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Discover Adelaide Hills in a Single Hour

Home > Adelaide > Day Trips | Escape the City | Outdoor | Parks | Places of Interest
by Max Flynn (subscribe)
As a nomadic gentleman, I'm happiest exploring the world's most remote places, watching the sun rise through the bottom of my whiskey glass. I shall insert a link to my cleanest blog shortly. Cheerio!
Published February 25th 2014
Motor through an elegant, primeval landscape well, I did

Crank up your gentleman's carriage, pack the picnic basket, and savour the glorious Australian bush -all during your lunch break.

From the CBD, head East on North Terrace, which becomes Payneham Rd, and then Lower North East Road. After twenty minutes, you've arrived at the Australian Wilderness.

Entering the forest, Blackbutt and Pink Gum trees provide a shady canopy overhead, so you're driving through dappled sunlight. Honeyeaters and Willie Wagtails flitter and swoop across the road, the air rings with the joyful chant of cicadas, and you'll hear kookaburras and the occasional kangaroo crashing through the bush. Wind through a glorious primeval landscape, unchanged since the T-rex was stomping about.

In a few minutes you'll see Millbrook Reservoir peeking mischievously through the trees on your right. After a glorious little hairpin turn, the pale blue lake comes almost to the edge of the road. Stop and have a steaming cup of billy tea here, on a picnic blanket with your lady, as the waves lap softly against the tree roots...

Crossing the bridge you'll see the shallow tea-coloured waters of the reservoir on both sides, the fish drifting placidly among the smooth stones, an enchanting scene indeed.

Turn right onto Tippett Road to Lobethal, a glorious rollercoaster of dips and bends and weaves and winds, enchanting wild grass and scrub growing through the roots of oaks and gums on either side, and who knew that so many varieties of browns and yellows could be so lovely?

Turn onto Gorge Road, and on your left is the River Torrens, a metre-wide creek here, fed by Millbrook Reservoir. The road refuses to relax, it's full of hollows, climbs, and crests, and the russet-yellow land starts to rise around the you. Pass through a cutting, with rugged rock walls rising on your right, and you're in the Gorge.

The river's a trickle, the rocky landscape sloping steeply skyward on your left, the rocks splashed with pale green and pale yellow moss. As the road cuts deeper into the hillsides and ancient trees soar majestically above, it gets cool, even cold, in the deep shadows of the cuttings. There's a sense of growing wildness here...

Five hundred million years ago this mountain range was formed when tectonic plates collided, causing folding, buckling and faulting of the strata, as evidenced all around you. This thrust sedimentary rock skyward, meaning that deep in these mountains are the remains of ancient fish -from half a billion years ago...

Now the road drops dramatically, the great striated stone walls rising imperially, and the river, glimpsed through the thick trees on your left, has grown wide indeed. Suddenly the land drops away and and the river has now become the vast Kangaroo Creek Reservoir. Yes, the muck that comes from our taps begins here.

Take a left at tiny Corkscrew road, and you'll twist up through the rich red-brown landscape, with its contrasting deep green trees. You may wish to stop and make a paper hat to sail in the tiny creek on your right, which is as wide as your hand, and barely deep enough for a duck, as it splashes and dances over polished stones. The grass is entirely yellow here, contrasted only by the ever-green trees and shrubs, and the scarred silver faces of rocks slowly growing out of the burnt hillside.

You'll come to an intersection where Corkscrew joins Montacute Road and Church Street. Turn onto the minute Church Road. It only goes a short distance. You're now on the very top of the mountain. Look at that extraordinary old-fashioned church at the top of the hill! How it looms over the valley, with its astonishing view of everything in all directions. How the spirit soars in the high clear air, with the mountains marching away to the East, the wineries slumbering in the valleys to the West, and the cool stillness here among the clouds....

Montacute Road will take you straight back home where you may open a bottle of wine and reminisce about the grandeur of the Australian wilderness, and the way it gladdens the heart. I'll drink to that!
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Where: Adelaide Hills
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