Adelaide’s Own Popeye | Boat Ride Along the River Torrens

Adelaide’s Boat Ride Along the River Torrens/Karrawirra Parri on Popeye

The fleet of boats called ‘The Popeye’ are our own State Heritage Icons.  Since the first boat was launched on the River Torrens in 1935, the Popeye boat ride from Elder Park to the Adelaide Zoo has historically been a treasured family outing for many.

Popeye Boat Ride

Today the tradition continues and you can still find The Popeye cruising along the River Torrens/Karrawirra Parri in the heart of the city.  It’s a wonderful way for visitors to Adelaide and locals alike to take in the impressive buildings that line the riverbank, including the Adelaide Oval, Memorial Drive Tennis Centre, the recently renovated Adelaide Festival Centre and Skycity Adelaide featuring EOS and SOL Bar & Restaurant.

As the cruise departs from Elder Park, is travels west to the Torrens Weir, turning around and travelling back up to the Adelaide Zoo before returning to the landing. Travel under the beautiful Adelaide Oval Footbridge as well as the heritage Albert and Victoria Bridges.

Along the way the Skipper offers commentary and highlights the many landmarks and points of interest along the River.

Spotting wildlife on The Popeye

You can spot plenty of wildlife that resides on the waters – we saw pelicans, swans, birds (including a nest with baby birds), ducks and a turtle.

You get to have a different view of the beautiful bridges that grace the Torrens, getting to see some of their features up close.

Look out for some landmark sculptures and art along the way too.

Many people frequent the Linear Park which runs along the banks of the Torrens, and especially on a beautiful sunny day, you’ll see many people picnicking on the grass and cyclists riding along the track.

People love to see the Popeye go past so you will get plenty of waves from onlookers. The kids on the Popeye (as well as the adults) had a lot of fun waving back. This makes it particularly enjoyable for the little ones.

This is a calm river cruise which is popular with both tourists and locals alike. You will find Captain Jolleys Paddle Boats adjacent the motor launch.

You can do the round trip, stop over at the Adelaide Zoo or just travel one way only. 

The Popeye operates from two landings:

The main landing is located in Elder Park, the wooden jetty is on the water, sitting near the rotunda and The Festival Center.

The Zoo Landing is located just off Frome Road, down the stairs closest to the city side of Albert Bridge.


Wheelchair access: Popeye unfortunately does not have ramp access. There are two steps up and a further four steps down into Popeye. There is a handrail to the left side and a skipper and deckhand who will always offer to assist. Most wheelchairs can fit through Popeye’s entrance. There is room at the rear of the Popeye to store walkers, wheelchairs and prams.

Toilets: Popeye does not have toilets on board however there are public toilets located in Elder Park on Festival Drive, just under the Festival Centre.

Book a Cruise

There are different types of cruises on offer such as River Cruises, KIS Tasting Tours, Prohibition Gin Cruises, High Tea’s, Devonshire Tea Cruises and Private Party Cruises.

Bookings can be made online or by calling (08) 8232 7994


Editor’s Note February 2022:

They currently have a 10 person capacity on board and the cruises are usually booked out.  It is recommended to book online ahead of time.

things to do in Adelaide for families

For more information and all enquiries please visit the The Popeye website or call (08) 8232 7994

What:  Boat Ride on The Popeye

When:  View timetable online

Where:  Bank of the River Torrens/Karrawirra Parri, Adelaide

Who:  Everyone

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: all photos by Play & Go


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2 Responses to “Adelaide’s Own Popeye | Boat Ride Along the River Torrens”

  1. December 13, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Thank you for your photos and commentary re ThePopeye. It’s obvious you’re a bit of a fan and as custodian of ThePopeye heritage I’d like to personally thank you for your time and efforts in helping us along the way.
    We are doing more and more performance style shows on the boats through school holidays, Fringe and other times etc and these can be tracked via FaceBook, just google PopeyeAdelaide.
    Thanks again,
    Tony Shuman

  2. June 11, 2019 at 10:53 pm #

    As per this article and the one I have just read in City Mag, The Popeye service has already been a well-loved mode of transport along the River Torrens over many years so obviously can’t become Adelaide’s ‘newest mode of public transport’. However, I’m sure popularity can be increased for families, etc., but use as transport rather than cruise events may possibly be dependent on patrons being able to park nearby (e.g. near the Zoo) and might be the challenge – it would be for my family. I recall that Emma Knight used to have special musical cruises and it will be great to see the continuance as well as introduction of new ones.

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