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Kayaking the Rapid Bay

Home > Adelaide > Adventure | Beaches | Boating | Day Trips | Escape the City
by Steve Hudson (subscribe)
Inspired by Australia's natural, developing and fun environments. Join me. Get some inspiration.
Published January 9th 2016
A chance to see some rarely seen South Australian secrets
Founded by Colonel Light in 1836, Rapid Bay is a little gem. A white sandy beach, crystal clear water, predominantly offshore winds, and a historic jetty that is a home to South Australia's marine emblem, the leafy seadragon. For most people the beach scenery ends there, but for the lucky few who have booked a sea kayaking trip the adventure has only just begun.

Rapid Bay - Steve Hudson

Adventure Kayaking SA, a family company featuring Phil, Andrew, Dave and Pippa, run sea kayaking tours exploring Rapid Bay and some of South Australia's oldest, most majestic and rugged coastline.

Getting Ready - Steve Hudson

Just to the north of the Caravan Park is a small boatramp where a gaggle of kayaks are gathered in wait of South Australia's next adventurers. Kayaks are chosen, safety instructions and safety vests are issued, while the sea kayaker's spray skirt is hitched high causing the odd chuckle.

On the water - Steve Hudson

On board and we head south to South Australia's only purpose built recreational jetty. A sturdy concrete and steel structure serves the fishing purpose quite well, but fails miserably as an iconic wooden/steel structure rusting and weathering in to oblivion, just like the old Rapid Bay Jetty which sits alongside.

Old and New Jetties - Steve Hudson

The old jetty, built originally in 1942, served its time as a means of transporting limestone from the nearby mine to ships. However mining ceased in 1991, and the jetty was left to nature, and failed beautifully. Broken in half and condemned, the jetty is now an iconic piece of texture, grain and rust, and in an unintended consequence has become a shady home for South Australia's own leafy seadragon.

Rugged Cliff views - Steve Hudson

Continuing our journey south we pass numerous piles of tailings which have been poured over the natural cliffs during the mine's various lives. Underneath those tailings are natural cliffs, and these are some of the oldest in Australia. With geological formations similar to those in Brachina Gorge and Arkaroola, they are believed to be in excess of 600 million years old, and like many of those in the Flinders they are virtually vertical.

Geological Finds - Steve Hudson

Rapid Heads is our furthest point south, and there we are greeted by a pod of seals. Commonly known as New Zealand Fur Seals, but more recently named as Southern Seals, these mammals watch us from their rocky ledge perhaps with a degree of wonderment. After a short while, one of them decides to return to the safety of the water for an impromptu display of belly rolls, the occasional wave from a flipper and some more treats for those quick enough to get their cameras out.

Rapid Heads Panorama - Steve Hudson

We head back to Rapid Bay beach for a short refuelling break before heading north in the early afternoon. The light winds give us a boost as we head past a mix of rocky outcrops, vertical cliffs and sheltered beaches. The seawall at Second Valley Beach beckons, but instead we gather in the water and look at the cave that is gushing with water. Taking turns, we are guided in to this sea cave where the peaceful serenity of a gentle cruise along the sea is overcome by a burst of darkness and tidal swells creating an unusual feeling of helplessness.

Sea cave - Steve Hudson

Back out of the cave, and we travel a short distance to one of the beautiful and small beaches nestled between vertical cliffs. A ride on the swell to get ourselves under the rocky arch and on to the beach, where we are greeted by a boiling kettle, soft drinks and a cold meat and salad wrap that a number of fast food franchises would die for.

Guided Beach Landing - Steve Hudson

Secluded Beach - Steve Hudson

After a short rest, and a push off through the incoming tidal swell, we head south back to our starting point at Rapid Bay. Upon cornering the final cliff and seeing the beach, our feelings of glee are dampened by the offshore winds that have either just started or that we had never noticed before. But following close to our guides, and close to the shore, we navigate that last 200m and bring our kayaks back to land.

Final yards - Steve Hudson

Rapid Bay is 110km (90 minutes) south of Adelaide on the road to Cape Jervis, just beyond the popular tourist towns of Yankalilla and Normanville. Adventure Kayaking SA operate six hour sea kayak tours from Rapid Bay with a launching schedule available on the Adventure Kayaking website or on their facebook page. The tours operate fortnightly during the warmer months, and typically on those days where kayakers can take advantage of the tidal movements. Kids and families are welcome, so what are you waiting for ?

Outstanding Beach - Steve Hudson
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Why? Best and safest fun on water
When: Fortnightly during warmer months
Phone: 82958812
Where: Rapid Bay, South Australia
Cost: $140 - $160 per person
Your Comment
Congratulations getting second place.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2094 days ago
Congratulations on winning second prize.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9217) 2094 days ago
Looks fantastic Steve. Great pictures and write up.
by Lorraine A (score: 3|1634) 2110 days ago
That secluded beach...never knew it existed...looks fantastic!
by noelp (score: 3|1199) 2108 days ago
Fantastic! great write up.
by Giddyupboots (score: 1|32) 2104 days ago
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