Alongside Glenelg, Henley Beach is one of the top beach escapes from Adelaide, with a selection of hotels and holiday rentals and a range of cafés and restaurants. Some travelers choose to base themselves here, while others explore independently or on tours from Adelaide. Experiences on offer run from stand-up paddleboarding to kayaking, from fishing to crabbing, from bicycle tours to coastal strolls, as well as the time-honored traditions of swimming and sunbathing.
Things to Know Before You Go
Quieter than Glenelg, Henley Beach is a good choice for sunseekers who value space but don’t want to travel far from the city.
Swimming is generally safe close to shore on Henley Beach. Volunteer lifeguards are on duty on weekends and public holidays only.
Henley Beach operates accessible beach mats, enabling people who use wheelchairs to reach the water’s edge, between Thursday and Sunday, from October until March or April. Service depends on beach conditions, so phone ahead to check before you visit.
How to Get There
Henley Beach sprawls along the coast 7 miles (11 kilometers) west of downtown Adelaide, between Glenelg and Semaphore. Buses include the H30 and N30, which stop on North Terrace (east side), Currie Street, and Grenfell Street within Adelaide city center. Alternatively, walk or cycle the accessible River Torrens Linear Park Trail, which follows the River Torrens (Karrawirra Parri) from downtown Adelaide.
When to Get There
Sunset is a particularly magical time to visit Henley Beach, with the jetty framed against the apparently endless ocean and a wealth of seafood options for dinner. Particularly over the Australian summer school vacation, which peaks in late December and January, midweek is a better time to visit than weekends.
How Henley Beach Got Its Name
Like many other Australian settlements, Henley Beach takes its name from a town in England, specifically the riverside town of Henley-on-Thames. Many believe it was a judge named Charles Cooper, born in Henley-on-Thames, who suggested the name to the explorer Charles Sturt, a fellow Briton who lived locally. The beach was a major part of Henley’s appeal from early on, with the first hotel opening in the 1870s.
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