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You had better book early for this
HMAS Adelaide, Newest of the RAN Landing Helicopter Docks (Image: Royal Australian Navy)
HMAS Adelaide is the latest of a line of ships to proudly bear the name of South Australia's capital city. It's the third Royal Australian Navy ship to bear this name - the first was a light cruiser in 1918, and the second was a frigate which served from 1980 to 2008. Commissioned in late 2015 HMAS Adelaide is the second of two Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in Spain.
Landing Helicopter Docks are amphibious assault ships, the largest ships ever built for the Royal Australian Navy, and HMAS Adelaide is sure to make an extraordinarily impressive sight when it comes to Adelaide. In my recollection Navy ships visited Adelaide fairly regularly in the past, but it seems a long time since a RAN warship visited our shores. They were always popular events with large crowds queuing to look at the warships.
The last Royal Australian Navy ship that I saw in Port Adelaide was HMAS Hobart around 2001. It served in the Vietnam war where it was mistakenly attacked by the US Air Force, and later helped in Cyclone Tracy disaster relief before being sunk as a dive wreck in Yankalilla Bay, South Australia.
The 230 metre long, 27,000 tonne HMAS Adelaide is making its next visit to Adelaide this month, and the Royal Australian Navy are inviting us to come aboard and look around while it is docked at Outer Harbor. To their credit the RAN hope to avoid the need for queues by issuing free tickets for visitors which are easily booked online. However, with increased security necessary these days you will need photo ID to visit during the HMAS Adelaide Open Day.
Tickets for the free event are staggered in 30 minute arrival windows starting at 9am and finishing during the 2-2.30pm arrival window. You can stay as long as you need to see the warship, but all visitors will need to finish at the HMAS Adelaide Open Day by 3pm.
You need to book your free tickets online at Eventbrite in advance, then either print the ticket or use the Eventbrite smartphone app to store them for display.Remember that you will need photo ID, although it is not essential for children if accompanying somebody with ID. For security reasons there will be bag checks, so be sure to check the website to ensure that you are not bringing any prohibited items.
Take a Train to Outer Harbor Railway Station for the HMAS Adelaide Open Day
Surprisingly photography is permitted aboard HMAS Adelaide, but all camera equipment must be carried by hand and not in a bag. Please note that you must wear flat, enclosed footwear, there is no space to park prams, and access is NOT suitable for wheelchairs.
Getting to Outer Harbor can be quite slow by car in heavy traffic due to single lanes access along Lady Gowrie Drive. However there is a railway station which is very conveniently located just outside Outer Harbor's port gates. Smart travellers may choose to arrive by train.
For all you need to know about the HMAS Adelaide Open Day, head over to the Eventbrite ticket booking page for all events. The Navy waits until around 2 weeks before the Open Day before tickets are released on Eventbrite, so you may need to check a couple of times until this event appear.
If you're taking kids the Lady Ruthven Reserve is a good place nearby where they can let off steam. It's also a top spot for photographers to get shots of shipping in the area. The Mutton Cove shipwrecks are also popular with photographers, or take a peek at Fort Largs down the road from outside the fence.