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The Onkaparinga Swing Bridge

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. Please click the link to Like my articles, and subscribe to see more. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au
Published October 31st 2012
Update July 14th 2018
Old Noarlunga Swing Bridge was smashed & swept away in the violent storms of late 2016.

It's all water under the bridge
After the great success on my article about the Swinging Bridge of St Peters I have started to wonder whether my readers have a tendency for gephyromania - a passion for bridges.

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.

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The Onkaparinga Swing Bridge from the East Bank


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.

You can find more pictures of the suspension bridge from 1926 and the 1940's here.

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Facing the Suspension Bridge Head On


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. :)

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An Egret Picnics on the River Banks


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?

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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.

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The Tranquil View From the Bridge


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.

So be adventurous and cross the bridge, then explore the attractive Onkaparinga River National Park while you are there.

Just don't burn your suspension bridges first.
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Why? Swinging bridges are fun
When: Anytime
Where: 69 Paringa Parade Old Noarlunga SA 5168
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Just to clarify;The 'No Swimming' signs are because of shallow water/submerged logs and rocks. The river is healthy with an abundant supply of edible bream,salmon trout and mulloway.
by roger (score: 1|10) 1856 days ago
Thats very interesting!
Whats the best access to this bridge? The Onkaparinga national park is huge!
by huda8 (score: 0|5) 1077 days ago
Ah, but isn't it becoming the mundane now I have done two lol
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11205) 2419 days ago
Oooh another swing bridge... How exciting. You do like seeking out the unusual :)
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1596) 2419 days ago
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