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Cudlee Creek Walk

Home > Adelaide > Free | Parks | Public Lectures | Walks | Weekend Escapes
by Hazel Cochrane (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, photographer & fitness instructor. I enjoy hiking and kayaking and writing walking. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/greataussiewalks
Published March 17th 2016
Get on the trail to Chain of Ponds
Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Cudlee Creek Walk Trail


Departing from the Cudlee Creek café, the 3km-walking trail from Cudlee Creek to Chain of Ponds is a bushwalk, which offers challenging hill climbs, scenic views of farm lands, vineyards and the sprawling hills and a trek through bush land.

cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Cudlee Creek Cafe

Located 32km from the city, Cudlee Creek is a small town situated on Gorge Road which is a favourite of cyclists, walkers and classic car club members. Facilities include a café, pub, golf course and caravan park.

Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Cudlee Creek , Gorge Road. Photo: Hazel Cochrane

Cudlee Creek became well known for cheese making when the first European settler, William Kelly established Sulby Glen Estate. Cudlee Creek also became an exporter of fruit, in particular apples and pears. In 1922, a cold store
was built for a fruit growers' cooperative.

Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Crossing Union Bridge. Photo: Hazel Cochrane

Crossing over the River Torrens on the Union Bridge at the start of the trail could almost be considered an extreme sport. The bridge is just wide enough for two cars and situated on a blind bend. The original bridge, constructed from timber in 1871, was replaced with the current steel and concrete arched bridge in 1917, before cars had to share the bridge with pedestrians.

To safely negotiate the bridge it is necessary to wait at the start of the bridge, listen carefully for approaching cars and if silence prevails, run like crazy until reaching the gateway at the end of the bridge. No mean feat with a backpack.

Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Union Bridge


Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Uphill walk. Photo:Hazel Cochrane


Keeping toward the left will take you uphill, where scenic views wait, before travelling downhill, alongside a vineyard, toward the Adelaide-Mannum pipeline. The 60km pipeline, the first major pipeline built from the River Murray to meet the needs of Adelaide, began operating in March 1955.
Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Scenic Views. Photo: hazel Cochrane


Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Adelaide-Mannum Pipeline. Photo: Hazel Cochrane


Following the path alongside the pipeline for a short distance before accessing the crossing near Tippett Road, leads into bush land with uneven ground and little shade.

Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Fire damaged bush land. Photo: Hazel Cochrane

In previous years, this area has been damaged by fire. It is interesting to see how the trees regrow, with leaves sprouting from the lower parts of the tree trunk. Following the Heysen Trail signs is vital in this section of the walk, as the land looks the same from one path to the next. It would be easy to get lost in this part of the trail and mobile phone coverage is intermittent.

Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Farming Land. Photo: Hazel Cochrane

Leaving the bush area, a fire track passes farms and orchards before returning to another bush trail, which emerges onto North East Road toward the Chain of Ponds Cemetery and information site.

Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Chain of Ponds Information Board. Photo: Hazel Cochrane


Little remains of the town except the badly vandalized cemetery. The small town, originally called Philiptown after Oliver Philip who owned the Morning Star Hotel, was a small hamlet, which served as one of four changing stations for the Adelaide to Mannum Coach Service in the mid 1850s. The town became known as Chain of Ponds in 1864.

The Millbrook Reservoir, built
 in 1918, near the town caused concern from Adelaide residents in regard to pollution of the reservoir water supply by the Chain of Ponds residents. As a result, the Chain of Ponds town was demolished between 1977 and 1981 after being purchased by the State Government.

Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Chain of Ponds Cemetery. Photo:Hazel Cochrane


Hiking boots and long pants are recommended for this walk, which will take approximately one hour each way. Although the trail is predominantly on fire tracks, some parts can be barely visible tracks through the grass. This track is part of the Heysen Trail and can be accessed easily from Gorge Road, adjacent to the Union Bridge.

Cudlee Creek, Hazel Cochrane
Beautiful Countryside. Photo:Hazel Cochrane

The Cudlee Creek café is definitely worth a visit, great coffee, locally sourced produce and friendly, helpful owners. In the winter months, the licensed café offers a wood wire to warm up after a walk or in the warmer months, relaxing in the outdoor area is an ideal place to unwind.
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Why? A scenic and interesting walk
When: Autumn, Winter and Spring are best
Where: Cudlee Creek to Chain of Ponds
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I would say this walk wasn't as challenging as the article says , the walk from the cudlee creek cafe is dangerous and unsafe as cars drive past you crossing the bridge , the entrance however is the best part of the walk as you enter a forrestry of greenery and views of the farmland valleys , the last leg of the walk is a big circle of nothing that brings you back to the start , the chain of ponds and cemetery are only accessible by car not walking and the walk itself isn't long an hour at most return , I recommend the cafe for the food is exceptional.
by s.akh (score: 0|2) 418 days ago
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