The tiny seaside village of Southend is one of the towns on the Limestone Coast worth visiting on a South Australian Road Trip. The clear aquamarine waters and vast expanses of white sandy beach look like something out of an exotic tourist brochure. Yet the seaside resort is actually one of the best kept secrets of the South Australian Limestone Coast.
A rock lobster fishing port, the tiny village boasts white beaches hidden behind rolling sand dunes along the turquoise waters of Rivoli Bay. Holiday makers and locals enjoy the dramatic coastal landscapes and the chance to get back to nature in the Canunda National Park.
Southend- unspoilt towns on the Limestone Coast
Surrounded by unspoilt nature, it is easy to see why Southend is such a popular tourist destination. Originally known as Grey Town after Governor Grey, it was officially named Southend in 1971.
During summer visitors flock the the rock lobster fishing port for its pristine waters, rolling sand dunes and the adjacent National Park. It is a small, sleepy village offering a relaxed seaside holiday without the crowds in the more popular resorts.
The clear blue waters of Rivoli Bay and 40 kilometres of white sandy beaches make this a picture-postcard destination. Some beaches are only accessible by foot or four wheel drive.
Taking a stroll along the Southend jetty, we soaked in the picturesque views across the Bay. Commercial fishermen unloaded the morning’s “catch” while the recreational anglers dangled a line off the jetty in the hope of a mulloway or mullet. A very tranquil place to while away a few hours.
Surf fishers angling for salmon dotted the expanse of sandy beach stretching out towards Beachport, some 20 kilometres away.
During summer these beautiful pristine beaches are the perfect spot to swim, or just soak in the sun on the sand. Year round, the dunes are popular with four wheel drivers and it is a popular fishing spot.
On a windy July day, we still saw a few determined fishermen, but the area was quietly deserted in comparison to our summer visit.
Canunda National Park
Nearby Canunda National Park Covers some 9300 hectares of bush land and coastal landscape.
The park offers a number of smaller, remote campsites and protected beaches and lagoons. These are popular with bush walkers and four-wheel drive enthusiasts.
It was a blustery July day when we spent a few hours discovering the coastal walks. The chilly arctic wind straight off the Southern Ocean was violently pounding waves into the rocks below. This demonstrated how their combined forces have shaped the Limestone Coast over time.
Choosing one of the well signposted coastal walks, we made our way along the clifftop . We discovered impressive limestone formations and ruggedly beautiful coastal scenery. Seabirds were ever-present, soaring above the rugged cliffs.
Beyond the thundering waves we caught a glimpse of the dolphins and seals which make the area their home. Apparently you can also see whales on their annual migration later in the year. Signboards along the walks provide information on the flora and fauna which can be found along the way.
Hiking in Canunda National Park
The 45 minute walk to Willichum Lookout was certainly worth the effort for the spectacular coastal views from the viewing platform. The pathway is well signposted, keeping clear of the sheer precipices. The clifftops are prone to crumbling as the coastal erosion continues to reshape the coast.
With more time, you can enjoy the 2km Cape Buffon Walking trail or also the 12km Seaview walk. Both of these take you along the rugged cliffs, and the dramatic coastal landscape. Birds, native wildlife and sea life are apparently abundant along these walks.
Southend is located five hours from Adelaide and a short drive from either Millicent or Beachport.
It offers caravan and camping accommodation as well as a range of private holiday rentals.
Read Also: Beachport– Exploring South Australia’s Limestone Coast