Top 10 beaches on the Fleurieu Peninsula – Part 1

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Top 10 beaches on the Fleurieu Peninsula – Part 1

Chelsea Sellicks scaled 1 1 | 2024

These are the Top 10 beaches on the Fleurieu Peninsula according to the OT crew, because we all know that South Australia has the best beaches! There are so many on the Fleurieu Peninsula that I have created a two part blog. So, that is really 20 super amazing beaches!

Part 1- runs from Sellicks Beach to Port Noarlunga – mid coast.  Get amongst it – whatever the season.

1. Cactus Canyon – Sellicks Beach

Cactus Canyon is a steep-sided canyon that reaches the coast 500 m south of Sellicks beach. The canyon and neighbouring creeks have delivered rocks to the shore that have been reworked by the waves to form a high tide shingle beach, overlain by a veneer of sand. The beach extends south of the canyon for 1 km to where it merges with the boulders of the neighbouring beach.  Often referred to as ‘the land before time’ by photographers.  A geologists delight.

Cactus Canyon - Sellicks Beach
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Walk the canyon >

Cactus Canyon - Sellicks Beach
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2. Dog and Car beach – Sellicks Beach

Pick your tides before you drive on to the amazing Sellicks Beach.  The southern point of this beach is a dog friendly beach – all year around.   Kids and dogs have plenty of room to run around and discover amongst the rock pools.

Sellicks Beach
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Photo credit: Chelsea Cameron

3. Silver Sands and Aldinga Beach

This is another popular drive-on beach with expanses of sand that go on for kms.   Set up beach camp for the day or if you turn right at the Aldinga ramp, this is a prime spot for ‘small’ boat beach launching for fishing or kayaking.  Be mindful of markers on cliffs for protected marine areas.   Food trucks are scattered along the sandy beach or you can visit ‘Pearl’ for a coffee and the ‘fresh’ catch of the day.

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Don’s garfish haul

Silver Sands
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Dabbing for Garfish on dusk.  Photo credit: Marg and Don Oliver

4. Port Willunga – Jetty and Caves

Port Willunga jetty. The first jetty was built in 1853 and several months later an additional 52 metres was added. However this still gave inadequate water at low tide. The placement of the jetty was also questioned. In 1857 the jetty was extended again to give a length of 145 metres.

Port Willunga was at this time one of the busiest ports in the colony of South Australia with the large wheat crops of the immediate interior being exported from its jetty. The farmers petitioned for a new and longer jetty and this was constructed in 1867 some 400 metres to the south of the old jetty. It was opened in February 1868. A depth of between 3 and 3.6 metres at medium low water was achieved.

Local farmers petitioned for a further extension and a T-head but this was not agreed to. By the early 1870s the grain trade was depressed: the local flour mills had been closed by 1900. Slate continued to be exported for some time from the jetty.  

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The Port Willunga jetty and beach are one of the most photographed and instagrammed beaches. If you haven’t been there yet – it is sure worth a swim, stroll or a lunch from the cliff at ‘The Star of Greece’.

Snorkel the ‘Star of Greece’ Shipwreck.

Port Willunga
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5. Gulls Rock (Blanche Point) -Port Willunga/Maslin Beach

This beach and cliff car park is an aquatic ‘theme park’.  Surfing, snorkeling, fishing, beachcombing  and photography.  One of the most spectacular sunsets spots.  #Vanlife and surfers frequent this location adding to the vibe.

Urban Forest Biodiversity Program volunteers have done an exceptional job at revegetating the paddocks surrounding the upper car park.  It appears that surrounding farmers have further added to these fantastic tree corridors.

Gulls Rock
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Gulls rock
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6. Ochre Point – Maslins Beach, Moana

A secluded beach with the only access being from the cliffs.  Amazing hang gliding platform or a super spot for model plane flights.

At Ochre Point the beach narrows to a sandy high tide beach that runs for 1 km along the base of the steep 60 m high bluffs, and fronted by 50 m wide intertidal rock rubble then reef flats. The only access is on foot from either end, while on the beach there is only one small sandy access gap through the reefs located toward the southern end of the beach.  Picturesque view on the walk along the cliffs offers 180 ° views of the southern Maslins beach cliffs and the foothills.

Ochre Point
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7. Moana Beach

Moana Beach ticks all the boxes.  Half drive on /half walk on beach.   There are ample opportunities for surf grom lessons, an accessible caravan park on the front and Deep Blue or Dukes cafe do keep you nourished.  It ticks all the boxes for a family beach getaway.  Get the bike or walking shoes and make your way along the well paved esplanade walk.

Moana Beach
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8. Port Noarlunga South – River mouth

The Port Noarlunga rivermouth use to be one of the best kept secrets.  The cliff stairway has become iconic and it would be mean not to share these spectacular cliffs.  Kayakers , Stand-up paddleboarders and fisherman enjoy the calmer Onkaparinga River.  Surfers are seen dotted along the break at the ocean mouth opening or visitors roaming over the protected marine park.

Port Noarlunga south
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Port Noarlunga beach
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9. Port Noarlunga Jetty

Port Noarlunga is an idyllic seaside town.  The red sandstone cliffs, long jetty and 1.6km of reef making it a divers destination.  It seems to be a ‘right of passage’ to go jetty jumping in your teens and the friendly fisherman/woman are happy to let you know what they have caught for the day.

The reef and aquatic reserve forms part of the Encounter Marine Park – a divers and snorkelers paradise and also viewable from the end of the jetty. The reef is home to more than 200 species of marine plants, which the fish love too and can be further discovered by the self guided Aquatic Trail for divers.

The small town has many awesome cafe’s, restaurants and ice creameries…all within a short stroll off of the sand.

Port Noarlunga Jetty
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10. Christies Beach

Christies Beach occupies the southern third of a 2 km long west facing beach that extends from Witton Bluff in the south to Curlew Point in the north. The southern half is backed by the growing residential area called Christies Beach, while the northern half is known as O’Sullivan Beach . There is excellent access to the beach at Christies Beach where a road parallels the beach, together with a caravan park and the Christies Beach Surf Life Saving Club. A seawall protects the road, with a ramp to the beach in front of the surf club.) Christies Creek flows across the middle of the beach and separates Christies from O’Sullivan Beach. It is one of the true esplanades where the paths are directly on the beach.

This seaside spot became very popular in the 1950’s prior to development further south.   The dramatic cliffs are spectacular and a busy beach during tourist season.

Upcoming developments include a Witton Bluff base trail.  Due to start in 2021 based on community engagement outcomes.