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Willunga's Natural and Historic Bounties

Home > Adelaide > Walks | Parks | Outdoor | Animals and Wildlife
by Barry Silkstone (subscribe)
I am an Australian natural history writer and photographer. My aim is to encourage people to venture outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of our planet. Visit my blog naturallysouthaustralia.com
Published May 20th 2016
Blue bees and old buildings
There are bright mauve flowers along the edge of the fence-line. A blue bee is dancing between them, stopping on each one for a few seconds to sip the nectar while inadvertently gathering pollen along the way. These little bees are native Australian species unlike the more common, introduced honey bees.

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A blue bee feeding on blossoms


I am walking around the Courthouse Reserve in Willunga, a charming township just forty five minutes south of Adelaide in the McClaren Vale region. Willunga has a myriad of attractions ranging from, local markets, craft shops, restaurants, as well as nearby rose nurseries and wineries. There are also numerous historic buildings such as the old courthouse and police station that date back to 1839. The name Willunga (Willa-ungga place of green trees) stems from the language of the original Aboriginal people, the Kaurna, who lived on the Adelaide plains

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Historic courthouse


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Bridge over a spring fed creek that flows all year


Leaving the old colonial buildings I walk down a grassy slope and cross the small footbridge that spans a spring fed creek. From the bridge, a short walking trail climbs through woodland that reflects the pre settlement forests that once covered this region. Several species of eucalyptus trees and a diverse selection of native bushes and ground covers define this environment and provide food for a variety of birds, insects and mammals. As I make my way along the trail I encounter both new Holland honeyeaters and eastern rosellas feeding on late autumn blossoms.

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New Holland honeyeater feeding on gum blossoms


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Eastern rosella


The circuit takes about half an hour and it is only a short stroll back to the main street for a little shopping in a local arts and craft store before a quick stop at the bakery. There are several vintage cottages in the side streets and in one garden a rowdy group of noisy miners are living up to their name as they see off a young magpie that has encroached on their territory.

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Local crafts displayed in a colonial shop


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Noisy miners


Although I have spent an hour and half in the little town I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of its rich colonial and natural history. Another visit in the spring is certainly on my agenda.
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Why? An interesting walk
When: all year
Where: Willunga
Cost: none
Your Comment
I like Willunga and have walked around the town from time to time,but do not recognize this little bridge.The photos are brilliant.by the way.The narrow road...somewhat dangerous...room for just one car...down a steep hill to the slate quarry is worth a visit.The bakery pasties are really good..I wonder if the Courthouse is being put to some useful purpose...has always been closed when I have been there...never seen any activities there either..seems like an ideal spot to develop.
by noelp (score: 3|1180) 877 days ago
could you tell me what the little purple flowers are that the blue bee is on ??Cheryl
by pony. (score: 1|20) 876 days ago
Nice area of Adelaide to visit! Excellent photos too capturing well some of our birds and plants!
by Graeme Fanning (score: 2|365) 875 days ago
Great photos Barry. Having heard much about our native 'blue' bees, it was great to see a photo of one. I am also interested in the name of the flowering plant the bee likes.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4048) 875 days ago
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