Freelance writer, born and bred in South Australia.
Published September 19th 2016
South Australia has some (or in my opinion, all) of the greatest beaches in the country! What makes this state's coastal culture even more superior is that we have a number of beaches accessible by car. Yes, that means you can drive your car along the sand and park right next to the water's edge. It's like something from a movie scene! But in real life! Here in S.A!
Although some of these beaches are suitable for a variety of different car types, many should only be attempted in a four wheel drive. Make sure to inspect which beach run will be best for your car. Furthermore, it's important to note that beach driving is not practical every day of the year. You should check for high tides or storms before your trip and assess the sand conditions when you arrive. A sunny day, hard & flat sand and a low tide is optimal for amateurs!
6- Scotts Beach, Eyre Peninsula
Image: Courtesy of Surf Life Saving Australia / beachsafe.org.au/beach/sa1357
If it was necessary to describe Scotts Beach in Fowlers Bay Conservation Park with one word, I would use remote. This location is very far north on the Eyre Peninsula and is exactly where you need to drive if you want to get away from everything. The beach is very sandy and only appropriate if you have a four wheel drive and a significant stash of supplies. To access the beach in some sections, it may be necessary to drive over dunes. Therefore, you're going to need to have experience in four wheel driving. There are camping locations available at various point in the Fowlers Bay Conservation Park, and it is a well-known place to try your hand at fishing.
5- Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island
Image: Adam Bruzzone/SATC
When visiting Kangaroo Island, Emu Bay is a must-see location just 20 minutes drive from Kingscotte. The bay is four and a half kilometres long and can be driven on by most car types. So long as the tide is out, you and your car should be safe! This beach is exactly where to head if you want crystal clear waters and an easy, peaceful drive. Although during holiday periods it may get a bit busier, Emu Bay is generally quite quiet and peaceful. Hence, it's easy to find and claim your own private area of beach! The rocks and cliff-like formations at the back of the beach create interest and make this bay very picturesque.
Coffin Bay beach driving is only for the professionals! This stretch is very slim and very long - 55km in total. The sandy beaches and limestone outcrops along this drive are captivating for the eye and provide a visually pleasing cruise. At the end of the run is Point Sir Isaac. Here is a spectacular destination for surfing and bodyboarding. For those who don't enjoy the water, the clean beach also provides a lovely spot for general relaxation or bird watching. It is recommended that you allow three hours each way (six hours in total) if you're thinking of completing the entire drive. Setting a day aside for this trip is well worth it, as the isolated beach and challenging drive is not like any other you'll find elsewhere.
Once upon a time it was possible to drive the full beach length from Robe to Beachport. However, a detour is now necessary between Stinky Bay and Little Dip National Park. These beach areas are still fantastic little spots to go for a beach drive. You will definitely need a four-wheel-drive to complete this beach run, as the sand is quite soft and can get lumpy/hilly in sections. If you're an enthusiastic four wheel driver, Robe is an ideal location to practise driving on the sand. The four wheel driving community in Robe is quite extensive, so you might come across some other happy drivers on the beach.
If you plan to drive along the beach at Goolwa, you're also going to need a four-wheel-drive. You'll probably also need to know what you're doing. My family and I learnt the hard way when we tried to take my dad's SUV down the soft sand ramp and ended up bogged more than once. Alas, if you have the skills and the right car, Goolwa has a wonderfully long stretch of sand that takes you all the way from the lifesaving hut to the Murray Mouth - that's around 10km on the shoreline. With such an extensive space, its easy to find an isolated spot if you want to park the car and have an area to yourself without distraction. Many drivers pick a spot for the day and go fishing or surfing.
1- Aldinga Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula
Image: Aldinga Bay Business & Tourism Association / aldingabayonline.com.au/aldinga-beach
Aldinga is an absolute gem for driving on the beach and takes a #1 rank because of how close it is to the city and how accessible it is for all types of cars. I even drove my tiny little pink Nissan Micra from Sellicks to Aldinga along the sand! This coast run is straight and has reasonably flat, hard sand almost all year around. The gorgeous beach is a perfect location for swimming, snorkelling and beachside activities. Take an entire day out with a carload of friends or family and head to Aldinga. You can park your car and set up camp on the sand for the whole day! The clean, calm waters here are great for families and relaxing days. And it's all less than an hours drive from Adelaide CBD.