At a Glance

  • Open 7.30am - 5pm (standard time), 7.30am - 8pm (daylight saving time). Closed on Total Fire Ban Days and for operational activity (gates will be closed).
  • Fishing
  • Walking/running
  • Cycling
  • Kayaking/Canoeing
  • Picnicking
  • Dam wall and lookout
  • Wildlife and birdwatching
  • Car parking

Activities and facilities

To prepare for your visit once Happy Valley opens in December 2021, please check the conditions of access .

A number of access points into the reserve by foot or vehicle are being created, which will be clearly shown on maps available online and at entrance gates once the reserve is opened.


With a fishing permit, you’ll be able to fish from the shoreline, or on the water from a canoe or kayak.

To protect water quality by ensuring the reservoir remains uncontaminated, burleys and fish attractants are not permitted. Collection containers for fishing waste (such as lines, hooks and sinkers) will be available for environmentally safe disposal of these items.

All fish caught must be taken home for cleaning and consumption, or returned to the water (except prescribed species such as redfin or carp which cannot be returned to the water).

Walking and running

A walk along some of the reserve’s 20  kilometres of trails will take you along the water’s edge, through a pine forest, native flora and open grassy areas. If you’re looking for something a little more vigorous, there will also be a trail link to Glenthorne National Park – Ityamaiitpinna Yarta, making the combined area more than 1500 hectares.

Or you can put on your trail runners and enjoy it all at a faster pace!


All paths at Happy Valley will be suitable for mountain bikes – and it’s a great way to experience the reserve. These paths will be shared with pedestrians, so please be considerate of all trail users.


You’ll be able to choose your experience with a kayak or canoe, from a short meander to a full day's kayaking adventure exploring the more than 110  hectares of water and shoreline. There will also be a launch pontoon and a shoreline beach launch area  to help get you on the water – no matter what the water level.

Kayaks and canoes (including inflatable kayaks which comply with ISO-6185 and carry the appropriate badge) are the only type of watercraft permitted on our reservoirs. Motorised craft, dinghies, row and sailing boats are also not permitted, along with electric or fuel-powered motors and sails fitted to canoes and kayaks.


Happy Valley Reservoir will provide the perfect place to stop and enjoy a picnic with friends or family. There will be two open space picnic areas with barbecues and shelters, or you can pack a picnic basket, blanket and chairs and discover your own private spot to sit back, relax and enjoy this uniquely beautiful place.

Dam wall and lookout

The dam wall will provide spectacular views of the reservoir, the reserve, and beyond up to the Adelaide Hills.

Wildlife and birdwatching

The Happy Valley Reservoir Reserve is made up of around 600 hectares of natural refuge where wildlife, including kangaroos and other native species, can move freely between the reserve and surrounding areas. It is also home to more than 90 species of land and water birds.

SA Water will monitor the wildlife to ensure Happy Valley remains a safe and enjoyable place to visit, while protecting the animals that call it home.

Car parking and entry points

When the reserve opens in December 2021, there will be two car parks suitable for cars and trailers, as well as accessible parking for people with a disability permit. One will be accessed on the western side, within the 60 km/hr zone of Chandlers Hill Road and the other from the southern side, off the roundabout connecting Kenihans Road to Chandlers Hill Road.

In addition, there will be a number of pedestrian entries strategically placed around the perimeter, which will enable people living in the surrounding suburbs access into the trail network.

Dogs are not permitted at South Australia’s reservoir reserves, regardless of whether they are on a leash, as they can carry harmful bacteria and viruses that can easily contaminate the water and are a risk to the safety of the drinking water. Dogs also pose a threat to local native birds and wildlife. Assistance animals are excepted.

Fox baiting also occurs in our reservoir reserves and can be lethal to dogs if ingested.

Blue-green algae, which naturally occurs in our reservoirs, is also highly toxic to dogs if they drink it.

Dog owners are encouraged to make use of dedicated dog parks in their local area.

Horse riding is not permitted in South Australia’s reservoir reserves as horse manure contains bacteria and viruses which pose a risk to the drinking water safety. As well, horse riding can cause soil erosion of tracks and introduce weeds to the water catchment environment.

Horse riding enthusiasts are encouraged to access the forests and parks that permit horse riding.

With set opening and closing times and no facilities or infrastructure to safely manage overnight accommodation, camping is not currently permitted in any of South Australia’s reservoir reserves.

People interested in camping are encouraged to visit the many national parks, forests and other public lands that offer camping experiences and facilities.

Swimming is not permitted at any of our reservoirs because it involves direct contact with the water above the knee and risks contamination of the water by the harmful pathogens carried by humans.

For the same reason, other activities that involve wading above the knee or present a high chance of falling or jumping in the water are not permitted.

Blue green algae

Algae occur naturally in reservoirs and occasionally algal blooms can occur. This is more likely in the warmer months of the year, and they are not always visible.

Regular testing is undertaken as part of SA Water’s routine water quality monitoring. During a blue-green algal bloom, water treatment is adjusted to ensure the continued supply of safe, clean drinking water for customers.

Some blue-green algae produce toxins which can be harmful to humans and animals. Contact with the untreated water in the reservoir when high levels of blue-green algae are present can be harmful to your health.

When blue-green algae levels are extreme, reservoirs are closed to all activities that involve contact with the water, including fishing and kayaking/canoeing.

Signage on site will be updated and specific access and closure details are available on each reservoir page on this site.

To find out more, read SA Health’s information about blue-green algae health impacts and how to avoid illness.

Click the approved concept plan map below for a print friendly version.

Happy Valley concept map

What sets Happy Valley Reservoir apart

Capacity: 12.6 gigalitres (that’s enough to fill 6,300 Olympic swimming pools]

The Happy Valley Reservoir was completed more than 120 years ago in 1897, making it one of our oldest reservoirs. In addition to water from its reserve, the reservoir receives water from Mount Bold Reservoir via the Clarendon Weir.

The Happy Valley Water Treatment plant, which treats much of Adelaide’s drinking water, is located within the reservoir reserve – and you can see it easily from the water.

It is the largest of our two metropolitan based reservoirs, the other one being Hope Valley at just 2.9 gigalitres.

Find out how much water is currently stored in each of our reservoirs.

Water quality

Happy Valley Reservoir is one of 16 across the state that help supply water to more than 1.7 million South Australians.

Water from the reservoir is treated at the Happy Valley Treatment Plant before it is supplied to metropolitan customers. Water from Happy Valley can also be mixed with water from the Adelaide Desalination Plant when required.

Treating drinking water before it’s supplied to people’s homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and community organisations, is important to make sure it is clean and safe to drink straight from the tap. You can learn how SA Water treats water and maintains the quality its customers value and rely upon.