The main attraction of the outer southern suburb of Aldinga Beach is the beach itself. It is easily one of South Australia's nicest beaches with a long stretch of sand, aquamarine-coloured sea, and a backdrop of rolling hills and cliffs in the distance as they wind around the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Aldinga Beach is approximately a 50 minute drive south of Adelaide and is adjacent to Port Willunga. It is a popular spot and on a hot summer's weekend attracts visitors from all over, but doesn't seem to suffer from over-crowding like some of Adelaide's beaches do (except on public holidays like Australia Day, then it's packed).
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The translucent water at Aldinga Beach is safe for swimming and suitable for other water activities, like body boarding, fishing, and sometimes even surfing. Snorkelers and divers will enjoy exploring the aquatic reserve that has been established to protect a rare reef formation. An underwater trail leads to a drop-off where coral, sponges, and different reef fish can be observed.
Aldinga Beach is mostly comprised of soft, white sand with patches of pebbles that wash up on the shore and are great for decorating sand castles. Port Noarlunga Beach is considered one of Australia's cleanest beaches, but this title could well belong to Aldinga Beach as the environment is pristine with very little litter to be seen.
Perhaps this is because Aldinga Beach is one of only a few, along with nearby Moana and Silver Sands, in Adelaide that vehicles are permitted to drive on. Beach-goers are able to load up the car, set up a camp for the day, and take their rubbish when they leave.
Allowing vehicles on the beach makes it more accessible for those less mobile, but does not come without some effect on the ecosystem; the primary concern being that cars may crush small burrowing marine life, such as cockles and crustaceans. In recent years vehicle restrictions have been implemented to reduce the negative impact on the environment, such restrictions are signposted at the entrance to the beach.
The entrance can be found off the Esplanade at the end of Aldinga Beach Road where there is a generously allocated car park with facilities such as a boat ramp, undercover picnic bench, barbecue, public toilets, and rubbish and recycling bins.
The access ramps are usually monitored during the warmer months when a vehicle access fee of about $6 is charged (unless you are a local with a beach pass). Dogs are permitted on the beach provided they are kept on a leash during peak hours. Even though there is a 10 kilometre speed limit on the beach, you'll need to keep an eye on the little ones when there is traffic around.
Just a short walk from the beach is a boardwalk that leads to a lookout with panoramic views of the coastline and the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park. The conservation park is found not far from the beach on Dover Street. It is worth wandering through the reserve as it is home to possums, echidnas, bats, geckos, and a variety of rare plants.
The spectacular ocean view of the cliff-top Esplanade makes it a nice place for a stroll. When it comes time for a feed, it is along here you will find eateries such as Aldinga Bay Café, Saltbush Grill, and Jimmie's Takeaway. There are also many cabins, holiday homes, and bed and breakfasts that provide accommodation in Aldinga Beach should you wish to stay awhile.