A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney for over 30 years...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are just a few of my favourite things. See my blog www.potpourritravels.wordpress.com
Published April 6th 2017
A Top Spot to Stay on SA's Fleurieu Peninsula
As an east-coaster, I had never heard of Port Nuarlunga. But on a recent trip through the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide, I chanced upon this wonderful spot to stay for a couple of nights en-route to Kangaroo Island. Situated just half an hour south of Adelaide CBD and less than an hour to the Sealink Ferry Terminal at Cape Jervis, it was the perfect location to make the most of this very picturesque and interesting part of the world.
COAST entrance at 153-157 Esplanade, Port Noarlunga, S.A.
The Accommodation The COAST Motel and Apartments are self-contained spacious rooms right opposite the beach at South Port Beach. The 2-story building has undergone recent renovations and the light, airy décor is comfortable and inviting. Our ground floor room contained one queen bed plus one single bed, a separate kitchen/dining area with table and chairs, plus utensils and everything you needed if you wanted to stay in and rustle up a little dinner instead of having to go out - especially at the end of a long day driving. A comfy sofa was positioned against the large front windows, and the modern bathroom, air-conditioning, and Wi-Fi was in excellent condition.
Coastal Walkway - we arrived late in the day, and after a hasty unpack, I grabbed my camera and headed across the road to the seemingly endless walkway that traces the beach as far north and south as you can see. At sunset the mouth of the Onkaparinga river was a photographer's dream spot; slashes of purple, pink, and blue filled the sky and threw a wonderful hue across the ocean and mouth of the meandering river. Walkers were out enjoying the broad, flat beach, and the cliff top position gave picturesque views in both directions.
We had travelled in from the McLaren Vale wine region and found our accommodation within 15 minutes of leaving the northern end of the wineries near Chapel Hill. This is also where walks are accessible down to the Onkaparinga Gorge if you're feeling energetic and want to explore more. On the way we stopped for lunch at the cute and quirky town of Willunga. Galleries, art and craft stores were very inviting and fun to browse.
Four-wheel drive the beaches - my husband was ecstatic to discover beach access just south of our digs. A short drive tracing the esplanade south to Moana gave us access to long, empty beaches at Port Willunga, Silver Sands and all the way to Shellicks Beach. We grabbed a coffee on the headland from the general store here and sat watching the waves roll in. Being a weekday, it was quiet and peaceful and, being a gulf, the small swell was certainly inviting.
For dinner we drove about five minutes north into the township and discovered Ampika's Kitchen Thai restaurant. There's indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the beach and jetty. Our Pad Thai was excellent in flavour and portion size, and the views of the sunset over the ocean topped off a lovely spot.
With more than just two days to explore there are many options. Of course, there are the wineries, but also you could swim the 1.6km reef just off-shore and part of the Encounter Marine Park. The galleries, antiques and cafes in the historic port area could easily fill a day of browsing. Or if it takes your fancy, Maslin beach - 10 minutes drive south - is a legal nude beach. Once voted the 6th most beautiful beach in Australia, although I'm not sure if that was because of the natural flora or the fauna.
The Hosts Josh and Jacqui Coulter are fairly new to the trade of motels, taking over the COAST in late 2015, but their enthusiasm to make their mark is evident in every way. The on-site restaurant was in dire need of a make-over and Josh has put his carpentry skills to good use in giving the space a modern new feel. Their courteous, helpful, and efficient service made us feel right at home and nothing was too much trouble for them.
I had no idea this Motel existed....have been to this town many times over a long period of time.Your report indicates it would be an ideal place to spend a few days,,so I will ckeck it out in the near future.I think you may have made a typo..Sellicks Beach.Port Noarlunga flies under the radar to some extent...it does not get the publicity it deserves...it was once the premier destination for residents of Adelaide for a day at the beach.By the way..an excellent report.
We live there and have to say that Josh and Joquie are two of the nicest people and such hard workers ,they deserve to do really well ,and there is no better place in the World to spend some time . SA s best kept secret !