They call it “Taking on the Icon” and that is a pretty fair summary of the experience that is the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb.
Every city has an iconic building or feature, in Adelaide, South Australia, the Adelaide Oval has to be it. Many sporting greats have created memories on the hallowed ground, the iconic turn of the century score board still stands proud amongst the now high tech stadium with a capacity to house 53,500.
Some 18 months ago, the opportunity to “Take on the Icon” was born - since then thousands of people have scaled the roofs and experienced angles of the stadium otherwise unseen.
The experience takes roughly two hours, the preparation itself taking some 30 minutes. Climbers are taken into a dressing room where a custom jump suit is provided to go over clothing and harnesses strapped on and secured. All loose items - watches, rings etc, are placed into lockers, including cameras and phones.
Climbers are taken in groups of 10-16 with a lead guide who communicates with the group via a headset microphone - all climbers wear a receiver and ear piece.
We took a twilight tour - departing at 5pm (5:30pm by the time we were ready to go) and took in views of the sparkling city lights. As it was during winter, we just caught the tail end of the sunset so we did not see the sun disappear, but the sky was a gorgeous orange glow until it went dark.
A purpose built climbing track takes climbers on a journey starting at the Western stand before weaving through the front of the Southern stand to the ultimate lean out point 50 metres above the southern goal posts. A height incidentally equivalent to the spires of St Peters Cathedral which are a great spectacle to see at night from this vantage point.
Winding around the back of the Southern stand to take in the picturesque Adelaide riverbank views before descending again on the Western side, the track is some 1.5kms in distance.
When crossing from one stand to another, a connector bridge is ascended which may give those scared of heights a bit of a challenge, however the climb is not a major physical feat at any point - so can be enjoyed by most fitness levels.
The tour guide provides a great commentary which includes the history of Adelaide, the oval and the scenery. They also carry a camera during the tour and capture photos of climbers that can be purchased at the end of the tour. There are a couple of points where climbers are encouraged to ‘do the lean’ making for some fun photos and moments along the way.
One of the more interesting angles is given when winding under the canopy of the Western Stand. An engineering feat, it is fascinating to hear the science behind the physicality of the stand. Albeit a little scary when you discover that essentially only two major poles are holding the structure in place!
The Adelaide Oval Roof Climb operates all year round with a variety of climb options including the Twilight tour we took as well as day climbs and Game Day climbs that operate whilst sporting events are in full action and stands packed with spectators. Climbs are priced from AUD$99 which includes a climb certificate and group photograph. Additional photos can be purchased from AUD$16.
If you are visiting Adelaide, even for a weekend, this is a great tour to add to your itinerary. The oval is within walking distance of the CBD and accessible from city hotels. For details and to book take a look here.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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When the boys booked a footy weekend in Melbourne, Miss 7 and I decided this year we would make it a family trip. The boys could indulge in as much football as they liked and the girls would take in the sights.
Although we have travelled to Melbourne many times before, it surprises me that there is always a few hidden gems to be found on each return visit.
Here are some of our highlights and tips from a quick weekend away.
1. Melbourne Star
The Melbourne Star is a giant observation wheel located at the Docklands in Melbourne. One of only four observations wheels in the world, it is the only one in the Southern Hemisphere.
To get to the location, utilise the free city circle tram that takes you to the doorstep of the harbourside shopping village. The Star is located in the same precinct and a short walk from the tram stop.
We were so surprised at how quiet this attraction was. Lunch time on a Saturday and we walked straight to the ticket booth, purchased tickets and walked straight on. There was not a line to join at all! And, best of all, it meant we got a whole pod to ourselves. Unheard of on any of the other observation wheels around the world in London, Singapore or Las Vegas.
The “flight” takes 30 minutes to complete a full rotation and the views are pretty spectacular.
Savings tip: I googled discount Melbourne Star tickets before paying at the gate. I managed to purchase a Scoopon deal that allowed instant purchase and use. Gate price was $48 for 1 x Adult and 1 x Child - Scoopon price was $35.
