Only in OZ #13 – The Whispering Wall, Adelaide, South Australia

Last Updated on June 15, 2017 by Red Nomad OZ

Whispering Wall, Adelaide, South Australia
Whispering Wall, Adelaide, South Australia

Compared with other states, South Australia works hard to preserve the sanctity of its reservoirs.

Their waters are generally unsullied by boating, skiing, fishing or swimming activities – and poorly maintained facilities tend to discourage visitors from lingering.

But the Barossa Valley Reservoir’s Dam Wall is an exception.

A short drive past Williamstown, north of Adelaide, the outlook from the recently renovated picnic area at the Reservoir, colloquially known as the Whispering Wall, offers superb views over the water.

If you can overlook the absence of chairs or benches accompanying the picnic tables, that is.

A nearby shelter shed has both – although the logic behind the picnic table’s ultra-low benches is too esoteric for me, as I have no wish to sit with my chin on the table.

But you don’t need picnic facilities to enjoy the Whispering Wall’s delights – the real entertainment is provided by the dam wall itself.

Whispering Wall Picnic Area, Barossa Valley Reservoir, AdelaideAn amazing acoustic phenomenon, the innovative design of the curve of the wall allows a whisper at one end of the wall to clearly be heard at the other, a concept visitors frequently put to the test.

It’s also an inadvertent test of the relative profundity – or banality – of general conversation. And that’s where the REAL entertainment lies …

Whispering Wall from the other side, Barossa Valley Reservoir
Whispering Wall from the other side, Barossa Valley Reservoir

OK. Here’s how it works.  You’re at the Whispering Wall. You’ve been nominated by your group to trek the 144 metres across the top of the dam wall to the other side to ‘say something’.

SO … what do you say?

First-time visitors often show their doubt of the validity of the wall’s claim to fame with questions like ‘Can you hear me?’ Or – more inanely – ‘Are you there?’ The unimaginative say ‘Hello’ or ‘G’day’. And true disbelievers immediately self-identify by shouting their remarks.

Track on the Whispering Wall Dam Wall, Adelaide
Track on the Whispering Wall Dam Wall, Adelaide

And then there are those who prefer to test the wall’s powers with linguistic tricks like kissing noises, burping – or worse!

The Vertigo Shot ... Whispering Wall, Adelaide
The Vertigo Shot …

So what DO you say when ANY sound – verbal or otherwise – will be heard by everyone at the other end?

Why not make their visit memorable by whispering comments like these?

  • ‘Can you see that crack in the wall about half-way across?’
  • ‘Hey! Put your clothes back on!’
  • ‘Let’s all meet back here in 5 years time!’
  • ‘Whoops! There go the car keys!!’
  • ‘There was an American, an Englishman and an Australian …’
  • ‘What? I can’t hear you! No, still can’t hear – speak up!’
  • ‘AAARRRGGGH! I’ve got vertigo!’


Yeah, OK.  I accept that MY suggestions might also be asinine.
So … what would YOU say at the Whispering Wall?
Go on!  Tell me in the comments below …
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  1. @Travelwade – welcome and thanx!! It IS wonderful – stick around for an ongoing virtual tour! Not to mention a bit of escapism when you need it …

  2. Loved the post. I never heard of the Red Devil before. Also learned something new about chooks.. I didn’t think they could fly at all…

    Australia seems like a wonderful place. I hope we get to visit it someday.

  3. @Lily – Welcome! Haha – that’d sure have everyone looking around!!
    @fnkykntr – Sounds like you know what I’m talking about then! And yes, SA is REALLY GOOD at keeping it’s attractions hidden …
    @River – haha!! That almost sounds appealing …
    @Jim – Hahaha!! Very good … never thought to look at it from a bloke’s perspective! Sounds like your OZ ‘must do’s’ are getting to critical levels …

  4. Your fly’s undone!

    You should of shaken it!

