Torrens Island circumnavigation makes a good day trip. The quickest route is to take advantage of the falling tide by travelling in a clockwise direction from the Garden Island boat ramp past the ships graveyard to the Port River. At its northern end it is possible with at least quarter tide, to pass through the cutting at the top of Torrens Island and return via Barkers inlet.
Garden Island Boat ramp GPS: 34.8046 S; 138.5400 E
Launch site and exit point.
The boat ramp is often busy and powered craft may be encountered. Remember to give way to powered craft when in the boating channel.
Torrens Island circumnavigation makes a good day trip.
The quickest route is to take advantage of the falling tide by travelling in a clockwise direction from the Garden Island boat ramp past the ships graveyard to the Port river, thus taking advantage of the flow from the falling tide to the cutting.
The cutting at the North end of Torrens island (Point A GPS: 34.7575 S; 138.5138 E) (once maintained to allow passage of explosives vessels) is not navigable at low tide. It is necessary to be there no later than quarter tide to low water i.e. at least 1.2 metres as measured at Outer Harbour.
If there is a dodge tide the timing is not critical as there will be sufficient water there all day.
If the tide is high the trail can be extended further north around Point Grey instead of going through the cutting.
The only spots to land for a break are at the beach at Snapper Point just north of Mutton Cove on the western side of the Port river just past the Excelsior shipwreck and on one of the numerous sand banks that will appear at low tide once into Barkers Inlet.
The Quarantine Station and power station are closed to the public, and you should not land near them except in an emergency. If you do have trouble along this stretch of water there is easier access if you land on the Lefevre Peninsula side
French Tom Creek (Point B GPS: 34.7796 S; 138.5334 S)
Named for a fisherman of long ago, this creek leads to the interior of the island from the Barkers Inlet side of the Island. At its upstream end there is a fork. The left branch almost turns back on itself and the right branch also turns left and disappears into mangroves.
Always check wind and tides before departure
Keep clear of and always give way to large vessels using the Port River.
Waterway conditions: Keep clear of and always give way to large vessels using the Port River. Always check weather, wind strength (see MetEye) and tidal information before departure and ensure at least quarter-tide to navigate the cutting i.e. at least 1.2 metres as measured at Outer Harbour.
BBQ, shady trees, picnic tables, grassy area, toilets, change rooms and extensive parking area
Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary is a marine protected area located on the east coast of Gulf St Vincent in and adjoining the north-western part of the Adelaide metropolitan area. It was established in 2005 for the protection of a resident population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). It is a real delight to encounter these wonderful creatures when you paddle in this area – something that happens quite frequently.
Hint: Some of the sanctuary’s resident dolphins have even been given names, like Twinkle and Hunter. You may like to familiarise yourself with their unique markings and see how many you can recognise on your next visit.
Australian Submarine Corporation The ASC Osborne facility on the Port River was opened in 1989 and South Australia became the established headquarters of the ASC at this time. In June 1987 the ASC had been awarded the $5 billion contract for the design and manufacture of 6 Collins Class submarines – the largest defence contract signed in Australia to that date. The site underwent a $120 million shipyard upgrade in 2007. In 2016 the Federal Government structurally separated the ASC into 3 separate businesses – submarine maintenance, shipbuilding and infrastructure. Shipbuilding remains the primary activity of the ASC at the Osborne facility.
Torrens Island Quarantine Station:
Not long after Europeans started settling in South Australia it became obvious that seriously ill new arrivals from overseas needed to be segregated from the rest of the population. A practical solution was to quarantine affected passengers for as long as was necessary. The Commonwealth Government took over administration of the site in 1912, many of the buildings were erected after that time.
Built in 1879 the Quarantine Station on Torrens Island was isolated, but within reach of Adelaide and so was the first line of defence to stop diseases like smallpox being brought into the colony by ships passengers.
In recent years modern facilities for holding imported birds under quarantine were created. These facilities were closed in 2012 when the quarantine of all animals and birds was moved to Melbourne.
Note: There is no access to the site due to security for Torrens Island Power Station. The Port Adelaide Maritime Museum sometimes take tours to the site.
For more information go to the Friends of the Torrens Island Quarantine Station website.