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Tracing the Coastline of South Australia

  • September 2, 2016
  • By 50 Shades
  • 10 Comments
Tracing the Coastline of South Australia

Great adventures normally start with the anticipation of diving into unknown territories. That feeling of treading on new ground with fresh surroundings all around you, tantalising your senses, is one of the reasons that I love to travel. One such adventure was embarking on a trip tracing the coastline of South Australia, a state in the southern central part of Australia.

If you look at a map of the South Australian coastline on the Great Australian Bight, it looks like it has ‘bites’ gnawed out of its otherwise semi-circular shape. These bites, in fact form three peninsulas: Fleurieu, Yorke and Eyre Peninsulae, before straightening out to the vast stretch of the Nullabor and the West Australian border.

Map of South Australia

Map of South Australia

What is so fascinating about this great southern land is that it encompasses some of the most arid parts of our continent; features extreme areas of wilderness; possesses some gorgeous pristine beaches and rugged towering cliffs bordering the Southern Ocean; boasts the spectacular 430 Km Flinders Mountain Ranges; enjoys several world-class wine regions; is where the mighty Murray River, Lake Alexandrina and The Coorong empties into the ocean; is a seafood frontier; and has a sophisticated capital city – Adelaide.

Our adventure began at the Victorian/South Australian border along the Limestone Coast, which stretches from Nelson on the Glenelg River to the Coorong National Park.

Limestone Coast

Robe on the Limestone Coast

Robe on the Limestone Coast

The Limestone Coast drive is only a distance of 265 Kms, however with stops along the way it is probably best to break it up with at least one night’s stay. A good place to do this is at Robe. The highlights of this rugged and beautiful coastline with natural rock formations and a few lighthouses are:

  • Port MacDonnell – a small port town famous for the rock lobster industry and its rugged coastline.
  • Carpenters Rocks – gateway to the Canunda National Park and Lake Bonney.
  • Beachport – a fishing town known for its 772 metre long jetty.
  • Robe – a historical beachside town popular with holidaymakers.
  • Kingston S.E. – the entrance to the South East coast and Cape Jaffa.
  • Narrung on Lake Alexandrina – the largest, at 360 sq km, lake of the Murray River Lakes.
  • The Coorong – a National Park that stretches 130km with saltwater lagoons protected from the Southern Ocean by sweeping sand dunes.

Fleurieu Peninsula

Narrung at Lake Alexandrina

Narrung at Lake Alexandrina

The compact Fleurieu Peninsula is a holiday destination in South Australia not far from the city of Adelaide. It is family friendly with plenty of attractions, activities, nature and wildlife and coastal things to do, with Kangaroo Island being a major attraction.

These are the places we explored:

  • Goolwa – a historic river port town set on the Murray River, the Barrages and near the Murray River mouth.
  • Port Elliot/Victor Harbor – two favoured seaside holiday destinations that are only 80 Km from Adelaide.
  • Kangaroo Island – voted in the top ten holidays destinations in Australia, this island is known for its diverse wildlife and nature reserves.
  • Rapid Bay/Second Valley – small bays nestled between long sandy beaches and towering cliffs.
  • Port Noarlunga – a small seaside suburb of Adelaide with gorgeous beaches.
  • Adelaide – the suave and sophisticated capital of South Australia.

Yorke Peninsula

Moonta Beach Jetty

Moonta Beach Jetty

The boot-shaped Yorke Peninsula boasts magnificent beaches, jagged shorelines and rich farmland. If you are a lover of seafood, there are blue swimmer crabs, crayfish and scallops, or drop a line for King George Whiting.

It also boasts some of Australia’s greatest surfing beaches and is strewn with shipwrecks for divers. Back on dry land you can explore mining towns and national parks. Here is where we visited:

  • Ardrossan – 150km from Adelaide, centrally located for day trips around the Peninsula. A popular holiday destination with safe beaches, jetty, good fishing and crabbing.
  • Marion Bay – a small township on the southern tip of the peninsula and gateway to Innes National Park.
  • Corny Point – Located on a headland with dramatic coastal cliffs and surf beaches.
  • Port Victoria – small coastal country town on the western coast of the peninsula with great fishing.
  • Moonta – an old copper mining town with a Cornish presence and an interesting history.

East Eyre Peninsula

Port Lincoln Fishing Boats

Port Lincoln Fishing Boats

Known as Australia’s seafood frontier the Eyre Peninsula is a massive 170,500 km² triangular promontory with some of the most rugged and untamed coastal terrain in Australia. The east side it is relatively more tame and populated compared to the wild west side and almost every town has ‘Port or Bay’ in its title.

