I'm a tour guide who is passionate about South Australia and love to showcase to locals and visitors. Visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/Down-to-Earth-Tours-1491827191071798/
Published June 26th 2016
I find it's always good to get out on the weekend and explore parts of Adelaide and South Australia that you've been meaning to visit but haven't got around to and even more fulfilling when you are pleasantly surprised by your efforts.
One such area I have recently re-discovered is the suburb of Walkerville, about 6 kms north east of Adelaide's CBD (around a 15 minute drive). Walkerville has the claim to fame of being the smallest council area within Adelaide, only being classified as a town. Despite many overtures and attempts to amalgamate with nearby and adjacent councils such as City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters as well as City of Prospect, Walkerville has managed to retain its own enclave up to this point.
Walkerville was named after Captain John Walker who took up land in the district in 1838 (who later became a Police Commissioner) and soon thrived as a village, being proclaimed a town in 1944, a status which still applies today. In 2005 the Walkerville Council commemorated 150 years and a walk around the area reveals a great blend of heritage, some modern additions and a real community "village" feel.
Here are 6 suggestions of what Walkerville has to offer.
On Walkerville Terrace, which is the main thoroughfare of the area, I found a couple of shops which were eye-catching and interesting for different reasons. One such shop was Gitanjali which offers an eclectic mix of Indian wares including silk scarves, umbrellas, leather bags, outdoor furniture and a whole range of gifts to boot. With a striking orange door and colourful shop window displays, you can't help but stop and want to explore more.
If you are looking for children's wear, there seems to be a good range at Parade Children's Wear also on Walkerville Terrace, covering the full spectrum from babies right through to around 14 years of age and has been established since 1994. The store is Australian owned and is all about designer, unique and hard wearing clothing for children created and designed by Vicky Standish. Great shop front and again eye-catching displays.
Down on the corner of Walkerville and Stephen Terrace lies arguably one of the best Meat stores in Adelaide at Walkerville Meat Store, which is well known for its gluten free products including Chicken, Beef, Sausages, Pork and Smallgoods. Although the focus is on meat, within the store is also a fruit and vegetable fridge, allowing you to construct the complete meal. The store is open Monday to Fridays from 7 am to 6 pm and on Saturdays from 7 am until 2.30 pm.
Along Walkerville Terrace all within a short walk of each other are some great dining and refreshment options. The Sussex Hotel has been around since 1843 when the first beer was poured and has been a favourite in the area since, retaining an art deco feel from an upgrade occurring in the 1930's. With live music every Friday night, the pub boasts four main spaces including The Terrace Restaurant, The Sports Bar, The Beer Garden and The Monte Carlo Gaming Lounge. The menu in the restaurant seems to cover a good range of options with mains averaging between $17 and $25 per person.
If you fancy some good quality Indian food, then perhaps try the Chennai Palace Restaurant which is further east down Walkerville Terrace. Specialising in southern Indian cuisine, the menu is varied and offers a great selection from pork, chicken, beef, seafood and vegetarian options as well as a southern India special menu which features the Dosa, a crispy spread pan cake stuffed with yummy ingredients. Mains range from $15 to $18 per person - good value! They are open every day from 5 pm to 10 pm for dinner and lunch from Thursdays to Saturdays with a Sunday buffet option also.
For simply the opportunity to grab a coffee or perhaps something much more substantial with a bistro feel, it's worth trying out Nest Bistro Coffee Bar adjacent to the main shopping centre along Walkerville Terrace. They are open from 7 am for breakfast until late to cater for lunch as well as dinner, or just a late night drink and catchup with friends. Having tried the breakfast there, it is well worth the effort to indulge, and the place has become quite popular of recent times.
One of the bold projects that Walkerville has embraced, bringing a tired looking ex-Government building into the 21st Century is The Watson, a high rise residential complex developed from its previous life as the ex-Highways Department building adjacent to the River Torrens. Not only is it an apartment complex, but also contains a hotel, cafe and restaurant, a business precinct as well as conference facilities.
For those living in the residential complex, tariffs start from $550 per week, which gives them a fully serviced apartment with no extra bills on top. For those staying in the hotel part of the complex, it is rated a 4-5 star boutique hotel and whether you are a hotel guest or a permanent resident, the facilities are second to none, including a pool and sundeck designed by the renowned swimmer, Michael Klim. You may simply want to have a nose around and stop in for a snack or coffee or perhaps a more substantial meal at the restaurant on site.
The linear park area along the River Torrens is always a great place to stretch the legs and either walk, jog or cycle along its attractive route and is part of the overall 35 km River Torrens Linear Trail which stretches from Athelstone in the north-east to West Beach. The Walkerville section is easily accessible from several locations including adjacent to The Watson and from the Mary P Harris Reserve.
The Walkerville Council Chambers offers an imposing facade dating from the 1890's. Many shop fronts along Walkerville Terrace are also heritage listed and have been well maintained. I discovered the beautiful St Andrew's Church on Church Terrace with its imposing clock tower and the church dating from 1848. All of the windows are graced with stained glass and its beautiful J W Benson clock dates from 1886. The church seems to invoke that whole "village" feel about Walkerville.
One great option I discovered is the opportunity to have your loved one's ashes scattered in the rose garden of the church with no cost involved apart from a suggested donation towards the church's upkeep. No plaque is displayed.
Walkerville has several reserves and parks in the area, with the Mary P Harris Reserve being one of its premier locations adjacent to the River Torrens Linear Trail. The council offers the normal local government facilities including a well stocked Library adjacent to the Town Hall on Walkerville Terrace and for those who fancy some lawn bowls, a high class Bowls club on Church Terrace.
Next time you're travelling through Walkerville, stop off and have a wander. You'll be surprised like I was!