2. City Circle Tram
The city circle brown tram does a great loop of Melbourne and is an excellent way to orient yourself if you have never been before. The trams run every 12 minutes, travels in a circle in both directions and is absolutely free.
Onboard you will also receive a pre-recorded commentary, occasionally you will board a tram with a live commentary which can be entertaining.
There is not really any major attraction within Melbourne CBD that can not be reached via the free city circle tram.
Savings Tip: ALL trams in the Melbourne CBD tram zone are free! I have been travelling to Melbourne for years and only just realised this. So if you need to get from one side of town to the other, you don’t have to wait for the circle tram and do a big loop, you can catch a tram going straight across the city - for free. Or if you are going 4-5 blocks down Spencer or Flinders street and have tired children with you - don’t make them walk when there is a tram free to take you.
3. Queen Victoria Markets
A trip to Melbourne is not complete without a visit to the markets. The sights and sounds of the fresh produce, butchers, fish mongers and providores is an experience not to be missed. We headed there first thing in the morning and started our day with breakfast at one of the many cafe’s and stalls serving freshly ground barista coffee and organic barn laid eggs!
Once breakfast was complete the kids entered what they described as “fidget spinner heaven!” after purchasing the craze items on e-bay and having to wait weeks for their arrival from China, they were overwhelmed by the plentitude of options available for instant purchase. Every colour, every style imaginable. Thank goodness we gave them a spending budget for the weekend - it was then up to them to seek out the best bargains to maximise their allowance which now became fidget spinner spending money.
And a visit to the markets is also not complete without indulging in hot jam donuts. We opted for the ever popular American Doughnut Kitchen located in a converted old bus that parks at the market. For $5.50 you get five hot jam donuts.
The quote of the trip went to the gentleman in the line in front of us arguing with the staff demanding donuts with “not too much jam, not too much sugar!” Both the staff and everyone in the line were perplexed by the customer’s request. Pretty sure we were all in line wanting sugary, jammy donuts!
4. Australian Rules Football
Melbourne is the home of Australian Rules Football - commonly known as AFL, if you are visiting during the months of play it is almost a sin to not take in a game. Both the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Etihad Stadium host games and both are easily accessible from the CBD.
We were fortunate enough to time our visit during the AFLs annual Indigenous round and were treated to an Essendon Vs Richmond Dreamtime game at the MCG on the Saturday night.
Nearly 87,000 people packed the stadium which celebrated and honoured the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players of the game. A traditional welcoming ceremony provided pre-game entertainment that sparked the enthusiasm of the lively crowd.
Savings Tip: A family pass in general admission cost just over $50 pre-purchased online. Pack drinks, snacks and dinner purchased from outside the ground and get there early to secure a seat and enjoy your picnic dinner. Concession prices are over-inflated as with any stadium around the world. There are plenty of Coles Express and Woolworths Metro stores that you can pick up some snacks from in the city before you take the free tram out to the MCG.
5. Dumplings in China Town
On previous trips to Melbourne we have enjoyed amazing Yum Cha in China Town, this trip we did not manage a lunch time visit so instead thought we would try one of the many dumpling houses that receive rave Trip Advisor Reviews.
People queue for dumplings in Melbourne - we got there early so did not have to wait, but was it worth it……. they were just dumplings……
Sure they were tasty, the service was quick and the meal relatively cheap. But the dumpling house was pretty run down and unless you are a uni student wanting somewhere to hit a record for most dumplings consumed in a sitting - I probably would not line up for the experience.
But we can say we have done it, we did consume a large amount of dumplings for a relatively small amount of cash and were given the privilege of drinking our soft drinks and beers straight from the can - classy!
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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Penny, an avid Trip Advisor Reviewer, is the author of ITCHY FEET FAMILY. A family living in Adelaide, Australia, and taking every opportunity to travel and explore the world.