The seaside town of Port Elliot is one that, despite the suburban sprawl, has still managed to keep all its charm. The population has definitely risen, but the great food, scenic spots, and sandy beaches, are still the same that many remember from their childhood.
The best way to explore the town is to spend at least a weekend, but why not stay even longer. Even when you've tried all there is to do, you can always just pull up a towel and relax on one of the beaches.
We'll show you where to stay, what to do, where to eat, and just how to make the most of your stay in Port Elliot.
Where to Stay
If you're spending more than on night in Port Elliot, then you're going to need somewhere to sleep. Thankfully there are plenty of places to choose from. From upmarket day spas, to tents and caravans, there is something to suit everyone's travelling style.
The YHA Port Elliot Beach House is one option. It's a favourite with both Adelaide townies, interstate travellers, and overseas backpackers. There are a range of different room options from 6-person dorms to family suits. This can be a great place to meet new people, through sharing a room or just meeting in the common lounge and dining areas. There is a kitchen where you can cook all your own meals, deck chairs to relax on and even a veggie garden to tend. You'll also have a stunning view over Horseshoe Bay.
On the same street you'll also find Trafalgar on the Strand, offering bed and breakfast suites seeped in history. It is a gorgeous old cottage with friendly hosts, who will make sure your time in Port Elliot is memorable. Or if you feel like heading away from the main drag, why not try Authenticity, Port Elliot's very own day spa. They have on site accommodation, that allows you the perfect opportunity to escape the city and instead fill your days with the sea air, yoga and spa treatments.
Then, of course, there is the Port Elliot Holiday Park. Perfect if you feel like roughing it. Bring along a tent, or your caravan, and enjoy summer living the way it should be. The Holiday Park is a great option for families, as the kids will probably get the chance to meet lots of new friends to share in the holiday fun.
Eating by the Seaside
There are some great dining options in Port Elliot that really shouldn't be missed. You can have every meal of the day covered by an equally tasty option, so make sure you visit with an empty stomach.
For the first meal of the day, why not head to Cockles Cafe. They serve up a delicious breakfast 7 days a week. Their menu includes fluffy pancakes, hearty eggs, and creamy milkshakes. They're also open for lunch, and you can pop in for a coffee any time of day. It sits right on the corner of the Strand and North Terrace, so when you're done you're in the perfect position to start shopping.
The Flying Fish Cafe also have breakfast on offer, but you're best saving these guys for dinner. At night time their restaurant offers Port Elliot's only real fine dining experience. The seafood is the highlight of the menu, so try and sample it all from the entrees through to the mains. Their desserts make the perfect end to the evening. Flying Fish are also open for takeaway lunch during the day, sit outside with a cold beer and fish and chips, as you look out over Horseshoe Bay.
Many locals and visitors will agree, that when lunch time rolls around you shouldn't be seen anywhere other than the Port Elliot Bakery. It's probably SA's best loved bakery, with delicious and interesting pies baked there daily. It might not be the healthiest option, but it is a Port Elliot icon that shouldn't be missed.
This isn't the end to the food on offer. You could try the café at the Authenticity day spa, or Hotel Elliot for classic pub fare. Take a walk up the strand and you'll find more cafes, as well as Indian and Italian restaurants. You certainly won't go hungry any time soon.
The sea and sand area big part of Port Elliot. When the weather is warm the beaches are popular and filled with visitors and locals.
Horseshoe Bay is probably the most common stop. It's only a short walk from Port Elliot's main drag. The beach is covered in white sand, and is close to cafes, as well as the surf life saving club. There is a park at the bay for when you want a picnic by the sea, and an old jetty that you can walk along. It's a great spot to go, even when the weather is a bit cool to actually go in the water.
You can also try Knights Beach or Boomer Beach, both manage to draw a crowd, especially when it comes to surfers. If you've got time, try and experience all the sandy stretches that Port Elliot has to offer.
Even in winter you'll want to keep your eyes on the sea, its then you might get the chance to spot some southern right whales.
Shopping the Strand
The two main streets of Port Elliot, the Strand and North Terrace, are also where you'll want to go for shopping. There are a number of places to check out, offering things you might not find back at home. You won't find shopping malls, but instead unique stores with a personal touch.
Along North Terrace there are a number of stores that stock a range of home decor, fashion, and beauty products. Find a unique bowl or decoration for your home, or a flowing kaftan to wear on your beach holiday. You can stop in to buy some chocolate and sweets from Melbas, or pick up a pair of thongs or a beach bag.
There are also a few second hand bookstores to peruse, where you might spot a hard to find copy, or just some light holiday reading.
The shopping at Port Elliot goes above and beyond your usual seaside souvenirs, so dedicate a decent part of your day to trawling through the shops. If you're there on the weekend, make sure you see if the Port Elliot Market is on, as you never know what you might find.
The Scenic Route
While there are plenty of places around Port Elliot to spend your money, sometimes you want to enjoy the simpler things in life. The beaches aren't Port Elliot's only sites to see. Go for a wander, or a drive and you'll start to really understand the beauty of the region.
One of the best ways to see Port Elliot is at Crows Nest Lookout. It is just a short drive away from the town centre, and while you're here you'll be able to look out over Goolwa, Middleton and Port Elliot. It has the best view of the bay. From here you'll also get the best picture of how much land is still left untouched by suburban housing.
There are also plenty of walking trails which can be a great way to get some fresh air into your lungs. Take the Port Elliot Heritage Trail, which helps show you some of the historic sites around the town, or you could try the Harbourmaster's Walking Trail.
You don't have to have a plan, just go for a stroll around the town and see where you end up.
So next time you're planning a weekend away, why not add Port Elliot to your list of possibilities.