Exploring the Limestone Coast
South Australia’s Limestone Coast is every bit as rugged and beautiful as Victoria’s famous Great Ocean Road. Dramatic coastal rock formations along the windswept Southern Ocean, rolling sand dunes and historic coastal towns make this an area well worth exploring.
We have the opportunity to visit the area regularly to spend time with our daughter and her family. This has enabled us to enjoy the best the region has to offer in both summer and winter.
A relaxing morning’s drive brought us to the seaside port of Beachport last July.
Beachport Jetty, over Rivoli Bay South Australia
History of Beachport
Historically, from the 1830’s the town was a whaling port. However by the 1870’s wool and agriculture had taken over as the town’s primary industries.
The heritage listed wool and grain store and customs house are remnants of the town’s history. The grain store today houses a museum collection of fishing, whaling and agricultural artifacts.
Swimming areas along Beachport
A popular holiday destination
During the summer months holidaymakers flock to the town. Here they enjoy swimming, watersports, fishing and a relaxed cafe lifestyle by Rivoli Bay. On a 40 degree summer’s day you can enjoy a cooling dip in one of the many swimming areas along Rivoli Bay. Or we could imagine cooling off with an icecream as you stroll along the historic pier.
Winter and summer, tourists still enjoy fishing and four wheel driving in the rolling sand dunes around nearby Lake George.
Beachport Conservation Park is also popular for its white beaches and an array of birdlife including hooded plovers which nest on the beach.
An arctic wind was gusting in from the Southern Ocean on the morning of our visit, bringing with it an icy chill.
This didn’t stop us from rugging up and enjoying a walk with the “Pawesome Foursome” along one of Beachport’s most famous tourist attractions, the heritage listed Beachport Jetty.
Completed in 1882, the original Beachport Jetty was some 1.2 kilometres long, with a “T Junction” at the end. This provided safer access to ships entering Rivoli Bay.
The urgency of a longer jetty became apparent in 1879 with the wrecking of the Geltwood, where all 27 people on board lost their lives.
Ironically the screw pile pier became a safety issue in itself. Local residents halted Council plans to demolish the entire pier and only the more dangerous sections of the pier were eventually demolished. Today some 772 metres of the original jetty remains, still quite an amazing distance into the waters of Rivoli Bay.
Enjoying a walk along the jetty
The furkids were a little unsure walking over the initial mesh grid at the beginning of the jetty. But once we reached the solid wooden planks, they became more confident, looking forward to a long walk over the water.
Maya needed to be kept on short leash to stop her natural inclination to dive into the icy waters for a dip. Methinks the water would have been too cold even for her.
Even at its greatly reduced length, the sheer length of the jetty is quite impressive. Along the way you will have beautiful views across the Bay. By the end of the walk you are quite a long way out into the water.
It is a popular spot for local fishermen to “dangle a line”. We watched them reeling in salmon, mullet, mulloway and whiting as we took a leisurely stroll towards the end of the jetty.
A keen fisherman himself, Ian took the opportunity to stop for a chat about what tackle and bait they were using. He was amazed that anglers still use bread to catch mullet.
Take in the scenery
By the end of our return walk, four very tired doggies were more than happy to have a nap while we headed to the cafe opposite to thaw out with coffee and brunch.
Once we were sufficiently warmed, we continued our scenic drive past the marinas and deserted beaches, then along Bowman Scenic Drive. Heading up the hill, you have a view of the entire length of the jetty. The sheer scale is amazing and it is hard to imagine the original jetty being nearly twice as long.
The drive along Bowman Scenic Drive provides spectacular views of the rugged limestone coastline, past the Pool of Siloam, said to be seven times saltier than the sea. Swimmers enjoy the bouyancy of the salty water and the therapeutic benefits. Lovely in summer, but we certainly weren’t braving the arctic chill to explore today.
Maybe next summer we will come back for a dip and to explore the conservation area.
It offers a range of accommodation options including hotels, B&B, private holiday rentals, caravan parks and also pre-booked camping in the Beachport Conservation Park.
Read also: Travelling with Dogs