Glenelg Things to Do

  • Glenelg Beach - Volleyball
    Glenelg Beach - Volleyball
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  • Glenelg Beach - From the Jetty
    Glenelg Beach - From the Jetty
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  • The Pioneer Memorial - HMS Buffalo
    The Pioneer Memorial - HMS Buffalo
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Most Recent Things to Do in Glenelg

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    St Peter’s Anglican Church

    by wabat Written Jan 16, 2014

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    St Peter's Anglican Church
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    The first St Peter’s Anglican Church in Glenelg was built in 1851 on land set aside by Colonel William Light, surveyor and planner of the City of Adelaide in 1839. Fire destroyed it and the current English Gothic style bluestone church, designed by Edmund Wright (often referred to the 'Christopher Wren of Adelaide' due to the number of buildings designed by him in the late 1800s) replaced it in 1883.

    I especially like the adjoining bell tower on the southern side of the church. This is a centenary addition constructed in 1983. I like how it blends in so well with the existing church unlike the very out of place community centre, a 2011 addition on the eastern side of the church which I didn’t take a picture of because I didn’t like it (I forgot my duty to inform VT!).

    Unfortunately I was unable to enter the church – it was locked up – but from pictures I have seen it appears to be reasonably plain though I am told the stain glass windows – some twenty five of them are quiet interesting. The main great east window was created by Franz Xavier Zettler in Munich, Germany while others were sourced from the UK and from within Australia. Another thing to look out for are the hand made tapestry kneeling pads in the pews.

    The church was classified by The National Trust of South Australia in 1984 and in 1988 placed on the State Heritage Register of South Australia.

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    Moseley Square and the Beachouse – General tip

    by wabat Updated Jan 15, 2014

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    Moseley Square from the Jetty
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    On my most recent visit to Glenelg, on 26 December 2013, I had fully intended to visit the Bay Discovery Centre (a museum/ historical record of the development of Glenelg) in the former Town Hall. Though the Centre claims to be open every day of the year apart from Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Years Day it was firmly closed on Boxing Day 2013.

    Notwithstanding that the Bay Discovery Centre was closed I think it useful to write a general tip to tell you a little about the former Town Hall building and other items of interest and worthy a quick look in and around Moseley Square (in addition to those upon which I have written separate tips). The square, named after an early councillor, is a popular gathering spot for people and the terminus for the tram connecting Glenelg to Adelaide. A number of eateries are located within the square which sits at the end of Jetty Road, itself full of eateries.

    In terms of attractions in or around the Square, I have prepared separate tips on:

    Glenelg Beach
    Glenelg Jetty
    The Pioneer Memorial
    The Tram

    While in the square area also have a look at:

    The Former Town Hall (picture two)

    Designed by Edmund Wright (the “Christopher Wren of Adelaide") the Glen Osmond bluestone, classical design building was constructed in 1875 though the clock tower and clock were added later. It was originally built as an “Institute” building – the forerunner of what one might refer to as a Community Centre today it housed lecture rooms, a library, a concert hall and more. It became Glenelg’s town hall in 1887 and remained as such until 1997 when the former Glenelg and neighbouring Brighton Councils were combined to form the Holdfast Bay Council area. Glenelg town hall was no longer required and it was soon converted to house the Bay Discovery Centre (and a few other things).

    The Former Post Office / Telegraph Office (picture three)

    The first post office in Glenelg opened in 1849 with a telegraph office following in 1859. The two were amalgamated in 1868 with this Moseley Square building opening in 1912. The interior of the building has fallen victim to a fast food chain but thankfully the exterior has retained its orginal splendor.

    Trotman’s Anchor (picture four)

    This old anchor on the grass area between the old Town Hall and the ocean was salvaged off the Glenelg foreshore by the South Australian Department of Marine & Harbours.

    The accompanying plaque beside the anchor describes a Trotman’s anchor thus:

    “The Trotman's type anchor, a modification of the traditional admiralty anchor utilised a pivot point on the shank to ensure a low profile of the uppermost fluke thus reducing the possibility of damage to the ship's hull at low tide or fouling of the anchor chain”.

