By Sasha Oelsner
Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Getting from A to B doesn’t have to be an ugly, boring commute. Instead, it can be a panoramic experience.
With rolling hills, beautiful scrubland and vast oceans, there’s plenty of beautiful scenery – and Australian wildlife – to spot from the window of a South Australian passenger train.
1. Seaford line
There’s plenty to see as you travel along the southern coastline on the Seaford line. A typical journey from the city takes 50 minutes visiting all stops.
After stopping at Brighton, the train travels along the coast up through Marino and Hallett Cove, before passing through Noarlunga and to the seaside suburb of Seaford. This will give you plenty of time to watch the ocean from your window.
Once you’re down south, from your window vantage point you can relax watching the peaceful kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders glide out to sea. Perhaps one day, you’ll join them. If you want to see the local wildlife, do a spot of birdwatching and see the swans and many other sea birds that call the Onkaparinga River home.
2. Cockle Train: Goolwa to Victor Harbor
Journey on Australia’s oldest steel railed railway between Goolwa and Victor Harbor.
While not a commuter train per se, the Cockle Train does commute between Goolwa and Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula, with the option to explore towns along the way.
The track winds through scrubland and climbs to the top of the coastal cliffs, with nothing separating you from the beach below and a perfect view of the Southern Ocean. If you’re lucky, you may even spot whales from your vantage point. In the cooler months, you’ll get the bonus of travelling by steam train.
3. Belair line
The Adelaide to Belair train route passes not one, but two nature-scapes.
This line skirts the beautiful Wittunga Botanic Garden. From your vantage point high up on the tracks, you might see a huge variety of native birds and animal life attracted to the native flora. Watch birds and butterflies flitting between the colourful banksias and grevilleas and families picnicking by the billabong. The line continues through the natural bushland of the Belair National Park. Overcome by the beauty? Hop out and explore the national park for a while.
4. Grange line
It wouldn’t be unusual to see a golf ball flying past the train on this line.
With perfectly manicured lawns and sandy bunkers, the view from the Grange train is unlike any other. Starting at the beautiful Adelaide Railway Station, sit back on the 22-minute journey as you take the unique route through the centre of the prestigious Royal Adelaide Golf Club on your way to the seaside suburb of Grange.
5. Adelaide Railway Station
While the Adelaide Railway Station is not a route, it’s the start or end of many rail journeys.
First opened in 1856, the heritage-listed building located on North Terrace has recently been transformed. You’ll feel just like you’ve stepped into a beautiful 19th century European train station. Gaze up at the vaulted ceilings, peruse the public artwork or grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries or pubs nearby. The railway station services all Adelaide’s metropolitan train lines, and is one of the finest remaining examples of neoclassical architecture in Australia.
6. Gawler line
Affectionally known as the Gateway to the Barossa, the town of Gawler has been gently enveloped by Adelaide’s outer suburbs. This means the Barossa is right on your doorstep.
On weekends, check out the art gallery housed inside the Gawler Railway Station (not to be confused with the Gawler Central station) displaying local artists. For train buffs, take a peek at the restored steam engine housed outside – a homage to Adelaide’s steam past. Now you’ve arrived near the Barossa, it’s time to start that wine tasting. Visit the Gawler Visitor Information Centre for more information or pre-organise to be picked up from the train station for a private tour.
7. Adelaide City – Glenelg tram
Still technically a rail journey, the Adelaide to Glenelg tram is the last of an originally bustling South Australian tram network.
Once leaving the city, the tram, as there is only one main route, has unrestricted leeway through leafy suburbia, with aerial views from the South Road overpass. It finally pulls in at beautiful Moseley Square, where you can enjoy seaside views and cafes galore. Don’t forget to take the classic Glenelg photo: tram in the foreground, Pioneer Memorial and Glenelg jetty behind, backdropped by a stereotypically stunning Glenelg sunset.