Exploring the Tennyson Dunes Discovery Trail | Review

Tennyson Dunes Discovery Trail at Tennyson – Review

You’ll feel further away than the western suburbs when meandering through these ancient dunes … taking you direct to the beach!

by Carla Caruso

I’ve been wanting to check out Tennyson Beach for a while. So, when I was at a loose end one weekend, I found time to tick it off my bucket-list with the family.

Tennyson is one of Adelaide’s most expensive suburbs; tennis star Lleyton Hewitt’s former mansion in West Lakes is nearby.

But on our agenda was a coastal hike, where we could breathe in lung-fulls of salty air and revel in the wonders of nature. So, off we went to check out the Tennyson Dunes Discovery Trail. It weaves through the Wara Wayingga-Tennyson Dunes Conservation Reserve – a significant area for the Kaurna people.

The 1.5km walk gives sand-dwellers access to ancient dunes, which are the last of their kind along Adelaide’s coast. The dunes are vital in protecting the inland from storm-caused sea intrusions, and naturally erode and replenish over the seasons. (Elsewhere, we mimic this by physically replenishing our beaches to maintain the coastal lifestyle.)

The reserve’s situated 12km north-west of the CBD, near the historic Estcourt House. (The 1883 mansion was built for the Bucknall family, with a generous 17 rooms to accommodate 11 kids and eight servants. It’s even listed on paranormal sites.)

The trail bypasses this mansion, along with other flashy beach pads, making it Adelaide’s answer to Mornington Peninsula’s Millionaires’ Walk.

Before hitting the sand, revel in the abundant flora and fauna along the trail. Or, for more info while you stroll, download the Tennyson Dunes Discovery Trail audio app.

A volunteer conservation mob, the Tennyson Dunes Group, help to maintain the sanctuary.

There couldn’t be a better way to wind your way down to the beach!

What we like about Tennyson:

  • The dunes are said to be the last true remnant of our metropolitan coastal plains, comprising 22ha of natural grass and shrub land. So, it offers something different from your average Adelaide beach.
  • The 1.5km walking trail gives you more to do than just hitting the water, making for a fab outing.
  • The beach is also popular for kayaking and fishing.

Things to consider:

  • Wear beach-appropriate clothes and shoes, or bring spare clothing. The kids may get a little mucky and damp afterwards at the beach…
  • Dogs are welcome at the reserve, but only on leads. 

Coffee and food options nearby

Nearby West Lakes has a plethora of eateries including Café Lago and Salted, or find other options at Westfield West Lakes.


Review by Carla Caruso

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For more information, please visit the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA’s website.

WhatTennyson Dunes Discovery Trail

When:  All day, every day

Where:  Tennyson Dunes | Military Road, Tennyson

Who:  Everyone

All photos by Carla Caruso & James Elsby for Play & Go Adelaide 

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.


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