Riverbank walking loop around town of Old Noarlunga

Walking Route Facts
2.2 km circuit
30 mins
Suitable for
Walking, Wheelchair Accessible, Pram Friendly, Dog Walking, Get to by public transport, Cycling
Adelaide City & Suburbs
Download maps & GPS files
  1. 2 GPS files
Jump to Downloads section
21 photos
Travel options
  1. Bus
  2. Car
Travel time from Adelaide
1 hour or less
Riverbank walking loop around town of Old Noarlunga

About the Walking Route

It is here where the Onkaparinga River Ngangkiparri bends as a horseshoe shape, that was a meeting ground for the Kaurna people for tens of thousands of years. Noarlunga is so named after this location, the Kaurna word was Nurlongga or Nglungga, meaning ‘curve place’, referring to the horsehoe shape of the river here. Some records indicate the word nurlongga may have meant ‘fishing place’, but this is now thought unlikely. The town was first settled by Europeans in 1840, and the stone bridge crossed the Onkaparinga River Ngangkiparri here. The town was renamed in 1978 as Old Noarlunga, with the name Noarlunga referring to the new development and train station around the Colonnades Shopping Centre.

Walking directions (anti-clockwise)

  1. Start from the Old Noarlunga Institute Hall, located in Market Square Reserve, at 2 Market Crescent, Old Noarlunga (although actually the hall faces Patapinda Rd, the main road or old South Road through the town). You can start from anywhere in Market Square Reserve, or indeed any point of the walk, but our instructions start here at the Institute Hall.
  2. Walk along Market Crescent, past the toilets and playground, to the river.
  3. At the river pathway, turn left, with the river on your right, and the playground and Market Square Reserve on your left. You’ll be walking towards and past the fountain, which is a memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales.
  4. Where the path meets Hall Crescent, continue along the path. A couple of jetties are below you on the river. The river is on your right, houses on your left. The path is a wide, shared use concrete path, with a series of boardwalks.
  5. Walk underneath the South Road stone bridge. This quiet Patapinda Rd used to be the main South Road before the town was bypassed in 1972.
  6. Just the other side of the bridge, you enter Jared Park. The path is now narrow and gravel. As at July 2020, the area has been extensively re-vegetated with new seedlings.
  7. The path will turn 90 degrees to the left (south), you can choose to take this option up to the Noarlunga Oval edge now, or keep following the narrower track.
  8. The path now heads up the steps to the Noarlunga Oval edge. At the top of the steps, as you enter the parking area around the oval, turn right and head towards the main club rooms.
  9. Walk behind the club rooms, past the No Entry sign – people can still get through.
  10. At the end of the buildings, on the right there is a narrow pathway leading through.
  11. As you emerge on the southern side of the clubrooms, continue walking around the oval, towards the cricket nets. Keep a watch out for a narrow path to the right of the cricket nets.
  12. Follow the path, through the gate onto the end of dead-end street, Paringa Parade.
  13. Continue following the street, Paringa Parade. There isn’t much traffic on this quiet street, so you can walk on the road or along the grass edge, as it follows the river.
  14. As you pass under overhead powerlines that cross the river, continue along Paringa Parade, which is now more of a laneway. Keep an eye out for some of the curious street art we found along here.
  15. At Edward Street, continue along the riverside footpath, as the path enters Hutchinson Reserve.
  16. At the northern end of the Hutchinson Reserve, continue along Paringa Parade.
  17. As Paringa Parade disappears again, walk past the old church and new swing bridge. The swing bridge was built in 2019, after the spring floods of September 2016 swept away the bridge. The bridge provides access to walks in Onkaparinga River National Park, including the 3.5km Old Noarlunga Hike.
  18. Continue past the river ford.
  19. You now arrive at the fish and worli sculpture, at Winnaynee Horseshoe Inn Reserve, which commemorates the special link between the Kaurna people and the Europeans with the Onkaparinga River Ngangkiparri here. The Kaurna people here lived in natural rock caves along the river, or in worli’s – semi circular dome shaped huts constructed from branches, bark, grass and seaweed. The reserve here is named after the Horsehoe Inn, built here in 1840. The hotel operated until 1932, then again from 1983, but was destroyed by fire on New Years Eve in 1987. The hotel was a popular resting spot for bullock drivers and teamsters carting goods between Adelaide and all places south including Victor Harbor. A thriving coaching centre grew around the hotel. With the coming of the railway to Willunga in 1915, the horse coaching trade declined through Noarlunga, and the hub operation was moved to Willunga. The hotel once had a reputation as a watering hole for smugglers bringing their alcohol and tobacco from wrecks in the Gulf. Materials were salvaged from the ruins of the hotel to be used to build the reserve.
  20. Cross the road and you are back at the Old Noarlunga Institute Hall.

The trail is suitable for bikes, but the narrow dirt sections between the stone bridge and the oval might be an issue.

The walk is mostly flat, except for a ramp or stairs near the oval, and a gentle ramp under the stone bridge.

Although the path from Market Square Reserve along Hall Crescent (about 450 metres long) is wheelchair or pram friendly, as is much of Paringa Parade on the south side of the loop, the connecting sections are rough, narrow dirt track. You could skip this dirt section by walking along Patapinda Rd from the stone bridge, following the roadside footpaths, then head down Paringa Parade back to the river to continue the loop.


Download KML/KMZ file
Download GPX file