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Adelaide has some of the best boat trips and water activities in South Australia to get you out on the water and have some great family fun.
Here is a list of the top things to do in Adelaide, within close proximity of the CBD, showing you how to get on the water. Whether it’s a boat ride to cool down in summer, some sea air to blow away the cobwebs in winter or some serious fishing, there is something for everyone.
Looking to hire your own boat? Check out our post about The Best Boat Hire in Adelaide. Or how about some fun on a jet ski? If fishing is more your go-to activity, find the best fishing charters around Adelaide here.
Love waterparks? Check out the best waterparks in Adelaide for some serious fun.
Here are some of the best Adelaide Water Activities on offer:
This popular water activity and sailing experience, on board their 58-foot sailing catamaran, is situated in Glenelg, just 20 minutes from the CBD. They have some great boat trips on offer, such as:
- Dolphin Cruise – swim with the dolphins or just watch
- Day cruises
- Afternoon tea cruises
- Twilight sunset cruises
- Hired for private charters
Runs from September to March each year, and tours are best booked in advance.
- 3.5 hour Swimming With Dolphins Experience
- 3.5 hour Guaranteed Wild Dolphin Watching Cruise
- 1.5 hour Glenelg Sunset Catamaran Cruise with Drink
Take a leisurely cruise down the River Torrens and see the city from a different angle. Enjoy an informative round boat trip, or jump off at Adelaide Zoo to keep exploring! You can always catch another boat back later! This is a popular family choice for a water activity in Adelaide.
Popeye runs 7 days a week throughout the year, with departures at least every hour.
For something even more relaxing, Captain Jolley’s little paddle boats are a bit of fun for everyone. Situated next to the Popeye Boat on the River Torrens, these paddle boats are a great way to explore the river at your own pace. Try not to get wet by the fountain – although it may be tempting on a hot day!
Open from September to May (otherwise by appointment or school holidays only) and open 7 days a week from 10am until 4pm.
Explore the city riverbanks even further with these guided kayak tours from Earth Adventure. No experience is necessary with this Adelaide Water Activity as an experienced and qualified instructor takes you through the heart of the city. These are the only kayak tours available on the river. Choose from day or sunset tours with single and double kayaks available.
4. BBQ Buoys
Also situated on the River Torrens, this great Adelaide water activity is a unique experience to enjoy a BBQ Party onboard whilst floating around the river’s calm waters! A boat licence isn’t required (although a car licence is), and you can take your own food, just not your own drinks. So grab a Bluetooth speaker and esky (free of charge) and enjoy a 1 or 2-hour session during the day or evenings in the summer.
Packages are available, and advisable to book in advance online.
This is by far one of the best boat rides in Adelaide!
Port River Cruises has now replaced the previously popular Dolphin Explorer, a much larger vessel that used to cruise the Port River.
Now, the vessel for these popular dolphin spotting cruises is a lot smaller, allowing you to get even closer to nature. It also means you can weave in and out of Garden Island, getting up close and personal with The Ship Graveyards and the bird sanctuary. There is now even more chance to say hello to the resident bottlenose dolphins.
Situated in Port Adelaide, 20 minutes from the CBD, this boat ride in Adelaide operates all year round.
This magnificent training vessel sits at Mclaren Wharf in Port Adelaide with pride. As a great experience for volunteering, learning to sail or just enjoying the experience, boat tours available are:
- Day Sail Experiences
- Twilight Sails
- Multiple Day Sail Experiences
- Open Days
Runs from September to March each year, and tours are to be booked in advance.
With Skipper Colin Jones by your side, there has never been a better way to learn to sail, onboard the ‘Guava’, a beautiful 30-foot yacht. Situated at Marina Pier at Holdfast Bay, Glenelg, it is just 25 minutes drive from the CBD.
The school offers introductory and advanced courses, pleasure cruises, and private charters, with or without a skipper. With your own captain, take an opportunity to hire and enjoy the experience at your own pace.
Also available for weddings and special occasions and operates all year round, weather permitting.
Dragon Boating has become more and more popular over the years, and many clubs are now situated around South Australia. New Paddlers are always encouraged, and Adelaide Sea Dragons run four free sessions to come along and try it out at their West Lakes location, just 25 minutes from the CBD.
The ACDC Dragon Fire Dragon Boat Club, located at Birkenhead during the week or the West Lakes on Saturdays, is another up and coming club in Adelaide. They offer up to four free, no-obligation come and try sessions on Saturday mornings, and this is a great opportunity to find out if it is you!
Ideally situated at Garden Island, 20 minutes from Adelaide CBD, here you can explore shipwrecks, glide along with playful dolphins and find your own secret passages through the wetlands. Kayak and SUP boards are available to hire, book a guided tour or take a lesson to advance those skills.
Sea Cave Kayak Tours are also available at Rapid Bay.
Operates most of the year-round, and booking is advisable.
Kayaks are also available to hire from Easy Kayaks, situated in Port Noarlunga, 40 minutes from Adelaide CBD. Or you can pick up your own to hire (transport needed) from Adelaide Canoe Works, situated in Findon, 15 minutes from Adelaide CBD who have a wide range available.
For more ideas on where to kayak in South Australia, this article from Weekend Warrior highlights some of the best places across the state.
Located at Seacliff and Brighton Sailing Club, 30 minutes from CBD, Stand Up Paddle SA has a wide range of SUPs to rent and buy, along with offering lessons and yoga classes. Ideally situated on the beach, this is a great way to enjoy time out on the water for some exercise or serious fun!
Stand Up Paddles SA also offer rentals and lessons at West Lakes, the Patawolonga (Glenelg) and the SA Aquatic Centre.
Stand Up Paddles are also available to hire from:
- Adventure Kayaking – situated at Garden Island, 20 minutes from the CBD
- Easy SUP – situated at Port Noarlunga, 40 minutes from the CBD
- Adelaide Canoe Works – situated at Findon, 15 minutes from the CBD (own transport required)
- Jetty SUP & Beach Hire – situated at Grange, 25 minutes from CBD
11. Adelaide Scuba
Situated in Glenelg, just 25 minutes from CBD, Adelaide Scuba are an award-winning dive centre with custom-built facilities. They have a wide range of lessons for all skill levels, from snorkelling to wreck diving and with boats docked at their back door; they are ready to explore on one of their tours.
Check out their website for more.
Diving Adelaide, situated in Glandore, just over 10 minutes from the CBD, also has a range of dive courses and tours.
12. Fishing Charters
South Australia is known for having some of the best fishing in Australia. There is no shortage of charters to take you out for a great experience, knowingly being one of the top Adelaide Water Activities.
Fishing charters run all year round, weather permitting.
Some of the best fishing charters are:
- B.A. Boat Hire – North Haven
- Strike 1 Fishing Charters – West Beach (check out our review here of this fishing charter)
- Go Get Em Fishing Charters – West Beach
- Glenelg Fishing Charters – Glenelg
- Absolute Fishing Charters – Glenelg
- Get Hooked Fishing Charters – West Beach or North Haven
Check out our full post about The Best Fishing Charters in Adelaide.
Whichever way you decide to get on the water in Adelaide, make sure you stay safe, wear a personal floatation device where applicable, slip, slap, slop – and have a great time!
Drop us a comment and let us know what your favourite Adelaide boat rides and water activities are, as we’d love to know what everyone gets up to!
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