The highlights of our trip where:

  • Cowell – this almost land-locked town on Franklin Harbour is famous for oysters.
  • Port Gibbon – off the beaten track but wild and beautiful with wide expanses of sand dunes.
  • Arno Bay/Tumby Bay – a couple of gorgeous seaside fishing villages with sandy beaches on a safe bay.
  • Port Lincoln – the seafood capital of Australia with a lot to offer the holidaymaker.
  • Whalers Way – wild, rugged and remote and once a whaling station set on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula.

West Eyre Peninsula

Talia Caves on the West Eyre Peninsula

Talia Caves on the West Eyre Peninsula

The wild west coastline of the Eyre Peninsula boasts rugged steep coastal cliffs hammered by huge surf, interspersed with protected bays. The mix of cliffs and surf beaches along the coastline provide ample opportunity for you to get off the main highway and discover some of the hidden secrets along this dramatic coastline, or travel into the heart to the magnificent Gawler Ranges.

Our exploration took us to the following places:

  • Coffin Bay – is surrounded by sea and National Parks and is famous for it’s oysters.
  • Point Drummond – a remote and untouched beach with a steep boat ramp down to the ocean.
  • Sheringa – a great sandy beach camping location on the Eyre Peninsula.
  • Elliston – situated on Waterloo Bay, it is known for its rugged, scenic coastline, a great place for fishing, swimming, surfing and bush walking.
  • Venus Bay – another pretty tourist town which is great for fishing.
  • Talia Caves or The Woolshed Cave – better described as a grotto, cavity or eroded cliff, is located approximately 50 kilometres from Elliston.
  • Streaky Bay – a scenic town on the West Eyre Peninsula with a whole range of natural attractions within driving distance, such as Cape Bauer, Westall Loop, Cape Labatt, Perlubie Beach and the Gawler Ranges.

Nullarbor

Bunda Cliffs, Head of Bight

Bunda Cliffs, Head of Bight

The Far West Coast and Nullarbor is one of the most contrasting, dramatic and isolated regions in the Eyre Peninsula. It is an area full of hidden secrets and footprint free beaches and as you travel further west the landscape flattens and there is a distinct change in the vegetation as you enter the Nullarbor (tree-less) Plain.

Here is where we stopped along the way:

  • Ceduna – this gateway town to the Nullarbor is a great place to stock up prior to crossing the extensive plain on the Eyre Highway.
  • Penong – a very small settlement located on the edge of the Nullabor and features many windmills. A drive out to Cactus Beach and Point Sinclair are a must do whilst staying here.
  • Fowlers Bay – Fowlers Bay is located 32 kilometres southeast of Nundroo and 58 km southwest of Penong off the Eyre Highway. It is situated just a couple of hours drive from the Head of Bight which is great for whale watching during the season.
  • Bunda Cliffs/Head of Bight – Amazing steep cliffs and coastal scenery that provides the perfect viewing platform for the Southern Right Whales that are prolific during breeding season.

Beachport-Jetty

Tracing the South Australian Coastline is an intensely wondrous and remarkable experience. Although I have witnessed some of the most magnificent coastline throughout Australia, I don’t think I have ever experienced such untamed and untrodden territory. It’s remoteness and raw beauty is something you have to see for yourself!

Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday

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By 50 Shades, September 2, 2016 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 10

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

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10 Comments
  • Jan
    September 2, 2016

    Robe is one of my favourite places in Australia, such a stylish town with a great vibe.

    • kathymarris
      September 2, 2016

      We spent a few days in Robe and loved it. Such a pretty place with some beautiful historical buildings. ?

  • budgettraveltalk
    September 2, 2016

    I think the coast of South Australia is very under-rated. I’ve loved your photos and the thought of a caravan trip along the coast is very enticing. I can’t wait to get back there.

    • kathymarris
      September 2, 2016

      Yes I agree Jan. The South Australian Tourism organisation needs to sell it more, it is such a diverse and scenic coastline. ?

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    September 2, 2016

    I’ve never been to SA but we have rellies there so we definitely have an excuse to visit :)

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    September 13, 2016

    What a lovely drive. I would really like to explore Talia Cave because I like what I see in your photo.

    • Kathy
      September 13, 2016

      The coastline of South Australia was a remarkable road trip. Talia Caves and the entire coastline of the West Eyre Peninsula was nothing short of spectacular. You would love Kangaroo Island too as it has been voted in the top ten fabulous places to visit in Australia. :)

  • Jane
    September 28, 2016

    I am going to make sure to add your post to my SA Pinterest board and follow some of the route as soon as we can be on the road again. Thanks for such a great article!

    • Kathy
      September 28, 2016

      Thanks Jane. It would make a good resource for travellers wanting to visit South Australia, particularly the coastal areas. :)

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