Cycle Adelaide, Sightseeing Ride, River Torrens Linear Park West
Meandering alongside the River Torrens on the Linear Park path, this bike ride provides a hassle-free route from the city to the beach with little vehicle contact and no traffic lights. The sealed path is gently rolling, shady in summer and easy to navigate: from Bonython Park onwards, just stay on the main riverside path and the northern bank of the river. Otherwise relax and enjoy the scenery along the ride.
From the city centre, ride north down King William Street to Elder Park. The path runs along the riverfront.
Food and Drink
No food is available along the path but there are plenty of taps with safe drinking water. There are also numerous shady picnic and BBQ areas, so pack a picnic and take a break along the way. The Festival Centre kiosk is open 7 days, and there are cafes and a kiosk at Henley Square.
Head up over the Morphett Street and watch the action at the City SK8 Park. Continue on to the Jam Factory, where you can see artists at work, including hot glass blowing.
Marking the start is the Festival Centre, home to Adelaide’s performing arts scene. Housing the Festival Theatre, Dunstan Playhouse, Space Theatre, Artspace and Amphitheatre, this is Adelaide’s answer to the Sydney Opera House – with a roofline arguably as memorable.
Just after the railway bridge tunnel is the 17ha Bonython Park, a birdwatchers paradise and recreation reserve. There’s plenty of parking, two playgrounds, a boating lake, kiosk and BBQ facilities - and on occasions visiting circuses and cultural festivals. The northern section is a designated equestrian area used regularly for horse shows, and the riverbanks are home to one of Adelaide’s largest revegetation projects.
Leaving the park we pass the famous Southwark Brewery Riverbank display. In 1959 a Christmas display was erected in gardens alongside the brewery, and was an immediate hit. It’s now an annual event and a South Australian tradition, with more than 100,000 people visiting each year. It’s worth a look at any time, as some objects remain on display all year around.
What a great idea: a recreational facility specifically for dogs. Adjacent to the path near Findon Road, this canine adventure playground is complete with agility equipment and, like all good offspring play areas, fully-fenced for safety. The project was built by the West Torrens and Charles Sturt Councils and was opened in May 2007, to the delight of hundreds of local pooches and their owners.
Breakout Creek Wetlands
Another great community project is the Breakout Creek Wetlands and Apex Park, just upstream from Henley Beach Road. Stage 1 of a long-term project, the wetlands cover a 500m stretch of the river and were completed in 1999. Full of birds, animals, fish and native plants, they provide a lush, shady recreation area and a great environmental education model, while also improving the quality of water discharging into the sea. A second 700m stage commenced in mid-2008, with local volunteers growing more than 60,000 indigenous plants for the 10-hectare site. The new wetlands will also include additional picnic areas, boardwalks and jetties for fishing and bird watching, so it’s worth a return visit in the future.
Having wound our way along the river to the coast, we finish among the cafes and restaurants of Henley Square. One of the original settlements of Adelaide, Henley Beach is a great place to spend some time, with historic buildings, one of Adelaide’s best beaches and a popular fishing jetty.
- 0.0 Starting in front of the Festival Centre, head west along the linear park path.
- 0.3 Pass under the Morphett St bridge, watching out for swans.
- 1.0 At the Torrens Weir, take the upper bitumen path through the olive grove.
- 1.3 Turn left and continue through the railway underpass. Watch for riders exiting and entering the tunnel.
- 1.5 The path divides. Take the right fork alongside the river
- 1.6 Cross the river at the Karrawirra Parri bridge. On the other side, take the lower left-hand path
- as it follows the river then climbs up to meet another path on the right.
- 1.9 At the T-junction, go around the car barricade and take the path to the left through the equestrian area.
- 2.5 With the main road visible ahead, turn left through the bollards and cross under the road to the Southwark brewery riverbank display. The path now runs alongside the road.
- 3.2 Turn left onto a small side road, River St, watching for traffic.
- 3.5 Turn left and back onto the path, which continues along the river and alongside the Hindmarsh Cemetery.
- 3.9 One of many paths coming in from the right. Ignore them, but watch for cyclists and walkers entering.
- 5.1 The path forks. Take the left-hand path down by the river – or if you need a comfort stop, the right path leads to toilets and a picnic area.
- 5.2 The first of a number of bridge crossings on the left. Ignore all of these and continue along the right side of the river.
- 6.5 The path narrows for a short distance, allowing one-way traffic only.
- 6.8 The path goes back down to the river.
- 7.5 A path to the right accesses Pooch Park. Continue on the lower track.
- 9.5 Apex Park and the Breakout Creek Wetlands.
- 9.8 The first of three bridges. At each, take the left hand path under the bridge.
- 12.4 Reaching the beach, the path veers right along the dunes then on to The Esplanade. Continue along the road.
- 13.9 At the Henley Kiosk, make your way carefully through the car park.
- 14.0 The Henley Surf Life Saving Club and the end of the ride at Henley Square. Relax at one of the cafés, then head back into town.
14.49 km / 9.004 mi
109 m / 357 ft
128 m / 419 ft
27 m / 89 ft