Getting on board a cruise from Adelaide, or visiting during a cruise, is a great way to see not only the city but also the lovely South Australia coastlines as you sail away. Even with just a few hours for a day trip, you can explore this sophisticated southerly state capital, which is known nationwide for its cafe culture, sandy beaches and wonderful wine country.
Getting to Adelaide is no problem, with itineraries by Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and other lines stopping by regularly. Want to start your holiday in South Australia? There is also a range of cruises from Adelaide available.
Ships visiting or departing from Adelaide dock at the Port Adelaide Cruise Passenger Terminal, which is around 8 miles (13 kilometres) northwest of the city center. It’s not too much of a journey to central Adelaide by train or taxi, but you needn’t even do that if you are short on time before departure — there’s plenty to do close by the terminal should you choose to stick around.
Here are some best bets for cruise passengers in Adelaide, both near the city center and farther afield.
Hit the beach
On the coast below the passenger terminal is a string of beaches, beginning after the Gulf Point Marina and continuing for quite a few miles. You can walk the kilometre to the North Haven Surf lifesaving club and the sandy beach in front of it to spend an hour or two in ultimate sunbathing and swimming relaxation with no transport worries.
It’s a much longer drive to Glenelg, but if you are looking for a bit of beachside buzz, that’s where you’ll find it. This vibrant seaside suburb is a visitor favorite and the site of South Australia’s first mainland settlement. Worth the trip! Henley Beach is slightly closer and another good option, with a bustling beachfront area.
You don’t need to go far at all to play a few round. The relaxed and friendly nine-hole course at North Haven is affordable and welcomes visitors to its well-maintained and often challenging fairways and greens. There is also a clubhouse for post-golf refreshment.
The North Haven Golf Course is located directly across the road from the passenger terminal — you'll have a wonderful view of your ship as you make your way around.
Visit Port Adelaide
It’s a short journey on the train (the Outer Harbour railway station is directly across from the terminal) to Port Adelaide, a historic suburb. It was originally Adelaide’s main link with the outside world, a very significant part of the city’s heritage.
There’s plenty to do in the port: a Heritage Pub Trail to see the many fabulous historic pubs and hotels, a Fisherman’s Market on Sundays, a lighthouse, the National Railway Museum and a lovely collection of shops and eateries. Wander the heritage precinct on the waterfront and visit the Port Adelaide Visitor Information Centre for an overview of the area.
Walk the River Torrens
If you’ve been on board a ship, or are about to board one, it can be nice to stretch your legs and enjoy a bit of greenery. The River Torrens Linear Park Trail (at top) is the perfect place to do this, with an easy flat terrain and lovely riverbank scenery.
The path stretches along the river from Henley Beach South, a 30-minute drive from the cruise terminal, to central Adelaide, which you can reach by train in 45 minutes. You can pick up a section of the 19-mile (30-kilometre) length anywhere along the way.
Explore central Adelaide
You’ll need more than just a couple of hours to visit Adelaide’s central business district from the cruise terminal, but if you have the time, it’s an easy 45-minute trip on the train to Adelaide Railway Station. From there, you can walk or take the tram down King William Street to Victoria Square in the heart of the city.
There’s plenty you can see by just wandering — don’t forget to have a coffee at one of Adelaide’s famous cafes! Highlights include Adelaide Central Market, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the many parks in the green belt surrounding the central business district.
Get on a tour
If you want to see the sights that are a little farther away, a shore tour organized by your cruise line is the easiest and safest way to do it. These are convenient and you can rest assured that the ship will not leave without you. They also often involve comfortable air-conditioned coaches — very much a bonus in the Aussie heat!
Available excursions will vary, but there are a few popular ones you will probably find available. Wine tours in the Barossa Valley are top of the list, along with trips out to the charming German-influenced suburb of Hahndorf. Head back onto the water for a eco-cruise on the waters of the Coorong south of the city, or enjoy the services of a knowledgeable tour guide to show you the sights of central Adelaide.
Have you been to Adelaide? What activities would you recommend for a day excursion?
Day Tripping: Other articles in our series
- 6 top highlights during a cruise to Melbourne
- Cairns cruise port: Top 6 highlights
- Brisbane in a day: 6 highlights for cruise visitors
- 36 hours in Panama — a Travel Dispatch
- 6 fun things to do in Anchorage
- 10 top attractions in St. Petersburg, Russia
- San Diego seaplanes: A thrilling tour from the sky