If you happen to be a lover of gin, then perhaps you might wish to combine that with a leisurely cruise on the Popeye down the River Torrens in Adelaide.
Did you know that Popeye boat cruises
have been operating since 1935 in Adelaide, launched by Gordon Watts? The original Popeye was 7.6 metres long, made of Jarrah and had a capacity of only 20 people.
Captain Watts named the boat after the popular cartoon character, Popeye back in the 1930s.
Its original use was as a ferry between Elder Park and Adelaide Zoo but soon could be hired for weddings and other events.
The service gradually expanded, and by the late 1940s/early 1950s there were a total of 5 boats, also Jarrah hulled and could hold up to 40 people each.
In past history, Popeye couldn't operate all year round, due to an annual draining of the river each winter for several weeks. Operations were also halted for approximately 9 months in 1967 when the current Morphett Street bridge was being constructed.
A similar period of cessation occurred when the footbridge was built across from Adelaide Oval.
One of the Popeye boats was even converted into a Royal Barge in 1977 when the late Queen Elizabeth 2nd and Prince Phillip visited Adelaide.
The Jarrah boats were finally replaced by fibreglass vessels in 1982 with a capacity for 80 passengers.
Today the boats are owned by Tony and Lidija Shuman.
2. Gin Cruise Experience
Popeye River Boat River Torrens Adelaide
One of the Gin tasting cruises on offer is a partnership between Popeye and Prohibition Liquor Company
, a local company that has been operating since 2015.
Not only do you get to taste some South Australian Gin but it is also paired with local SA foods in the form of platters, which consist of yummy fare such as cold meats, cheeses, dried and fresh fruit, olives and crackers.
The price of your ticket includes a cruise down the River Torrens, tasting of 3 of Prohibition's best Gins, together with a 45-minute talk (masterclass) on how best to enjoy them.
On top of that, you can pre-order food platters which will complement the tasty gins you are imbibing in.
The experience is for 90 minutes and the cost is $65 per person, with a minimum number of participants required upon enquiry.
Currently, these types of cruises operate every fortnight on a Friday at 6.30 pm and can be booked via the Popeye website.
On that particular cruise, if you wish for other beverages on top of the Gin supplied, you can purchase them at the bar.
As you would expect, these cruises are for adults only, 18 years or older. If you book on this experience you automatically will receive discounts on some of their gins if you decide to order, either on the day or at their shop.
Prohibition Liquor Company itself is based at 22 Gilbert Street in Adelaide and is open for tastings and purchases Wednesday to Sunday opening at 11.30 am with 10 pm closing on Wednesdays and Thursdays, late closing on Fridays and Saturdays and 7 pm closing on Sundays.
3. Other Cruise Experiences
Popeye Gin Cruise Experience River Torrens Adelaide
Popeye also has another gin cruise experience on offer, this time with a Kangaroo Island Distillery called Kangaroo Island Spirits
. These tasting tours run for the same length of time as Prohibition Gin cruises and will cost you the same, with three different gins on offer for tasting.
These are run currently every fortnight on a Saturday at 3 pm.
If you have a sweet tooth, you might want to try Popeye's Chalk Hill Wine
and Dessert tasting which runs at varying times and dates - check Popeye's website for more details. These are also 90-minute experiences at a cost of $65 per person, based on minimum numbers.
Also, Popeye's High Tea cruises are quite popular, currently running each fortnight on a Sunday at 2.30 pm. The price is $95 per adult and $75 per person ( 2yrs - 12 yrs) and includes a selection of finger sandwiches, scones, petit fours, and a complimentary glass of SA Bubbly, Beer, Cider or Soft Drink upon arrival and a bottomless cup of coffee or tea from T Bar's Australiana collection, along with bottomless Dune's and Greens bubbles during the cruise.
Again minimum numbers are required before this cruise will operate - check upon booking.
The list goes on - there are also Devonshire Tea cruises which will set you back per adult $39, concession $35 per person and Child 3 yrs - 17 yrs $30 per person for a 45-minute return trip on the river. The teas are pre-packaged and handed out upon boarding. You can also purchase something to wash it down with at the onboard licenced bar.
The general sightseeing cruises are run regularly - check the website for further details and normally operate for 45 minutes along the River Torrens, with full commentary. These tours will set you back $26 per adult, $22 concession per person, and $17 for children 3 yrs - 17 yrs per person.
Popeye also run tours for school groups - $10 per student as well as other private tours.
River Torrens Serenity Adelaide
Some great ways to explore Adelaide and see it from a different perspective from the river, as well as enjoying some great food and beverages.