There is so much more to Mclaren ValeFebruary 5, 2021 5:36 am
There is so much more to the Mclaren Vale area than wineries (although don’t get me wrong there are some excellent wineries and gin distilleries!) Since Co-vid restrictions have prevented overseas trips and limited our interstate travel guests have taken the time to extend their stay and explore the area. We are so lucky to have some of South Australia’s best beaches just on our door step.
We have 4 of our favourite beaches all within a 15 minute drive from The Grape and Olive.
Aldinga Beach is one of the few beaches in Australia where cars are permitted to drive on sections of the broad sand, making access to the beach especially easy. It is renowned for its safe swimming and impressive surf. Aldinga Beach is also a top spot for scuba diving and snorkelling, with the beach overlooking a unique aquatic reserve established to protect a rare reef formation. An underwater trail includes a spectacular drop-off or underwater cliff, and unlike other dives in South Australia you can swim among rock pinnacles extending from the sea floor to just below the surface. A boat ramp provides easy access to the water.
Port Willunga is one of the most popular beach hangs in the south (and one of the most photographed). Its soft sandy beach is overlooked by cliffs where fishermen once carved out caves to store their boats and nets, which are now greatly valued as a pleasant family haven and shade from the scorching summer sun. These days the closest some people get to the local squid and garfish is in the popular Star of Greece restaurant overlooking the beach.
The rotting timbers of the remains of the Star of Greece, a three masted, iron cargo ship, wrecked here in 1888, provide a poignant reminder of the storms that can sometimes disturb this normally placid coastline.
Maslin Beach has been called one of the prettiest beaches in South Australia. Maintained in almost pristine condition, the southern end of Maslin Beach has the distinction of being South Australia’s first legal nudist beach. It’s high cliffs provide a great picnic spot or sunset viewing. Maslin Beach is some 3 kilometres long. While it is known as the first nudist beach in Australia, you don’t have to drop your togs to enjoy a day here. Nude sunbathing is reserved for the southern end of the beach, so if you do decide to go starkers, there is a cool 800m between you and the fully clothed members of society.
Sellick’s Beach.The big, prominent hills of Sellicks Hill Range roll down towards Gulf St Vincent and the broad sandy beaches run north towards Adelaide. Sellicks Beach is another beach where parking is allowed on the sand and it’s as popular with families for its safe swimming as it is with surf fishermen.
There are good boat launching facilities and excellent windsurfing when off-shore winds prevail. For a bite to eat, the historic Victory Hotel has commanding views over the area and has been delighting travellers for years.
Just a short drive away we have Moana and Port Noarlunga which are also worth a visit.
Port Noarlunga is an old port township at the mouth of Onkaparinga River. Low tides expose a nearby conservation-listed reef that provides a unique natural marine reserve that’s perfect for safe aquatic exploration, while more intrepid walkers will head for the river estuary and Onkaparinga River National Park.
The village itself provides great coffees and interesting shopping, along with a hint of what the old port would have looked like more than a century ago. While exploring the coastal village call into The Arts Centre for an insight into local visual arts. If travelling with the kids you can’t miss the Jubilee adventure playground – it’s the ultimate boredom buster, and also a great spot for a family picnic.
Moana is a beautiful beach popular for surfing enthusiasts and those wanting to pack up the car and drive right up to the water’s edge for a fun day with the family. The beach is also patrolled by the Lifesaving Club over the summer months and has beachfront dining at the surf club or at The Deep Blue Cafe.
Enjoy your next stay down south – The Grape & Olive at Willunga.