By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Summer is all about warm evenings at the beach, crabbing off the jetty or relaxing by the river with family and friends. It doesn’t matter whether we’re splashing in the surf or jumping into a river, Australians love being in and around the water.
The beach is synonymous with Australia, and here in SA we’re lucky enough to have an extensive coastline as well as a river to entertain us during summer.
Meander along the Murray in a kayak, search for crabs at Ardrossan or learn to surf on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Paddle around Garden Island or explore the Second Valley coastline. South Australia really is a summer lover’s paradise.
Go on a beach getaway
It doesn’t matter if you’re the lazing-on-the-sand type or more interested in beach cricket, throwing a frisbee or splashing around in the waves, a coastal getaway is a rite of passage for many Australians.
Luckily, South Australia is home to arguably some of the best beaches in the country. Here are a few of our favourites.
Port Hughes’ never-ending beach
White sand and blue water extend as far as the eye can see at Port Hughes’ South Beach. Only a five-minute drive from Moonta, this beach is one of the prettiest on the Yorke Peninsula.
Feel the sand beneath your feet as waves lap on the shore, and enjoy unspoilt views and the birds soaring above. There’s also plenty of space on the sand for family activities like beach cricket, volleyball and building sandcastles.
On hot summer days, the shimmering water will entice you take a dip and cool off. Don’t like swimming? Port Hughes Jetty is a hotspot for fish and crabs, so pack your rods and nets.
Where to Stay: The Cove, Port Hughes. RAA members get five per cent off.
Rollin’ on Robe’s Long Beach
There are five beach options in Robe, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to going for a swim or spending a day by the water. However Long Beach is one of the best swimming spots in the South East, with its gentle tides and wide sweeping shoreline.
Uniquely, Long Beach is one of the few beaches in SA where you can drive your vehicle on the sand. So, pack the family, umbrella and picnic blanket and spend the day by the sea.
Where to stay: Robe House. RAA members get 10 per cent off.
Create memories on the Eyre Peninsula
Only an hour-and-a-half drive from Port Lincoln, you’ll find the unforgettable Memory Cove. With crystal-clear water and white sand, this little slice of paradise among dense bushland at the tip of the Lincoln National Park, will be etched in your memory forever.
Spend the day soaking in the sea and lazing on the beach or, if you want to stay for an extended period, you can book a site at the nearby campground.
Look out for the native birds that call the area home and the kangaroos that venture down from the bush. To access Memory Cove you’ll need to get a key and pass from the Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre.
Where to stay nearby: Port Lincoln Hotel. RAA members get five per cent off
Catch your own dinner
As famous fishing personality Rex Hunt says, “from birth to death, anyone can fish”. So this summer, find the rod or net at the back of your shed and get out on the water.
From blue swimmer crab to cockles and callop, you’ll be surprised by the amount of seafood and fish on offer in South Australian waters.
Catch crabs at Ardrossan
When crabbing, what’s your tool of choice – a rake or net? Why not both. At Ardrossan, on the Yorke Peninsula, you have the best of both worlds. This part of Yorkes is famous in the crabbing world, with many people collecting bumper hauls.
Drop your nets off the jetty or explore the shallows with a rake in search of blue swimmer crabs. If you’re using nets, chuck out a line and try your hand at squidding while you wait for a crab to crawl into your basket.
Where to stay: Redwing Farm, Weetulta.
Go cockling at Goolwa
Feel the sand between your toes and do the cockle shuffle on Goolwa Beach in search of this tasty mollusc. If you’re keen, get down on your hands and knees and dig for them in the shallows. While the cockle was once used only as bait, it’s now a regular on many restaurant menus.
Cook your catch with white wine, fresh herbs and butter and serve with a slice of crusty bread.
Fish on the mighty Murray
Most people think of coastal fishing spots when they’re deciding where to drop a line, but South Australia is also home to the Murray River – a waterway thriving with fish and yabbies.
While there are plenty of spots to cast a line along the Murray, Katarapko Creek in the Riverland is home to many of the state’s native fish like callop.
Katarapko is also a great place to canoe or kayak. Paddle along the tranquil backwaters featuring red gums and aquatic birds. Don’t forget your nets either, with plenty of yabbies to be found as well.
Where to stay: Berri Hotel. RAA members get five per cent off.
Hit the water
Of course, swimming is a lovely way to spend your summer, but maybe you’re looking for something more. Perhaps you want to try a new experience like surfing or kayaking, or you’d prefer to sit back and relax with a glass of wine on a cruise. You can do all of that right here in SA.
Surf ’s up at Middleton
You might not know the difference between a beach break or reef break, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to surf on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Only 45 minutes from Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula offers surf breaks for both novices and more experienced board riders. If you want to grab a board and yell “cowabunga” as you ride a few waves, then Middleton and Goolwa are good beaches for beginners.
To give you another reason to paddle out this summer, RAA members get five per cent off lessons at Surf & Sun surf school. With their help, you’ll be surfin’ barrels in no time.
Where to stay: Beach Huts Middleton. RAA members save five per cent.
Explore Second Valley from the sea
Now that you’ve mastered surfing (or at least stood up for a few seconds and rode a couple of waves), why not go for a paddle along the picturesque Second Valley coastline?
Kayak or stand-up paddle board around the edge of the bay and marvel at the rocky cliff faces that descend into the ocean.
There are also a few snorkelling options at Second Valley – suitable for less experienced snorkellers. Dive beneath the water’s surface within the sheltered bay and see schools of small fish darting around. If you’re lucky, you might even encounter seals, dolphins and other ocean life.
Where to stay: Second Valley Caravan Park.
Kayak with dolphins along the Port River
South Australia has a plethora of places to go kayaking, from local Adelaide beaches to the mighty Murray.
But nothing beats paddling along the Port River near Garden Island and encountering the pod of dolphins that call the area home.
Paddle through the Port River Dolphin Sanctuary and explore the beautiful mangrove creeks in search of dolphins, birds and other fascinating wildlife.
Where to stay: Discovery Parks Adelaide Beachfront, Semaphore.
Boat and BBQ on the Torrens
Summer is a time for relaxing with friends and indulging a little. What better way than jumping aboard a boat on the River Torrens, with your very own barbecue and refreshments.
BBQ Buoys at Pinky Flat offer just that. Float through the city with friends or family while sipping wine, beer or softies, and cook up a storm on your barbecue.
Not quite your thing? BBQ Buoys also offer cheese platters made from local produce.
Where to stay: The Soho Hotel – Adelaide. RAA members save 10 per cent.