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Published September 23rd 2015
From the lows to the highs of Adelaide
New on the Adelaide scene of medium distance walking trails is the Sea to Summit Trail, a trail that takes walkers from Kingston Park on Adelaide's coast line through 32km of parks, paths and reserves before finishing on top of Adelaide's highest point, Mount Lofty. The trail is also known as Parruntayinthi or the George Driscoll trail. Aimed to be done in either a single day or in parts over separate days, we set off to give the trail a go.
The trail starts outside the Kingston Park Kiosk on the beachfront where a small group of locals are enjoying their morning coffee after a pleasant beach stroll. Seeing myself complete with backpack, walking stick and camera must have been a sight as the giggles seemed to propagate while I was waiting for my early morning heart-starter.
Coffee completed and off we went, but much to our dismay, the trail immediately heads up the slope, which was something we probably should have guessed given that we are starting at sea level and finishing at Adelaide's highest point. Nevertheless we continued along the designated walking path past the Tjilbruke Monument and followed the path around the back of houses to the railway line.
The path then follows a couple of roads until it passes Gilbertson's Gully on its way to the well maintained Garden Reserve which we follow and round the houses in Seaview Downs. Behind us, the view of the coast is fast disappearing while in front of us comes the O'Halloran Hill Recreation Park. This Park, while forming a natural break between the inner and outer suburbs, is unfortunately quite unkempt, with signage and walking trails often difficult to distinguish.
The trail continues east through the park until it nears the Expressway, at which point the path heads north and delivers us to Seacombe Road. Another short session of walking on footpaths leads us to Sturt River Underpass on South Road, where we follow the trail under the road bridge and enter Riverside Reserve.
Descent alongside the Southern Expressway - Steve Hudson
The trail continues past the Sturt River Caravan Park and some light industry before entering the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park. We had been travelling reasonably quickly up this point, but that was soon to end as we rounded the corner and saw a climb up towards the northern end of the Park just behind the houses at Bellevue Heights. However, just before the climb, the sounds of running water distracted us and we continued along the Sturt River for a short distance to enjoy those sounds intertwined with the sounds of the local birdlife.
Now on top of the hill, the gradient moderates as the trail passes beyond the Flinders University and behind a series of houses while maintaining a sufficient distance between us both. The views from the top of the hill change to southern outlook over the magnificent Sturt River Gorge.
Nearing the top of the climb the train line soon appears with the trail becoming part of the Blackwood Hills Reserve and soon passing to the rear of the Wittunga Botanic Gardens, one of the smaller and quieter botanic gardens in Adelaide.
Today must have been our day as not only were there scatterings of wildflowers but the birds were very active (and noisy) so much so that they must have upset a poor koala. Nestled on the ground with his head buried in to the tree, the koala was just to the side of the walking track and in easy sight of all walkers on this day.
Exiting the Park, we follow Sheaok Road up to Upper Sturt Road and commence the passing of various odd monuments, statues, postboxes and signs. The mini-castles to the side of a house on Sheoak Road were of particular interest, and resulted in much debate for the next few kilometres.
The trail enters Crafers across the freeway bridge, and then follows the recently renovated Crafers to Mt Lofty trail alongside the eastern side of Summit Road before crossing over Summit Road and following the Heysen Trail, Carro Track and Nangare Track to the Summit and another well deserved celebratory drink.