I am a freelance writer, photographer & fitness instructor. I enjoy hiking and kayaking and writing walking guides. Visit our website www.greataussiewalks.com.au or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/greataussiewalks
Published May 11th 2016
Two healthy fun things to do near the Old Spot Hotel
The scenic Old Spot Walk along the river among the old gum trees. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
The Old Spot Hotel has been nestled in its prominent location on Main North Road in Salisbury Heights, since around 1849. Recognised as one of the historic locations in the area, it was used as a stopover for bullock teams transporting ore from Kapunda and Burra to the harbor in Port Adelaide. Today, the popular hotel hosts a variety of events, as well as live entertainment and delicious meals.
The Old Spot Hotel ; circa 1910. B14954 State Library of South Australia
On every Saturday and Wednesday, from 8am to 1pm the car park is bustling with the activity of the Farm Direct Market. Supporting local farmers and producers, the market is a great place to purchase fresh Australian produce at reasonable prices.
Organic fruit and vegetables, farm fresh eggs, spices, herbs, baked goods and olive oil are just a few of the goodies for sale at the market. You can even get a hot coffee to enjoy as you shop.
Farm Direct Market every Saturday and Wednesday. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
A second healthy option is the 2km, dog friendly walk along a section of the Little Para River, which is hidden behind the hotel car park. Parking in the Old Spot car park, walk toward the back of the car park to find the start of the trail. The noise from the busy Main North Road soon disappears to be replaced by the sounds of the birds and the rustling leaves from the aged trees.
The walk starts here, behind the hotel. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
A popular place to walk with two or four legged companions, the trail meanders on an unsealed path along the Little Para River. Derived from the Kaurna word Pari, which means flowing water, the Little Para River is fed by the Little Para Reservoir located further up in the valley. Opening in 1979, the reservoir has been full on only two occasions, in 1981 and 1982. Sections of the river are dry during the summer months and in earlier times, prone to flooding in the winter months. The Little Para River was instrumental in the development of the Salisbury area, providing a reliable water source for the early settlers and the citrus orchards planted along the banks of the river.
Plenty of birds to see on the trail. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
The walking path follows the river to a scenic section with flowing water and overhanging trees. Hollow sections of the Tall River Red Gums along the trail often provide a home to native fauna such as possums.The trail continues until it reaches the blue weir, which has been partially decorated with graffiti. Cement steps lead down to the river and the end of the trail. The trail may have continued to Greenwith at one point in time, but now a gate prevents any further exploration.
The Weir is the end of the trail. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
There are plenty of opportunities to rest or admire the river views. Although it is considered a shared use trail, cycling or pushing a stroller would be difficult on some sections of the trail with loose rocks and a moderate incline. An adjacent fire track can be used in places, which may be a better option for pushing a stroller.
The fire track may be a better path for strollers. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
The river trail continues through the Carisbrook reserve, through land in which has seen the Kaurna people living on the land and later, in the 19th century the European settlement , toward the suburban housing which makes up the Salisbury area through to Barker Inlet, some 16km away.
This walk will take about 1 hour return, and is suitable for most fitness levels.
Toilets facilities are available at the Carisbrook Reserve, which can be accessed via the tunnel under Main North Road.