If you’ve explored South Australia’s cultural mecca, Adelaide, perhaps its time to get the sea breeze in your hair, the sand between your toes, some organic pizza in your belly, and some outdoor adventures you’ll never forget. At Glenelg beach there is something for everyone.
For those of you who like to see everything on a map (like myself) you’ll find a map of everything mentioned in this article at the bottom.
Trams run every twenty minutes between Adelaide and Glenelg. From Adelaide you catch it at Victoria Square near Central Market, South Terrace, or Greenhill Road (near Haigh’s Chocolate Factory). In Glenelg the tram stop is conveniently located at the end of Jetty Road by the pier. These stops are mapped below.
The Beach and Pier
A wander along the pier and beach is a nice way to unwind, breath deep and feel good. The water is crystal clear, the sand white, the beach uncrowded. If it’s a warm day, cool off with a swim.
Bay Discovery Centre
Housed in a beautiful building by the pier, Bay Discovery Centre is part history museum part tourist information centre. You can plan your itinerary, find a hotel, and book a hire car on the ground level. Upstairs you can learn about Antarctic pioneers, the history of Glenelg, and the founding and development of Adelaide.
OPEN: Daily 10 – 5
Australia’s oldest family run chocolate maker, Haigh’s Chocolates are divine. What’s more, they are made from fair trade cocoa beans. There are always samples on offer, so try before you buy.
Jetty Road Eateries
Jetty Road is Glenelg’s hotspot for restaurants and cafes. Vegetarians, vegans, the gluten sensitive, the health conscious, and lovers of good food will find plenty of options at;
- Grind It – known for their good coffee. Also do fresh juices, yummy breakfasts and lunches. It’s a locals favorite so there is sometimes a wait.
- Montezuma’s – fresh Mexican food with festive interior. Lunches and dinners.
- Goodlife Modern Organic Pizza – they source produce that’s organic, fresh, in season and from regional South Australia. They also operate in a carbon neutral way, reducing and offsetting their carbon emissions. They have gluten-free pizza bases. An ambient little courtyard out the back is a great place to enjoy good wine, good food, and good company.
- The Annex Cafe – named in Womens Health magazine as a Top 50 Healthy Cafe & Restaurant. This place is tucked away and not as busy as Grin It.
A great spot for a stroll and sundowner is the Marina Pier. It’s new and a little ritzy with lovely views across the ocean and Boat Harbour. There are boutiques, restaurants, and oyster bar, and outdoor seating where you can enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the sky turn colours over the ocean.
Kids will have hours of fun here. Highlights include the waterslides, dodgem cars, arcade games, carousel and ferris wheel.
COST: $39 – $55
OPEN: Opens daily at 9am. Closes between 8 – 10 p.m. Check times here.
For an unforgettable and exhilarating experience, skydive over the coastline and land on the sand of Semaphore Beach near Glenelg. The staff at Coastal Skydive are professional and friendly, explaining everything you need to know before you go up. You have a choice in what height you jump from – 11,000 ft or 15,000 ft.
COST: $409 – $515
Ethical Dolphin Swims and Sunset Cruises
Temptation’s dolphin swim takes 3.5 hours. What I love about Temptation is that they don’t intrude on the dolphins, the dolphins come to them, something that has taken many cruises to achieve. They have built a trusting relationship with the wild dolphins. There’s nothing like a real wildlife encounter, on the creature’s own terms.
This is much better than what’s on offer at many dolphin parks around the world where the dolphins are captured from the wild, denied everything that is important to them, and trained to ‘kiss’ humans for photo opportunities. For me, this is a phony experience. The more you come to understand the life of dolphins, the more you realise how inhumane this is. See PETA for more information on this topic.
Dolphin Swim: Adults $98, kids (8 – 15) $88.
Dolphin Watch: Adults $68, kids %58
The Chorus of Stones
This is a simple but powerful little memorial that commemorates all conflicts rather than one specific war. There are no statues, no roll of honour, just a polished granite centre piece with one simple word, ‘remember’.
Between 10 a.m.and 7p.m. you can hear the recorded voices of South Australian war veterans recounting their war stories.