How well do you know your backyard? I had a day of searching for secret tunnels in the Adelaide Hills recently. At least that’s what it felt like to me, although they aren’t that secret really when you find out that the disused train tunnel is one of the top 5 most instagrammed sites in the hills.
That is what actually got me started looking for it. I had seen other people’s photos of this site up on Instagram every now and again and knew it was not far from where I live so my curiosity got the better of me and I had to find it. Not so easy to find as it turned out, but you can understand why when you get there.
It can sometimes be a fine line between sharing information and giving away a good secret location so I quite understand people being cagey about where to find some good photo opportunities. So after days and days of searching, driving, scanning google satellite maps and putting some clues together the location finally fell into place for me. Feeling quite confident now, I went searching on a week day so I could hopefully have the location to myself. I parked as close as I could then off, on foot to reach the tunnel.
A bonus on the way was to find another tunnel for foot traffic that has had its whole 75 metre length, painted by visual and street artist Wendy Dixon-Whiley. This incredible street art project took over 6 months to complete and is a brilliant use of what would otherwise be neglected space. After stopping to appreciate the work in this tunnel I continued on.
In my search I also came across a walking / bike path which meandered through the surroundings, past water, birds and tall trees. It was a very peaceful stroll with the sunlight beaming down through the autumn leaves, but just as I thought I was getting closer to my destination the path took a turn away from where I wanted to go.
I could see where the rail line was that I needed to get to but a high fence wasn’t going to let me get near it from the walking path below. As far as I could tell I had two options to get to the tunnel an easy (long way) or a shorter (hard way). The shorter way looked the better option to me so channelling my inner mountain goat, I managed to get myself, my camera and tripod up to the track. Only one other person was already there and that person was leaving – down the same way I had clambered up! So with a nod and a ‘Hi, nice day for it’, we crossed paths and I had the site to myself.
Wow, it was even more impressive than photos had shown. This 96 metre Armco tunnel is not used anymore but above it is the South Eastern Freeway so you can hear the constant traffic passing overhead. It’s both peaceful and eerie to be here in the dark tunnel but the huge views at either end of the tunnel are amazing when looked at from this perspective.
So after a while of enjoying the peace and serenity it was time to leave feeling very satisfied with myself for having found this wonderful spot. I may just have to return during another season to see how the views through the tunnel change.
So where exactly is the tunnel? Well the discovering is half the fun but if you really want to find it I’ll give you some tips. It’s in Mount Barker South Australia, parallel to the painted tunnel that leads to the town of Littlehampton and the walking path will lead you in the right direction. Good Luck! And a bonus…the Mount Barker caravan park is near enough to walk to as well, a good base to discover more in this and other hills towns.
I hope you have a week full of new discoveries and inspirations.