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Published February 25th 2020
Limestone Coast Holiday Hot Spot
Beachport is a coastal village on South Australia's magnificent Limestone Coast. We were heading there on the advice of a mate who'd recommended a local caravan park as a great base camp. He was spot on. With lovely grassed sites right on the edge of town, some elevated and overlooking picturesque Rivoli Bay, this was the perfect spot from which to explore the region's attractions.
Cape Martin Lighthouse overlooks the quaint seaside town of Beachport on South Australia's Limestone Coast. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
First populated by whalers in the early 19th Century, Beachport became a prominent port during an economic boom in the 1870s with the district's main exports of wheat, wool and copper fetching good prices in London. The railway from Mount Gambier arrived in 1878, a lighthouse was constructed on nearby Penguin Island in the same year and a large wool and grain store was built in the town in 1879.
The lighthouse came too late to save four ships wrecked off Beachport, the RESOURCE (1851), the VAROON (1856), the WAVE QUEEN (1874) and the GELTWOOD (1876).
On Beachport's famous jetty with the view back towards town. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The railway closed in 1957, the lighthouse has long gone, replaced by a modern one on Cape Martin, but the old wool and grain store has been retained and today serves as a National Trust Museum.
It details the history of the local fishing industry, whaling, local agriculture and the indigenous Buandik people. It includes an authentic blacksmith shop, local railway history and a schoolroom dating to the 1920s with relevant textbooks, writing materials, blackboard exercises and photographs from the era.
Located in Railway Terrace, the museum is open daily between 10 AM and 4 PM. Entry costs Adults 45, Concession $4, Children $2, families $10 and bus tour groups $4 per person.
Just out of town the Bowman Scenic Drive offers some fabulous views up and down the magnificent Limestone Coast. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Today, Beachport is a cray-fishing port and family holiday haven, particularly popular with fishermen.
Beachport is widely known for its magnificent jetty which once extended 1.2 kilometres into the shallow waters of Rivoli Bay but is now just over 770 metres long. The jetty is very popular with local and visiting fishermen and there's a great view from the far end back towards town.
Beachport's old Customs House circa 1862. At various times the building also served as the local Court House, Police Station, Gaol Cells and Telegraph Office. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Just a short distance out of town, you'll find the Pool of Siloam, a favourite swimming spot that's said to be seven times saltier than the ocean.
Nearby, the Beachport Conservation Park comprises 710-hectares of pristine beaches, rocky headlands and the native boobialla scrub. It's close-by to the Lake Hawdon System Important Bird Area, covering 374 square kilometres and encompassing five coastal lakes which are home to a variety of native and migratory bird species.
For some great coastal scenery head for the Bowman Scenic Drive, just north of the town.
About a kilometre south of town, you'll find a memorial to the first Australian servicemen lost in action on Australian soil during World War 2; two able Seamen killed as they attempted to make safe a German sea mine that had been towed inshore by a fisherman.
The Memorial is just south of Beachport and opposite the Millicent Road intersection. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Top 5 Things to do in and Around Beachport
1. Checkout the National Trust Museum. It's housed in the old
wool and grain store on Railway Terrace.
2. Head for the Pool of Siloam, Australia's answer to the Dead
Sea. With a salinity level seven times that of the ocean it's a
popular swimming hole and much sought after for the
waters therapeutic properties.
3. A 5-Kilometre drive from town you'll find the Beachport
Conservation Park and Lake George. The park is home to a
variety of bird-life and you'll also find some important
aboriginal middens here.
4. For something a little different drive 10-Kilometres north of
Beachport to Woakwine Cutting, a huge trench dug by one
man over a three year period. The cutting was used to drain
an area of swamp and convert it to viable farmland.
5. Drop a line in from Beachport Jetty. Even when the fish
aren't biting it's a wonderfully relaxing spot.
Beachport is undoubtedly one of the jewels in the crown of South Australia's Limestone Coast. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Staying There …..
For a tiny town, Beachport has a good range of accommodation available.