– Adelaide Park and Gardens –
Head to one of the city’s many picturesque parks and gardens to take a stroll, enjoy a picnic or just relax on the grass and watch the city bustle by.
Adelaide is known as a scenic, green city, completely surrounded by a border of parklands. Laid out by Colonel William Light in his original plan for the city in 1837, this ring of greenery contains 29 parks and covers 45 per cent of the city area. Since the earliest days of the colony, the parks have been preserved and enhanced as an important natural asset to the city. Each park has its own unique character. There are formal rose gardens, olive groves, wide spaces with grand native and exotic trees, playgrounds and lakes, and sporting fields for football, cricket, petanque and archery.
There are walking trails, quiet spaces and gathering places throughout this network of greenery. Beyond the inner city, the suburbs of Adelaide are also filled with rich greenery, with many fine examples of natural bushland shared with residential areas. By the sea, in the foothills and along rivers, these important natural spaces protect vegetation, landscapes, wildlife and birds, as well as providing grounds for a wide range of activities and facilities. Their proximity to the city is a constant surprise to visitors and they are among our most treasured secrets.
Botanic Park is one of Adelaide’s most-loved parks and a sensational venue for Adelaide’s annual international music festival WOMADelaide in March. The park is situated between the Adelaide Botanic Garden and the Adelaide Zoo. You can enter from Hackney Road into Plane Tree Drive, which forms a drive-through loop around the park. There is on-site parking, plenty of shady trees and an interpretive trail.
Rymill Park is located on the eastern fringe of the city centre. Here, hire a rowboat for a paddle on the lake or stretch out on a blanket and watch the ducks. You’ll find large shady trees, a rose garden, barbecue facilities, a playground and a kiosk serving great coffee
Elder Park sits on the banks of the River Torrens alongside the Adelaide Festival Centre and is one of Adelaide’s most popular outdoor spots. You can hire paddleboats and bicycles and just across the river are the beautiful gardens of Pinky Flat, the Memorial Drive Tennis Complex and Adelaide Oval.
Peace Park incorporates the much-revered Cross of Sacrifice, the Prince Henry Gardens, Ester Lipman Gardens and Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens. It’s located just across the River Torrens where Sir Edwin Smith Avenue and War Memorial Drive converge with King William Road.
This beautiful Japanese garden is a walled oasis of peace and tranquillity. Himeji blends two classic Japanese styles, the lake and mountain garden and the dry garden, and celebrates Adelaide’s sister-city relationship with the ancient Japanese city of Himeji. The park sits at the corners of Glen Osmond Road, South Terrace and Hutt Road.
River Torrens Linear Park
This is the largest hills-to-coast park in Australia. You can walk or cycle along a bitumen pathway lining the banks of the River Torrens, running from Henley Beach in the west, through the city to the Tea Tree Plaza interchange north-east of the city. With many bridges along its length, it’s easy to explore short or long loops along the park’s span. Extensive planting of trees and shrubs create a sense of space being distanced from civilisation
Home to the internationally-acclaimed motor sports street circuit used for the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, Victoria Park or Bakkabakkandi (meaning ‘galloping’ in reference to the racecourse that used to be here) comprises a bicycle path, a sweat track, walking paths and an old olive grove. Victoria Park is framed by Fullarton Road, Wakefield Road and East Terrace on the eastern fringe of the city.
Bonython Park is a fabulous, meandering park alongside the River Torrens, with a lake for model boats, two playgrounds, a bike path, a nature trail, barbecue facilities and a kiosk. The park is easily accessible located along Port Road in the north-west corner of the city, with on-site parking.
The Garden Island Ships’ Graveyard in the north arm of Port River gives visitors a chance to experience the waterways and a historic part of South Australia’s early maritime history. Just 20 minutes north-west of the city centre, Garden Island forms part of one of the world’s largest and most diverse ship graveyards. Boasting the remains of sailing ships, steamers, motor vessels, ferries, barges, dredgers and pontoons, the site provides a unique glimpse into our past. The trail is marked by three on-water signs near the main group of wrecks, as well as two on-land signs at the Garden Island boat ramp. Although a few wrecks can be seen by car, paddling a canoe or kayak will reveal a wealth of interesting relics – you might even spy the gorgeous, friendly river dolphins.
Have the animal experience of a lifetime at Cleland Wildlife Park If there’s one thing not to miss in Adelaide it’s a visit to the award-winning Cleland Wildlife Park, just 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre. The animal sanctuary is one of only a handful of places in Australia where you can hold a koala and receive your own memento photograph.
Discover Ice Age mysteries at Hallett Cove
A visit to Hallett Cove Conservation Park is a bit like taking a walk on another planet! Its craterous and other-worldly geological formations and stunning cliffs are a testament to the park’s Ice Age history. Marvel at the intriguing markings created by shifting glaciers from an epoch millions of years ago when Australia and Antarctica were joined in a huge, frozen continent called Gondwana. Located 22 kilometres south of Adelaide (a 40 minute drive), Hallett Cove is a fantastic destination for a day trip.
Walk among woodlands, waterfalls and wildlife at Morialta Just 25 minutes’ drive from Adelaide, a bushwalker’s paradise awaits you! Morialta Conservation Park is a place of awe-inspiring views and tumbling waterfalls with walking trails to suit everyone, from the casual ambler to the experienced hiker.
Relax in peaceful botanic gardens
Adelaide Botanic Garden is the living, breathing heart of the city centre. Just a short stroll from the shops and cafés of Rundle Street you can explore a stunning collection of exotic, ornamental and native plants, as well as iconic cultural collections and restored buildings. Breathe in the fragrant perfume of the International Rose Garden and admire the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion and Morton Bay Fig Avenue.
Pack a picnic, enjoy a casual meal in the café or treat yourself to a fine dining experience in the Botanic Gardens Restaurant.
Get caught having fun at Adelaide Gaol
If you’re after a break from the nature trail you can explore the arresting history of one of the nation’s historic prisons, located a short walk from the city. Marvel at the magnificent 19th century architecture of Adelaide Gaol’s walls, towers and gallows. You can even join an evening ghost tour – if you’re game! The Gaol is open Sunday–Friday 10am–5pm.
Information courtesy of South Australia Tourism
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