Are you arriving into the Adelaide Cruise Terminal on a ship for your first visit to South Australia?
If you are new to Adelaide, you don’t want to waste your limited time working out how to get around. To help you out, here is all the information you will need to get from the Adelaide cruise terminal to the Adelaide city centre so that you can enjoy your South Australia shore time.
Cruising is becoming more and more popular in Australia and there are now cruise ships arriving in Adelaide almost every day during the cruising season. Every year it gets a little easier to enjoy all that Adelaide has to offer.
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TL;DR? Here's the outline
Where do Cruise Ships Dock in Adelaide?
First, you need to know exactly where the cruise ship will dock in Adelaide, South Australia.
Officially called the Port Adelaide Passenger Terminal and located at berth 4, it can be found on Oliver Rogers Road, North Haven, a little over 20km northwest of the Adelaide CBD (Adelaide Central Business District).
The Port Adelaide cruise terminal is quite a remote part of the metropolitan area with very few services within walking distance. It’s around 1.5km (20 min) to reach the Sailmaster Tavern.
If you have time to spare, this is a nice location to enjoy a meal or a drink with views over the adjacent marina. There are also one or two other casual restaurants in the complex and a bottle shop.
At a stretch, you could also walk almost 3km (35min) to the small local North Haven Shopping Centre where you will find a supermarket, pharmacy, hairdresser, bakery and some takeaway food shops.
So if you are looking to explore Adelaide a little on your visit, but don’t want to book a tour, you will want to travel further than the immediate area. The easiest – and cheapest – way to do this is by train.
Getting the Outer Harbor to Adelaide Train
As you disembark from your cruise ship, you will pass through the terminal building and emerge into what looks like a huge carpark.
Follow the walkways toward the road, and immediately in front of you, on the other side of the road, will be the Outer Harbor train station. This is your gateway to the rest of the city.
The train from Outer Harbour will take you directly into the city centre.
The whole trip takes around 40 minutes and you will be right on North Terrace, just minutes from attractions such as the South Australian Museum and Art Gallery, Rundle Mall, Adelaide Oval, and all the other shops and restaurants in the Adelaide city centre.
Another place of interest along the way is Port Adelaide, just twenty minutes on the train from Outer Harbor. This historical suburb was originally the hub of shipping before larger ships made Outer Harbor a better location.
Outer Harbor Train Times
The trains from the Outer Harbor railway station leave about every half an hour between 5 am and 1 am on weekdays.
Apart from the first train, which leaves at 5:20 am, the trains leave two minutes before the half-hour – for example, 7:28, 7:58, 8:28 etc.
It’s best to plan your disembarkation from your cruise ship so that you do not have to wait too long for your train.
During peak hours, the trains will stop at all stations until Port Adelaide and then run express into the city, which means a quicker trip of around 34 minutes. For the rest of the day, the trains stop at every station.
On the weekends (and public holidays) the first train is at 6:58 am and they run every half an hour until 12:58 am. All trains on the weekends stop at every station.
The return trips leave the Adelaide Railway Station at 12 and 42 minutes past the hour, for example, 3:12 pm, 3:42 pm, 4:12 pm etc.
There has been discussion about extra services being added on cruise ship days, but I have not been able to find confirmation of this.
You can download a pdf copy of the Outer Harbor train timetable here.
(Information correct as of October 2023)
Buying a Ticket
Adelaide public transport is currently in the process of having the payment methods updated to allow a simple swipe of your credit/debit card as you board, which will make it much easier for visitors to Adelaide to travel to the city.
At the time of writing (December 2022) this is currently available only on the O-Bahn busway and the trams, but will hopefully be available on the trains in the near future.
In the meantime, you will need to purchase a ticket for your train trip into the city. There are two ways to do this.
Generally, there will be a staff member available on the platform who can sell you a special Cruise Ship MetroCard. These can only be bought from the station here at Outer Harbor, or at the Adelaide Railway Station.
The Cruise Ship Metrocard will give you unlimited travel across the whole public transport system for the day. These special tickets for cruise visitors cost $10AUD for the full fare or $5AUD if you have a concession card.
You will need to show your ship passes and your concession card if applicable to purchase the ticket.
If there is no one on the platform to purchase tickets from or you only need a one-way ticket, then you can purchase them on the train using cash or credit/debit cards (with a PIN).
Every train has a ticket machine onboard, usually towards the front of the train. You can buy the ticket that you need as you get on board.
Choose from single tickets, day trip tickets (different to the Cruise Ship MetroCard) and concessions if required.
Once you have your ticket, validate it on board the train and keep it. You will need a ticket to exit through the barriers at the Adelaide railway station.
Single-trip tickets are valid for two hours, so if you are transferring onto another bus/tram/train within that timeframe it will be valid for that trip too.
To check the latest information (in case of changes) or to plan any onward travel, you can use the journey planner on the Adelaide Metro website.
Other Ways to Get From Adelaide Cruise Terminal to the City Centre
While the train is the easiest and most obvious way to get into the city, there are some other ways too.
- Taxi – there will almost certainly be taxis available at the terminal. A fare should cost somewhere around the $60-70 mark, but this could vary a little depending on traffic etc. If you would like to book your taxi in advance and/or have the option to choose a fixed fare, then I recommend Suburban Taxis where you can book online or download their app.
- Uber – while there are other rideshare companies available in Adelaide (GoCatch, Ola, Shebah, MyCar) Uber is the most popular. The price will start at around $45-55. As always with Uber, be aware of surge pricing as that can significantly increase the cost.
- Car Hire – there are, unfortunately, no car hire facilities near the Port Adelaide Passenger Terminal. If you did want to hire a car, you would need to make your way into the city on the train first. From there, you can find rental car locations just a short walk away – for example, on Blythe Street, almost directly opposite the railway station.
- Private Transfers – While most companies that offer private transfers really only advertise airport pickup/dropoff, if you contacted them, it’s likely they would do Port transfers too. While I’ve not personally used them, Black Lane has a good reputation.
- Shuttle Buses – some cruise companies will arrange shuttle buses from the cruise terminal to the city. Sometimes these will be free, sometimes there will be a charge. Check with your cruise personnel to find out if you have this option.
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