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Published October 31st 2012
Update July 14th 2018
Old Noarlunga Swing Bridge was smashed & swept away in the violent storms of late 2016.
To test this theory I have been searching for a bridge with character. And history. A bridge with a destination. Something that will be sufficiently tempting to stimulate even a latent gephyromaniac to get out and try it.
Well dear readers, I bring you the Old Noarlunga Swing Bridge. It certainly has a rough charm and character. It swings. There has been a swing bridge over the Onkaparinga River for around 150 years, although I cannot guarantee that the current bridge is in the same place as the bridge in 1926.
Unlike a beam bridge which is flat and sits still and firm on supports at both ends, a suspension bridge is a cable stayed bridge that allows bridge movement as you cross. And the Onkaparinga Swing Bridge does exactly that, moving a little up and down or sideways
I didn't find the bridge motion to be as discomforting as the St Peters bridge, but you may still want to hold the rail - especially if you are crossing with another person who likes to jump around. :)
The views in both directions on the bridge are scenic. I stood watching an egret fishing for a while as the river flowed lazily beneath me. Presumably there is still edible food for it, although signs warn about swimming in the river.
Having conquered the bridge and safely reached the other side, what is there to do?
Swing Bridge in The Onkaparinga River National Park
Personally I could easily picnic with a friend at this tranquil place and enjoy the brilliant Adelaide weather, but be aware there are no cooking facilities. It's quiet and scenic though, and there was no sign of other people when I visited.
A short walk along the river takes you to the site where the Horseshoe Inn once stood, now converted into a novel park. It's definitely worth seeing while you are in Old Noarlunga.
The bridge is located in the Onkaparinga River National Park, and for more active types there are a heap of things to do in the area. Canoeing, rock climbing, bush walking, cycling and wildlife watching are all catered for in the park. You can even bring your dog here to enjoy the space too, but it must be kept on leash.
On the western end of the bridge there is a sign describing eight or nine trails that can be explored, taking between 30 minutes and four hours. There is something there to suit just about any fitness level.