Adelaide’s premier beachside destination is undoubtedly Glenelg, linked to the city along a historic tramway. It nestles in Holdfast Bay to the south-west of the CBD and combines a white sandy beach with heritage-listed hotels, modern boutiques, cafes and restaurants to create a vibrant destination for soaking up the sun.
Jetty Road is the main shopping and dining thoroughfare running east to west through Glenelg, with the tram bumping along its centre. A supermarket and shopping centre lies at its eastern edge, while sushi takeaways, pizza joints and noodle houses interspersed with chain and independent boutique stores to the west. At its beachside end is the tram terminus at Moseley Square, flanked by restaurants and alfresco cafes. The elegant Glenelg Town Hall dominates its northern edge, originally opened in 1877 as the Glenelg Institute and now home to the Bay Discovery Centre museum, together with the Beachouse amusement complex. The Stamford Grand with its ever-popular beach-facing bar stands opposite, together with the Glenelg Art Gallery. The jetty extends from here out into the ocean, originally built in 1857 and remaining a popular spot for fishermen to hang a line and take in the sunset today. A picturesque esplanade follows the beach south, while to the north lies the modern apartments, upmarket restaurants and private marina of Holdfast Shores. The Patawalonga Creek stretches north from here, with a replica of the HMS Buffalomoored on its banks, serving as a former storeship of the Royal Navy which transported convicts to Australia.
The most atmospheric way to reach Glenelg from the city centre is along the historic tramway, with frequent services that connect with the train line at Goodwood for destinations further south. Alternatively, there are numerous bus services from the city centre to Glenelg, as well as from the beachside suburbs in both the north and south.
The Kaurna indigenous people were the first to inhabit the area, known to them as Pattawia, although two smallpox epidemics brought down the Murray River from New South Wales killed off large numbers prior to European settlement in 1836. It was in Glenelg at the Old Gum Tree" that the province of South Australia was first declared by Governor John Hindmarsh, with the settlement of Adelaide established on the plains to the east by Colonel William Light.