20 minutes from the city and five minutes from Adelaide Airport, Glenelg is one of Adelaide’s premier beachside suburbs, offering plenty of variety for the visitor.
Glenelg is the focal point of Holdfast Bay, the place where the founders of Adelaide first came ashore. The site of the Old Gum Tree where Governor John Hindmarsh proclamed the colony of South Australia on December 28, 1836 at Glenelg North is hallowed ground to the locals, and is appropriately marked with a monument. Close by, a replica of the vessel that brought the colonists to the Bay – HMS Buffalo – is a floating restaurant.
A museum in the old Town Hall on Moseley Square tells the story of Glenelg; across the square is the iconic Glenleg Pier and beach, and the terminus for Adelaide’s last tram service that still runs into the Adelaide CBD. Spend some time at Jetty Road Glenelg where you can immerse yourself in 300 plus retail outlets. Relax with a great coffee at one of the stylish sidewalk cafes and spend some time browsing the character-filled side streets that make up Jetty Road. When the sun goes down, the fun continues as the street opens up with lively wine bars, cafes and restaurants offering live music and entertainment.
Glenelg is Adelaide s main recreational beach It is at the end of the tramline and has traditionally been Adelaide s favourite and most accessible beach. The development here reflects this with a jetty, backed by parks, and major hotels and various recreational and amusement facilities.
Jetty Road is lined with a mixed array of shops and eating places. Behind the beach is the Magic Mountain amusement park, built on the site of Glenelg’s Luna Park, which fell victim to the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the shadow of a ferris wheel is the grassed picnic area when, on Australia Day, 1966, one of the most intriguing mysteries in Australia’s history – the disappearance of the Beaumont children – transpired.
Glenelg Art Gallery at the Stamford Grand is a treasure trove of beautiful, original art. Enjoy local exhibitions and permanent displays including indigenous art, water colours, oils, decor, textile art, glass work, photography, cards and woodwork.
The Glenelg Air-Raid Shelter at Glenelg Oval was built in 1942 and now houses a war museum. It s open 1 4pm on the third Sunday of the month plus ANZAC Day and Armistice Day. (Note that access is via a steep staircase.)
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HMS Buffalo was a storeship of the Royal Navy, originally built and launched at Calcutta in 1813 as the merchant vessel Hindostan. The Admiralty purchased her that year after she arrived in Britain. She later transported convicts and immigrants to Australia, before being wrecked in 1840. Hindostan was built of teak by James Bonner and James Horsburgh, of Firth, in 1813 at Calcutta. The Calcutta Gazette, reporting on her launch, described her as a merchantman built to carry grain rice.
Buffalo was an important ship in the maritime history of South Australia, serving at times as a quarantine, transport or colonisation ship, while also aiding the British expansion into New Zealand, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Upper Canada. Sadler received gifts from the local Maori chief Titore in the Bay of Islands during one of HMS Buffalo’s trips. The gifts included a pin, a club, and an ornate Hei-tiki, all now in the British Museum.
Buffalo was paid-off and recommissioned in January 1835. Then James Wood took command in July 1836. Buffalo sailed from Portsmouth on 23 July 1836, arriving in South Australian waters in December of that year, carrying 176 colonists, including Captain John Hindmarsh, who was to become the first Governor of the new colony of South Australia following the proclamation of that colony on 28 December 1836. As a tribute, a replica of the Buffalo is moored in the Patawalonga River at Glenelg, a suburb of Adelaide.
Only three deaths were ever recorded on the Buffalo, a remarkable record considering the medical practices of that period and volumes of passengers she transported. S. Hindmarsh may have been captain in 1837 but James Wood returned to command and would remain her captain until her loss.
On 28 September 1839 she sailed from Quebec, Canada with 82 American patriots and 58 French prisoners from Lower Canada who were convicts and part of the Upper Canada Rebellion. The Americans were transported to Hobart, Tasmania and the French convicts were brought to Sydney, New South Wales. HMS Buffalo was wrecked on 28 July 1840 by a storm while anchored in Mercury Bay off Whitianga on the North Island of New Zealand. The wreck was located in 1986.
The ship in the Patawalonga River at Glenelg is a replica of the Buffalo which operates as a restaurant though the ship is owned by the local council. The South Australian Maritime Museum in nearby Port Adelaide has on display a number of models of the Buffalo. A bronze replica of the HMS Buffalo adorns the Pioneer Memorial in Moseley Square about 10 minutes walk from the replica.
The Glenelg Visitor Information Centre is housed in the Glenelg Town Hall, Moseley Square, which is next to the tram terminus near Glenelg beach. inside you will find interesting displays about Glenelg and its role in the establishment of the State of South Australia. The Centre also offers a free booking service, brochures, maps and can provide local information on where to eat and what s on. The professional and friendly staff will assist you with booking a range of tours to experience neighbouring regions of Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, Barossa, McLaren Vale, Victor Harbor and Kangaroo Island.
