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Published March 23rd 2016
Get familiar with the Fleurieu Coast
Once you leave the familiarity of Adelaide's metropolitan foreshore heading south, the landscape begins to change with the introduction of rugged cliff scapes and sheltered coves. As with most of our beaches in South Australia, those on the Fleurieu Peninsula offer much in terms of natural beauty and recreational options. Here are 6 beaches that I discovered recently on my wanderings around the Fleurieu which are well worth venturing to:-
1. Maslin Beach
Maslin Beach is most renowned for its nudist beach, in fact the first in Australia and is located around 40 kilometres, or a 45 minute drive from the city of Adelaide. The beach offers so much more however with a total length of 3 kilometres of white sandy shoreline which attracts people of all ages for swimming, boating, fishing and watersports including sailboarding, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.
The advantage of Maslin Beach is its proximity to the wine region of McLaren Vale and access to the Southern Vales area of the Fleurieu.
Another 7 minute drive from Maslin Beach is the burgeoning beachside community of Sellicks Beach. A drive around this area reveals much in the way of development of new housing, for those who want to either retire down by the seaside, for those seeking a holiday retreat and for those who still are happy to commute to the city for work.
One of the advantages of this beach is the access allowable by car onto the beach, free for residents and a nominal charge for non-residents. It means you don't need to carry all of your beach gear for long distances.
Continuing south down the coast, around 74 kms from Adelaide, Carrackalinga has become a favourite amongst holidaymakers, with many properties available for rental along the beachfront with prices ranging anything from $175 a night right up to around $370 a night.
Although the population is around 450, there are no shops, with the nearest being in Normanville, around 1 kilometre away. With white sandy tracts of beach, North Carrackalinga Beach and South Carrackalinga Beach are separated by a much photographed volcanic outcrop.
Around 4 kms south of Carrackalinga Beach is the area known as Lady Bay. The beach is itself is much more rockier than some of the other beaches in the area, and at low tide, it is interesting to wander around the tidal pools and discover the small sea creatures which secrete themselves amongst the rocks.
The Lady Bay area has been developed of recent years with the building of the Links Lady Bay Resort, which encompasses a golf course, hotel and a 1,100 housing site sub-division.
By the time you reach Second Valley, which is around 92 kilometres from Adelaide, you have well and truly entered territory which has the edge of the Mt Lofty Ranges sloping steeply down to the sea. You can see quite clearly the folding and faulting in the rocks with the distinct layers of rock strata up close.
Second Valley is a popular scuba diving location with many submerged reefs which attract many different species of sea creatures. Second Valley has been rated amongst the top ten beaches in Australia with a jetty which is ideal for fishing. The cove also attracts many small craft and kayaking is a popular pastime.
By now travelling further south, you are deep within the Fleurieu Peninsula and Rapid Bay is around 100 kms south of Adelaide. Rapid Bay is an area of historical significance as it is the spot where South Australian surveyor, Colonel William Light first made landfall on mainland South Australia in 1836, the year of official white settlement.
The site was named after Light's ship "The Rapid" and a replica of Colonel Light's initials carved into a boulder is located in the nearby township. The original boulder is in the South Australian Museum.
Rapid Bay is well known for its limestone quarry and its pair of jetties are popular sites for fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
If you do snorkel or scuba dive, look out for the resident Leafy Seadragon population and at least 49 different species of fish have been identified in the area. An artificial reef has been created around 5 kms north/northwest of Rapid Head with the scuttling of HMAS Hobart in 2002, a decommissioned guided missile destroyer.
Have just spent 3 days at Knights Beach, Port Elliott. Absolutely magic, with those 'boomers' coming straight from the great southern ocean. It was very easy to be lazy, watching the board riders waiting for a ride on the waves.
No better way to slow down 'busy' minds. Beautiful cliff top walk, and Pt. Elliott is a wonderful mix of the old and new. No mobile, no internet, I recommend it.