I'm a resident of the northern suburbs of Adelaide, keen to share interesting ideas for weekend activities, especially but not exclusively, north of Gepps Cross.
Published May 26th 2013
Spend an afternoon staggering around Gawler
Gawler is an interesting place to spend a day, and it is less than an hour's drive from Adelaide. I suggest a self-guided walking tour, combined with a meander through some of Murray Street's shops, with lunch at one of the historic pubs.
Gawler was surveyed by Colonel Light in 1839. He discovered the area, where the North and South Para Rivers meet to form the Gawler River, while he was searching for a route between Adelaide and the Murray River. In it's first few years it was a stopping place for travellers on the way to the Barossa and beyond. When copper was discovered at Kapunda and Burra, Gawler became an important regional commercial centre. In 1857 the railway line connected Adelaide to Gawler. Gawler's history revolves around it's rivers and the railway and you can absorb it all on a self guided walking tour.
Moreton Bay Fig Trees by the River
There are two self guided walking tours in Gawler - the Historic Main Street Walking Tour and the Church Hill State Heritage Walking Tour. Pick up the brochures from the Gawler Visitor Information Centre at 2 Lyndoch Road, which is open 7 days.
Church Hill was at the heart of Light's plan for the town of Gawler and is now a State Heritage Area due to its historical significance. The Walking Tour brochure is aided by informative signs provided on the route. The Main Street Walking Tour can be combined with browsing in the shops on Murray Street, an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.
The Old Bushman's Hotel
After all that walking, what about having lunch, or at least refreshments, in one of the historic pubs. The Old Spot Hotel was the first building on Murray Street and it opened as a pub in 1840. At one stage, The Old Spot also served as Gawler's mortuary! The Old Bushman Hotel, in the Church Hill area, was the second hotel to be opened in Gawler, and was originally a wattle and daub structure. I can also thoroughly recommend the restaurant at the Kingsford Hotel.