    I have to say that the above means absolutely nothing to me but such anchors were used on sailing ships toward the end of the 18th century.

    The Beachouse (picture five)

    As I didn’t visit the Beachouse I will not do a separate review but will refer to it here so that those interested can investigate it further.

    In 1930, following the success of the Luna Park amusement park in Melbourne Luna Park Glenelg was constructed. This went into liquidation in 1934 and all the rides except for a carousel was moved to Sydney to establish the famous Luna Park at Milsons Point on Sydney’s North Shore. The site remained vacant until Magic Mountain likened to a "giant dog dropping" by locals and media alike was built in 1982. Magic Mountain was demolished in 2004 to be replaced by the current incarnation – The Beachouse - which opened in 2006. In addition to the original carousel the Beachouse has a Ferris wheel, arcade games and an extensive waterslide setup.

    The Beachouse has a complex array of opening hours and entrance prices which I will not replicate here. Check it out on http://www.thebeachouse.com.au/

    The entrance to the Beachouse is on Colley Terrace. My picture is of the back taken from the ocean side of the complex.

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    The Old Gum Tree

    by wabat Written Jan 14, 2014

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    The Old Gum Tree Glenelg
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    The HMS Buffalo, the ship carrying Governor “elect” Hindmarsh and other early settlers of South Australia arrived in Holdfast Bay, Glenelg on the 28th December 1936.

    That afternoon in a temperature of over 40 degrees centigrade (100+F – nothing has changed in this regard and summer temperatures regularly reach 40 degrees still) everyone gathered under the “Old Gum Tree” to listen to Hindmarsh reading a proclamation, on behalf of King William IV, 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.

    On the occasion of the proclamation marines on the Buffalo fired a feu-de-joie, the white ensign was raised and the guns of the vessel rang out in a salute to the new Governor.

    The Governer hosted “a cold collation”, which included dressed Hampshire ham ( and copious amount of alcohol by all accounts) and congratulated everyone for having such a fine country! Various toasts were drunk, the National Anthem (British), and Rule Britannia were sung and at 5pm the Governer departed for his ship leaving the merriment to continue all night.

    21 years later on the 28th December 1857 a further day of public rejoicing was held to celebrate the State's 21st birthday. The State's 100th birthday in 1936 was celebrated by Australia Post with the issue of a one shilling stamp depicting the Old Gum Tree (picture four). The reading of the proclamation is now recreated each year on 28 December under the Old Gum Tree and in good Aussie tradition there is a free barbecue for all..

    The Old Gum Tree (probably a red gum) to-day is infinitely more concrete infill than it is tree which in fact died in 1963.

    There is a small children’s playground, a picnic area with tables and toilets in the small park.

    Finally readers should note that there is controversy around whether or not this is the site of the foundation of South Australia in 1836. Whether it is or not is not especially relevant. The importance of the day, and its history, is not diminished.

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    A Chorus of Stones

    by wabat Written Jan 10, 2014

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    A Chorus of Stones
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    I actually stumbled across this rather unique war memorial while I was having a look around the newish Marina Pier, a multi-million dollar development of apartments, restaurants and a marina on the foreshore a few hundred metres north of the Jetty.

    The Chorus of Stones War Memorial was officially opened on Sunday 4 March 2001 by Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove, Chief of Army.

    The memorial is rather unique (certainly in Australia) for a number of reasons:

    - It is not a memorial to any specified war or wars but rather it “commemorates all military conflicts that have involved Australian troops and support services throughout our nation’s history”
    - The memorial has no roll of honour, no plinths and no statues
    - It is not fenced in, cordoned off, or otherwise segregated – to get past it you have to walk through it
    - You can (and should) listen to it.

    The memorial, designed by Anton Hart is composed of granite, bluestone boulders and the voices of South Australians who have served.

