Wandering the Rundles

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Title

Okay, this post is going to be a bit more than just a walk along Rundle Street and Rundle Mall, but as I was trying to work out a title I thought that one sounded quite nice. In fact, this post is about my walk along North Terrace, a quick wander through a couple of the parks at the East End, and then my (or should I say our) return journey down Rundle Street and then along Rundle Mall. Actually, this trek coincided with our trip to the South Australian Museum, however I have already written a post about that visit, so this is simply going to be about our meanderings around Adelaide’s shopping district.

You have probably already noticed that I have been using the word ‘our’ in the above paragraph – that is because I brought my brother with me, especially since he is one of those really cool traveling companions who is happy to follow me around where-ever I go and not get too upset about the destination (though there are some things that would definitely be off his list, like Somalia, but I don’t have any intention of going there any time in the near future, not that it is a tourist mecca anyway – though Tripadvisor does have a list of ‘Things to do in Somalia‘ that doesn’t involve being in your own version of survivor, or re-enacting Black Hawk Down).

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Park
You’ve probably already worked this out, but this isn’t a photo of Somalia

As I do with a number of these posts I probably should include a Google Maps embed just so you know what I am referring to. Sometimes I will include the route that I took in my travels, however that is probably not really all that necessary here because my route involves walking up North Terrace and then back down Rundle Street, and then on through Rundle Mall (which doesn’t take too much effort to work the route out simply by looking at Google Maps):

North Terrace

Since I grew up in Adelaide it is probably not surprising that I have already written a post when I previously visited the city and went for a wander around the CBD, so I will try not to repeat anything that I have already said (though since I actually haven’t reread that blog post – time constraints – it is probably going to be inevitable). Anyway, despite having already written a post on some previous wanderings, one will always discover new things every time one visits a place, even if one grew up there. Okay, things change, they always do, but even if you live somewhere you are always going to make little discoveries that you never realised existed. As some have said, you can easily be a tourist in your home town.

Anyway, North Terrace is basically Adelaide’s cultural strip, while Hindley Street is referred to as the entertainment strip, and Rundle Mall as the shopping strip. Further south you reach Grenfell Street, Currie Street, Pirie Street, and Waymouth Street, which I would describe as the commercial/business parts of the CBD. If you then head a little further south from Waymouth Street you then hit Gouger and Grote street which is where the Central Markets are located, as well as Adelaide’s China Town. However here I am simply going to focus on North Terrace and Rundle Mall (since I have already written a post on Hindley Street, namely because that adventure occurred at some other time, and commercial/business districts aren’t really the type of places that tourists visit – though I understand that people do visit Wall Street when they go to New York).

Mind you, I’m writing from the perspective of somebody who doesn’t have to fork out money for a hotel when I visit Adelaide, namely because I can simply crash (that is stay) at my parent’s house (which makes it a somewhat cheaper holiday than most places). This also means that my adventures in the Adelaide CBD always begin at the Railway Station. Mind you, while it is a beautiful building the fact that it has been taken over by the casino has somewhat undermined it’s heritage value. While you don’t see the glitz of a Las Vegas casino on the outside, it is still always has some banners hanging from the sides (namely because they simply can’t put a huge flashing sign on the building).

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Railway Station

Outside the railway station is a tram stop where you can catch a tram either to the Entertainment Centre or to the beachside suburb of Glenelg (I remember that this suburb was always used as an example of a palindrome namely because you could spell it the same forward as well as backwards). Anyway, the only reason that I mention the tram is so that I can use it as an excuse to post a video.

As a side note, one of the things that I hate about computer languages is that they are always written using the American spelling, which is annoying because I use the spelling centre because center just looks wrong (fortunately my computer has underlined the word in red, but that is because I have the language set to Australian). As for having an excuse to embed a video I probably don’t actually need one, so here is David Bowie singing Life on Mars live:
Okay, I probably do need to stick with the theme of the post, but then again I probably don’t need an excuse to embed a David Bowie video clip.
Anyway, I have gone way off topic, so I better get back on track and continue my adventure along North Terrace. So, next to the railway station we have Parliament House, where the South Australian legislature meets, which is next door to Old Parliament House. However I have already mentioned them in my previous post, so I will just show you a couple of photos and then move on.

Anyway, as I look through my previous post of my wanderings around Adelaide I notice that there are a number of things that I have already written about, so I probably shouldn’t repeat myself (least this post go on for much longer than I intend), so I guess I will just mention a few things that I have mentioned previously so I can spend more time writing new content.

So, we went for a wander along North Terrace, and crossed King William Street, which is a major intersection, and also the only intersection in Adelaide where hook turns are permitted (that is turning right in the left lane – and only buses can do that since teaching all of South Australia’s drivers to do something as complex as that without causing no end of accidents would be an impossibility). Anyway, here we find the Boar War memorial (which is basically some guy on a horse) as well as the entrance to Government House. Another thing that I should mention is that the stretch of North Terrace that runs along the side of Government House is also a garden that I refer to as the Promenade.

