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Top 8 South Australia Boat Trips in Winter

Home > Adelaide > Cruises | Escape the City | Family | Lists | Outdoor
by Gill Lockhart (subscribe)
Inspirational content to spend more time outdoors, in blue spaces and experiencing water activities. Visit our website at Travel With No Anchor
Published July 6th 2018
Donít let winter stop you enjoying a day out on the water
South Australia has some of the calmest seas during winter (as well as the roughest!), so wrap up warm and enjoy some of these best boat trips and water activities to do with all the family during the winter months:

1. Whale Watching with Big Duck Tours

South Australia is privileged to the home of both Southern Right and Humpback Whales during their winter migration, with sightings beginning around mid-May until October each year. We have a great whale spotting location right on our doorstep and Big Duck Tours in Victor Harbor offers the best way to get out on the water and see them up and close in their natural habitat.

Big Duck Tour, Victor Harbour, Whale sighting South Australia, Whale Tours
Image from Big Duck Tours website

Big Duck Tours is an all year round tour operator and their tours are a great experience to be enjoyed by all the family. The boat is comfortable, has 360 views and feels extremely safe, even when they speed it up a little for the journey home!

The commentary is informative, entertaining, and everyone is encouraged to keep their eyes open for seals, sea lions, dolphins and this time of year, Whales. They also supply jackets to keep you dry, and a little bit warmer!

The tours have already seen a great display this year, with Whales getting up close and personal to the boats to check out what is going on - ideal photo opportunities! How amazing would it be to see a Whale swimming alongside as you cruise along in the Big Duck boat!

Big Duck Tour, Victor Harbour, Whale sighting South Australia, Whale Tours
Image from Big Duck Tours website

This year, they will be logging all the whales they have spotted on their tours, and the SA Whale Centre also records sightings. The centre also offers some great information about different species and behaviours of these magnificent mammals.

If getting on a boat isn't quite your thing, there are some great viewing spots on the walk along the Encounter Marine Park Whale Trail.

2. Relaxing cruise with the Spirit of the Coorong

The sheltered waters of the Coorong National Park allow the Spirit of the Coorong cruises to operate all year. Cruises during the winter months are on Sundays, departing Goolwa Wharf at 10am and this impressive 6 hour, 60km cruise, includes guided walks so you can get out and stretch your sea legs!

Spirit of the Coorong cruises, boat trip Goolwa, South Australia boat trip, Coorong boat trip
Image from Spirit of the Coorong website

Lunch and afternoon tea is also provided. The cruises offer a unique experience to get deep into the National Park and learn all about its history and environmental systems.

3. Cruise the Murray with Captain Proud Paddle Boats

Captain Proud Paddle Boats also operate all year round, thanks to the sheltered waters of the stunning Mighty Murray River.

Captain Proud Paddle Boat, River Murray cruise, South Australia boat trip, lunch cruise, experience the River Murray
Image from Captain Proud website

Lunch cruises depart daily from the main wharf at Murray Bridge and include a 3-hour cruise with 2-course meal as you float past the majestic scenery and experience the wildlife in its untamed beauty.

It's worth checking out Cheap Tuesdays and their last minute specials to save a few dollars, and there is also an option to take the Adelaide Hills Tour with included Lunch Cruise if you fancy making a day of it.

4. Dolphin spotting with the Dolphin Explorer

The Dolphin Explorer is a popular family attraction close to the CBD in Port Adelaide. It is a shorter cruise, with a 90-minute or 2-hour cruise along the sheltered waters of Port River.

Cruises depart each weekend day and some days during the week, so check out their website for availability. During your cruise, there is onboard commentary pointing out the main features of the Port River, as well as those exciting spotting of dolphins. Bars and food are available onboard, along with toilets and lifts between decks.

5. Relax on the River Torrens with Popeye

The Popeye Boat in Adelaide CBD has been a favourite for years and with heating on board and blinds to keep the weather out, there's no excuse to not jump onboard a leisurely cruise around the calm River Torrens.

Popeye Boat, Popeye Adelaide, Popeye River Torrens, winter activities Adelaide
Image from Popeye website

Departing daily and leaving hourly from Elder Park, you can incorporate your cruise with a trip to Adelaide Zoo, or enjoy the high life with one of their 'High Tea' events on board (bookings required).

6. Take on an adventure with Adelaide Sailing School

Sailing can be one of the most relaxing, yet revitalizing experiences and Adelaide Sailing School, situated in Glenelg is the place to learn.

Adelaide Sailing School, Winter sailing Adelaide, learn to sail Adelaide, learn to sail winter
Image from Adelaide Sailing School website

While other operators have anchored down this time of year, not only do Adelaide Sailing School offer introduction and training courses during the winter, they also offer your own gorgeous private charters. Weather permitting, this is a perfect time of year to get out onto the open ocean and awaken those senses that make you feel alive again!

7. Holiday in a houseboat

Renmark is home of houseboating and you are spoilt for choice with the amount and variety of houseboats available. But it's not just Renmark that is showing off, Murray Bridge and Mannum also have their own great selection.

Houseboats South Australia, Renmark Houseboats, Mannum Houseboats, Murray Bridge Houseboats
Southern Sun Houseboat - Image from Discover Murray River website

Houseboating is a great family activity, or an opportunity to catch up with friends, from a long weekend to weeks at a time. If you are new to the activity, you'll get a complete rundown on how to be Captain of your 'moving house' and you don't even need a boat licence to hire one.

Whilst watersports may be out of the question during winter, cruising along the Mighty Murray River at your own pace is sure to offer both relaxation and tranquillity. And why not really spoil everyone and hire one with a hot tub!

8. Take a cruise onboard the PS Murray Princess

If you don't fancy being your own Captain, check out Murray River Cruises for a once in a lifetime experience on board the PS Murray Princess.

This vessel is one of the few authentic paddlewheelers still in true action and is the largest in the southern hemisphere.

Murray River cruises, PS Murray Princess, Captain Cook cruises South Australia, South Australia cruises
Image from Captain Cook Cruises website

This is the Murray River's equivalent to cruise liners and offers 3,4,5 or 7-night cruises with a range of cabins available (Staterooms, Outside Cabins and Inside Cabins), with the most scenic views to be enjoyed in South Australia.

All activities are weather permitting, check availability if the weather is especially bad. If all else fails, head to Adelaide Aquatic Centre for a heated pool where you can close your eyes and float away to anywhere you want to be!
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Why? Don't let Winter get in the way of enjoying the water in South Australia
When: Various times and dates across winter
Where: Adelaide and surrounding areas
Cost: Varies
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