Overlooking Kangaroo Island and Backstairs Passage, the small fishing town of Cape Jervis sits quietly on the southwest tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula, springing to life before the departure or arrival of the Sealink Kangaroo Island ferry.
Cape Jervis may be considered a small town, but looking back at an old photograph of the area back in 1912, the town has grown to include a large terminal for Sealink Ferry, a new lighthouse, a few stores and houses.
The Starfish wind farm, the first major wind farm in the state, is a wind power station near Cape Jervis. With a generating capacity of 34.5 MW of electricity the 23 wind turbines located on Starfish Hill and nearby Salt Creek, would be vastly different to the Cape Jervis, named by Matthew Flinders in 1802 after John Jervis, First Lord of the British Admiralty.
The two dominating features of Cape Jervis are the ferry terminal and the lighthouse. The tall, white modern lighthouse, built in 1972, replaced the original lighthouse, which dates back to 10 August 1871.
Information signs relating to the cultural heritage of the surrounding land stand at the beginning of the Heysen Trail, and this 4km walk to Fishery Beach. The walk combines cliff top trails with stunning coastal views, hill climbs and paths meandering through low vegetation rich with butterflies.
The small steep 40-metre beach formed between the eastern harbour and the jetty used for launching small boats can be seen from the first section of the walk. Standing on the cliff, looking back toward Kangaroo Island, the ferries give the appearance of almost colliding as they crisscross between Cape Jervis and Kangaroo Island.
Ferries - they didn't collide Photo: Hazel Cochrane
The trail continues for about an hour before reaching Fishery Beach. Situated between Cape Jervis and Blowhole Beach, Fishery Beach was a whaling station in the 1840s, before it became a shipping port to export ore from the Talisker Mine. The whaling station closed in 1855 after several ships were lost at sea and the number of whales declined, although ruins can still be seen. As the name suggests, Fishery Beach is a popular fishing area.
Facilities are located at the Cape Jervis Ferry Terminal, including the CJ's by the Sea café, serving coffee and snacks, the souvenir shop and toilets, all of which get very busy around ferry departure times.