Aleblazer on the Dry Creek Trail

Welcome to the third instalment of the ‘Aleblazer’ series of walks. The Dry Creek Trail runs from Valley View to Globe Derby Park along Dry Creek in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. Happily, it passes two pubs along the away, the famous Bridgeway Hotel at Pooraka and the Mawson Lakes Hotel at Mawson Lakes.

Dry Creek at Valley View
Valley View

The walk begins near Nelson Road in Valley View and is an urban amble down the valley past the Bridgeway Hotel and Mawson Lakes Hotel through to the salt pans at Globe Derby Park.

The Valley View to Walkley Heights section follows a gentle gully past and behind residential areas. This section of ‘linear park’ as it’s called has been well rehabilitated over the years and on this particular rainy day the environment was fresh and clean, it was more enjoyable than we imagined. Locals are lucky to have such an environment nearby.

Exploring is always great because you find new perspectives and on this walk we found the two long tunnels under Walkleys Road. I’d say they were designed to cope with the incredible floods that inundate the area every few years but on this occasion were dry enough to walk through.

Dry Creek at Walkley Heights
Walkley Heights

After passing under Walkleys Road the trail passes through the most famous section of the trail as it follows a deep gully down behind Adelaide’s twin gaols. This area was quarried by prisoners for many years and is now a picturesque walking trail. Remnants of the iconic R.M Williams homestead remain (it was cleared away when the gaol was built) alongside remnants of prisoner labour from years gone by. This section of the trail is secluded and peaceful, it feels a million miles away from the surrounding suburbs.

Ford on the Dry Creek Trail at Walkey Heights.

This section of the trail ends at Bridge Road, which you must cross to find the trail again behind the Bridgeway Hotel. The Bridgeway Hotel was our first Aleblazer stop for beers on the hike. The Bridgeway Hotel is built over Dry Creek and has a long history of being a working man’s pub in a working mans suburb. It was decided that a couple of pints of West End Draught fresh from the keg would be the ideal way to pay homage to the vibe of Pooraka.

View from the Bridgeway Hotel
Bridgeway Hotel

After a quick beer we dragged our now cold bodies back out onto the trail to continue following the ‘trail’ behind houses and along suburban streets to Lindblom Park in central Pooraka. There’s lot’s of play equipment here and Dry Creek runs right through. It’s a nice park. You can read a review here.

Forest near Lindblom Park
Lindblom Park
Main North Road
Main North Road

We moved on down the narrow path which ended abruptly by spilling us out onto the footpath of busy Main North Road, near the intersection with Montague Road. We crossed at the traffic lights and found the trail again behind the service station as it headed into industrial land. I found the trail map for Google Earth from Walking SA handy, check it out here.

The trail was relatively unmade and very slippery in the wet weather. Dry Creek flows alongside as an unkempt drain until it reaches Mawson Lakes.

Dry Creek Trail at Mawson Lakes
Mawson Lakes

The trail creeps up on the manicured parks and managed waterways of Mawson Lakes from behind and follows Dry Creek through the heart of the new metropolitan area. Some parts are quiet and green and other parts are barely more than flood ways as the trail passes by apartment blocks and crosses a few more roads.

Chalkboard of beers at Mawson Lakes Hotel
Mawson Lakes Hotel

We diverted from the trail here and traipsed into the heart of Mawson Lakes to stop for a beer at the Mawson Lakes Hotel. Given that Mawson Lakes is a bit of a hip suburb, we expected craft beers and weren’t disappointed. There’s a good range of beers at the front bar and we polished off another couple of pints of lager before grabbing some drinks for the road and setting off to rejoin the trail somewhere near the railway station.

Railway bridge at Mawson Lakes
Railway line

Maps indicate that the trail heads under the railway line, but passage doesn’t look possible if there’s any water in the creek. The option provided is to head onto the station platform and climb the stairs to cross the railway line. Once on the other side, it’s a short walk through some suburban streets to rejoin the trail on the creek.

Train at Mawson Lakes Station

The trail wanders past more houses and brushes the Greenfields Wetlands as it passes under Salisbury Highway. From here the trail runs straight through to Port Wakefield Road as any evidence of landscaping around Dry Creek begins to vanish altogether.

Dry Creek Trail at Mawson Lakes
Mawson Lakes
Dry Creek Trail at Greenfields Wetlands
Salisbury Highway

The passage under Port Wakefield Road is unremarkable and industrial but as you climb onto the the crest of the path you get an expansive view over the former salt pans to the mangroves and Port Adelaide. The trail joins with the Little Para River Trail here as both waterways find their way to the sea via the nearby mangroves.

It’s a great trek, about 14 kilometres, and takes 4-5 hours including stops. The variety of environments is interesting and it’s a good way to take a different look at Adelaide.

Aleblazer treks are fun and a bit different. Check out the video on You Tube!

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