Friday, December 14, 2007


Several years ago I discovered the website of a gondola operation in Sydney, Australia. It was very early in the world of the internet. As the months and years passed, I found more gondola websites “Down Under”. I enjoyed exchanging e-mails with many of them and have become good friends with one operator in particular: Roger Carlson of Adelaide. This post, which focuses on Roger’s operation, is the first in a series of posts, each highlighting a different gondola service in Australia.

Like many large countries, Australia is partitioned into states. Most of us have heard of New South Wales – where Sydney is located. Adelaide is the capital and most populated city of South Australia – another state. Roger is able to operate year-round on the River Torrens because Adelaide enjoys a Mediterranean climate; this same climate is the reason that 60% of Australia’s wine is grown there. Further north from Adelaide, you’ll find more of the typical Aussie agriculture such as wheat, sheep and cattle. Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, they have summer when we have winter; this puts gondola operators there in the enviable position of having both Christmas and Valentine’s Day during the best weather months of the year.

Adelaide Gondola will celebrate 14 years of operation this month. It was originally set up by a full-time chiropractor, who imported two Tramontin-built gondolas from Venice. Roger Carlson, a local canoe instructor, rowed for the company and then bought the business 11 years ago. He still runs a canoe business as well, complete with guides and instructors – a great field of possible gondoliers.

Roger still has the two Tramontin gondolas – the only Venice-built gondolas currently taking passengers on the continent. For a while he also owned and operated the very unique “Martin Krause gondola” (to be highlighted in a future post).

Adelaide is the fifth largest in Australia, so there’s no shortage of potential passengers. Adelaide Gondola has a unique sponsorship arrangement with one of the wine makers in South Australia – a nice opportunity when you operate so close to a wine region.

Visit Adelaide Gondola’s website at:

and when you find yourself in South Australia, be sure to take a ride with Roger.

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