Once we had wandered along the promenade (and while I do have some stories about what we did there when we were young, I have probably already talked about them) we then came to the War Memorial. However they were doing a lot of work on it, and from what it appeared was that they were turning Kintore Avenue into an Avenue of Honour. Anyway I’d already been there previously (and it isn’t a huge memorial anyway – it doesn’t even have an eternal flame) so instead I set my eyes on the other side of North Terrace.

This is where we have what is called the North Terrace frontage, namely a heap of colonial buildings that give North Terrace a lot of character. Mind you the frontage really only stretches from King William Street to East Terrace because all of the buildings to the west of King William street are simply a collection of modern monstrosities (okay, they’re not all that bad, but they don’t have the old colonial charm). When they went to build the Myer Centre they were planning on knocking down some of these buildings, but after public outrage they decided to keep the historical frontages. This wasn’t the case along the western stretch as most of the buildings looked like they were built in the 60s, so when they decided to knock down some of the buildings to build some hotels nobody battered an eyelid.

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The next section of North Terrace is sort of the cultural part of the strip, namely because we have the State Library of South Australia, the South Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the University of Adelaide. Once again I have written posts of these places previously (well, okay, not the University, but I guess I will leave that for next time, particularly since it is my Alma Mata).

Anyway, where are a couple of photos of the entrance to the State Library:

Next to the State Library we then have the Museum:

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Museum


Actually, the museum looks like an old 1920’s academic warehouse – I guess that adds to to ‘charm’ of the place. Anyway, like the other places, I have written a blog post on the place (though I don’t mention the old warehouse charm, which I have done here).

Next to the Museum you have the Art Gallery of South Australia, which once again I didn’t enter because I have done so previously (and the Louve is calling out to me later this year).

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Art Gallery

I won’t say that the university sits next to the Art Gallery because the University actually takes up the rest of the block, however here is a picture of one of the buildings that I had the pleasure of doing some subjects in (Classical Studies, and the building really did suit the topic, that is until the university administration kicked us out).

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Adelaide Uni

Across the road is the Scott’s church. The reason that it is called the Scott’s church is because it used to be the main Presbyterian Church, however it became a part of the Uniting Church when the Presbyterian split in the 1970s. These days there are only two Presbyterian churches that I know of in Adelaide (though there are a lot more in the Eastern States).

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Scots Church

Well, we then continued on down North Terrace, past the gothic looking Bonython Hall (named after some really rich dude in Adelaide that would go around hitting people with his cane – some people suggested that this was ecentric – I don’t), and then a massive building that looks like a French Château (which is the main administrative building for the University of South Australia), across Frome Road, past the Royal Adelaide Hospital to the entrance of the Botanic Gardens. Okay, once you hit Frome Road the cultural part of North Terrace basically comes to an end (though you could say that the Botanic Gardens is a cultural spot as well, it’s just that there happens to be a hospital, and a university, between them). Mind you, they are in the process of completing a new hospital on the other side of the city, so what is going to happen with this place is unknown to me (and probably a lot of other Adelaideians as well).

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Botanic Garden

Eastern Parklands

So, we now come to a spot where I haven’t written a blog post on – the Parklands. Okay, the parklands are much, much larger than what I am writing about here namely because they completely surround both Adelaide and North Adelaide. Anyway, there are a couple of parks here that I have visited a number times, one of them when I was a kid, the other when I was much older. The first park, the one at the corner of East Terrace and North Terrace, is Rundle Park. I never came here when I was younger because we always went to the one on the other side of Rundle Street. I would often wonder why because there was something about seeing a place that I never got to visit.

Well it turned that it was because there wasn’t anything all that much there, at least when I was younger. Mind you there wasn’t anything in Rundle Park when I passed through here over the Christmas Holidays, however come the Fringe you will suddenly see the entire park cordoned off and a huge number of tents appear here, and huge crowds will descend on the place to wander around and maybe go and see some of the shows. This is the Garden of Unearthly Delights, one of the most popular destinations at the Fringe. Mind you the last time I came here during the Fringe there were so many people here that we simply decided go and explore elsewhere.

As for Rymal Park, I have to say that I have not properly explored the place in a very long time. In fact it was probably back when I was a kid when I last came here and went on a paddle (in on of the row boats) on the lake. In fact it was that little lake in the middle of the park that has always given this park a special place (and the main reason why it is so much better than the park across Rundle Street). These days the only time I have been here has been when there has been something set up here for the Fringe (and this is usually an overflow from the Garden of Unearthly Delights, which seems to get more and more packed every year), or if I needed to take a short cut at night (and yes, I have wandered through the parklands at night).

During the day, at least on one of those really nice summer days, this place is packed with families out for a picnic, and for a paddle on the lake (though I don’t remember seeing anybody in the row boats when I wandered through here with my brother). There is also a little kiosk next to the lake where you can rent the paddle boats. Mind you the lake isn’t all that deep, so it doesn’t matter whether the boat capsizes (not that that has ever happened to me). The other thing that I loved about this park was the two bridges that connected the island in the middle of the lake (for some reason as a kid I loved running across bridges and onto islands, but then again I still have a thing about islands, just not ones located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Oh, there is also a statue of Alice in Wonderland hidden around here.

