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Outer Harbour to Semaphore; A Coastal Drive

Home > Adelaide > Animals and Wildlife | Dog Friendly | Outdoor
by Barry Silkstone (subscribe)
I am an Australian natural history writer and photographer. My aim is to encourage people to venture outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of our planet. Visit my blog naturallysouthaustralia.com
Published January 1st 2023
Best beachside beasties
Drive, SA coast, Semaphore, Largs Bay, Point Malcolm, South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, nature,
Cruise ship docked at the Outer Harbour


There is a cruise ship docked at the Outer Harbour and some fishers watching it as they cast for Salmon Trout and set crab nets for Blue Swimmer Crabs. These large crabs migrate to our inshore waters in large numbers between September and April. This morning the water is quite clear and I watch as a large blue crab, attracted by the fish head in the net, makes a fatal attempt at the bait. One more for the pot.

blue swimmer crab, Drive, SA coast, Semaphore, Largs Bay, Point Malcolm, South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, nature,
Blue Swimmer Crab


I am taking a coastal drive between the Outer Harbour and Semaphore Park, stopping at significant landmarks along the way and photographing some of the wildlife inhabiting these areas. A kind of beach-side safari. In another article, I will explore the next section of our urban coastline.

marina,Drive, SA coast, Semaphore, Largs Bay, Point Malcolm, South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, nature,
View of Marina from Sailmaster Restaurant


cormorant,Drive, SA coast, Semaphore, Largs Bay, Point Malcolm, South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, nature,
Pied Cormorants


My next stop is The Marina at North Haven. I have often eaten at the cafes and restaurants overlooking the marina and walked along the promenade. Today, I notice a group of Pied Cormorants perching on a mooring platform drying their wings and resting between fishing expeditions. On other occasions, I have observed dolphins and Rakalis (Australian Water Rats) and on one occasion a seal, hunting in the marina.

Largs Bay, Drive, SA coast, Semaphore, Largs Bay, Point Malcolm, South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, nature,
Largs Pier Hotel and mosaic amenities block


Largs Bay; with its iconic bluestone and stucco arched Largs Pier Hotel, wooden jetty and even a mosaic adorned toilet block, is just a couple of kilometres further along Lady Gowrie Drive. A boardwalk extends from Largs Bay back to North Haven winding through re-vegetated coastal scrub. It is a wonderful place to spot coastal birds. However, I shoot my Largs Bay image of a Pacific Gull from the jetty where I watch it hunting for worms and shellfish in the shallow water.

Pacific Gull, Drive, SA coast, Semaphore, Largs Bay, Point Malcolm, South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, nature,
Pacific Gull


Semaphore is my next destination as I travel south towards Glenelg and Brighton. Apart from the jetty, Semaphore has several historical features including: the Palais, clocktower, soldiers' memorial and an old anchor which honours bygone sea captains.

jetty, Palais, Drive, SA coast, Semaphore, Largs Bay, Point Malcolm, South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, nature,
Palais and coastal scrub seen from the Semaphore jetty


The low coastal dunes and dense scrub around Semaphore are home to a variety of birds including: Singing Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds and Nankeen Kestrels. Reptiles are not uncommon and I have often photographed Blue Tongue Lizards, Shinglebacks and Bearded Dragons. Long-nosed Fur Seals and Bottlenose Dolphins are commonly spotted around the jetty.

dolphin, Drive, SA coast, Semaphore, Largs Bay, Point Malcolm, South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, nature,
Bottlenose Dolphin near the jetty


My final destination, on this first drive along the coast, is Semaphore Park's Point Malcolm. Situated at the end of the children's railway adjacent Fort Glanville, it is an ideal place to encounter one of the coast's most attractive little animals; the Painted Dragon. On this visit, I manage to find a brightly coloured male and a duller but far better camouflaged female.

Painted Dragon
Male Painted Dragon


My drive has been very successful and I am certainly looking forward to the next phase between Semaphore South and Grange.

Additional notes
This is an easy walk/drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, barbecues, parking and other facilities nearby. It is dog friendly.
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Why? A wonderful and historic drive
When: All year round
Where: Outer Harbour to Semaphore Park
Cost: None
Your Comment
What a great article Barry. It really shows us the place. So much wildlife too. I confess I would probably be too distracted photographing the birds to make any great distance in a day.
by Gayle Beveridge-Marien (score: 4|10397) 24 days ago
There is obviously a difference but most people know Pacific Gulls as
Seagulls
by r.eng (score: 2|916) 21 days ago
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