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Published April 19th 2016
If it's looking like a pleasant day and you're in need of some activities to occupy the family, pack your bikes and head down to Port Adelaide, only a half hour drive from the city centre.
The beginning of the Inner Harbour Loop Track on Semaphore Road
Luckily I picked the perfect day to ride the Inner Harbour Loop Path. The sun was shining at a tolerable temperature, there were a few clouds in the sky and no wind. The path is solid and flat, well made and generous in width, which makes it a dream to ride your bike on. Dotted along the path are panels of information and old photographs from the maritime history of the area.
An information panel
Make a stop at the new playground at Harts Mill where the kids can run wild and pop into Folklore Cafe for a coffee while you supervise.
The Harts Mill playground
I decided to stop in for lunch, because the ride had made me a bit peckish. Folklore Cafe sits on stilts over the river in Harts Mill, a prime position for dolphin spotting as you relax with a delicious meal. It's a bright, airy space with white walls, lovely reclaimed wooden furniture and some kitsch decorations. After having a look at the menu and cabinet I order a soy latte ($4.20) and the vegan sweet potato rosti with avocado, quinoa bean salsa, coriander, beetroot lemon aioli ($16), but unfortunately they had no rostis that day so kindly offered to replace it with some thick, toasted rye bread slices. How can I refuse? They even took $2 off my bill.
I take a seat at a long table facing the river because even though the air conditioner is running, I would have overheated sitting by the window in the sun. Luckily there are plenty of seats to choose from. The staff is so friendly and accommodating, my coffee is out in a jiffy. It's the perfect temperature and doesn't need any sugar. As I look out to the blue sparkling water I see a father stand-up paddleboarding with his son laying between his legs. My meal arrives and it looks beautiful. The vegan aioli tastes amazing and there's a great assortment of textures. I find sweetcorn kernels in the quinoa which are nice sweet bursts in each mouthful. The radish slices are crunchy and refreshing.
A colourful and healthy lunch
If you're around Harts Mill between 9am and 2pm you can browse the stalls of the Wild at Hart market, which boast locally sourced, seasonal, organic, farm fresh produce alongside some delicious food stalls.
The Fishermen's Wharf Market
Before you pop over the Birkenhead Bridge make sure you take a detour along the waterfront path to the Fishermen's Wharf Market, open 9am - 5pm Sundays which have a mix of stalls selling vintage clothes, old books, tools, jewellery, candy, sporting goods, toys and even a masseuse. There's something for everyone here, you just have to spend time looking.
A Port River dolphin
If you have some time to kill, pop on board the Dolphin Explorer, which departs 11am & 2pm on Sundays and is only $8 per adult for a 2 hour cruise up the river. It's a very pleasant adventure with a very good chance of spotting some dolphins, and let's face it, who doesn't love dolphins? You also get to see the mangroves alongside the river which provide an important sanctuary for other wildlife.
Before you complete the Inner Harbour Loop Path, as you cross the Birkenhead Bridge keep an eye out for a colourful flag flying on the Semaphore side of the river. If it's out, then Gallery Yampu is open. Yampu is the Kaurna word for dolphin ( the 'p' in Yampu has a 'b' sound). They hold exhibitions of local artists and host events like musical performances and workshops. Be sure to look in for some colourful artwork and a friendly welcome.
Unfortunately, I got a flat tyre half way through the loop but it was just as lovely to walk the track and take a bit more time to look around the area with more attention. There's a lot of beauty in the Port. It's becoming a very happening place with many new eateries such as the newly renovated Carmines and Low & Slow American BBQ, plus the old favourites like Red Lime Shack and Pancakes at the Port. So if you have no plans for next Sunday, then come for a visit and indulge your stomachs, eyes and purses, while having some quality family time.