I’m a bit of a street art lover. I seek it out whenever I travel and love finding it hidden down laneways and back alleys. The colours are always so bright. There is nothing better than seeing a plain brick wall turned into an amazing canvas. No longer is this graffiti, but amazing works of art. Here in my own back yard of Port Adelaide street art is starting to pop up more and more.
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A few years ago I was walking down a street I have walked down many times over the years and out of the corner of my eye I saw the edge of a mural on the back of a building. To see it properly, I had to make my way right down an alleyway that was the rear entrance of some shops and filled with garbage bins – so not the most inviting place. I was astounded at what I had found, and can’t quite believe I hadn’t seen it before. Probably only the drivers of the garbage trucks that come and empty the industrial rubbish bins see it regularly.
That got me wondering what other pieces of street art were hiding around Port Adelaide. I knew that a couple of years ago two big pieces had been painted on each side of a seven storey building – at that size they were hard to miss. I had also seen a few other large scale murals around the place, but had never looked closely.
A quick online search at the time told me Port Adelaide had been the host of the Wonderwalls Festival in both 2015 and 2017. This gave a great start to the art in the area with well known local and international street artists, such as Jimmy C and Natalia Rak, making their mark. New art began popping up regularly wherever there is a big blank wall.
Port Adelaide was again part of the Wonderwalls Festival in 2019. As one of the many festivals and events that happen in Adelaide in March, the three days livened up Port Adelaide. This was the first year I had not been travelling while Wonderwalls was on, so it was fun to spend a couple of hours on both Saturday and Sunday walking around and viewing the new street art being created. It’s not just that though, the weekend opened with a “block party”, bringing bands and artists and food trucks together on the Friday evening for all to enjoy. Throughout the weekend there were art walks and photography workshops, as well as opportunities to talk to the artists for those interested in learning more about the street art.
2019 saw international artists from Russia, New Zealand, Italy and Germany all add their mark to the Port Adelaide city streets. At least nine new locations have been brightened up, some with multiple artists working side by side. My favourite piece this year is “The Love Birds” by PHAT1 & Lady Diva from New Zealand (see green and blue bird photo below). This one can be found on Nile Street.
The Wonderwalls Port Adelaide Festival then went from every two years to every year and was held again in 2020. A whole weekend was put aside for the festival and I again enjoyed wandering the streets and watching as the new artworks took shape. 2020 saw thirteen new, large murals and a multitude of smaller ones. There were again a handful of international artists, but also a high proportion of local artists that come from Port Adelaide and surrounds. It’s great to see local people given these opportunities. I was impressed this year to see more female artists. There was also some controversy in the community with a political piece – but no matter the meaning, I quite like it (see below)
If you are visiting Adelaide and looking for street art, Port Adelaide really is the best place to see it. Overall there are now over fifty large pieces of street art in Port Adelaide, and many more smaller ones. While the art works are found all over the area, if you are looking for a few pieces in one place, take a look around the Port Adelaide lighthouse where there are quite a few pieces of the hoarding, and also around the Pirate Life Brewery, which is home to one of my favourites, a huge peacock, as well as others too. To find most of the murals, the map on the Wonderwalls site is useful, or pick up a Port Adelaide street art map at the visitor information centre. It’s also possible to discover more just by walking around the streets as not all the art work was done during the festivals.
While it doesn’t seem to be happening in 2021 (thanks covid!) I am really hopeful that the Wonderwalls Festival will be back in 2022 to bring even more international big names to Port Adelaide. In the meantime, it’s really worth getting down to Port Adelaide and having a walk around to see some of the amazing art below. I’ve only added a small selection of the artwork. You will have to make your way to Port Adelaide to see the rest. Download the free Port Adelaide street art map from the Our Port website to help you to find where the art is hiding.
The Port Adelaide Street Art Gallery
Here is just a small selection of the Port Adelaide street art showing some of the various styles. Take a day to visit Port Adelaide for yourself to enjoy the whole range.
Getting to Port Adelaide
The easiest way to get to Port Adelaide from the Adelaide city centre is by train. Make your way the the Adelaide Train Station and jump on a train to Outer Harbor. Get off at the Port Adelaide station about twenty minutes later.
There are buses that do the trip too, but they do take a lot longer as the take more circuitous routes, in fact up to an hour. You could catch bus numbers 230/232/252/254X/117.
Tickets for both trains and buses can be bought onboard or at the train station. You can also use a Metro Card if you have one. Depending on the time of day and type of ticket, the most you will pay for each direction is $5.70. For more details on fares, timetables and schedules see the website here.
A taxi to Port Adelaide will cost $35-$40, and an Uber will be about $30.
You could also consider staying in Port Adelaide. See all the accommodation options here.
Want to make a day of it? Click here to read my post on other things to do in Port Adelaide.
Visiting more great South Australian locations? These posts might help
Adelaide 3 Day Itinerary
Glamping South Australia – The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Style
The Ultimate List of What to do on Kangaroo Island
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Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred. She has lived in the state for almost her whole life, just one short stint away as a teenager with her family. Travelling all over the world has shown her exactly how amazing South Australia is to live and travel in and she uses her passion to show it to you the way a local sees it.