River Torrens, South Australia

Spanning the Adelaide Plains, the River Torrens is the most significant and important stretch of inland water around Adelaide City.

River Torrens

It was the very reason Adelaide came to be where it is, and today offers wildlife a natural habitat to live in and visitors and locals in Adelaide a picturesque backdrop for their city adventures.

The river itself is 85km long, starting in the Adelaide Hills near the impressive Mount Pleasant. From there, it weaves its way across the sprawling Adelaide Plains, through the city centre, and into the Gulf St Vincent between Henley Beach South and West Beach.

The Wildlife of the River Torrens

Wildlife plays an important part of life along the River Torrens. Originally, the waters boasted creatures like yabbies, mussels, and small native fish, but over time the changing of the river’s habitat has meant a change in the animals that live there.

Today, you’re more likely to find European fish species, like carp, redfin, perch, and trout, that native fish like big-headed gudgeon. On the banks of the river, you might spot waterfowl, Pacific black ducks, wood ducks, black swans, ibis, egrets and herons amongst many others, while water rats, swamp rats, and house mice are popular mammals along the river.

What to See Around the River Torrens

To the suburban end of the river, where it meets Adelaide City, there is the earliest river park in the whole of Australia. Here, you’ll find a 35km stretch of land that houses a number of playgrounds, walkways, and bicycle tracks for locals and visitors to enjoy.

To the south of the lake, you’ll find an area that is regularly used for annual festivals, like Tasting Australia, and other important city events, while small boats provide visitors with the chance to see the city skyline from a different perspective.

In recent years, the river has undergone a change to return it back to its former natural glory. Though it still forms an important part of Adelaide city life, there is an effort being made to restore the water quality and to keep the native wildlife that have called it home for decades there.

The river itself provides a kind of backbone to the city, where popular events crowd its banks and local attractions sit along its length. If you’re looking to explore the heart of Adelaide, the banks of the River Torrens is the perfect place to start.

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