The Adelaide Oval roof climb will appeal to anyone who likes interesting walks, a great view or has even a passing interest in sport.
We’ve been going to the Adelaide Oval for over 30 years for sport, concerts and even wedding receptions. While its appearance has changed in recent years, the Adelaide Oval remains one of Australia’s, if not the worlds, most attractive arenas.
The oval’s most recent redevelopment was completed in 2014. The roof walks began in 2016 along a 1.5 kilometre purpose-built loop that takes you over and under the shells of the Western and Riverbank stands.
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Types of Climbs
There are four types of roof climb available. We went on the Twilight climb. There are also Day, Night and ‘Game On’ climbs available. Each of the climbs has their own wow factor.
The Day Climb provides unique views across Adelaide and the Mt Lofty Ranges. The Night Climb has a different vibe. There’s music playing and you celebrate the end of the roof climb with a drink in the Roof Climb Lounge.
The Game On roof climb takes place during an AFL game. You get to watch a quarter of the game perched 50 metres above the goal square on the roof of the Riverbank Stand. This climb does not include admission to the game, so you’ll need a ticket to get into the ground. The Game On roof climb includes a full photo package.
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Getting ready to climb
Getting ready for the roof climb is an experience in itself. There is the standard waiver signing. You then do a breath test, remove all loose items such as watches, rings and phones and put them in a secure locker.
Next, you’re issued some blue and orange coveralls that you change into. Once changed, you’re swept with a metal detector to make sure you don’t still have any loose metal objects on you.
The whole process happens smoothly and in good spirit. The guides are reassuring, organised and full of enthusiasm.
If you have been on the Otway Fly you’ll be familiar with getting into a harness. If you are new to this sort of activity, the bundle of straps and clips you need to get on can look a bit confronting, but don’t worry.
With the help of the guide you get stepped through the process without ending up in an enormous tangle. We had a full group of 14 yet everyone got kitted up in good time.
Next is an earpiece. It can be breezy on the roof and this lets you hear the instructions and information from your guide. The last piece of equipment is the most important – the trolley. The trolley attaches you to the rail that loops around the entire walk.
To the roof!
You’ve had a safety briefing, been breath tested, got into a jumpsuit, a helmet and a harness. You’re feeling super pumped. So how does your Adelaide Oval Roof Climb begin? With a ride in an elevator.
The brief stillness in the lift was a contrast to the nervous excitement in the room as we all got ready. It provided a nice moment to turn our minds towards the roof. The lift doors opened, there is a short walk to a door and beyond that a ladder.
At the top of the ladder, the trolley we’re carrying gets attached to the rail. It remains attached for the duration of the climb. If you doing the climb with someone make sure you are next to them when the trolley goes on. There is no changing order halfway around!
The Western Stand
The first part of the roof climb is a walk up and down the shells of the Western Stand. On the twilight roof climb, your gaze turns to the western horizon in the hope of seeing a colourful sunset. We were in luck. The sky lit up in a palette of pink and orange. Naturally, you want to take a picture, but you can’t. There are no cameras allowed.
Your guide however does have a camera and takes plenty of pictures. They also take individual and small group shots along the walk. The photos are available to buy at the end of the climb.
On the outward walk you hear about the history of Adelaide and the city’s designer Colonel William Light. As we listened, the dusk sky turned pinker by the minute.
You walk across the three shells covering the Western stand then do a U-turn. On the walk back, focus shifts to the Adelaide Oval. You get a birds eye view of the heritage listed Adelaide Oval scoreboard and the 120 year old Morton Bay figs. You hear that one of the conditions of the latest redevelopment was that the design allowed SACA members to still see St Peter’s Cathedral.
The Riverbank Stand
The first part of the roof climb centres on Adelaide’s and the oval’s history and the views. The second half of the climb lets you appreciate the size and design of the grandstands. There is no better place to do this than the imposing Riverbank Stand.
We are no strangers to the Riverbank Stand having sat in there for many football and cricket games. Even from your seat, this stand can be challenging for people with vertigo. But, as you walk among the steel rafters and stand eye to eye with the giant ceiling fans, you appreciate it in a new way.
The highlight of the Riverbank section of the climb is the chance to lean backwards off the front of the stand 50 metres above the goal square. We have watched people do it during football games and wondered what it would be like. Now we could find out!
Whether you choose to do the hands-free lean backwards off the Riverbank platform is up to you. There is no pressure to do it. You do get to do a little practise lean before you reach the platform.
It’s an exhilarating experience. The guide will get a picture of you doing it which is good as, besides not having a camera, the best view is behind you. You can get a picture of yourself or your group, hands in the air, hanging off the platform.
As you wait for your turn to lean over the edge, or if you decide not, you get to sit and take in the view of the oval. For our walk, the air was still and warm. Seeing Adelaide Oval empty, partially lit and so quiet was a peaceful experience.
Hearing fifty thousand screaming footy fans on a Game Day Climb would be amazing but the tranquillity of the oval by night was hard to beat. Soon afterwards we made our way down. The whole experience went for 2 hours.
Is this for you?
The roof climb is super well organised. For instance, the photos taken during the climb are waiting for you at the office when you’re finished. All walks include a group shot and you can buy all the pictures of you and your group and take them away on a USB. We purchased the photo pack and had the USB in our hand in just a few minutes.
Not sure if the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb is for you? Don’t let the name put you off. There is far more walking than climbing. There are a few ladders and stairs to negotiate but most of the time you are walking along an undulating path.
The main factor to consider is how you feel about heights. If they make you feel uncomfortable this might not be for you. There are several parts of the walk where you will be looking down from heights of 20 to 50 metres.
Not put off? Then go for it! The Adelaide Oval Roof Climb is one of the best capital city experiences in Australia.
BookTour : Check pricing and availability here
Climbers can range in age from 8 to 75 years. If you are older than 75 you will need a medical clearance form. Climbers must also be at least 120 cm tall and must weigh no more than 136 kg.