Named after early settler George Alexander Anstey (1814-1895), Anstey Hill served many purposes after European settlement.
Quarries opened in the north-west of the park in 1853 and materials taken from the area can be seen in important monuments around Adelaide, including the War Memorial on North Terrace, St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide GPO and the Town Hall.
In 1856, Carl and Margaretha Newman started their nursery, one of the first commercial nurseries in South Australia. Over time, the property increased to nearly 500 acres (around 200ha), housing hundreds of varieties of orchids and roses as well as 500,000 apple, plum and cherry trees. Two devastating storms in 1913 damaged the property beyond repair, and the nursery never recovered. Remnants of the “Model Nursery” can be explored along Water Gully and Newman’s Track.
Recently, the State Government has committed $8.9 million to developing South Australia’s national parks, with $700,000 of the money earmarked for Anstey Hill Recreation Park. This project will see new facilities in the area including improved carparking, public toilets, drinking water, and better trails, signs and trail information.
There are currently no marked trails, but rather named interconnecting tracks. However, visitors can already see the improvements taking shape and they will make it a much easier trail network to navigate.
Trail: Ellis Way – Kaurna Way – Lookout Walk – Newman’s Track – Water Gully Track – Boundary Track.
Access: About 16km north-east of the Adelaide CBD, starting from gate 20 on North East Road. There is limited on-road parking near the entrance.
Rating: Moderate. Although the inclines on this walk are manageable, there are some steep and uneven surfaces.
Length: Approximately an 11km loop.
Time: About 2 hours at a moderate pace.
Alternative: Entering at gate one, parking in the carpark and heading straight up Quarry Track would make this about a 7.5km hike.
Features: Starting my walk from Gate 20, I made my way up the main track, taking a right after 400m onto Ellis Way.
Ellis Way continues on as Boehm Walk, maintaining a steadily winding ascent. When you come to a T-junction, take a left onto Kaurna Way. There is no sign for this, but it is the continuation for Quarry Track to the right.
When you reach the top, turn left onto Ridgetop Track. After about 100m you can turn left onto Silver Mine Track if you would like to see the silver mine from 1853. If not, continue on to The Lookout.
The Lookout is easily accessible, with a picnic table if you’d like to stay a little longer. I needed to stand on top of the table to see the views over the trees and was able to catch a glimpse over the Adelaide plains and out to the Gulf.
Walk back a short distance and back onto Lookout Walk. This will loop around to the junction of Newman’s Track. Take a right here, descending towards the ruins of Newman’s Nursery.
Reaching the ruins, you are met with a picturesque scene. It is quite peaceful exploring the area, spotting wildflowers and plants springing up from times when the nursery was still functioning.
Take some time through here before heading back onto Water Gully Track. The trail through here is wide and stable enough for a jog if you are that way inclined.
The track follows along the colourful water pipeline before turning right onto the Boundary walk.
Along here I quickly came face-to-face with the dreaded besser blocks. These steep inclines are always daunting at first, but a great stretch to get your heart pumping. The trail follows the boundary of the park, looking out across residential areas – not the best way to end the walk. I would recommend turning off onto Wildflower Walk to loop back to the starting point.
Following Boundary Track, you will come to the main entrance where you can see a lot of work being done to improve parking and information signage. The incline increases through here, before turning right onto Quarry Track.
Continue on this track for 700m, then turn left onto Boehm Walk and make your way back to the starting point of Gate 20.
Tip: Download the Avenza PDF Map app so you can access interactive maps when you need them. The app allows you to download National Parks SA maps and uses your device’s built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. You can also download your Anstey Hill Recreation Park map here, and keep up to date with latest park alerts.
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