    The centrepiece of the memorial is a polished granite disc depicting a sword, wreath and one simple word, REMEMBER. Around the granite disc are six large stones (in pairs) set into the footpath, one of each pair has an engraved word – loss, sacrifice and silence.

    What makes the memorial particularly different is the speakers, set into the pavers, which play back recordings of the experiences of South Australian war veterans. The commemorative messages are played for four minutes every eight minutes, daily, between the hours 10am to 7pm.

    I like it because its different.

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    HMS Buffalo

    by wabat Written Jan 8, 2014

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    HMS Buffalo
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    The HMS Buffalo was built as the Hindostan in Calcutta in 1813. She was subsequently purchased by the Royal Navy as a storeship and renamed HMS Buffalo. Prior to the event for which she is remembered in Glenelg, the Buffalo, after service in the Napoleonic Wars had made a number of trips to Australia and New Zealand as a freighter, quarantine ship and perhaps most notably as a convict ship (to Australia) in the early 1830s.

    The trip for which she is remembered here in Glenelg is the one on which she (though described as “an old tub” totally unfit for surveying work) departed Portsmouth on 23 July 1836 carrying 176 colonists. These included Captain John Hindmarsh, who was to become the first Governor of the new colony of South Australia following his proclamation of the colony on 28 December 1836 – the day he arrived here in Holdfast Bay. Hindmarsh was not a particularly good Governor or administrator and was replaced replaced eighteen months later on 16 July 1838, by Governor Gawler.

    The ship you see here in the Patawalonga River is a replica of the Buffalo which operates as a restaurant though the ship is owned by the local council. As I have not dined on the vessel I cannot comment on its culinary offering.

    The ship is in a very bad state of repair and the council is actually considering destroying it as neither the restaurant owners nor other developers have shown any interest in restoring it due to the cost involved. Perhaps you need to get in quick if you want to see it!

    The original HMS Buffalo was wrecked on 28 July 1840 by a storm while anchored in Mercury Bay off Whitianga on the North Island of New Zealand. The wreck was located in 1986.

    The South Australian Maritime Museum in nearbyPort Adelaide has on display a number of models of the Buffalo including the one depicted in my fourth picture. The Maritime Museum has a really good section on the colonization of South Australia and I encourage you to visit it. See my separate tip on it.

    A bronze replica of the HMS Buffalo adorns the Pioneer Memorial in Moseley Square about 10 minutes walk from here. I have also prepared a separate tip on the Pioneer Memorial.

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    The Pioneer Memorial

    by wabat Written Jan 8, 2014

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    As soon as you step of the tram or otherwise arrive in Moseley Square at the end of Jetty Road and look towards the sea the first thing that will capture your attention is this striking 12.9 metre high monument of Kapunda marble with its base of Murray Bridge granite. You also can't fail to notice the beautiful setting amongst the palm trees. When I first saw the monument I instantly assumed it was a War Memorial.

    I was wrong. This is the Pioneer Memorial unveiled by Governor, Major-General Sir Winston Dugan on Sunday 27 December 1936 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the State of South Australia and to honor the early settlers. On the south and north faces are bronze tablets listing the names of the first explorers/settlers including Nuyts, Flinders, Baudin, Sturt, Barker and Light in addition to the State’s founders - Wakefield, Gouger, Torrens G.F. Angas and others. At the top of the four panels are relief portraits of Wakefield, Hindmarsh, Gouger and Angas.

    On the western side facing the sea the panel depicts the proclamation ceremony (picture 5) and the inscription reads: ‘Here, at Holdfast Bay, landed the Pioneer Settlers and Governor Hindmarsh Announced the Establishment of the Government on December 28th 1836”. The others panels depict various persons or matters of key significance to the development of South Australia, including the pastoral industry, the overland telegraph line, the Murray River as a means of transport and Sir Ross Smith, a pioneer airman. The drawings for these reliefs were done by South Australian artist, Ivor Hele, who came to prominence as a war artist in WWII. Personally, and it’s not a criticism, I find the reliefs rather Sovietesque.

