Port Adelaide, South Australia

By AG STAFF April 30, 2014
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Kayak with dolphins, dive on shipwrecks or soak up the maritime ambience on a walk around town down at the Port

Just 20 minutes out of Adelaide city is historic Port Adelaide. The Port River is a sanctuary for both bottlenose dolphins and colonial maritime history. It is home to Australia’s biggest ships’ graveyard accessible to non-divers – you can see wrecks from land or kayak.

Port Adelaide was established in 1840 and soon became an industrial centre for South Australia. In 1982 it was declared a state heritage area because of the many beautiful 19th-century colonial buildings.

In the bay is picturesque Garden Island, reached via a bridge from the mainland. This is the largest shipwreck site, with 25 boats scuttled around the island between 1909 and 1945.


Kayaking: Hire kayaks to cruise around Garden Island’s mangroves. Markers give the locations of wrecks; these include dredges, sailing ships, ferries and steamers. Lucky kayakers may get close to Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins.

Diving: Plenty of interesting dive sites surround Port Adelaide, as ship graveyards host abundant marine life. Underwater plaques provide information about wrecks.

Walking: Walking tours take in museums and historic buildings. There are trails along the riverbank and coast. Boardwalks and tracks through Garden Island’s mangroves provide easy access to popular places for dolphin spotting, birdwatching and fishing.

The essentials

Location: Port Adelaide and Garden Island are 13km north-west of Adelaide. Buses and trains leave from Adelaide city centre.

Accommodation: Camp by the beach at Adelaide Beachfront holiday park in Semaphore Park. Port Adelaide has ample hotels and motels.

Have breakfast at the bustling Sunday markets. Visit one of many cafes. Go fishing, enjoy a barbecue or picnic at Garden Island.

Point of interest: Garden Island’s mangroves, the ships’ graveyard and the dolphin sanctuary.

Port Adelaide Visitor Information Centre has maps of shipwrecks and self-guided walking tours.

More info:
Visit www.environment.sa.gov.au, www.portenf.sa.gov.au.