After a cold and wet winter, spring has finally arrived. It's time to dig out the picnic basket, gather some family and friends and set out on a picnic. In Adelaide, we are fortunate to have so many interesting places to spend time enjoying the clean environment South Australia has to offer from the comfort of your own picnic chair or blanket.
Elder Park a great picnic spot and home to the Popeye, the paddleboats and so much more. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Elder Park has been a popular picnic spot for many years, whether you choose the grassed area near the Festival Theatre or the 134-year-old Rotunda, a picnic near the Torrens provides so much to watch and do. While you enjoy your picnic, the kids can watch the swans, ducks and pelicans who loiter near the banks of the Torrens. Beware of the swans, sometimes they like to chase people as they pass by.
If you are looking for a post picnic outing, take a ride on the Popeye , which travels from the zoo to the weir all day for $15 for an adult return trip, or you could hire a bike for free from the Convention Centre and cycle along the Torrens Linear Park Trail. Perhaps you could start an annual family paddleboat racing event. For the cost of $20 you can hire a paddleboat for 30 minutes and team up with a partner to show off your paddle boating skills. Elder Park is great for kids, with toilet facilities located nearby in the Festival Theatre.
Accessed from Port Road, Bonython Park is home to the all access playground, providing play areas for everyone. The squeals of laughter from the flying fox are a testament to the fun that can be found in the park. Everyone, including your dog, can have some fun at a picnic in Bonython Park. You can relax while watching the remote controlled model boats sailing across the pond or take advantage of the large grassed areas to kick a footy or strike up a game of cricket.
Check out the unique Totem Pole, donated by the Head Chief of the Gitwilgywat Band of the Tsimshian Nation in 1970. If you don't want to pack a picnic, free electric BBQ facilities are available for use or you can purchase food from the kiosk, which is open from Friday to Sunday and during the school holidays.
If you need to work off some post picnic lethargy, you can hire a free bike from the kiosk on weekends and take a ride on the Torrens Linear Trail or take a short walk south to see the Old Adelaide Gaol, one of the oldest buildings in South Australia. For something different, challenge the family to nine holes of par 3 golf for the cost of $11 for a child, $13 for an adult or purchase a family pass $37 at the North Adelaide Golf Club.
Thorndon Park – Paradise
Thorndon Park has plenty of undercover picnic and playgrounds. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
A little further from the city Thorndon Park is an often overlooked picnic venue. Accessed from Hamilton Terrace in Paradise, the park is open all hours, although the car park is open from sunrise to sunset only. The park has a large range of picnic areas and barbecue facilities, including a large undercover area, so the weather doesn't have to be a factor to a successful outing. The playground facilities include a shaded playground and a liberty disabled swing to provide fun for all.
If you need more strenuous activities, Thorndon Park has this covered too, with walking trails and large grassed areas for running and ball games. A kiosk, open on the weekends only, is adjacent to a small heritage museum operated by the Rotary Club of Morialta.
A visit to Thorndon Park is not complete without a walk around the wetlands, once a reservoir, the old water tower still sits in prime position and is a popular spot for photographers. Don't miss the small waterfall, the kids will love the birdlife that live nearby. Due to the amount of birdlife and wildlife, dogs are not permitted in the park.
Semaphore foreshore has many attractions but a favourite is a walk along the jetty. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
As the days get warmer, the amount of activity increases on the Semaphore Foreshore, situated on the corner of Semaphore Road and the Esplanade. The large grassy area in the Foreshore Reserve has enough room for ball games and the kids can enjoy the fenced undercover playground or the skate park. Barbecue and picnic facilities are located within easy reach of the beach and the jetty.
If the foreshore playground is too busy, head north toward the Seaphore Palais, where you'll find another undercover playground.
If you enjoy a walk, the 555 metre jetty is short scenic walk or alternatively, you can take a leisurely coastal walk along the Coast Park trail, part of a shared use trail which spans from North Haven to Sellicks Beach.
Semaphore Foreshore is a perfect family location, with facilities such as toilets, kiosks, cafes and shops and other attractions including the Old Carousel and the Waterslide Complex, home of the 70 metre waterslide, a ferris wheel, bouncy castle and mini golf.
In the warmer months, Fort Glanville Train museum operates a 2km railway from Semaphore to Fort Glanville departing from the end of the Semaphore Jetty for the cost of $20 per family. The operating times vary throughout the year.
The bridges and lake of Rymill Park are part of the charm of this park. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Although somewhat smaller due to the Obahn extension, there is still plenty of fun to be had in Rymill Park. Situated near the East End in the city between East Terrace, Dequetteville Terrace and Bartels Road, the leafy park has sealed paths winding through the park and around the lake. Facilities in the park include toilets, picnic and barbecue facilities as well as a colourful playground for the kids.
The row boats are a great attraction in Rymill Park. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Overlooking the lake, the Rymill Park Boatshed and Kiosk is a favourite with cyclists who gather for a post ride coffee and families who bring their children to experience the lake from the small rowboats available for hire from the kiosk. On the water, once you can control the oars, you can travel under the bridges, meander around the lakes and row towards the island where birds like to sit. The boat shed and kiosk are open Wednesday to Sunday and Public Holidays. Dogs on a lead are welcome in the park and the kiosk provides water bowls for thirsty four legged family members. Parking is available in the surrounding streets.
A short walk from the picnic area will get you to the beach. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Situated on Heron Way, the undercover picnic and electric barbecue facilities make the reserve a popular spot for family gatherings. The Reserve has two unfenced playgrounds surrounded by large open grasslands and benches overlooking the coast and the Hallett Cove headland. The Boatshed Café is also nearby for those who forgot to pack the picnic. If you are looking for a short walk, head down the steps leading to the rocky beach or if you walk past the café, along the boardwalk, you can get to the Hallett Cove Conservation Park, home to the rose coloured Sugar Loaf and the Amphitheatre rock formations, both millions of year old. Shade can be difficult to find once you leave the protection of the picnic area, so remember to take sun protection if you venture off on a walk.
Carisbrooke Reserve has undercover picnic areas and several playgrounds. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
If you are in the northern suburbs, the grass reserves, undercover playgrounds and picnic areas make Carisbrooke Reserve an excellent picnic spot. Surrounded by aged gum trees, the Little Para River runs through the park, providing a shady environment and the chance to watch the birds in the trees and the frogs near the river. Beginning as a citrus orchard in the early settlement days, the reserve has grown to be a favourite place for families and friends to gather.
Harry Bowey Playground, just a short walk through Carisbrooke Reserve for some climbing fun. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
With over 5km of walking trails throughout the reserve, there are plenty of alternatives for walkers of all fitness levels and there are plenty of grassy areas for ball games. Dogs on a lead are welcome in the reserve and there is also a dog park where your dog can get off the lead for some fun with other four-legged friends. Accessible from two entrances along Main North Road, car parking is available in close proximity to the picnic areas.
The weather is warming up, time to get out an enjoy a picnic with friends and family at one of our many beautiful picnic sites around Adelaide.