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St Kilda Mangrove Trail & Interpretive Centre

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published October 7th 2014
Spend the day at St Kilda
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Entrance to the City of Salisbury Mangrove Trail


The seaside suburb of St Kilda is perhaps best known for its hugely popular St Kilda Adventure Playground, which attracts tens of thousands of kids in Adelaide to visit every year. There's a range of play equipment that is pretty much unique, with enough to keep many families busy all day at no cost.

After spending hours on the giant slides, swings and other activities for kids, sometimes a more relaxed activity is appealing. The St Kilda Tram Museum is just down the road, and appeals to many people who were unaware of the long history of trams in Adelaide.

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St Kilda Mangrove Trail Interpretive Centre


Alternatively the free St Kilda Mangrove Trail is a good place to stay outdoors, slow the pace a little, and learn a bit more about South Australia's aquatic life.

St Kilda was originally made of three low lying islands, and these were settled by fishermen by 1865. The islands were surrounded by samphire and mangrove swamp, and sea walls were built to reclaim the area into the mainland. The mangrove swamp has survived in part to the present day, and in 1984 the City of Salisbury built a board walk to allow people to walk through the mangroves to the Barker Inlet.

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Aerial Roots in the Mangrove Swamp


Mangroves are coastal trees that grow in salty water where there's lots of sediment - often in sea water that is protected from strong direct wave action. They have aerial roots which stop the trees drowning in the submerged soil. The St Kilda Mangrove Trail allows us to see the Grey Mangrove up close - the only species that grows locally in the cooler climate.

While a mangrove swamp is well known for being a haunt for mosquitoes, it is also very attractive to other forms of life. Falling leaves create a nutrient rich environment which bacteria thrive in, and become the start of a larger food chain.

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A Samphire Salt Meadow in Adelaide's North


Many fish such as sea mullet and barramundi breed in the muddy water that mangroves grow in. Together with crabs the fish make a tasty ready to eat street food meal for more than 200 species of birds. Snakes are also happy to prey on birds eggs - if they don't get eaten by something else first.

This rich diversity of wildlife is all on display at the free St Kilda Mangrove Trail. Pick up a key from the Tackle and Tucker Kiosk at the boat ramp, and start your own personal adventure into the murky world of the mangrove. A short walk through the gate takes you to a modern and colourful Mangrove Interpretive Centre where easy to read displays prepare you for the sights ahead.

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Colourful Photos in the Interpretive Centre


It is well worth while spending enough time in the interpretive centre, as many things along the boardwalk are not immediately obvious at first glance. There are a few places where you can stop and sit on the trail, and if you keep quiet you'll be surprised by the variety and behaviour of the birds that you see. Lizards, crabs and other creatures will also resume their daily life if you keep still.

The St Kilda Mangrove Trail is about 400 metres long, and you should allow at least 45 minutes for your visit. Pause and be patient, and you will see so much more!

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Watch Wildlife From the Bird Hides at the St Kilda Mangrove Trail


There is some basic information on the City of Salisbury website, but the Interpretive Centre is a gold mine of knowledge with colourful photos of creatures that kids in Adelaide will never have seen.

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Kids in Adelaide Love to Come to St Kilda


With the growing emphasis on Nature Play, the St Kilda Mangrove Trail brings more opportunities to engage with nature outdoors. The City of Salisbury Salisbury Plays campaign is also another place to pick up ideas for fun things to do in the school holidays.

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Why? It's educational fun for families and kids in Adelaide
When: Daily 9:00am to 4:00pm (Except Christmas Day)
Phone: (08) 8406 8405
Where: Fooks Terrace, St Kilda
Cost: Free
Your Comment
ONYA Dave, you've done it again!
by glenop (score: 2|823) 934 days ago
hanks Dave. I haven't had much luck with the Mangrove Centre. Is it open & operating again?
by reyno (score: 1|16) 935 days ago
Wow, this is a great article Dave - definitely on my "to do" list for a visit. Nice work.
by Reductio ad absurdum (score: 2|116) 666 days ago
I finally made it here a few weeks ago and it was very interesting. Thanks for the heads up!
by Reductio ad absurdum (score: 2|116) 546 days ago
The aerial roots look amazing in that swap.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|11216) 935 days ago
I've never been, and your article has reminded me that I really should! Well done Dave
by Paula McManus (score: 3|2393) 933 days ago
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