Semaphore, a gorgeous beach-side location, is situated on the LeFevre Peninsula,14kms to the north west of Adelaide, South Australia, and a few kilometres from Port Adelaide.
The Semaphore region was first surveyed in 1849 and in 1851 George Coppin, a prominent Port Adelaide publican, built a timber hotel on the southern corner of The Esplanade and Blackler Street. He erected a high flagpole to attract customers here or direct them to his “White Horse Cellars” hotel at Port Adelaide earning the area the name Semaphore, after his christening his flagpole thus.
The area was isolated from Port Adelaide by the Port River until 1859 when a wooden bridge, later replaced by the Jervois Bridge, was opened leading to the development of the area as a residential area for Port Adelaide. In 1878 a railway connected the town to Adelaide attracting holiday makers to Semaphore. From this point it became an important and affluent seaside resort. The opening of a tramline in 1917 saw even greater numbers coming to Semaphore and the 1920s were boom times during which the Palais dance hall, amusement rides, the jetty and picture palaces attracted large crowds.
Mid-century (when more people had their own cars and could travel further), a change occurred in Semaphore’s fortunes and numbers declined. A revival began in the 1990s and Semaphore is once again a popular stop for people from Adelaide and further afield.
All in all, a delightful historic seaside resort, a short distance from the centre of Adelaide and certainly worthy at least a few hours visit. I suggest you combine it with a trip to Port Adelaide making for a long, but very worthwhile day out.
Before I tell you more about the attractions – in forthcoming reviews – let me tell you about getting to Semaphore (and nearby Port Adelaide).
Getting to Semaphore and or Port Adelaide
If you have limited time in the Adelaide region and, let’s face it, most visitors do, I strongly recommend – on the basis that you are up for a big day – that you combine your trip to Semaphore with a trip to Port Adelaide and make a day of it.
Start with Port Adelaide where more of the sights are time critical and aim at getting to Semaphore in time for the toy train ride and carousel /amusement park if those things interest you. After that you can spend as much of the evening in Semaphore as you like before heading back to your abode. There are sufficient dining options here so have dinner and watch the sunset. Port Adelaide on the other hand is pretty much dead after 5.30pm.
With this in mind, and assuming you consider my advice worthy of following, I am now going to be even more prescriptive.
Step 1 – Get to Port Adelaide – See my Port Adelaide reviews in this regard and enjoy!
Step 2 – On the basis that you would like to have a look around some of the older and more interesting buildings included on the Semaphore heritage walk tour (see separate review), catch the train from Port Adelaide and alight at Glanville station (two stops and a few minutes). From here it is about a 15 minute walk to Semaphore Jetty / Foreshore via Semaphore Road. When ready to leave Semaphore take a walk along the beach in a northern direction (around 30 minutes) and catch the train back to Adelaide from Largs Station. See my separate review Semaphore Jetty and Beach for more detail on this option.
If you do not wish to stop at Port Adelaide you can still take the train option from Adelaide train station (same Outer Harbour Line).
Should you not wish to do the walks I recommend or just not have time for them, then in terms of public transport taking the bus is the best option. Take bus 150 from Adelaide to Port Adelaide and then 352/3 to Semaphore noting that the 352/3 only run Monday – Friday or 333 which runs seven days. Direct bus from Adelaide (45 mins) – No 157.
Whichever option you choose, train or bus, do have a look at the review on my Adelaide page – Bus, Tram, Train – Tickets and Routes – as both are operated by Adelaide Metro (http://www.adelaidemetro.com.au/ ) and that review advises on costs and ticket options.
Walking from the lighthouse in Port Adelaide to the Jetty in Semaphore is another option – allow around 40 minutes. To be honest, bar taking a taxi this will be your fastest option though not recommended if its 40 degrees centigrade as it’s a rather exposed walk.
This is the beginning of a series of reviews on Semaphore. For my next review click HERE.