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.
To get to Glenelg, jump on the vintage tram that has been shuttling passengers from Adelaide’s North Terrace since the 1920s. It drops you at Moseley Square, right behind the jetty. You can trace the historic changes in Holdfast Bay in Glenelg Town Hall’s discovery centre.
The popularity of Glenelg as a seaside destination certainly hasn’t waned over the years, as you’ll see when you wander the buzzing dining and shopping strip of Jetty Road. Browse some of the hundreds of specialty stores or dine in an al fresco restaurant. For more stylish dining, head down to Holdfast Marina, a great place to enjoy Glenelg’s magnificent sunsets.
The marina is also the departure point for the dolphin sailing tours which circuit Holdfast Bay several times a day. Spot bottle nosed and common dolphins on a daytime or twilight cruise or join a tour which lets you swim with them. Glenelg is a hub for lots of other ocean adventures. Learn to surf, go snorkelling or scuba dive the various reefs and drop-offs. Take an adrenalin-pumping jet boat ride along the coastline or sign up for a fishing charter on a day excursion or overnight adventure. Glenelg is also home to a popular amusement park and a scenic seaside golf course.
Soak up Glenelg’s scenery and history on the walking and cycling trails. The Federation Trail winds around Holdfast Bay past workers cottages, grand colonial buildings and a World War II air raid shelter. See the fragile sand dunes which have remained untouched by European settlement and visit Tjilbruke Spring, a freshwater source sacred to local Aboriginal people. Walk to historic Kingston House in the stunning coastal reserve of Kingston Park.
Follow the boardwalk south to Marino Rocks or stroll along the esplanade to neighbouring Brighton. From Glenelg, you can also walk or cycle to surrounding seaside hamlets such as Grange, Henley Beach and West Beach.
Listen to carols in the annual Christmas pageant, celebrate Australia Day along the beach or enjoy the party atmosphere during the Glenelg Jazz Festival and City to Bay Fun Run.
Don’t miss a visit to Glenelg, where classic seaside charm comes with a few surprises.