Port River Dolphin Cruise
If you are looking for an affordable, value for money activity to enjoy with the whole family you can’t go past a cruise along the Port River.
At less than $30 for a family of 4 you can relax for an hour and a half while taking in the sites along the Port River, including an assortment of boats, ships, wharves, bridges, birdlife, local industries and businesses and of course, dolphins.
Port River Dolphin Cruise operators
There are two* operators here offering river cruises – Port Princess River Crusies and the Dolphin Explorer. The cruise operators are located next to the famous red Port Adelaide Lighthouse on the Queen’s Wharf in Port Adelaide. Each has their own ticket van where you can buy your tickets to board the boat on the day. On this particular day we boarded the Port Princess simply because the departure time suited our plans. Both boats have the same pricing – $8 per adult and $6 for children (as at January 2015).
[*EDITOR’S NOTE: The Port Princess River Cruises ceased operation in May 2017]
Once onboard you can choose to sit under cover or out in the open – our children headed straight to the front of the boat where they stayed for the duration of the trip, the wind in their hair and an uninterrupted view of the river. Although the day was cloudy and wet we all managed to stay dry as the rain fortunately held off.
We managed to spot a handful of dolphins swimming nearby as the boat headed out along the river. Once we passed under the bridge and made our way out of the harbour we didn’t see any more, but spotted a couple again on our way back to the wharf. Our captain, Brian was very friendly and supplied interesting commentary throughout the cruise, pointing out different landmarks and sharing the local area’s history.
Children with a fascination for boats and ships will love this cruise along the river as they spot an assortment of different vessels. Many are docked at the wharfs as they are loaded with cargo, some are in the marina and others are out on the water. We even spotted a fisherman with his dog on the banks of the river digging for worms.
On our trip the children were allowed to have a turn at ‘steering’ the boat – there is an extra wheel and seat along side the captain and Brian even gave them a salior’s hat to wear while driving! Brian was very accommodating and was happy to chat to his passengers and answer their questions. His cabin was full of photos and sporting memorabilia, including medals from his time as a volunteer firefighter.
As we made our way back at the half way mark we crossed paths with another cruise, the passengers waving hello between the boats.
Exploring the wharf, lighthouse and Hart’s Mill Playground
Once the cruise came to an end we set off to explore along the wharf. The lighthouse was open to climb for a donation of just 50 cents for children and $1 for those over 18 years. Before heading home we of course had to stop off at Hart’s Mill Playground – where both the adults and kids had a play! The playground is now fully fenced with safety gates on every side.
The boat operators offer regular Port River cruises on Sundays, Public Holidays and during the School Holidays. The boats can also be booked for private functions too. For more information visit the Dolphin Explorer website.
For more information about the Port River Dolphins and to support the Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation, click here.
For more information about Port River cruises visit the City of Port Adelaide Enfield website.
What: Port River Dolphin Cruise
When: Weekends, School Holidays, Public Holidays
Where: Queens Wharf | end of Commercial Road, Port Adelaide
Who: All Ages
All images by Play & Go 2015
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.