Local's Guide to Semaphore

For a traditional beachside feel in a historic setting, head to the maritime Adelaide suburb of Semaphore. Local's Guide to Semaphore
Site Requires Javascript - turn on javascript!

Local's Guide to Semaphore

For a traditional beachside feel in a historic setting, head to the maritime Adelaide suburb of Semaphore.


By Marc Llewellyn

Charming Semaphore, a beachside suburb 14 kilometres (9 miles) from central Adelaide, has plenty of seaside character. A vibrant place with a strong maritime heritage, Semaphore is known for its vast expanse of golden sand and shallow sea, clusters of heritage buildings, traditional amusement park rides, and plenty of major events.

HOW TO GET THERE

Semaphore is about 30 minutes by taxi from central Adelaide. Alternatively, take the Adelaide Metro (Outer Harbor line) from Adelaide Railway Station on North Terrace (20 minutes) then a 333 bus to Semaphore (about 10 minutes).

 

DON'T MISS

  • Check out the shops and cafés on Semaphore Road
  • Explore the foreshore and its many attractions
  • Attend one of Semaphore's exciting events

Semaphore highlights

TOP THINGS TO DO IN SEMAPHORE

Take a stroll along Semaphore Road
Semaphore Road is one of Adelaide's widest boulevards, home to heritage buildings, funky boutiques, antique shops, café, restaurants and pubs. Enjoy the beer garden at the Sweet Amber Brew Café, which serves brews from micro-breweries and showcases some of South Australia's best cheeses, cured meats and artisan breads. A historic pub worth popping into is The Fed on Semaphore, built in 1865. It offers good "pub grub" (Australian slang for pub food) and live music – think classic hits, blues and rock – on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Semaphore Road ends at the grassy Semaphore Foreshore Reserve, where you'll find the beach, and beyond that, the emerald green sea.

Enjoy Semaphore Beach and the Esplanade
Semaphore Beach is a wide expanse of sand set against a backdrop of sand dunes. Its sandbars that stretch out into the sea ensure that the water remains relatively shallow for quite a distance; expect low, gentle waves. The Semaphore Jetty, built in 1860 as a berth for customs, pilot and quarantine boats, is a major landmark. Another standout is the stone Time Ball Tower, constructed in 1875 to enable ships at sea to align their chronometers, vital navigation instruments that determined longitude. The foreshore also has a mini-golf course, a 70 metre (230 foot) water slide, and the largest operating carousel in Australia, built in 1928. The foreshore forms part of the Coast Park Path, a 70 kilometre (44 mile) walking and cycling track along Adelaide's metropolitan coastline. A miniature steam train belonging to the Semaphore and Fort Glanville Tourist Railway travels for two kilometres (1.2 miles) along the foreshore. It leaves from the foot of the jetty.

Stay for a bite to eat
Right on the beachfront Esplanade is Semaphore institution, the Palais Hotel, a distinctive example of 1920s art deco architecture, overlooking the sea. The Beach Bar here serves freshly shucked oysters from South Australia's Coffin Bay (AUD$1.50 each), hearty burgers with chips (AUD$16.90 to $19.90), and inventive pizzas, such as the pulled beef pizza (AUD$18.90). It’s a great location for viewing sunsets, too. You'll find local produce on most of the menus around here. Head to The Corner Store, an eclectic, colourful café and provedore, for wholesome breakfast and lunch options prepared using technically challenging methods (if it's summer, ask for the spicy watermelon soup, AUD$11.50). Coffee here is made with fresh Jersey milk from the award-winning Alexandrina Farm nearby. Order a flat white for AUD$3.80, or a "bucket" (three shots of espresso) for AUD$6.50. Nearby, also on Semaphore Road, is Sarah’s Sister’s Sustainable Café, a vegetarian eatery serving South Australian wines and beers. It's set behind a historic shopfront and surrounded on three sides by the Semaphore Garden Centre. Try the wild greens and cheese crepes (AUD$15), which include local samphire (a tasty seaside succulent) and native spinach (also known as warrigal greens). Like The Corner Store, this eatery sources much of its produce from local school gardens, urban farmers and nearby producers.

Enjoy the local event calendar
Several major events take place at Semaphore during the year, including the Semaphore Summer Carnival. As well as impressive fireworks displays on New Year's Eve and Australia Day (a public holiday in Australia, celebrated on January 26), the carnival has traditional fairground rides and free entertainment for kids. It runs from mid December until the last Sunday in January. Another big event is the Semaphore Music Festival, held over the annual October Labour Day long weekend on the beach and Foreshore Reserve. Expect dozens of music performers from South Australia, as well as food trucks, carnival rides and local craft beers and wines. Other events include the Semaphore Greek Cultural Festival in mid January, the Adelaide International Kite Festival over the Easter long weekend, and the Semaphore Street Fair, on the last Sunday in November.

Recent Articles About Adelaide and Surrounds

Local's guide to Adelaide’s West End

Local's guide to Adelaide’s West End

The West End is Adelaide's night life capital. With quirky bars and tantalising food and drinks, this vibrant entertainment precinct is waiting for you to explore.

View more information

Add to your dream trip Add to your favourites add favourite
Guide to the Fleurieu Peninsula

Guide to the Fleurieu Peninsula

Discover superb wines, dine in alfresco cafés and explore a coastline and hinterland of farms and wilderness on the way to Kangaroo Island.

View more information

Add to your dream trip Add to your favourites add favourite

More Articles Like This

Glenelg Beach

Glenelg Beach

You'll find all the delights of a seaside village and more in lively Glenelg, which sits in Holdfast Bay, a 25-minute tram ride from Adelaide's centre. There is a sandy white beach, charming heritage hotels and bustling shops, sidewalks cafes and summer entertainment. You can also swim with wild dolphins, go diving or snorkelling or join a fishing charter. Trace Glenelg's history in the galleries and museums, join in the fun of various festivals and meander along the coast to neighbouring beach towns.

View more information

Add to your dream trip Add to your favourites add favourite
Local's Guide to Adelaide Central Market

Local's Guide to Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Central Market is one of the largest undercover produce markets in Australia, selling an abundance of fresh local South Australian delicacies.

View more information

Add to your dream trip Add to your favourites add favourite
48 hours in Adelaide

48 hours in Adelaide

Santos Tour Down Under is the perfect time to spend 48 hours in Adelaide, a city that has gone crazy about cycling. Apart from watching the world’s best road cyclists, you’ll also get to sample fantastic food and wine – and to join one of Adelaide’s biggest street parties.

View more information

Add to your dream trip Add to your favourites add favourite
7 of Adelaide's best cheap eats

7 of Adelaide's best cheap eats

From market stalls serving pasta to American-style diners and Jewish cafés, Adelaide's budget dining scene will have foodies counting their blessings.

View more information

Add to your dream trip Add to your favourites add favourite
Local’s Guide to Port Adelaide

Local’s Guide to Port Adelaide

With its museums and heritage buildings, dolphin watching and ghost tours, Port Adelaide should be your first port of call in South Australia.

View more information

Add to your dream trip Add to your favourites add favourite

Make Your Trip Happen

Property Type
Hotel Class
Price Range
Type
Main Course

Prices are indicative

Liquor Licence
OOPS! The search results for your query are currently unavailable. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please try again later.
loading