    The Latin phrase on the southern face is perhaps the most poignant “Si Momumentum Requiris Cicumspice “ – “If you seek a memorial, look around you”. These words will resonate with readers who have seen or are aware of the inscription remembering St Christopher Wren in a circle of black marble on the floor beneath the dome in St Paul’s Cathedral, London and also on his tomb in the Cathedral. The inscriptions to Wren include these same words – written much earlier.

    On top of the monument (picture 3) is a bronze replica of HMS Buffalo, the ship on which Governor “elect” Hindmarsh and other early settlers arrived here in Holdfast Bay on the 28th December 1936. A replica of the HMS Buffalo can be seen a short distance from this memorial - (separate tip).

    Later that day under the “Old Gum Tree” (separate tip) a proclamation was read by the 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.

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    The Red Rattler

    by wabat Written Jan 7, 2014

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    The Red Rattler Tram
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    In 1873 the railway line between Adelaide and Glenelg was build by the Adelaide, Glenelg & Suburban Railway Company Ltd. Until 1899 the company operated steam trains on the line when it was acquired by the state owned South Australian Railways (SAR) which ran the trains until 1929.

    In April 1929 ownership and operation transferred from the SAR to Adelaide’s Municipal Tramways Trust (MTT) which immediately closed the line and converted it to a standard gauge electric tram-line.

    Thirty H-class trams (nicknamed Red Rattlers) were built for the line by a local manufacturer, A. Pengelley. The line re-opened on 14 December 1929 and the first “Bay Tram” completed its journey to Glenelg. The trams were 50 feet long, seated 64 and could reach a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour.

    In addition to the standard H-Class trams, in the 1930s the line operated “horse trams” - specifically designed trams used to transport horses to and from the racecourse at Morphettville (which incidentally still operates today - the race course not the horse tram). One of its first horse customers was Phar Lap, a legendary Australian Race horse - the heart of which you can view in the National Museum of Australia should you visit my home town of Canberra.

    Of all the trams that operated in Adelaide the “Bay Tram” was always the most popular with commuters, shoppers, race-goers and tourists. On the 28 December 1939 – Proclamation Day in the State’s Centenary Year - it transported 45,000 people in a single day.

    A major review of the tramway network in the 1950s saw the whole network apart from the Adelaide – Glenelg line closed.

    While the 1929 trams were updated a few times, in essence, they remained very true to the original design until there were totally replaced with the modern trams which operate today. The interiors remained varnished wood and the glass was etched with MTT logos. There was no heating or air conditioning and they continued to rattle! While most of the trams were replaced in 2006 a few continued to operate at weekends and on other special occasions until mid 2013.

    Five refurbished H-class trams are still in the fleet, stored in depot awaiting a decision on their future.

    I really do hope they are returned to service – I would certainly like to relive an experience I first had probably 20 years ago now.

    In the meantime visitors will have to content themselves with looking at the old Red Rattler tram preserved here at Glenelg.

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    Glenelg Jetty – for your next promenade.

    by wabat Written Jan 7, 2014

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    Glenelg Jetty and Beach
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    If you have read my tip on Glenelg beach you will be aware of the restrictions put on people (particularly males) bathing on the beach during day light hours in the second half of the 19th century and, when the bathing was eventually permitted during the day, the restrictions on bathing attire that could be worn into the 20th century.

    Picture five is a 1912 shot of children and a dog paddling at Glenelg beach – appropriately attired for the year.

    No posing on the beach for Glenelg - promenading on the jetty or along the foreshore was the thing to do!

    The first jetty on the beach opened on 25 April 1859 and was 381 metres long. The steelwork for the jetty was shipped out from the UK. The jetty was used not only by fishermen but also to accept cargo from ships, including a P&O mail service from the UK between 1874 (six months after the opening of the Adelaide-Glenelg rail service) and 1888 by which time Port Adelaide replaced it as Adelaide's main port.

