Revelations of an Adelaide Oval Roof Climb

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In the past few years we’ve grown accustom to vast and sweeping views of our city surrounds as part of the evolving food and beverage landscape of the square mile. Charcuterie and wine are a pretty flawless accompaniment to a view, so you might question what exactly a destination like the Adelaide Oval can offer by opening the lid, so to speak, upon the vast sloping rooftops of its architecturally acclaimed grandstands?

So Glam sent a guy who is utterly petrified of heights to find out.

Any trepidation was quickly alleviated by the extensive safety briefing. Before you ‘Take On The Icon’, you’ll be suited up in full body tracksuits sourced directly from the golden era of mid-90s hip hop, before sliding into safety equipment that ensures all of your loose ends are tucked in.

Much like the location, this is an experience steeped in sporting folklore which begins as you walk around the grounds to begin your ascent. A noteworthy aspect of this tour is that it was never an intended offering when the new Adelaide Oval was conceived. The rails, safety train and walkways have been installed around the existing infrastructure of the Western and Southern stands, which can seem mindboggling at times when you start to look for where the original access points to build these walkways might have been.

A swirling cool evening breeze and clear view of the Adelaide Plains greeted our tour group upon the first peak. While sporting buffs will enjoy the guide’s conversation on the Oval’s cricket and AFL history, those less engaged will start to soak up the atmosphere of the city. Between the views of the twinkling city lights leading up to Mt Lofty and the pink sunset sprawled over the horizon, it was hard to know where to look!

Personal radios for each tour member ensure that you’re not struggling to hear the climb leader as your move along the stands, and you also have the option of turning the volume off if you wish to simply be with your own thoughts. Which is somewhere this reviewer certainly didn’t want to be as we entered the floating walkways of the Riverbank Stand.

An impressive 52 metres above the Oval, the see-through grated pathway was wonderful to look through provided my grip upon the railing was solid. A spectacular fenceless vantage platform above the southern goal square was our destination and is a true revelation. Talk of offering tours during sporting matches where you can sit for a period of the match and take it all in would unquestionably become a ‘100 things to do before you die’ contender.

For masochistic purposes, the tour leader demonstrates how you can ‘lean out’ from the platform for a photo opportunity. It was now or never…with my heart pounding in my chest I stepped up to the lean out point. Taking in a deep breath I put my faith in the harness and slowly started to lean out over the Oval. With the adrenaline pumping, I couldn’t bring myself to look down but I managed to strike a pose for the camera with a grin from ear to ear after conquering my fears. Moving to make way for thrill seekers behind me (who showed no hesitation leaning out over the hallowed turf), my legs were slightly shaky – luckily there are seats thoughtfully positioned on the viewing platform to have a quick break. Sitting and watching the sunset from this vantage point was utterly spectacular. To imagine the Oval at capacity from this seating is also quite awe-inspiring.

A loop around the back of Riverbank stand facing the Torrens helps to truly ground the positioning of the Oval in the city. To look out from literally just below the structural beams back across the river provides a great sense of what Colonel Light must have envisioned. We know that’s corny, but being corny is wholly appropriate when you are overwhelmed by sentimentality.

Clocking in at just over a kilometre of walking and an hour and a half outside, this is not a novelty as some might imagine. More appropriately, Glam walked away feeling unexpectedly parochial about the experience. South Australians and visitors alike would do well to suit up at least once to absorb our surrounds from this unique perspective. Sporting buffs will certainly appreciate the history conveyed by the tour, but to say that is the only gain offered by the Roof Climb is unfitting of this truly wonderful experience.

Book your own Roof Climb experience today. Or grab a gift card and give the gift of adventure this Christmas!

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Glam Adelaide’s Editor, a music nerd and silver-tongued cultural hound.

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