About the Walking Trails
Explore Shell Hill and the surrounding environment on the four walking trails in the Shell Hill Reserve.
Shell Hill is a deposit of oyster shells that were in some places 6 metres thick. At over 5 million years old, Shell Hill is unique to South Australia, and the hills was formerly part of a shallow sea occupying the Murray Basin. Due to storms and slow sinking of the Basin the oysters would die and be covered bu another layer, building up over thousands of years.
These ancient deposits have been under threat from past activities, such as use as a super phosphate for farming, and use as a road base material. These past activities have been halted, the the remains are what we see today.
There are 4 different walking trails that have been marked out at the Reserve with varying distances and degrees of difficulty. The reserve is on the banks of the Marne River which flows into the River Murray. There are some spectacular views from the reserve overlooking the river. The permanent waterholes provide refuges for the endangered River Blackfish (Gadopsis marmoratus).
Most of this region was the province of the Nganguraku tribe, the Marne River was the natural landform boundary between the Nganguraku and the Ngaaiawang to the north.
There are over 60 species of plants that can be seen at the Reserve, including rare and uncommon plants like Scaevola aemula, Fairy fanflower, Olearia magniflora, Splendid Daisybush, Myoproum parvifolium, Creeping Boobialla and Aristida contorta, Curly Wire-grass.
The southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) can be found at the Reserve, some of their warrens can be seen on the ‘Wombat Walk’. Warrens are often very old structures used by generations of individuals. Each warren may have between 1 and 80 entrances and can cover an area in excess of 3000 square metres.
Some of the birds you may see include; Red-Backed Kingfisher, Australian (Mallee) Ringneck, Mulga Parrot, Blue Bonnet, Splendid Fairy-Wren, White-Browed Babbler, Redthroat, Chestnut-Crowned Babbler, White-fronted Honeyeater, Crimson Chat, Gilbert’s Whistler, Red-Capped Robin, Southern Scrub-Robin, Chestnut Quail Thrush and Red-Capped Robin the Restless Flycatcher.
The Reserve is a place to be enjoyed by the public and has been fenced to protect it from the destruction resulting from misuse by 4WDing, trail biking and camping. If you see any destructive activities occurring in the Shell Hill Reserve please contact the Mid Murray Council on 8569 0100.
All four walking trails begin from the carpark, access off of Black Hill Road.
Shell Hill Loop
Marked in yellow on the map. A 300m easy loop around Shell Hill.
Marked in blue on the map. A 650m easy return loop heading up the hill to the east of Shell Hill. Keep a watch out for entrances to the underground warrens of the southern hairy-nosed wombat. You might see the wombats at dawn or dusk.
Marked in purple on the map. A 3km moderate loop of the reserve, to see some of the birdlife, native plants and wombat burrows.
Rock Wallaby Trail
Marked in orange on the map. A 250m each way return hike down to Marne River. A Hard hike, it is 5 minutes down and 10 minutes back up.