The Glenelg Surf Life Saving Club is located in the foreshore park, 200 m north of the jetty. The beach terminates at the Patawalonga breakwater, where the breakwater and an artificial reef off the beach have trapped the sand causing the beach to build over 100 m seaward. Inside the breakwater is a quiet 50 m long pocket of sand used by the sailing club for launching their boats.
The Seacliff to Glenelg beaches offers relatively safe swimming owing to the usually low waves and continuous shallow bar. However rips occasionally cross the bar scouring deeper channels. Stay on the inner bar and clear of any deeper troughs. Care must also be taken near the rocks at Seacliff, around the two jetties, at the Patawalonga breakwater where there can be strong currents, and at occasional breaks in the bar where there are deeper holes. The safest swimming is at the four areas patrolled by the Seacliff, Brighton, Somerton and Glenelg Surf Life Saving Clubs.
Surf is usually low and sloppy along the Adelaide beaches. A high swell in the south or a strong westerly is required to produce waves over 1 metre.
The jetties attract most Brighton and Glenelg fishers, while Seacliff rock flats are also popular, as it the Glenelg breakwater. The water off the beaches tend to be shallow, with the best fishing at high tide. Glenelg Beach offers a wide range of water experiences including swimming, sailing, snorkelling, kayaking, diving, stand-up paddle boarding and fishing.
Moseley Square and the Glenelg Foreshore are hives of activity throughout the summer months, offering a huge range of family-friendly entertainment. Look out for the bungy trampoline, pedal cars and talented buskers.
The Beachouse is a fun family entertainment centre packed with games and rides for kids and adults alike. Enjoy heated waterslides, arcade games, carousel, ferris wheel, bumper boats, dodgem cars, mini golf and much more.
Temptation Sailing is a 58-foot sailing catamaran that offers swim with dolphins plus afternoon and twilight cruises. Take in the Holdfast Bay coastline and city skyline to the east and watch the sun sink into the ocean to the west.
Absolute Fishing Charters and Getaway Cruisers operate unforgettable fishing adventures out of the Holdfast Marina. Test out your casting skills and try catching a South Aussie King George Whiting.
Explore the underwater underbelly of the Glenelg Jetty with Adelaide Scuba on a snorkelling or dive tour and see what the tides of history have left behind.
Adelaide’s famous Bay Tram runs regularly from the heart of the Adelaide CBD and takes approximately 30 minutes from Victoria Square to downtown Glenelg. Until 1958, Trams in Adelaide formed a network spanning most of suburban Adelaide, with a history dating back to 1878. Adelaide ran horse trams from 1878 to 1914 and electric trams from 1909, but has primarily relied on buses for public transport since 1958.
Electric trams and trolleybuses were Adelaide’s main public transport throughout the life of the electric tram network. All trams except the Glenelg Tram were closed in the 1950s. The Glenelg line remains in operation and was upgraded and extended in 2007-2010. Three types of electric tram, built in 1929, 2006 and 2009 respectively, now run on the line.
Jetty Road Brighton: five kilometres south of Glenelg along the Esplanade, Brighton is a popular beach playground, with a charming village atmosphere along its own Jetty Road. A good family beach, also popular for fishing and snorkelling. During summer its waters are patrolled by the Surf Lifesaving Club.
Picture-perfect Brighton is a relaxed and diverse seaside suburb. Its where many locals head in their spare time, as it offers the ideal mix of family life; entertainment by the beach; and a chic yet relaxed atmosphere. Characterised by its Art Deco style, quirky cafes, locally-made art and design shops, restaurants and the landmark Arch of Remembrance the gateway to the jetty itself.
The Broadway, Glenelg South: The Broadway, Glenelg South comprises of a wide range of boutique offerings and specialised cafes. Explore the street s home-ware stores, eateries, organic cafes and pubs. The Broadway Kiosk is one of Adelaide s best-kept secrets, located on the Esplanade and treats patrons to unsurpassed coastalviews.
Seacliff and Kingston Park: For one of the best views of the Holdfast Bay coastline the Kingston Park Coastal Reserve and lookout is a must see. It is also home to Tjilbruke Springs monument which commemorates the Aboriginal Dreaming story associated with the freshwater spring. It has been bubbling away for thousands of years in the sand just above the sea s high-water mark.
Kingston Park is home to Kingston House is the oldest building in Holdfast Bay, built in 1840 and set on a three-acre reserve with stunning coastal views. The Tjilbruke Trail is a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk which heads south to Marino Rocks.