Being locked in a conference room for two days is not my idea of ‘fun’, especially when the conference is held in a new and tantalising city. I am also not good at sitting still at the best of times, and know I benefit from some early morning exercise before being locked away for the day.
I had a cunning plan though.
As I had been to Adelaide once before on a very short visit, I knew that the Torrens River was the perfect area to stretch my reluctant legs.
So, in the early morning dark, I laced up my sneakers and trotted out of the Adelaide CBD and down towards the river. For my Australian readers, I describe my attempt at jogging as a ‘Cliff Young’ shuffle. Faster than a walk, but not by much! For my international followers, read about Cliffy here. A fascinating story of a little old man who defied expectations and much younger competitors, and ran all the way from Sydney to Melbourne, ultimately winning the marathon race.
But I digress…
Adelaide is like a big country town despite a population of 1.34 million people. At 600am there weren’t many locals on the streets, with just a few almost empty buses and trams rattling by with a handful of sleepy passengers on board.
Past the state’s Parliament House, past the Adelaide Festival Centre and down to Elder Park I shuffle, to join the path that travels adjacent to the Torrens River. Here I struck a little more activity as fellow joggers, walkers and early morning cyclists materialised out of the dark.
It wasn’t exactly social, but there were enough cheerful ‘Good mornings’ called out that I felt quite safe as I toddled along from lamp post to lamp post. My jog was also accompanied by the rustle of mysterious animals in the underbrush. Obviously they were unappreciative of my less-than-delicate footfall.
Even though it was a bit dark, I could tell that this would be a spectacular walk to do at any time of the day. The path hugs both sides of the Torrens River and there are frequent maps and interpretative signs explaining both the Indigenous, and white, history of the region.
How much further?
While the path cuts through large patches of bushland, accompanied by the pungent scents of eucalyptus and swampy marsh, there are also interesting man-made structures to distract me from my tired muscles and heaving lungs. There are weirs and bridges in art deco style (not sure about that one as I always get my ‘decos’ and ‘nouveaus’ mixed up) and a whole range of rowing sheds ranging from the basic lean-to, to up-market structures. Most of the sheds were locked up tight, their rowers obviously still tucked up in their own warm beds, but there were a few keen souls out on the water. Wisely, their rowing skiffs featured small, blinking red lights to minimise the chance of collision. Again, it was a nice distraction to hear the distant slap and splash of their oars as they effortlessly skipped past me in the dark.
Even in the pre-dawn murk there is plenty to see as the path leads past large structures such as the Adelaide Convention Centre and the Adelaide Oval. The Oval really caught my eye as it was lit up in red, white and blue in solidarity for our English cousins who were subject to yet another terror-related attack. The myriad of light and colour continued with the underside of some bridges radiant with rainbows. I have never run through a rainbow before.
If jogging is not your thing, then consider cycling. Adelaide has a system of ‘free’ bike loans and I imagine this would be a lovely way to spend the day. The path follows the Torrens all the way to Henley Beach about 10km away. I can picture a gentle ride to the beach, followed by a hearty brunch or lunch to the soundtrack of ocean waves, and then pedal back again.
See what I do to distract myself as I run?
Eventually and thankfully, it was time to turn around and head for home. The sun was starting to lighten the eastern sky revealing the beauty of the waterway, adjoining parks and manicured gardens, and historical pergolas and rotundas.
The sunlight also revealed black swans (one of South Australia’s state emblems) paddling at the water’s edge. It beats me how their legs don’t freeze, but I understand they have some sort of special circulation system. There were also paddle boats moored at the edge, ready to transport visitors with enough energy in their legs to paddle up and down the river. Again, my imagination ran wild as I pictured sunny days, picnic blankets, sun hats and chilled white wine. All far more alluring than slogging along with sweat dripping into my eyes.
The ends do satisfy the means though and I was pumped and energised for a day in a conference room with no windows. At least I had sampled a little of Adelaide’s natural beauty. Now, to work on the brain!
What running/walking paths would you recommend?
What: A beautiful concrete and (in places) dirt path that hugs the Torrens River. Most sections would be accessible to anyone, although there were some repairs underway and this involved rough sections, detours and stairs.
Where: In the North Terrace area of Adelaide – only three minutes’ walk from the Adelaide CBD.
When: I checked at the Tourist Office, and they assured me it was safe to use this path at any time of the day.
Why: To feel virtuous and pure, and to know I was doing something great for my sagging body and brain, before sitting on my butt all day.
How: Pick up a map at the Tourist Office or simply follow the signs. Too easy.
Who: Walkers, joggers, cyclists and happy dogs.
Related Posts: For information about walks closer to Mudgee, have a look at my Part 1 post about Walking Mudgee.
Related Blogs: For some more Adelaide jogging inspiration, have a look at http://www.tenderfoot.com/blog/5-best-running-routes-around-adelaide/
Read About It: Some great Australian and early South Australian history, have a read of Lucy Treloar’s, Salt Creek. She describes the travails of a pioneering farming family and their fractious interactions with the traditional owners of the land. Available from Book Depository