Port Adelaide Walking Tour

port adelaide train station  

There might be an arm's length (maybe even a leg's length) of chores to do on Nine of Cups, but exploring the local area trumps boat chores sometimes. We haven't made it all the way into Adelaide yet. Port Adelaide, the Port, is a small suburb and has a draw of its own. On a sunny Sunday morning, we took the train into Port Adelaide with the intent of taking a self-guided walking tour and seeing what we could see.

Established in 1837 as the primary port for the city of Adelaide which lay down river some 8 miles (14km), Port Adelaide was initially an area of mangrove swamps and tidal mud flats that lay next to a narrow creek. It was dubbed Port Misery at one point because of the mosquitoes and wretched conditions migrants found here upon arrival. The Port has retained much of its 19th century architectural heritage and we wandered through the historic district admiring “colonial bond brickwork” warehouses and buildings. A brochure from the Tourist Info folks provided insight and descriptions into the various locations and buildings.


colonial brickwork port adelaide


Friends (thanks, David V.) suggested we visit the South Australian Maritime Museum, the oldest maritime museum in Australia (1872). It's housed in an 1850's vintage warehouse and uses the open space as well as the nooks and crannies to advantage. There's a full size replica ketch, the Active II, for viewing and boarding inside the museum ... the same type ketch used for transport in the early days of the port.


maritime museum ketch


I especially enjoyed the collection of figureheads that adorned the walls.




A computer program allowed us to check our surname to see if any “Lynns” had migrated to Adelaide during the great European migration. Sure enough, we found that both a Henry and a Matthew Lynn had come to Australia aboard the “Asia” in 1839.


migrant records


Entrance to the museum also allowed us free entry to climb the narrow, steep, spiral steps of the iconic port lighthouse which provided great views of the city below.


port adelaide lighthouse


Along the waterfront, there are several vessels for viewing as well as harbor tours. The Dolphin Explorer was full to capacity with folks hoping to spot the resident river dolphins during their two-hour river tour. A training tallship, the One & All, offered short trips into the harbor. Living on a boat, however, diminishes our interest in paying for boat rides.


tallship one & all


During our travels, we managed to check out all the pubs along our route. Being a port town, there was no dearth of pubs to be found. There's even a separate tourist brochure for the Heritage Pub Trail. On Sundays, most pubs open for lunch at Noon and we scheduled our tour to end in time for a late lunch and a pint at the Dockside Tavern (1850), a favorite haunt in years past of seafarers and waterfront workers. Speaking of haunts, local folklore has it that there are several harmless ghosts residing at the pub, but they didn't join us while we sipped our pints.


dockside tavern


The sunny day turned oppressively hot and we headed back to the cool breezes at the marina. Next time, we'll stay on the train and do some exploring in South Australia's state capital, Adelaide. Stay tuned.