Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi (Park 16)

The largest single park of the Adelaide Park Lands, Victoria Park (also known as Pakapakanthi or simply Park 16) has historically had a strong connection with horse and motor racing among other sporting and recreational activities.

The Park is so large that it may take more than two hours to cover it all, or if you prefer it can be easily broken up into smaller sections. We commence on the corner of East Terrace and South Terrace and will come back here after walking a loop of about two and a half kilometres.

Pakapakanthi In Context

Victoria Park/Pakapakanthi is bounded by Wakefield Road, Fullarton Road, Greenhill Road, East Terrace and Beaumont Road. Its two neighbouring parks are King Rodney Park/Ityamai-Itpina (Park 15) to the north; and Carriageway Park/Tuthangga (Park 17)…

Naming & Kaurna associations

Prior to European settlement, Victoria Park would have resembled a large flat of blue gums and grey box gums. Oral history of surviving Kaurna elders indicates that this area was used for corroborees, burials and camping. In 1980, members of the…

The green corridor

While this route has long been used by residents, it was enhanced in 2013 with the creation of native garden beds, which also provide a demarcation line between the southern sporting fields and the northern race track area. Looking eastwards offers…

Petanque piste

The well-shaded gravel areas known as a “piste” offer space to play the popular French game of petanque – similar to bocce or boules.

Sweat course

The sweat course includes opportunities for running, step-ups, bar dips (for triceps) a sit-up station, pull-ups (i.e. chin-ups) for biceps, log-lifts, and hurdles There are also other, more recently installed exercise stations which create a…

Botanic Creek

This waterway doesn't flow all year, but after rain it channels water through the eastern Park Lands and eventually drains into the Botanic Gardens lake about a kilometre north. Before European settlement, this would have been a major camping…

Equestrian jumps

First held in the Park Lands in 1997, it is one of only five four-star events in the world. Off to our left towards Wakefield Road you can see some semi-permanent jumps that form part of the cross country course, which also takes in the neighbouring…

Olive grove

By the 1850s, due to the effects of grazing and clearing for firewood, most of the Park Lands had become bare dust-bowls in summer and quagmires in winter. Concern over the aesthetic degradation led to an increased public demand for something to be…

Car racing in Victoria Park

Despite the indisputable popularity of motor sport at Victoria Park, many people question the disruption and alienation caused by these events, and the legitimacy of their use of the Park Lands. The idea to attract a round of the international…

A history of racing

The white concrete planter bowl you can see here was previously the centrepiece of a rectangular garden, which was itself at the centre of the former stables area. If you look around you at the arrangement of ash, cedar, elm, plane, and Norfolk pine…

The Grandstand, a heritage listed place

It is constructed of bluestone with red-brick dressings, timber-framed openings (including some stained-glass windows), corrugated-galvanised-iron roof, and timber and cast-iron detailing in typical Victorian era style. This building was State…

Gates, RAC building & turnstiles

From right to left (looking from inside the park), they are the Grandstand Entrance Gates, the Turnstile Building, and the former offices of the Adelaide Racing Club. In 2017, the buildings were re-purposed for use as a café. The middle turnstile…

Britannia Roundabouts

This place is known locally as the Britannia roundabouts – the name coming from the hotel that overlooks the busy intersection. There are few roundabouts within the City of Adelaide. Most major intersections have traffic lights instead. But here,…

Victoria Park Racecourse: Dragon’s Blood Tree

This unusual tree can be found within the North-East corner of the former Victoria Park Racecourse fence near the Britannia Roundabout, approx 20 metres south-west of the outer Racecourse fence. Although not the oldest in South Australia, this is one…

Former beer and refreshment stand

During the days of horse racing, it provided beer and other refreshments to race goers. In 2017 it was converted to a kiosk. We now walk south alongside Fullarton road, for more than half a kilometre, past the motor racing circuit and the bicycle…

Central area including Sports fields

Dog off-leash area The central area of Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi is also a popular off-leash dog walking area. But canine association with Victoria Park has not always been so genteel. Back in the 1800's “coursing” matches were held here. …

Fenced vegetation

The area was fenced in 2012 (at first temporarily) in order to prevent trampling during the annual car racing event. The City Council has a formal management plan in place with the State Government Environment department to protect these species. …

River red gums and white poplars

Slightly to the west, just on the southern side of the dirt trail, is a large clump of white poplar trees. The trees were planted in 1953 on the northern side of the creek to reduce flooding because at the time, the area was poorly regarded as a…

South Park Lands creek, future wetlands

The creek is not a natural watercourse but an artificial drainage channel that was built in 1917 to channel water away from the Greenhill Road - Fullarton Road intersection, and through the South Park Lands. Over a century, the condition of the…

Urban woodland

Way back in 1889 the urban woodland in what was then Park 16A was the site of the inaugural Arbor Day in Australia. This predecessor to the Landcare movement took place as a mass communal act of tree planting. About 5,000 schoolchildren were…