating walking trails, including the Waterfall Hike, Lorikeet Loop Walk, and the Yurrebilla Trail. These trails offer diverse landscapes, from serene lakeside strolls to challenging hikes exploring higher elevations.

Conservation and Recreation Harmony: Belair National Park stands as a symbol of South Australia's dual commitment to conservation and recreation. As the park continues to evolve, it remains a living testament to the delicate interplay between preserving natural ecosystems and providing spaces for community enjoyment and environmental education.

View full details