Home' Caravanning Australia : Winter 2012 Contents Caravanning Australia • Winter 2012 • 111
north-west of Adelaide, to Sellicks Beach, 70 kilometres south
along the coast, is dotted with family-friendly beaches, with
Henley and Glenelg being two of the busier seaside towns.
Restaurants and bars nuzzle close to both foreshores, with
Glenelg's Jetty Road and Holdfast Marina likely the busiest
At the southern end of the metropolitan coast, the Mount
Lofty Ranges tumble down onto Sellicks Beach. Framed by
steep cliffs, this is the approximate point where the coast starts
to become exposed to the swells of the Indian Ocean, while the
city beaches are protected by the Yorke Peninsula. About 50
kilometres out of the city, this area, along with nearby coastal
towns (such as Aldinga) with long, attractive, untrammelled
beaches, is becoming a desirable commuter destination south of
Adelaide due to the rural serenity and easy access to the city.
It's worth noting that even outlying coastal suburbs such
as Port Adelaide and the northern beaches fall within a short
drive radius; therefore, prospective visitors need not restrict their
accommodation options to the city centre. This allows a best-of-
both-worlds scenario not typically available in other capital cities.
Port Adelaide, 14 kilometres north-west of the city, played
an integral role in the colonial development of South Australia,
evident through its many museums and a smattering of old
stone warehouses (now containing attractive loft apartments),
pubs and wharves. Early colonies were wholly dependent upon
the sea for trade, migration, travel and -- essentially -- survival.
Despite living on dry land, communities were still at the behest
of the seas -- ships that wrecked before reaching port could lose
months' worth of supplies, or exported goods that would have
generated much-needed finance.
The South Australian Maritime Museum, one of the finest in
the world, tells stories reaching all the way back to Adelaide's
settlement via its collections and exhibitions. Replicas of ship
cabins from the mid-1800s through to the mid-1850s give a
claustrophobic picture of life at sea -- month-long voyages in
a sack-cloth berth less than half a metre wide. The 'Bound for
South Australia' exhibit has extensive material on those leaving
Britain for a new life and a gruelling nautical journey, including
journals and artefacts belonging to passengers. It offers vivid
glimpses into their voyages: the food they ate, living conditions,
and hopes and fears of what lay ahead in a far-off land.
The museum's 'Wrecked!' exhibition conveys the disasters
of some of the state's 850 shipwrecks, and genealogy
archives draw upon newspapers and passenger lists to form a
comprehensive index of 19th-century immigration, providing a
window into many forgotten ancestries. Once known as 'Port
Misery', the town's streets were menaced by drunken sailors
and wharf-hands stumbling in and out of its 40 or so pubs -- it
has since morphed into quite the opposite, with an attractive
waterfront and ever-developing commercial and residential areas.
The northern beaches form the only coastal strip in the
region continuously visible from the car. Semaphore, beside Port
Adelaide, is one of those sleepy towns by the sea that can charm
you into an impulsive real estate purchase. An old-fashioned
main street with quirky shops, a scenic steam train that runs the
length of the white-sand coast, and the oldest working carousel
in the southern hemisphere give it a distinctive folksy charm --
reminiscent of a motion picture setting.
While outside that 20- to 30-minute radius (closer to an
hour), the Fleurieu Peninsula is well within reach of the city, due
south at the westernmost extent of Coorong National Park.
Victor Harbor is one of the more popular resort towns on the
Peninsula, and in all of South Australia. Natural attractions teem
here -- the region is home to some of the state's finest surf spots
and is an assembly point for marine wildlife.
Rosetta Head gives an excellent vantage point over
Encounter Bay and, during winter when the whales are in the
area, it's a popular viewing platform. The South Australian Whale
Centre makes wildlife sightings easy, offering a range of tours out
into local waters, focusing on whales, dolphins and seals.
The trip out to Victor Harbor passes through the Fleurieu
Peninsula's premier wine region in McLaren Vale, known for
bolder varieties such as shiraz, grenache, cabernet sauvignon
and chardonnay due to its warm climate. As they are numerous,
one can hardly avoid a famed wine region in South Australia.
North-east of Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is likely in the running
to be Australia's most acclaimed.
Winemaking in Tanunda © SATC; Milton Wordley
Links Archive Autumn 2012 Spring 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page