Torrens Island Trail

Torrens Island circumnavigation makes a good day trip.  The quickest route is to take advantage of the falling tide by traveling in a clockwise direction from the Garden Island boat ramp past the ship’s graveyard to the Port River. At its northern end, it is possible with at least quarter tide, to pass through the cutting at the top of Torrens Island and return via Barkers inlet.



Port Adelaide (14 km from Adelaide)

Approx. 19kms

Approx. 19kms

Paddle Time 2 hours to half a day

Difficulty Level

Difficulty Level

Easy – Moderate

Paddling five checks BOM
Paddle SA is the governing body of paddle sport and recreation in South Australia. It leads and supports paddling in South Australia and encourages the safe exploration of our waterways. Paddling Trail South Australia has a range of Paddling Trails to suit different abilities. Know your ability.
Adventure Kayaking SA We enjoy sharing great paddling adventures with you so come and join our tours, hire and lessons. A unique way to explore South Australia’s great coastal waters and rivers.

Paddling Trails South Australia Avenza mapsIf you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF Map app and have interactive paddling trail maps on hand when you need them. The app uses your device’s built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos, and drop Placemark pins.

Trail Information

Launch Site:
Garden Island Boat ramp GPS: 34.8046 S; 138.5400 E
Launch site and exit point.
The boat ramp is often busy and powered craft may be encountered. Remember to give way to powered craft when in the boating channel. 

Trail Points:
Torrens Island circumnavigation makes a good day trip.

The quickest route is to take advantage of the falling tide by travelling in a clockwise direction from the Garden Island boat ramp past the ships graveyard to the Port river, thus taking advantage of the flow from the falling tide to the cutting.

The cutting at the North end of Torrens island (Point A GPS: 34.7575 S; 138.5138 E) (once maintained to allow passage of explosives vessels) is not navigable at low tide. It is necessary to be there no later than quarter tide to low water i.e. at least 1.2 metres as measured at Outer Harbour.
If there is a dodge tide the timing is not critical as there will be sufficient water there all day.

If the tide is high the trail can be extended further north around Point Grey instead of going through the cutting.

The only spots to land for a break are at the beach at Snapper Point just north of Mutton Cove on the western side of the Port river just past the Excelsior shipwreck and on one of the numerous sand banks that will appear at low tide once into Barkers Inlet.

The Quarantine Station and power station are closed to the public, and you should not land near them except in an emergency. If you do have trouble along this stretch of water there is easier access if you land on the Lefevre Peninsula side

French Tom Creek (Point B GPS: 34.7796 S; 138.5334 S)
Named for a fisherman of long ago, this creek leads to the interior of the island from the Barkers Inlet side of the Island. At its upstream end there is a fork. The left branch almost turns back on itself and the right branch also turns left and disappears into mangroves.

Always check wind and tides before departure
Keep clear of and always give way to large vessels using the Port River.

Toilets, parking, BBQ, shady trees, picnic tables, grassy area, and change rooms

Trail 21

Points of Interest

Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary is a marine protected area located on the east coast of Gulf St Vincent in and adjoining the north-western part of the Adelaide metropolitan area. It was established in 2005 for the protection of a resident population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). It is a real delight to encounter these wonderful creatures when you paddle in this area – something that happens quite frequently.

Hint: Some of the sanctuary’s resident dolphins have even been given names, like Twinkle and Hunter. You may like to familiarise yourself with their unique markings and see how many you can recognise on your next visit.

Australian Submarine Corporation  The ASC Osborne facility on the Port River was opened in 1989 and South Australia became the established headquarters of the ASC at this time. In June 1987 the ASC had been awarded the $5 billion contract for the design and manufacture of 6 Collins Class submarines – the largest defense contract signed in Australia to that date. The site underwent a $120 million shipyard upgrade in 2007. In 2016 the Federal Government structurally separated the ASC into 3 separate businesses – submarine maintenance, shipbuilding, and infrastructure. Shipbuilding remains the primary activity of the ASC at the Osborne facility.

Torrens Island Quarantine Station:
Not long after Europeans started settling in South Australia it became obvious that seriously ill new arrivals from overseas needed to be segregated from the rest of the population. A practical solution was to quarantine affected passengers for as long as was necessary. The Commonwealth Government took over the administration of the site in 1912, many of the buildings were erected after that time.
Built-in 1879 the Quarantine Station on Torrens Island was isolated, but within reach of Adelaide and so was the first line of defense to stop diseases like smallpox being brought into the colony by ships passengers.
In recent years modern facilities for holding imported birds under quarantine were created. These facilities were closed in 2012 when the quarantine of all animals and birds was moved to Melbourne.
Note: There is no access to the site due to security for Torrens Island Power Station.  The Port Adelaide Maritime Museum sometimes takes tours to the site.

For more information go to the Friends of the Torrens Island Quarantine Station website.

Show us your photos on Instagram: #torrensisland
Torrens Island Storm. Winsor Newton Artists Watercolours on Arches 300 GSM Medium. An impression of a storm approaching the Torrens Island power station at Port Adelaide in South Australia, painted alla prima. 
#torrensisland #watercolour #seascape #storm
Torrens Island Quarantine Station #southaustralia #sagreat #torrensisland
A full month by month look at our 2024 ‘Scenic Peninsula’ Calendars 🗓️ #fourteen92productions #photography #adelaidephotographer #localphotographer #lefevrepeninsula #largsbay #semaphore #portadelaide #northhaven #torrensisland #largspierhotel #hartsmill #dronephotography #drone #nikon #mynikonlife #mavicmini #d750 #supportlocalbusiness #secnicpeninsula #supportsmallbusiness #adelaidesmallbusiness #organise #calendar #jetty #sunset #localbusiness #2024calendar
🚨 The final Torrens Island Quarantine Station tour for 2023 is happening this Sunday 15 October at 11am. 

Explore the grounds and buildings of the Torrens Island Quarantine Station, established in 1879 to prevent ship passengers from bringing diseases into South Australia. 

Retrace the journey of new arrivals from the jetty to the waiting room, bathing blocks and beyond, and see how the disinfecting block and boiler house functioned. 

Tickets are still available – head to link in bio. 

📷 Notice from Torrens Island Quarantine Station, State History Collection, HT 1999.0636

#samaritimemuseum #historytrustsa #torrensisland #quarantinestation #portadelaide #AdelaideBeaches
2024 'Scenic Peninsula' Calendars all packaged and ready for delivery! All calendars come with a FREE 5x7" print of the Lefevre Peninsula area (print chosen at random). You can also find our calendars, cards & canvas prints at the Beach Haven Cafe 🥰 #fourteen92productions #photography #adelaidephotographer #localphotographer #lefevrepeninsula #largsbay #semaphore #portadelaide #northhaven #torrensisland #largspierhotel #hartsmill #dronephotography #drone #nikon #mynikonlife #mavicmini #d750 #supportlocalbusiness #secnicpeninsula #supportsmallbusiness #adelaidesmallbusiness #organise #calendar #jetty #sunset #beachhavencafe #smallbusinesssupportingsmallbusiness #localcafe #localbusiness


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Paddling Trail South Australia has a range of Paddling Trails to suit different abilities.

Know your ability

These are easy to access kayak and canoe trails through the Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula, Riverland, Murray River, and the Coorong.