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Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary - Garden Island

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by Cecelia Hopkins (subscribe)
Cecelia's articles are illustrated by Allan who enjoys photography. Cecelia is also the author of: "Silver Springtime", "All for Love", "Mystic Evermore" and the new release: "Faith and Love".
Published March 17th 2019
Picnic on the shore, bring your kayak or paddleboard
Garden Island Dolphin Sanctuary, South Australia
Kayaking with Dolphins - Photo by Allan

Garden Island is tucked away in an industrial area, most easily accessed from Eastern Parade (off Grand Junction Road). From Eastern Parade, Ottoway, turn down the Grand Trunkway and follow this to the bridge onto Garden Island Road. Across the bridge, you will see the entrance to Torrens Island on the left and the road past the ships graveyard and into the car park of the Dolphin Sanctuary on the right.

In winter, this place is cold. but still attracts a few picnic loving visitors. The facilities include a BBQ area and covered picnic table, public toilets, a boardwalk that stretches over the water and is handy for line fishing, and a couple of boat ramps.

When the weather is warm, there is a good chance of seeing dolphins. This was our second visit, and the first time we were disappointed. This time, however, there was a pair of dolphins playing and feeding in the water. They seemed undeterred by the boats and circled past our vantage point several times.

Garden Island Dolphin Sanctuary, South Australia
Swimming with Dolphins - Photo by Allan

Some people pulled out paddle boards and kayaks. They launched these and paddled right up to the dolphins. (We were secretly sorry because we felt the dolphins might have come closer to us if everyone had stayed quiet.) I overheard someone exclaim and say they were "swimming with the dolphins", which is an experience you can pay up to $300 for elsewhere.

Garden Island Dolphin Sanctuary, South Australia
The boardwalk - Photo by Cecelia

You can book tours to this place, but entry is FREE if you bring your own car and equipment.

NB. Camera enthusiasts - If you notice some hints of colour in these photographs, it is because we tried experimenting with filters to see whether one might pick the dolphins out better. Purple graduated filter on the top image, and green filter on the lower one.
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Where: Garden Island Road, Garden Island, SA
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