Top Beaches in South Australia

by Courtney Thomson

Top Beaches in SA

South Australia is known for its wine, for its vast vineyards and 5-star restaurants, and for its touch with nature with places like Kangaroo Island open to the public. But kangaroos and wine aren’t the only famous features of South Australia. Its beaches are just as reputable, and when you get to the southern leg of your Big Lap, these beaches are a must-see.


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Henley Beach is the place to be. Even in the earliest hours of the morning, Henley Beach is thriving with morning joggers and cyclists, dog-walkers, and families looking to watch the gorgeous sunrise.

The newly-renovated Henley Square also features seating and grassed areas, shaded structures, and three restaurants serving the most delectable cuisine whilst overlooking the beach. Some of the most popular include the Henley Beach Surf Life Saving Club, which provides uninterrupted beachfront and panoramic views; or the Bacchus Bar, with some magnificent views along with some magnificent food.

You can find out more about Henley Beach here.


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If you’re a food-lover, then there’s no better place to be than Glenelg beach. With dozens of  cafes, restaurants and bars lined on the main street, Jetty Rd, you can delve into the award-winning meals served at these dining options. 

Adelaide’s most popular beachside destination, Glenelg’s vibrant mix of tourists and locals gives it an energy all of its own. The main street, Jetty Rd, is a mishmash of one-off boutiques, larger-chain retailers, cafes, restaurants and bars. Cardone’s Seafood & Grill, Europa at the Bay, The Strand Cafe Restaurant, Glenelg Barbeque and Mamma Carmela Cafe Pizzeria Inn are just some of the highlights to be savoured on Jetty Rd. 

If the delicious food isn’t enough, take a 5-minute walk to Marina Pier to admire the exquisite sailing boats moored at the peer,  whilst savouring mouth-watering meals from places like The Oyster Bar, The Wharf, Zucca Greek Mezze, Ellenika Traditional Greek Taverna and Sammy’s on the Marina.

You can find out more about Glenelg Beach here.


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The sister to Glenelg’s Jetty Rd, Brighton provides quieter attractions, but is just as high in standard as Glenelg. The Esplanade Hotel and View at 85 Cafe provides spectacular scenery of the white powdery sand and sparkling vast ocean, with perfect cuisine to indulge the tongue.

Cafe Lune offers Italian-themed cuisine, minus the view, but the rich flavours of their dishes more than makes up for the lack in view. A little further along are a number of cafes including The Seller Door, A Cafe Etc, Brighton Beach Pit, C.R.E.A.M. and The Edge Deli, each with its own distinct flavour.

You can find out more about Brighton Beach here.


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Every inch of your palette will be catered at Semaphore beach. From Italian to Asian, Indian to Nepalese, and burgers to beans, Semaphore’s bustling main road is positively bursting with flavour.

Appease your sweet tooth by visiting The Cookie Dough Lab, Charmers Cupcakery and Swedish Tarts Patisserie, all of which are available in one location. A simple stroll down this seaside lane opens up a journey through the different cuisines featured across the globe. Delicious food, drinks to die for, stunning views — what more could you want?

You can find out more about Semaphore Beach here.


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Take a trip to this humble beach to immerse yourself in the reef’s spectacular vibrancy; to take your pick of mouth-watering meals from the wide range of cafes and restaurants; shop to your heart’s content in antique and gift shops; and visit hairdressers and one day spas for some pampering. Port Noarlunga has it all.

You can find out more about Christies Beach here.


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As the largest regional town on the western Fleurieu Peninsula, you may think Normanville is a bustling clash of tourists and visitors. Far from it. Normanville boasts nothing but chill vibes and a laid-back ambience that’s hard to beat.

Kiosk & Cafe on Normanville’s foreshore offers reasonable prices for gourmet food, such as its popular smoky white bean cassoulet — and you barely have to step off the golden sands to enjoy it.

Looking for a quiet, relaxing day out? Normanville is waiting.

You can find out more about Normanville Beach here.


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Horseshoe Bay is the beam of light for South Coast gem Port Elliot — locals and visitors alike flock here every morning for a dip into its lucid waters. Further back from the water, you can indulge in Hotel Elliot’s amazing food and live music, or search out other menus at Jelly Café, The Retro Vibe or Mr India. Or if you prefer a relaxing sit down, sink into the soft couches at South Sea Books and Trading and have coffee served to you while you read and recuperate.

You can find out more about Port Elliot here.


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Old meets new in Wallaroo, as its working town and industrial feel has embraced the enthusiasm of holiday-makers looking to soak up the golden sun. The town comes alive in summer as the shacks along the North Beach fill with city folk, and the long stretches of sand fill with walkers looking to make use of the blue skies and expansive views. 

If that isn’t enough, try your hand at dipping a line into Spencer Gulf to catch King George whiting or snapper. Lines come up empty? No matter, there are some excellent fish and chip shops around, such as Pier One.

You can find out more about Wallaroo here.


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Robe Beach offers not only amazing views of the sparkling sea, but dashes of spectacular flavour that are just too good to miss. Indulge in fresh fish and crustaceans brought in by the town’s fishing fleet, or dine and wine at restaurants such as Gather Food and Wine, the winner of the two-fork award rating in the Advertiser Good Food Guide 2018. If that doesn’t satisfy your hunger needs, then head over to Sky Seafoods in the morning to choose your own lobster fresh from the tank and it will be cooked and ready by lunchtime.

You can find out more about Robe Beach here.


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Whether you’re looking for classy, or casual, Port Lincoln has it all. Dive into the delectable dinery at Line & Label restaurant, the new eatery with celebrity chef Pete Evans working as a consultant on the project, and executive chef Josh Harris from the Asana restaurant in Brisbane handling the kitchen.

If you prefer a more casual dine-in then head over to Del Giorno, beloved by locals for its good food and coffee. If that doesn’t float your boat, then try and embark on a culinary adventure by heading to Coffin Bay for oysters pulled fresh from the sea.

You can find out more about Port Lincoln here.

11. Maslin Beach, Adelaide

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Few can say they’ve been to a nudist beach, let alone one of the first nudist beaches in Australia. Well, if you take a trip to Maslin Beach, be prepared to join the club. Famous for its natural beauty and bare bottoms, Maslin Beach provides sweeping views of the calm waters and jagged cliffs, providing a stunning backdrop for a relaxing swim or a game of beach cricket.

If you’re after a bit of freedom yourself, signs are posted everywhere that state clearly where clothes are and are not required. However, do not fear if you prefer to stay away from those suntanned bottoms — nude sunbathing is only permitted on the far southern end of the beach, at least 800 meters (about half a mile) from the main entrance. 

You can find out more about Maslin Beach here.

12. Gunyah Beach, Eyre Peninsula South

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Hop into a car for the full experience of Gunyah Beach and its whopping sand dunes. From Coffin Bay, you can drive down to a sealed road directly onto Gunyah Beach. From there is just a few steps into paradise. Stunning, panoramic views. Looming sand dunes, dotted across the landscape. The sights are especially spectacular in the glow of twilight, so it’s worth getting there and walking the dunes for a few hours before the sun sets. 

If you’re there at twilight, that’s when the wildlife comes out; look for beach-roaming kangaroos and foxes, and make sure to drive safely!

You can find out more about Gunyah Beach here.


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