Review: Take it to the top on the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb
Adelaide Oval is one of the South Australian capital’s most famous landmarks. And while most visitors only see it from ground level, those with a head for heights can get an entirely different perspective!
Reach for the stars on a twilight climb to the top of mighty Adelaide Oval with RoofClimb. Wearing a safety suit and harness, you’ll enjoy fabulous views of both the heritage stadium and city from the Oval’s roofline — and push your boundaries high above the turf! Climbs are also available during the day, and even during matches. Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
I’m fifty metres from the goal line where Charlie Dixon regularly terrorises opponents and Eddie Betts has kicked some miracle goals over the years.
It’s a tough 90-degree angle. And though it’s been a while since I kicked a footy, I reckon I could make the distance. Admittedly I’d get a little help from gravity, because I’m strapped to a railing directly above the goalposts at Adelaide Oval!
This is the highlight of RoofClimb Adelaide Oval — an experience that affords a unique view from a walkway spanning the roof of what is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s most picturesque and historic sporting grounds.
The whole experience takes just on two hours, including the initial safety briefing. We climb to the top of the Western Stand, before crossing a short bridge to the top of the Riverbank Stand. Sadly I can’t take any pictures — I had to empty my pockets before the tour began. But our guide Clare is more than happy to take a few snaps. She asks the two brothers ahead of me if they want to lean out over the bright green turf like abseilers. One does so without hesitating, but the other starts groaning audibly the minute his hands leave the railing. He flaps his arms up just long enough to get the evidence then returns to a white-knuckle grip. I try not to act too smug, because I know it’s my turn next!
‘Lock your feet in behind the lower rail’, Clare tells me, ‘then slowly lean back’. I know I’m safely tethered to the top of the Riverbank Stand, but my brain protests as soon as my hands leave the railing. Still, I lean out for long enough to get a photo, then twist around to see the immaculately groomed turf far below me. Apparently this is the only place in the world where you can hang out directly above the field of play, and I can only imagine what it must feel like to do this during a game. However, even without the crowds, our twilight tour of the empty stadium is surprisingly atmospheric.
And we’re not just getting a bird’s eye view of the oval. From this vantage point I can see all of Adelaide, from a shining sliver of ocean, to the gentle curve of the Mount Lofty Ranges. In between, the gothic spires of St Peter’s Cathedral are dwarfed by the more modern additions to Adelaide’s skyline. And I enjoy the rare opportunity to look down at the elite suburb of North Adelaide.
Many of the residents there would be regulars in the ivy-covered members’ area of the Western Stand, but I’m in no doubt right now as to where the best seats in the house lie. As the rest of the tour group takes a turn at leaning out over the goalposts, I have time to admire the Edwardian-era hand-operated scoreboard and the famous Northern Mound — where the rowdier crowds tend to gather on game days. In front of them, sponsors’ logos stand out against a perfectly manicured chequerboard of light and dark green turf that seems to glow as the oval’s lights come on.
It’s a reminder that you don’t need to kick a goal to feel like a winner at Adelaide Oval.
Cover image: South Australian Tourism Commission. Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
After spending years as a music journalist and beer taster, Alexis Buxton-Collins sold everything he owned and spent three years travelling the world. He now writes about his experiences on the road, both abroad and at home in Adelaide. Alexis has written for Australian Traveller, Qantas, Virgin, Lonely Planet, Wild, and many other publications. He’s currently undertaking a comprehensive search for McLaren Vale’s best value bottle of wine.