    In 1872 a wooden lighthouse was built at the end of the jetty. This caught fire in 1872 and was jettisoned into the sea before serious damage was caused to the jetty. In 1874 a new lighthouse was built. Public baths, an aquarium, kiosk, tearooms and even a police shed quickly followed – obviously the place to go in the 1870s and into the 20th century. You can just about make out some of these structures in the 1912 picture attached.

    In 1943 the kiosk was destroyed in a storm and the whole jetty was lost to a cyclone in 1948. A new, and the current structure, was completed in 1969.

    Though it is only 215 metres long it remains a great spot for a promenade to this day and affords excellent views back to the beach and foreshore – note the line of King Island Pine trees on the foreshore. Just be careful as there is no shade on the jetty so come prepared.

    The jetty is also a popular spot for fishermen though I have yet to see anyone actually catch anything.

    Picture five – from the State Library of South Australia – PRG 280/1/14/601

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    Relax on the Beach

    by wabat Updated Jan 4, 2014

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    Glenelg is Adelaide’s premier seaside destination and when you look at the beach you would think that the reason it is so, is obvious.

    I have been coming to Glenelg for years now and it seems that less people are using the beach as time goes by and more and more are spending their time in the cafés and restaurants along Jetty Road and more recent additions at Marina Pier. In fact, I think the café scene has now surpassed the beach as a reason to come here. Rather odd and sad if you ask me – it sort of misses the point of going to the seaside or is it just that I have become old fashioned? Perhaps I have always been old fashioned!

    That said, the beach remains as beautiful as ever and lots of people still use it. Personally I do not lie on the beach (doing such intensely bores me though in reality I would be a more than a delicate shade of pink before boredom set it!). I do, however, delight in walking along this long white sand beach especially early in the morning. If you do lie on the beach be aware that temperatures here in the summer can rise above 40 degrees centigrade and the sun is intense. Swimming here is safe but do so within the area monitored by lifeguards. Dolphins do occasionally come in to the shore for a swim too - you might be lucky.

    There is a reasonable amount of shaded grass area just back from the beach, nice for a picnic. Cricket, volleyball and other beach games are always popular.

    Dogs are permitted on the beach but must be on a lead during daylight savings time, between the hours of 10am and 8pm. Outside this time and these hours dogs are permitted without a lead as long as they are under effective control. If walking your dog on the beach, or indeed in any public place, always carry a plastic bag to collect any droppings.

    In days past, while people did not have to be on leads they were certainly restricted as to when they could bathe on the beach and especially so men.

    When the first jetty on the beach (see my separate review) was opened in 1859 swimming was not allowed as the sight of men bathing 'outraged public decency'. From 1863 women and girls could bathe between midnight and 7 am within 200 metres of the jetty. Men and boys over 10 years of age were banned although later this was changed and they were allowed to swim, between Pier Street and a point 200 metres south of the jetty, anytime except between 8 am. and dark. By the 1890s it was legal to bathe during the day, but only in reserved, segregated areas. Males in bathing suits could be fined for approaching within ten metres of a member of the opposite sex. Mixed bathing was not permitted until 1911, and even then neck-to-knee bathing suits were required (to be worn).

    Today there are no restrictions as to when you can bathe or with whom you bathe – but the main beach at Glenelg is a permanent Dry Zone meaning that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited 24hrs per day 365 days of the year. Perhaps this explains the apparent shift from the beach to the cafes!

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    Spend time on the beach and jetty

    by Merebin Written Apr 5, 2013
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    In warmer weather the water is great for a swim, or just spend time on the beach. People are often seen playing beach volleyball or other games on the white sand that makes up the beach area. If the ocean isn't your thing, a walk out along the jetty gives a different view of the foreshore. As the beach is west facing, sunset is a great opportunity to watch the sun set over the sea.

    None of the beach is private so all parts are accessible. There are restaurants along the foreshore and thoughtfully provided taps to rinse the fine sand from your feet when you decide to leave.

    A walk along the foreshore is also a good opportunity to spot birds and sometimes even other marine wildlife, such as small crabs or jellyfish.