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Rhymal Park Alice Statue

Rundle Street

Well, before I got to Rundle Street I had to walk there, and to walk there you walk past the entrance to the old East End Markets. I think I vaguely remember when there may have been markets there, but that is not the case anymore. These days it is a collection of inner city apartments inhabited by people who love the inner city feel of Rundle Street (which could be considered Adelaide’s Lygon Street). I’ve always believed that apartments in this part of the city have been expensive, but then again I still seem to view things from the eyes of somebody living on a government handout as opposed to somebody on a full time wage. I’m sure I could have somehow got a place when I started working, however for the first couple of years I was more interested in spending money than saving it – oh well, we all make mistakes.

(pic - Story) The Rundles - East End Markets

So, after taking in the old building once again, I headed towards Rundle Street, but not before stopping by at the Stag for a drink. The Stag happens to be one of the pubs on my World’s End Pub Crawl list, though I was a bit shocked to hear that it had closed down earlier in the year. As it turned out, despite all of the bemoaning from the Stag’s regulars, this was only temporary, and the Stag looked very open when I walked inside and ordered a beer (though they have trendied it up a bit).

Anyway now for my little trek down Rundle Street. As I said Rundle Street is sort of Adelaide’s Lygon Street, though it has changed a bit since I was last here. I still remember when there was cafe after cafe along here, however a number of them have transformed into various other restaurants giving it much more variety (which has resulted in O’Connell Street in North Adelaide now taking the title of Adelaide’s Lygon Street). However wandering through here did remind me a lot of the trendy inner city parts of Melbourne, and in a way I would probably suggest that it is now Adelaide’s Sydney Road.

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Rundle Street

Rundle Street does have everything, including a cinema complex (which I have since discovered is actually two cinemas – The Palace and The Nova, though we have always referred to it as the Palace/Nova, despite them actually being two different companies – something that I have since discovered in Melbourne). Mind you the Palace/Nova isn’t your typical cinema complex, it is where you go to see all of the thinking movies (though there is another cinema which shows the really way out arthouse movies). Rundle Street is also home to some of Adelaide’s more famous pubs: The Austral and the Exeter, and the Crown and Anchor (otherwise known as the Cranker) is a short distance away. Anyway, these pubs also appear on my pub crawl list.

(pic - Story) The Rundles - Rundle Street Buildings

One pub that doesn’t appear on my pub list though is Sugar, and that is because it’s not a pub – it’s a night club. I remember coming here years ago with some friends and out of the blue one of them came up to me and gave me a keyring which would give me and a friend free entry into the club. Even years after I got that keyring it still works (though I haven’t been there since I went to Melbourne, however that keying is still on my, well, keyring), which is a good thing because Sugar is a heaps cool nightclub (and even appears in the Lonely Planet Guide to Australia).

There is another pub around here that didn’t make it on my list and that is The Elephant (there is also the Nola, but the reason for that is that it is really new, and is also a heaps cool craft beer/whiskey bar). That is probably because it isn’t one of my favourite pubs. Basically it is a traditional English pub, however while it may be fairly ho-hum, I still like the faux tudor building that it is located in.

(pic - Story) The Rundles - The Elephant

There is another place that I should mention, and that is Synagogue Place. The reason it has that name is because there used to be a Synagogue there, however it has long since closed down and converted into a night club (Adelaide seems to have this habit of converting places of worship into nightclubs). I’ve only ever been to that nightclub once, and I have to admit that we didn’t hang around all that long – despite us being let in my friend’s fiancée wasn’t (and it was their engagement party). It sort of put a dampner on the night, but then again there were much better nightclubs in Adelaide.

Rundle Mall

Well, I’ve finally arrived at the last part of my destination – Adelaide’s premier shopping district, and I have to say that it has certainly ramped up the class since I was last here. I remember when Rundle Mall was just your ordinary shopping district, however it is now a place that has been taken over by quite a few really classy shops (though most of them are all brand name shops, though there are a few independent retailers). As well as the mall, there are also some arcades stemming out from it, the one of most interesting being Adelaide Arcade, namely because it is one of those really old arcades that still holds a lot of history, and style (there seems to be one of these arcades in every Australian city that I’ve visited).

Okay, Rundle Mall still has the Balls (you seriously cannot have Rundle Mall without the Balls, not only do all the sexual innuendos become meaningless, but all the Emos won’t have any place to meet now that Borders books has gone), and the fountain (which seems to keep on moving about the place – it is now outside Adelaide Arcade), but they now have outdoor diners and a carousel (though I’m not sure if that is permanent or just something for the holiday season). Oh, you also have buskers – but then again Rundle Mall wouldn’t be Rundle Mall without the buskers.

I was going to mention the Myer Centre, but I have to say that there actually isn’t all that much to mention because it is, well, a big building that has a food court in the basement, a teeny bopper pub/nightclub, and a Myer department store inside. It did have an amusement park on the top two levels once, but that is now long, long gone (and I never got to go on the roller coaster either).

However, I will finish off with a couple of photos of Beehive Corner, which is an old building at the corner of Rundle Mall and King William Street, and if you look at the top you can see a bee sitting there.

Creative Commons License


Wandering the Rundles by David Alfred Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.

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