    Must check this out…been planning to get over there, Adelaide, houseboats on the Murray.

  5. hehe – I’ve also visited this place, its near the Barossa. Wasn’t easy to find mind you, I wouldnt have known about it if I hadn’t been travelling with an ‘ex-local’. I stayed put and another member of our party went to the other side… he said a few things really quietly and we couldn’t quite hear, and then he shouted and it made us jump ;o) what a joker.

  6. @Esse Devi – Haha! Your snake comment beats any of mine!!
    @Dianne – welcome! And stick around – plenty more SA posts to come!!
    @Michelle – HHHMMMmmm… Grand Central station, huh? Yes … I’m sure there’s a resemblance!!!
    @Diana Diane Teo – Welcome to you too – why not make 2011 the year you visit!!

  7. Hi, there! Thanks for drop by and comment on my post – Harajuku!

    Australia had been my favourite place since I was little girl but unfortunately, i haven’t land my feet there yet. Hopefully next year.

    Btwn, nice to meet you. Have a great day 🙂

  8. Ohh a whispering wall! how cool! it’s like the grand central station in New York but more fun 😛

  9. LOL, I love all the suggestions, got such a good giggle, especially the “can you see the crack?” and “meet here in 5 years”.
    This does sound like an interesting place to visit.

    “Honey, did you pick up our pet snake, Sybil? I don’t seem to have her now…”

  10. So good to see my home state featured on your lovely blog – I live only about 30 mins drive from the whispering wall. Now what would I whisper along the wall umm! now that depends who was at the other end – but most probably something mundane like “Hello”

  11. @Mary – well, yes it did! Perfect autumn weather, beautiful scenery, leftover Easter goodies. What more is there?!?!?!
    @Kenny – sorry, I disagree!! SA is the most under-promoted state in OZ – I’m never at a loss for what to do here!! It’s different to the other states – but that makes it unique and fascinating!! Thanx for dropping by, come back any time!!

  12. Hope you enjoy your stay in S.A…we dont have much here compared with other states, but try to get to beautiful Kangaroo Island or the Flinders Ranges!…Best wishes K.

  13. LOL!! Loving your whispers… You have some beautiful pictures there!!

    The only thing I can think of saying right now is… I love this place. Beautiful!!

  14. Argh…i’ve got veritgo!! haha
    Thanks for this pleasant read and the photos are so interesting!
    What a great place! Definitely a must see.

    Betty xx

  15. @Andrew – haha! You might get more than you bargained for with that remark!!
    @Manzanita – well, you could always just flamenco your way across! Then you wouldn’t need to say anything!!
    @Marie – it’s uncharacteristically green at present given an inordinate amount of summer rain! Maniacal laughter works for me – and makes a nice counterpoint to the ‘whispering wall’!!
    @Windsmoke – yep, that’d work!!
    @Jayne – Yes, could stay there for hours listening to what’s said! Weirdly, a lot of people act as if they’re having a conversation with just the people they know on the other side instead of with whomever is present!!

  16. We used to go there sometimes when I was a kid – it was a handy diversion on the way back from the Barossa Valley. I remember it as a hot, dusty place where we kids would snigger together about how pissed dad was from the day’s wine sampling at the cellar doors (this is pre RBT). My brothers would inevitavbly try their luck with a few choice swear words into the wall and mum, already in a snit with dad, would have a fit and we’d hear it all from the other side, while pissing ourselves laughing. Ahh… the family car trip 🙂

    I think I’d just go with the maniacal laughing. Just for old times sake.

  17. Good examples. I don’t know what I’d say but I know I wouldn’t be telling any secrets. Ha I really like your pictures of the walk across.
    You have an exceptional weekend.
    Love and peace

  18. ‘Can you see that crack in the wall about half-way across?’
    ‘Whoops! There go the car keys!!’

    I laughed at these.

    I will just add, ‘What do you mean you can’t see it from there. It is big’.

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