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    Visit the Glenelg Town Hall

    by Merebin Updated Apr 5, 2013
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    Glenelg's town hall was originally build in 1875, although the clock and clock tower were added later. It was originally planned to be used as an institute building, but in 1887 the building was bought by the Glenelg council and it was then used as the town hall, In 1997 the Glenelg and Brighton Councils came together to form the council of Holdfast Bay, which say the end of the building's use as a town hall. Instead, it became an historical museum called the Bay Discovery Centre.

    The Bay Discovery Centre has free admission and features interactive exhibits to help learn about early life on the sea in this area. A changing program of visual art exhibitions is also featured. The centre is open daily.

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    ST. ANDREW'S BY THE SEA UNITING CHURCH

    by balhannah Written Aug 4, 2012

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    St. Andrew's of the Sea church
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    I have seen St. Andrew's Church many times, and I don't think I ever realized it was a Church!
    To me, it looks a bit like the Glenelg Town Hall.
    Well, it isn't the original quite small church that was built in 1848, but a much larger one that was built in 1879, in Italian style. The church was completed and opened for divine service in 1880.

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    MORPHETTVILLE RACES

    by balhannah Written Aug 4, 2012

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    Champion

    The South Australia Jockey Club is situated at Morphettville Racecourse. The race-course has been here since 1875.
    Race's are held here every Saturday, including major races like The Adelaide Cup, Australasian Oaks and Robert Sangster Stakes in March and Group 1 SA Derby and the Goodwood Handicap in May.

    The Adelaide Cup is held on the second Monday of March each year, and is a state holiday in South Australia. It is one of the biggest events of the horse racing year, and is a social event with women dressing in their finest outfits, some hoping to be chosen to take part in fashion shows.

    Getting to Morphettville races is pretty easy if you want to take public transport. Just catch the GLENELG TRAM from Victoria Square in the city centre, and get off at the Morphettville Racecourse. You can’t go wrong!

    ADMISSION INTO GENERAL PUBLIC AREA IN 2012...
    Adults: $10...Concession: $5...Children Under 18 FREE

    Subject to change on Adelaide Casino Adelaide Cup, Melbourne Cup Day and other Feature Race Meetings.

    Gates open at 10.00 a.m. unless otherwise specified.

    Carparking: $5 on Adelaide Cup and Melbourne Cup Day
    Available in the Morphettville Junction car park (off Anzac Highway), and the Morphett Road car park, across the road from Morphettville Racecourse.

    Plenty of places for food and drinks.
    ATM's on course.

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    HMS BUFFALO

    by balhannah Updated Aug 4, 2012

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    HMS Buffalo

    Located in Wigley Reserve, is the replica of the HMS Buffalo, the ship that came out from England in 1836, with Governor Hindmarsh on board.

    HMS Buffalo was built in India and used as a storeship, convict ship and as transport for immigrants to Australia before being wrecked in 1840.
    The Buffalo sailed to Australia in May 1833, carrying 180 female convicts. She was an important ship in the maritime history of South Australia, serving at times as a quarantine, transport or colonisation ship. She was wrecked in 1840 during a storm.
    In memory of this Ship, a Replica was built. You can only view from the outside, unless you are going onboard to enjoy a meal at the Restaurant.

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    GLENELG JETTY & BEACH

    by balhannah Written Aug 4, 2012

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    Glenelg Beach
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    Jetties, I always go for a walk along them to see if people are catching fish, to see if there are fish in the clear waters, or just to watch the children jumping into the ocean.

    So, a walk along the Glenelg Jetty was a must for me! This isn't the original, which was built in 1859. That one had a Lighthouse at the end, and it caught fire destroying the Jetty. Bad luck again, as in 1948, the jetty was washed away during a storm, leaving behind a kiosk and aquarium.
    In 1969, a shorter jetty was built, and this one is still there.

    From the jetty, there a nice views back to Glenelg, and of the Beach and the Norfolk Island Pine Trees. If you don't want to sit on the sand, there is plenty of lawn right beside the Beach.
    Glenelg is quite a popular beach in Summer.

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