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Walk From Milang to the Former Nurragi Train Station

Home > Adelaide > Escape the City | Free | Walks
by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. I'm on an indulgent quest and I'd love you to follow at
Published September 3rd 2020
Wild flowers, wildlife and history
I'm a keen walker and love it when I have the opportunity to walk somewhere I haven't been before. I had heard about a walking trail that starts at the tiny town of Milang, on the banks of Lake Alexandrina. The Nurragi Conservation Reserve Walking Trail follows a former rail corridor from Milang to Sandergrove, a distance of around 14kms. A return trip of 28kms was a bit too much to contemplate so I made a plan to walk half way then return to Milang. It just so happens there is an abandoned railway station at the half way mark which provided an end goal for the first part of the journey.

Start of the Wetlands Walk - Milang
Start of the Wetlands Walk - Milang

Leaving our car parked close to public bathroom facilities my walking partner and I headed for the Milang Wetlands Walk. We figured the convenience of our parking location might be appreciated on our return.

The boardwalk - Milang Wetlands
The boardwalk - Milang Wetlands

The Nurragi Walking Trail officially starts at Stirling Street, but the Wetlands Walk is always a delight, so we extended our walking distance to enjoy the singing of the frogs.

Frog heaven, Milang Wetlands
Frog heaven, Milang Wetlands

Although the rail corridor no longer hosts a functioning railway line there are historic train engines and carriages located at the Milang Historic Railway Museum, adjacent to the Wetlands.

Historic trains at Milang
Historic trains at Milang

Nurragi was established as a nature conservation park in 1991 with the aim of recognising and preserving the significant flora and fauna of the area. There are over 300 different indigenous plant species present on the reserve, many of which are of regional significance. Stretching from the Mt Lofty Ranges to Lake Alexandrina, the corridor is significant to wildlife, in particular many bird species, due to the provision of food and protective cover.

Nurragi Conservation Park
Nurragi Conservation Park

The railway line between Milang and Sandergrove was opened in 1884 and closed in 1970. Interpretive information boards along the walking trail explain the importance of the train service, particularly to local farmers who dispatched wheat and vegetables and received seeds and fertilizer courtesy of the train service.

Nature path
Nature path

There is little evidence of the train line apart from a couple of railway sleepers and a few concrete structures that were parts of culverts which carried the train line over low-lying land.

The walking path is clearly defined and punctuated by distance markers.

Adjacent farmland was evidenced by Canola fields and domestic animals including frisky horses and curious cows.

Canola fields
Canola fields

We observed flocks of Galahs, a few dainty Blue Wrens and an angry Blue Tongue Lizard. We also noticed a lot of holes in the sandy soil which may have been dug by Sand Goannas, one of eleven species of reptiles known to inhabit the park.

Wildlife - Nurragi Conservation Park
wildlife - Nurragi Conservation Park

A nature walk is always enhanced, in my view, when there's a bit of history in the mix. So I was excited about seeing the site of the Nurragi train station and imagining how it functioned in bygone days.

Site of the former Nurragi Train Station
Site of the former Nurragi Train Station

There isn't a lot left to see but there is a substantial iron gate, held up by hefty timber posts and the original 'Nurragi' sign.

Nurragi train station sign
Nurragi train station sign

I couldn't help feeling somewhat wistful at the loss of the train service. I love a good train trip due to the relaxing nature of this form of transport and the fact that train lines inevitably pass through beautiful scenic regions. Train travel is far kinder to our planet than other forms of travel and reestablishing rail routes would get my vote over concrete motorways any day.

Disused railway track, Milang
Section of disused railway track at Milang

Wistfulness aside, we enjoyed a picnic lunch at the site of the former station before heading back on our return journey.

We walked about 18kms altogether, including the Wetlands Walk. The section from Nurragi to Sandergrove Station is around 12kms return and it's next on our list of 'walks to enjoy'.
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Why? Explore the wild flowers, wildlife and glimpses of history along this conservation corridor
When: Anytime
Phone: 08-82728496 (Friends of Nurragi Secretary)
Where: Milang South Australia 5256
Cost: Free
Your Comment
What a lovely walk Karen. A bit too long for me these days. A bonus on these types of walks is the things you see along the way. Neil.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4259) 706 days ago
I love the old out house Karen. A touch of real Australian nostalgia
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|5079) 705 days ago
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