This review is an introduction to Glenelg on which I have written a series of seperate reviews under the Glenelg category. Obviously, I recommend you look at and visit Glenelg should you find yourself in Adelaide.

Glenelg is Adelaide’s premier, at least in terms of visitor numbers, seaside resort on the shore of Holdfast Bay/ Gulf St Vincent about 10 kms from Adelaide City centre. It is named after Lord Glenelg, then Britain’s Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.


In terms of history, while Adelaide main port was established at Port Adelaide in 1840, Glenelg was the site of South Australia’s original mainland (Kingscote on Kangaroo Island was settled earlier) European settlement, on 10 November 1836. On the 28 December 1836, under the “Old Gum Tree” a proclamation was read by the State’s first Governor, John Hindmarsh, which announced that the government and State of South Australia had been established, that the law would be enforced and that Aboriginal people would be protected.


Prior to the 1836 European settlement Glenelg and the surrounding area was home to the Kaurna Aboriginal people though two outbreaks of smallpox, which had come down the River Murray from New South Wales, had killed the majority of the Kaurna population prior to 1836.

Since the early days Glenelg has been the place where Adelaideians have come for fun and relaxation. It continues to be so today and is now a very developed seaside resort offering the visitor all that he or she could want from a seaside resort.


It has a fantastic long white sand beach which is a major hit with sun worshippers and fitness fanatics – the latter of the type that like to ensure others know they exercise. I am not a sun worshipper myself, but do very much enjoy a walk along the beach. I also greatly enjoy walking out along the 215 metres long jetty which is also a popular spot for fishermen. A sign along the jetty detailing the legally minimum size of fish that can be retained covers some 30 or more fish varieties which, presumably, it is possible to catch here. I have never seen anyone with any fish on this jetty!

Glenelg has ample accommodation from backpackers to 5 star hotels and a wide variety of restaurants, sufficient to meet everyone’s tastes. Jetty Road offers enough shopping opportunity for the average beach goer and has less stringent shopping hours than the more conservative Adelaide City.

Significant development has occurred in Glenelg since the 1970s and indeed the rather ugly looking Atlantic Tower, replete with revolving restaurant, was not only Glenelg’s tallest building when built in the 70s but it was also Adelaide’s tallest building. Numerous other high rise hotels and apartment blocks have been built since. All this development is rather a shame I feel but given the large crowds Glenelg attracts I clearly hold a minority view.

Since 1873 a train/ tram-line has connected Adelaide to Glenelg and until mid 2013 the odd rickety old red H-Class trams, circa 1929, continued to ply this route. The old tram ride was a tourist “must do” in itself. In mid 2013 the last of the old trams were replaced with ultra modern European Bombardier trams. Not withstanding the loss of the old trams (though there is talk of introducing “new, old trams” whatever that means) catching the tram to Glenelg is still the best way to get there in terms of public transport.


I certainly recommend a side trip to Glenelg and in this regards invite you to have a look at my separate reviews thereon to see what it has to offer.

For my next Adelaide – ADELAIDE BY THE SEA review click HERE.
For other Adelaide reviews click HERE.

3 thoughts on “Take the Tram to Glenelg

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