Outside the Adelaide Botanic Garden and the Adelaide Himeji (Japanese) Garden I have never been overly impressed with Adelaide city’s parks and gardens. The city’s hot dry summers are not conducive to luscious green lawns. The park most often proffered as the place to relax is Elder Park by the Torrens River behind the Festival Centre.
I actually find Elder Park, while very convenient in the city centre, rather average and not at all restful. For a more relaxing break from sightseeing, etc I recommend Rymill Park (sometimes referred to by its other rather non-endearing name – Park 14) at the eastern end of Grenfell Street. This 14.5 hectares (36 acres) park, named after Sir Arthur Rymill, Lord Mayor of Adelaide from 1950 to 1954 and council member for 23 years, is a much quieter option with a beautiful lake (see comment later) in the centre surrounded by sprawling green lawns, flowering gardens (including a rose garden) and mature trees providing lots of shade on those hot Adelaide summer days.
In addition to a good playground for children there is lots of place here for them to run around and have fun. Just watch they don’t run into the lake – sufficient that they take some bread and feed the ducks, preferably while standing on the side of the lake!
There are toilets and free electric barbecues within the park and a small kiosk and rowing boat hire operation though the later two are only open at weekends so its take your own food on weekdays.
One word of caution, the lake (which is artificial and replaces a former rubbish dump – something which I probably should not have told you – so don’t let it put you of visiting) has good times and bad times – and ranges from beautiful to not so beautiful. Sadly on my most recent visit, mid summer, it was awash with algae (pictured above). It is at its best outside summer.
Nice for a rest or a stroll.
Situated in Rymill Park is a delightful statue of Alice in Wonderland – itself worthy a visit whether you linger in the park or not.
This is one of prolific sculptor John Dowie’s many works in Adelaide and my favourite. Others of his work include a number of bronze busts on North Terrace, the ‘Girl on a Slide’ in Rundle Mall and the ‘Three Rivers Fountain’ in Victoria Square.
This is a very spritely looking Alice, the heroine of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found there’.
Around the base of the sculpture of Alice are various characters for both of Carroll’s books including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Duchess, the Gryphon, White Rabbit, the grinning Cheshire Cat, the Dodo and many more.
The bronze sculpture, cast in Italy, is very simply inscribed “For the children from ~ Josephine and Norman Lewis 1962”. The Lewis’ inspired by Sir George Frampton’s Peter Pan in Kensington Park, London contributed £1000 towards a sculpture for children here in Adelaide. While they had a preference for a Peter Pan sculpture, John Dowie (the sculptor), succeeded in convincing them to accept and (more importantly, I suspect) pay for Alice.