WORDS: CARLA CARUSO
If you’ve ever been to a cricket or footy game at Adelaide Oval, you would’ve undoubtedly experienced the stadium elbow-to-elbow with thousands of others.
But doing a stadium tour, as I discovered – when the place has emptied of punters – is the best way to fully appreciate the jaw-dropping magnificence that is Adelaide Oval.
Even better, you get to visit a number of areas that are usually inaccessible to the average person.
Adelaide Oval Guided Walking Tours
The 90-minute guided walking tours are led by expert volunteers, who’ll happily answer all your questions like: “How do they mow the stripes on the oval?” I recently joined a tour with my two footy-mad sons and husband. (Family packages are available.)
Being a working stadium, no two tours are ever the same as access and weather conditions can vary. However, some highlights during our tour included:
- Checking out the exclusive Triple M Bunker, where punters usually pay a premium to have viewing access into the footy players’ rooms during games via one-way glass
- Running onto the oval to a spinetingling soundscape, emulating the roar of a 50,000-strong crowd
- Peeking inside the players’ change-rooms – including seeing the cricketers’ ice bath – and inside the glassy media centre
- Experiencing what it’s like to sit on the footy interchange benches
- Getting up-close and personal with the Sheffield Shield, which comprises real gold and silver, in a special room, and
- Enjoying the bird’s-eye view from the top of the Riverbank Stand, where we could even see those braving the RoofClimb traversing the stadium’s sails.
During the tour, we also learned all about the oval’s heritage, which dates back to 1871. Including that the Moreton Bay fig trees at the northern end were planted in 1882 to block the view of those spectating for free from Montefiore Hill. And that the grassy northern mound, dubbed ‘The Hill’, was created in 1898 from earth dug out and carried from the banks of the River Torrens.
We also got to see how the creeper covered-brick archways from the original members’ stand have been blended seamlessly with the recent radical renovations.
The Heritage Listed Scoreboard
But the crème de la crème was getting to climb the stairs to the 1911 heritage-listed scoreboard. The manually operated display, which sits alongside a massive digital one, operates over four storeys and represents significant innovation in the match information it provides. It’s wonderful that the iconic scoreboard is still used, in the same way, to this very day. You’re truly stepping inside living history.
As a not-to-be-missed school holiday adventure, or birthday ‘experience’ gift for your sporty kiddo, our family highly recommend seizing the chance to go ‘behind the scenes’ at Adelaide Oval. It’s something every South Aussie should experience at least once in their lifetime.
ADELAIDE OVAL STADIUM TOUR
Venue: Adelaide Oval, War Memorial Drive, North Adelaide SA