Gulf St Vincent


The site for Adelaide was chosen in December 1836 by the colony’s far-sighted Surveyor-General, Colonel William Light, who created its remarkable design of a square surrounded by parkland. The site was well-drained, had fertile soil, and straddled the Torrens River, which guaranteed a ready water supply. It was named after Queen Adelaide, wife of the British King William IV.

At the time of European settlement, the area was occupied by the Kaurna people, a peaceful group numbering around 300. Little is known of them except they were skilled at working with skins aAdelaidend fibres, and that even before the arrival of white settlers in South Australia, the Kaurna people had suffered epidemics of smallpox and other diseases that had swept down the Murray from NSW.

Once known as the City of Churches, these days the churches are outnumbered by pubs and nightclubs, and there is no denying that the city has a superb setting – the centre surrounded by green parkland with the metropolitan area bounded by the hills of the Mt Lofty Ranges and the waters of the Gulf St Vincent.

For the visiting yachtsperson, there is a little bit of everything including great shopping, entertainment, fine climate and friendly folk. All it lacks is an easy, free place to park your vessel. Being a river port, the open roadstead in the Gulf of St Vincent can be both unsafe and uncomfortable. But if you don’t want to pay, there is one option that I’ll get to later.

Botanical Gardens downtown


Weekend and mid-week racing are regular events, and chandlery items are not too hard to find. Other attractions that we found appealing were the many eateries that provide reasonably priced lunches and dinners, the botanical gardens with guide service, and the museum – both free and located downtown. Also downtown is the Farmers Market, a place of bustling activity around a wide range of the freshest fruits and veggies plus a huge eating hall where many types of food are hawked from stalls round the noisy room. If historical buildings take your fancy then a walk around the centre of town will delight.

Port Adelaide Lighthouse

Nearer to where the boats berth at Port Adelaide are many other buildings dating back to Adelaide’s earliest days. A walk around will amaze. For memorabilia and displays from Adelaide’s migrant passages, a visit to the Maritime museum should not be missed. Nor should you pass up climbing the 75 steps up the Port Adelaide Lighthouse for a grand view over the busy port to the Mount Lofty Ranges, free with Museum entry. From the wharf just below, for the low price of $6, a monster ferry will take you on a two hour Sunday tour of the port, where they promise that dolphins will jump in front of their bows. Also important for the visiting yachty is the Torrens Island Sunday Market starting at 6am and running until 1PM. Expect the cheapest prices in the last hour.

Port Adelaide

Tour boat Port Adelaide

Adelaide’s downtown is many miles from where you can park your boat. But most of your needs will be found in Port Adelaide: Woolies, Coles, numerous op shops, the Port Anchor Pub with its $10 hot lunches and Birkenhead Pub for excellent evening meals, plus the always-needed Whitworths chandlery as well as Mitre Ten. All within walking distance. But to reach the city you will need to learn the bus schedules, and fathom which one goes where because there are many with varied destinations. Adelaide and Port Adelaide are also linked by rail.

Where to park your boat

RSAYS and Torrens River

RSAYS and CYCSA – Barker Inlet to left

Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron, RSAYS,
accessed from the river.
Lat 34°46.41’S ~ Long 138°29.11’E
161 Oliver Rogers Road
Outer Harbour, SA 5018.
It is spacious, has a wonderful clubhouse with drinks and meals available, a slipway, and a bus stop right outside the gate.

Visitor’s berths are available overnight or longer from $27.50 per night. Rental for a 12m berth is $419 per month – a 15m berth is $524 per month.

Website at
Contact the RSAYS Office for bookings and enquires on (08) 8341 8600


CYCSA and north-haven marina

The Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia
34° 47.72’S ~ 138° 28.79’E
Accessed from the Gulf, just south of the entrance to the river.
Lady Gowrie Dr,
North Haven,
PH (08) 8248 4222
Email:|  Website:

CYCSA Marina East has berthing for 240 vessels up to 22 m 150 hardstanding berths up to 12 m. Marina East is serviced by the main Clubhouse and associated facilities.

Mariners Restaurant is located within the Clubhouse and is an excellent facility which, combined with Horizons Function Room, boasts a capacity for 330 people, with adjacent indoor and outdoor bar facilities. These facilities are complimented by an undercover patio area that overlooks the marina.

Secure car parking, showers, toilets, workshop and slipping areas provide excellent facilities for members’ needs, while nearby services include transport, shops, chandlery, engineering and marine services.

Visiting yachts are always welcome – simply call in advance on (08) 8248 4222 to arrange a berth.

Marina Adelaide is located inside the river, and nearer to Port Adelaide.
Lat 34°48.90’S ~ Long 138°30.60’E
1-25 George Robertson Drive (off Willochra Street)
Largs North SA 5016
Phone (08) 8169 0000

175 fully serviced berths & deep-water access (min depth of 3.5 m)
Refuelling facility – Shore power 15 amp & 3-phase power up to 100amp
Pump out facilities
Site monitored 24/7 by CCTV cameras with motion detection & person of interest tracking.

Garden Island Yacht Club

Garden Island Yacht Club

Garden Island Yacht Club
34° 48.11’S ~ 138° 31.98’E

About 10 nm up a mangrove inlet, within sight of the Torrens Island Power Station at the end of the Barker Inlet is The Garden Island Yacht Club. It’s an extremely friendly home-grown yacht club, which we are proud to be a member of the crew, if you don’t mind being miles away from transport, which is often not a problem, you could give them a ring to see if they can accommodate you.
Phone:                         (08) 8341 2754
General E-mail: 
Postal Address:           PO Box 1531, Port Adelaide, SA       5015

If you stop in, say hello to our friend Commodore Mark Wasley, a lovely person as are all the other members who helped make our time there so memorable.

Free anchoring

garden island

Barker Inlet at Garden Island

For those preferring to swing on the anchor we can recommend a couple of spots in the Barker Inlet, which is an oasis located within earshot of what’s called the Connector Road at Wingfield. Up to forty thousand vehicles use that road but it doesn’t seem to worry the Avocets, which trawl the bottom for a good feed.

Up until 1995, this was a cesspool, but now that trash screens have begun a cleaning process – trapping plastic sheeting, cartons…you name it from a catchment area extending all the way to Collinswood and North Adelaide. Surrounded by mangroves, of course there are mosquitoes, so good insect nets are a must. But it is free and very well protected, with a gooey mud bottom. Unfortunately, there is no nearby transport, so it’s either use your thumb, your bike, or your feet.

34°48.12’S ~ 138°32.39’E – Sheltered anchorage in 3 m with shore access.
34°45.15’S ~ 138°31.18’E – Sheltered anchorage in 3 m but no shore access.


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