Beach, Birds & Bush American River walking trail

Walking Trail just down from Sunrise on Falie.

Just a short walk down the hill from Sunrise on Falie you'll find the American River Bush Walking Trail start.  The leisurely walks takes an hour or two.  Take your time to watch for birds, hunt for orchids and enjoy the scenic coastal views. Look for the parking and signage at the northern end of the town where the bitumen ends.  

Bush Tucker

The succulent ground plant growing in and on the water's edge is 'samphre'.  This bush tucker can be eaten in a salad or as a vegetable if lightly boiled.

Follow the footpath north and you'll reach a set of steps eading down into a small creek bed.

Ancient Woodlands

The trees on the right are Narrow Leafed Malles.  (Eucalypts cneorifolia).  Crush a leaf to relase the eucalyptus oil which is extracted from the tree.

The plants along this trail grow in ancient Cambrian Sandstone which is about 550 million years old.  Other trees include sugar gums and casuarinas.  Prolific along the trail is Guinea-flower, a low twiggy shrub with small bright yellow flowers.  If you see moss and soil has been dug up that could mean an echidna has been busy.

Jack's Flat

The flat area on the other side of the wooden bridge is a great spot to bird watch for look for ground orchids.  Common orchids along the trail are Gnat, Mosquito, Bulldog, Corybas, Rabbit Ears, Greenhoods, Mayfly and Pink and Blue Fairies.  Pickly acacias grow prolifically here and have masses of yellow flowers in Spring. 

Continue along the path until you reach a set of wooden steps leading to the beach.  Look for the 'Fish Cannery' sign. 

Historic Fish Cannery

These ruins, listed on the State Heritage Register are one of only a few examples of 19th century industry remaining on Kangaroo Island.  Little is known about the cannery which operated for about 2 years in the 1890s.

The first of the dugouts can be found nestled against the hillside.  One may have been a cool room with a roof of thathed Ti tree.  

Walking north, an old well and seveeral piles of old stones remain almost hidden.  Near the beach the largest of the ruins can easily be found and at low tide the clearing amongst the rocks where the boats unloaded their catch, is still visible.

The cannery employed several small cutters to catch the fish. Other men prepared and c anned the fish which was boiled in tins in shallow cast iron pans then shipped off to Adelaide.  

Ballast Head

The trail ends at the cannery.  Further north is Ballast Head, a difficult climb amongst rocks.  Until 1992 Ballast Head was a deep sea port and shipping terminal for gypsum mined on the island.

Back to the River 

If the tide is not too high, wander back along the beach.   Look overhead, you may see an Osprey, White Bellied Sea Eagle or a Wedgetail Eagle.  Just off shore Black Swans, White-Faced Herons, Pelicans, Pied Oystercatchers, Australian White Ibis and Common Greenshanks can often be seen.  

The wooden posts jutting out of the sea are oyster leases.  There are usually cormorants, terns and gulls sitting on them.  Often there are dolphins or an eagle ray splashing amongst them.  

Finish your walk with a visit to the Oyster Farm Shop or Deck Cafe at the Wharf for refreshments.

For more information and a copy of the full Beach, Birds and Bush Walking Trail brochure contact the American River Progress Association.  Email

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