Port Adelaide – This Historic Heart of Adelaide

Howdy all. Adelaide is a city with plenty of surprises for all those who visit and delve into everything it has to offer. Those who classify it as ‘boring’ perhaps haven’t bothered to take the time to plan ahead and see the sorts of things you can find. If you like beaches, history, architecture or sport, well you will not be disappointed in Adelaide I am sure! And one part of the greater city you should definitely invest some time in is Port Adelaide.

Port Adelaide has a reputation for being the ‘tougher’ side of Adelaide. Obviously, it’s a port suburb and it’s people have worked the ports, so it’s a working class part of town, the Port Adelaide Football Club – part of the AFL and the State League, the SANFL, is regarded as a working class club (and is far and away the most successful SANFL club in history) but that doesn’t mean at all that Port Adelaide presents as a ‘rough’ place to visit (and even if it did, nothing wrong with that). In FACT – it surprises with colonial architecture and historic buildings. Just walking the main street you see the buildings and pubs dating back to the mid-1800s. It’s really a nice place for a stroll in 2022!

Port Adelaide was without a doubt a highlight of my trip to Adelaide late last year. Port Adelaide is a metro train ride from central Adelaide that takes about 20 minutes. When alighting the train, to one side is the more modern side of Port Adelaide (to the left of the train direction) and to the right is the historic heart of Port Adelaide. So, you can no doubt guess which way I was headed.

Actually, my first port of call (lol) was the ship City of Adelaide Clipper. I had done a bit of research on the ol’ internet and discovered this boat, and it looked amazing so I hopped an uber as soon as I got off the train to get to the dock area where the City of Adelaide Clipper is presently living.

I could tell you the history of the ship in my own words, but the website of the City of Adelaide puts it better than I could. – ‘The Clipper Ship City of Adelaide is the world’s oldest clipper ship. Built in Sunderland, England, and launched on 7 May 1864.

City of Adelaide was built by William Pile, Hay and Co. for transporting passengers and goods between Britain and Australia. Between 1864 and 1887 the ship made 23 annual return voyages from London and Plymouth to Adelaide, South Australia. During this period she played an important part in the immigration of Australia.

On the return voyages she carried passengers, wool, and copper from Adelaide and Port Augusta to London.’

I arrived there just in time for a tour – well, one had just started, and I tagged on and toured this incredible boat that played such a big part in Australia’s colonial history. And Julia, the tour guide, was a relative of the owners of the boat so it was the perfect person to take a guided tour. It’s a boat that is in the process of restoration – and although it’s a few years in it also doesn’t feel that far down the line – it’s such a long process and I found it great to see the boat as it is.

You go inside the boat on two separate levels, so make sure the floors were safe alone would have taken an awful lot of work. The boat sits on top of another boat at the moment, and in the next couple of years is due to be moved to another spot not far away. Anyways, I LOVED this boat.

A quick Uber took me back to Port Adelaide proper, as the boat was really out there in a quiet spot, and I checked out the historic lighthouse, standing at the end of Commercial Road (what appeared to be Port Adelaide’s ‘main drag’) and a great spot for a photo or too. I looked back up the road and there was a pub on one corner and a hotel on another. All great colonial buildings. Then I made my way to the Maritime Museum (whilst making hilarious jokes on my vlog such as ‘What time is it? Mari-TIME!’ 😊)

There were three main museums in Port Adelaide, but I only had time to check out one and I had asked at the City of Adelaide Clipper for their advice, and it is not a surprise they said the ‘Maritime Museum’. There is also a Train Museum (if I’d had time I would have squeezed this in but everything closed by 4pm and I only had the afternoon in Port Adelaide). There’s also a Port Adelaide Museum I think.

The Maritime Museum was pretty good. There’s a whole boat in there fully restored which you can climb in and on. There’s a lot of history of people over the centuries coming to Port Adelaide. It’s a great little museum!

Otherwise, walking the streets and admiring the buildings was the other main activity I did in my afternoon in Port Adelaide – and taking photos of course. It was very quiet there, just as quiet as in the centre of Adelaide which is REALLY quiet after Christmas it seems for a few days. The one thing I wanted to do which I was not able as it was booked out was a kayak tour of the mangroves/swamp which apparently is THE thing to do in Port Adelaide. It’s on my list!

The weather was beautiful though, blue skies and around 27 degrees, so there was certainly no complaining to be done. With more time, of course I could have explored it further. So perhaps one day…

Thanks as always for joining me on the blog! Take care, and May the Journey Never End!

6 thoughts on “Port Adelaide – This Historic Heart of Adelaide

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