Tourist Information Distributors Australia
Tourist Information Distributors Australia
Exploring Adelaide

Welcome to

Port Adelaide

Ninna Marni - Welcome

Port Adelaide, about 10 kms north-west from Adelaide City, with its maritime ambience of sailing ships, wharves and landmark Colonial buildings is an interesting place to visit. Numerous cafes, restaurants and eateries compliment Port Adelaide's museums, art galleries and attractions. There is ample accommodation at Port Adelaide, nearby Semaphore, Largs Bay, North Haven and West Lakes.

Port Adelaide was officially established four years after the Colony’s foundation in 1836 and soon became the thriving maritime heart of the developing colony.

The Port River connects the Inner Harbour to Outer Harbour. Port Adelaide was the hub of South Australian trade and industry and the disembarking point of new settlers.

Port Adelaide is rich in history, culture and natural beauty. Residents have a fierce loyalty to the city, its past and their football teams – the Adelaide Crows and Port Power. The Port and surrounding coast is the country of the Kaurna Aboriginal people of the Adelaide Plains. Their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land are of continuing importance.

Port Adelaide retained its momentum right up to World War II, when the focus of shipping activity began to change. Reducing commercial pressures proved a boon to the modern-day city, with many of its impressive 19th century buildings remaining to delight today’s observer.

Whilst activity on the docks is now far removed from the hectic bustle of yesteryear, the Port is undergoing major changes, with a massive  redevelopment.

Dolphin Sanctuary
Port River's estuarine waters, home to a community of bottlenose dolphins,  is part of the dolphin sanctuary. These are perhaps the most urbanised dolphins in the world, for no where else are dolphins known to live so close to a city of a million people. Dolphins can often be seen from the riverbank. They love to ride the bow wave of yachts and tug boats and are worth watching for.

Port Adelaide's Dolphins
Among Adelaide’s better known dolphins are Billie, who became world famous for her habit of swimming with race horses; Two Notch the dominant male and Captain Hook, his handsome partner;  Black Beauty, an old male  who lives on the margins of the local society and Pheobie a young mother who had to be rescued after becoming entangled in marine litter. Boisterous young males such as Badger and Leonardo make their presence known in the breeding season.  Babies are usually born in late summer. You can learn more about these fascinating creatures by visiting the Port River Dolphin Trail or booking a river cruise.

Port Adelaide was South Australia’s first proclaimed State Heritage Area, and exploring its old buildings, museums, galleries and waterfront is a great way to spend a day.

Start with a visit to the award-winning Visitor Information Centre. Here you can book a guided Port Walk, providing a fascinating insight into the history of this once bustling port.

There are a number of excellent Museums, all within walking distance as well as attractions, art galleries and interesting shops.

Great character pubs, restaurants and cafes offer a variety of top value meals and snacks.

Check out the Sunday Fishermen’s Wharf Markets and the Torrens Island fresh produce market nearby, is open Sunday mornings –  you can buy fresh fish from the fishing boats!

Port Adelaide's cultural organisations include Tauondi Aboriginal College, Kurruru Indigenous Youth Performing Arts Inc, SA Country Arts (New Land Gallery), Port Community Arts Centre (Black Diamond Gallery) and Vitalstatistix National Women’s Theatre.

Port Adelaide by public transport
Bus - direct route from North Terrace, opposite the Adelaide Railway Station: Bus 150 to Osborne - alight in Port Adelaide at bus stop A
Train -   from Adelaide: Outer Harbor Line to Port Adelaide

Ships' Graveyard

Port Adelaide boasts one of South Australia's most significant archaeological treasures. It is the largest most diverse ships' graveyard in Australia, one of the best places in the world for easy access to shipwrecks. It is also accessible to non-divers. The remains of vessels which ended their working lives in Port Adelaide are dispersed over five sites in quiet backwaters of the Port River – a  unique record of Australia’s maritime cultural heritage.
Numerous ships have been scuttled here over a 100 year period, as the shallow waters of Gulf St Vincent were unsafe to dump ships at sea.
Shipwrecks include majestic windjammers and steamships which plied international waters, to coastal traders and support craft. Many originated in Europe or America, others were built in Australia, with 2 from local shipyards.
Wrecks include:
Sunbeam, built in the early days of the colony of South Australia,
Santiago, the iron hulled ship, built in Scotland in 1856.
Dorothy H Sterling, the six masted schooner, built in the US and wrecked in Port Adelaide in 1929, during the Great Depression when she and her crew were marooned.

View By Land - Drive or Walk
Mutton Cove and Jervois Basin sites are accessible by road, with some vessel remains always visible. A maritime heritage trail with interpretation signage has been installed at the Jervois Basin Ships' Graveyard.
Garden Island: At low tide, a path through the mangroves gives access to some vessels within the large group of wrecks abandoned there. Shipwreck Trail brochures are available.

View by Sea
Garden Island, Broad Creek and Angas Inlet Ships' Graveyards are best viewed by kayak or small boat. Some shipwrecks  are visible at all times although more is exposed at low tide.

City of Adelaide Historic Ship

The City of Adelaide clipper ship is the oldest composite clipper ship in the world, one of only two surviving ships, along with the famed Cutty Sark at the British Maritime Museum.
More Information

Port Adelaide Lighthouse

Port Adelaide's historic wool stores

Sand sculptures at Port Adelaide in 2008 by Sand Sculpting Australia