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Suburban West Lakes

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by Sandy Barker (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer happily living in Adelaide, South Australia.
Published June 8th 2011
The lake and its Walkway
The lake and its Walkway
The lake from Bartley Bridge
The lake from Bartley Bridge


The boating lake that meanders around Delfin Island, West Lakes is a wonderful hidden paradise in the middle of suburbia. Man made from reclaimed land back in the 1970s, this safe and peaceful water paradise along with the island it surrounds, took seven long years to complete. The lake itself meets the Port River at one end and the open ocean at the other, therefore the water content is relatively salty. This provides an ideal environment for bream, which are prolific in the lake. Other fish that have been caught are King George whiting, flounder, mullet and also large blue swimmer crabs. Protective gates at either end deny access into the waterway by other larger, more predatory fish.

Barely a day goes by where you don't see faithful anglers dotted around the public walkway areas, or trawling slowly along in a kayak. Speaking of kayaking, this is a perfect arena for such a relaxing leisure time activity, with approximately 7kms of clear, clean water to traverse. You can rush it or take your time paddling around and gazing at the majestic houses that make the most of their scenic views.

Several quiet little beaches appear on the shorelines should you wish to rest, but for those who don't want to stop you can spend the next two hours gliding along in the splendid tranquillity that is West Lakes. During the summer months the lake echoes with the shouts of the rowers as they practise heartily for their
upcoming competitions.

Rowing clubs for many of the private schools are found waterside of Military Road and Dotterel Drive, and there is the Canoe SA Club off Bower Road, at the Port River end of the lake. Dragon Boat racing is another fun sport that graces the lake's waters each year and many fans of 'stand up paddling' also prefer these generally calmer waters, free from noisy powerboats.

For those that may like to walk the circumference, you can do so but not along the entire water's edge. You will need to head off along some of the well maintained streets, shouldering houses that hug the lake's sides. Charles Sturt Council are super-efficient in their maintenance of this predominantly upmarket area, so it is a pleasurable walk. The main pedestrian entries and exits for Delfin Island are the Bartley Street and the Corcoran Drive bridges. Many playgrounds feature around the lake's edge too, and on a fine day you will often see young families playing, picnicking, swimming and frolicking in general. Happy dogs and their owners are a common sight along the level concrete paths.

To add a bit of nostalgia to the Island walk there is a plaque on the eastern side in front of Settlers Drive that denotes the original landing place of our first Great British and Northern German immigrants. The first ship landing was in 1837, with these immigrants bound to establish and settle the colony of South Australia. Port Creek as it was originally called was all marshland and tidal mud flats with a deep creek ferrying between. It was quickly and aptly renamed Port Misery due to the mosquitoes, lack of fresh water, the long distance to Adelaide, scarce amenities and the flooding and endless mud when the tide was high.

All in all the waterways and many walkways surrounding Delfin Island and its nearby areas are fantastic spots for the family or individuals to spend some quality time in the outdoors. There are a generous amount of activities to be enjoyed, limited only by your imagination. If the lake is not for you then the beach is only a stone's throw away. But don't tell anyone all this, because then everyone will want to live here.
The lake and Corcoran Drive Bridge
The lake and Corcoran Drive Bridge
Port Misery Today
Port Misery Today
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Why? It offers so much to do in a clean, safe environment.
When: Anytime of the year, but Summer is warmer.
Where: Delfin Island surrounding West Lakes areas, western suburbs of Adelaide. Entry to lake at various points of Military Road, Corcoran Drive, Settlers and Dottrel Drive, and Bower Road.
Cost: Free
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