Adelaide is a growing hotspot for tourism, and rightly so. The South Australian community are passionate about keeping things local, and that gives it the essence of a small town in a big city.
There are many things that draw big crowds to this southern city; stunning wineries, great walks, mountain ranges, wildflowers and, of course, a coastline like no other.
It might be icy, but it’s hard to resist the crystal clear water, the promise of an ocean feed and the potential to swim with some salty sea creatures.
From Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula is most accessible with the other two peninsulas taking a fair bit more travel time. Don’t get the impression you can see all this in a week’s holiday.
Swim in the clear blue waters when visiting SA.
Deep Creek Conservation Park – Boat Harbour Beach and hike
Camp the night at the Tapanappa Campground (book online), a short walk from the tent you’ll see amazing views from the top of the rolling hills stretching out to Boat Harbour Beach and beyond. There are two ways to get to the beach, one is a 7.5km hike, the other is a short drive and 200m super steep walk. We took the hike and it was beautiful.
The hike takes you through a couple of valleys and ever-changing scenery. One moment it’s wet underfoot and you’re deep in a fern forest, and the next it’s dry and a lace monitor will be leading you down the crumbly track.
The beach is only small but it is frequented by a very large pod of dolphins. And you can take it all in without making the last and hardest ascent, sitting on top of the hill.
Hike through the greenery to get to the beach.
Rapid Bay – Second Valley – Carrickalinga
There are a lot of secret spots between Rapid Bay and Carickalinga: rockpools, secluded beaches and great fishing. Take a kayak or a SUP and make your way around the headlands. Take a picnic and take your time. Squid is a popular feed in the area and you will have most luck from your kayak or SUP over the weed beds.
Head to Rapid Bay and along the way, you’ll discover so much.
We love Kangaroo Island. Head on over here to read all about it, including a 7-day itinerary.
A popular city beach that you can drive on, and is accessible to most cars, including 2WD. It is the perfect place to set up for the day. The ocean is calm and it’s blue contrasts against the carved orange cliffs that peel down toward the beach.
Hopefully, you will catch the local family taking their goat for a walk, cause that’s the kind of thing that will only happen in Adelaide.
You can drive on the sand at Sellicks Beach.
Oh, ocean, you wonderful provider! We stood on the jetty at Port Julia and we literally watched the crabs walk into our pot. Within an hour we had more than enough to share around. There’s a council run campground a block back from the beach that’s affordable and has toilet facilities.
The Yorke Peninsula Council has a range of camping options and you can pay for a week and camp at any of their campgrounds, mix and match. We could have stayed here for weeks and lived off crab and squid.
Fish for crab and squid off the jetty at Port Julia.
Innes National Park – Dolphin Bay
Innes National Park has a lot to offer. On one side the limestone cliffs drop dramatically into the ocean and the waves ramp up with terrifying force, but over to the west, you’ll find small bays with inviting smooth water and protected rock pools.
Dolphin Bay was just one of our favourites and Shell Beach Campsite is only a few hundred metres away.
There is so much on offer in Innes National Park.
Point Turton – Ocean Pool
This one was such a good find. Not far from the Len Barker Reserve Council campground you will find this breathtaking spot for a dip and a good place for snorkelling. There is a concrete walkway out into the water and a ladder, just like you’d find at your local pool. It would be rude not to jump in.
Take a dip into the cool waters of the ocean pool in Point Turton.
This one is another of our favourite fishing spots. The locals in town are super friendly and we would highly recommend the small caravan park at the northern end of town, where you can watch the sunset over the water. If you have a boat, this place will be even better.
Not far out, along the channels running parallel to the markers you’ll find salmon, King George Whiting and blue swimmer crabs.
On low tide, the shallow weed beds become more accessible if you’re keen to wade around and pull up some razorfish.
When the tide is low, you can try and catch some Razorfish.
Chinaman Creek, Winninowie Conservation Park
Okay, get ready for some serious talking. The caretaker here knows how to spin a yarn. If you have been here before you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. He does an awesome job taking care of the place and is more than happy to lend you a hand, or some fishing gear.
The creek here winds toward the Flinders Ranges and offers kilometres of exploration. Once again we stumbled on another great place for crabs, and dolphins often swim these waters. Chinaman Creek is an oasis in the desert.
Our bounty of abalone.
If you’re keen to take it back a notch, take some long walks on the beach and wind down, then look no further than this sleepy town. A short drive from Louth Bay is Point Boston that boasts excellent swimming on both the northern and southern side.
To access the beach on the southern side you may need to walk the 4WD tracks as they are often cut off to vehicles, but you will most likely be rewarded with a beach all to yourself.
September Beach, Port Lincoln National Park
Port Lincoln has a few different campsites but I’d suggest finding somewhere between Spalding Cove and Surfleet Cove for protection from the wind and amazing views. Check out September Beach and try rock hopping your way around the coast toward Carcase Rock.
There are plenty of places to jump in and a really nice bay only 100m from the main beach. Dolphins and seals love this area.
The secluded Memory Cove is worth the drive.
It’s a fair journey to Memory Cove, and you’ll need a 4WD. Signs say it will take you an hour to get there but let me tell you, it’s going to take a whole lot longer. Numbers are limited into Memory Cove (which makes this spot even better) and you’ll need to get the access key from Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre.
It’s a peaceful spot, stunning water, and has good fishing just off the rocks.
This insta-famous spot is well worth the visit.
Point Brown Rock Pool, Smoky Bay
This little spot just got crazy with Instagrammers. A perfect little pool carved out of granite. When you pull up at the headland at Point Brown and go to walk down at the pool you won’t be able to see it and if you’re like us you’ll probably feel defeated straight away. But keep walking down and there she is.
Camp out on the dunes at Tractor Beach.
Abalone. Oh, so many Abalone just offshore. Tractor Beach is delicious. There are so many tracks in the dunes to camp if you are self-contained. Granites around the corner offer up another lovely rock pool and a small surf break
Get out there and explore SA
There are so many places I could list off here but I’ve just kept to our favourites for swimming, fishing and camping. Get out there and explore.
There are just a whole bunch of cosy little towns with friendly people, quirky sites and wild history. And just about every town claims to have the best bakery so why not test them all out for yourself.
How many of the three peninsulas in South Australia have you explored?
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