Family Fun on a Boat with the BBQ Buoys in Adelaide
Discover Adelaide’s Riverbank on a self-drive cruise along the River Torrens in a donut-shaped boat, a BBQ sizzling away and endless birdlife to observe.
Floating along the River Torrens in a BBQ Buoy is such a unique experience and a wonderful way to see the city for a completely different perspective. Watch The Popeye cruise pass and the paddle boats float by as you meander along the Torrens at your own pace. It’s the perfect activity to enjoy with your family and will suit kids of all ages, as well as grandparents and visitors from interstate or overseas.
Travel the peaceful waterway from the Torrens Weir all the way up to the Frome Road Bridge, waving to those walking or riding along the pathways, even stopping for a break if you want to dock for a little while alongside the riverbank.
The BBQ Buoys caravan is located on Pinky Flat in front of the Adelaide Oval, and just a short walk from the Torrens Footbridge. You will need to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled session for a safety briefing and instructions on how to operate the boat. While you don’t need a boat licence to drive, the minimum age to hire and drive a BBQ Buoy is 21 years old. A car licence is required and must be presented when you check in.
The boats are very safe and sturdy and it’s easy to climb aboard. The staff are friendly, informative and even happy to take a photo of your group once you’re all in the boat. Life jackets for all are provided (under the seats) however children under 12 must wear one at all times. There’s a giant sun umbrella on board too, however we would still recommend wearing hats for when the sun is at a lower angle.
Once you head out from the bank the next two hours are all yours to enjoy. Our teenager on board hooked up the bluetooth speaker and we were away. We headed towards the Torrens Weir first, which is the wider, quieter end of the river and a good area to get familiar with the boat. The boats feel very secure and surprisingly stable, even with the ripples once The Popeye boats cruise past. There are drink holders too that easily fit bottles, can and cups. The centre table has a lip all the way around if there are any accidental spills.
We then made our way back towards the city past the Adelaide Convention Centre, under the River Torrens Footbridge, past Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Festival Centre, under King William Road and all the way to the Frome Road bridge. There was an abundance of bird life in and around the water, including numerous ducks and ducklings, swans and pelicans. The Popeye passed us numerous times – you can read more about Popeye tours here.
We passed by Elder Park and the Rotunda, floating origami boats, admired the beautiful gardens and spotted sculptures and landmarks along the way. Sailing under the bridges and waving to passengers on The Popeye was a highlight for the kids.
Having children on board meant the inevitable toilet stop was required, so we parked near the Adelaide Festival Centre to access the nearby cafe. There are also toilets on Victoria Drive behind Jolleys Boathouse (the public toilet is to the right of the building and be sure not to block Popeye’s landing area in front of the Launder’s Cafe).
The narrower section of the river will take you past the picturesque gardens along War Memorial Drive on one side and Victoria Drive and Frome Road on the other. It’s a beautiful section of the river with trees, birds and people out and about on bikes. There’s even an Adelaide Zoo stop – you can combine your BBQ Buoys cruise with a visit to Adelaide Zoo – see details here.
At one stage we had an entire family of ducks swimming along in front of us. Being Spring we managed to easily spot lots of ducklings along the bank too.
Once you get to the Frome Road bridge it’s time to turn around and head back. We found two hours was plenty of time to travel to the Weir, then all the way to Frome Road and back to Pinky Flat.
The gas BBQ is easy to operate and you can grill with the lid open or closed. If you want to grill with the lid up, we would suggest parking as it’s a little hard for the driver to see over the lid. There is a great drinks package to choose from included with your booking – you simply reply to you order confirmation at least 48 hours prior to your booking date to make your selection.
The Family Ahoi Package
The Family Ahoi package is the perfect two hour adventure for families of all ages. We chose the BBQ option so we could enjoy our lunch as we cruised, and also brought along a few nibbles and a fruit platter. You can bring along anything you like to cook on the BBQ, however our tip would be to keep it simple such as burgers, kebabs, corn on the cob or basic sausages in bread with salad. Eco friendly cutlery is provided, however it doesn’t quite make the cut with steak! Tongs are provided too. If you choose the table option rather than the BBQ you will have a serving surface in the centre of the boat for your food.
Included in the Family Ahoi Package:
- Use of the BBQ Buoy for a 2 hour session
- Maximum 3-6 passengers*
- Choice of BBQ grill or table
- 1 bottle of wine from the classic range
- 2 bottles of beer from the classic brands
- 4 soft drinks
- Bluetooth speaker
- Esky and ice
- Cutlery, plates and wine cups
- Good Weather Guarantee/Flexi 24 hours
*Children count as individual passengers unless they are younger than 12 months. There must be 1 adult to 3 children.
The package does not include food (food is BYO) but you can choose to add on a cheese and meat grazers platter to your booking. Please not that you can’t BYO drinks, apart from water, juice and coffee/tea.
The photo below shows a BBQ Buoy with the table option.
The BBQ Buoys Hiring Station at Pinky Flat is a caravan, so the closest public toilets are at the golf course at War Memorial Drive or the kiosk at the River Torrens Weir.
Click on the map for directions to Pinky Flat.
For more information and all enquiries please visit the BBQ Buoys website.
What: See Adelaide on a Boat with BBQ Buoys – Review
When: September to March | Tuesday – Sunday | Morning to late
Where: Pinky Flat, War Memorial Drive, North Adelaide
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 photographs by Play & Go
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