The coastal town of Beachport is around 380 kilometres south east of Adelaide and sits on Rivoli Bay with attractions including sandy beaches, South Australia’s second longest jetty, and a spectacular scenic coastal drive.
It’s also home to professional lobster fishers who pull in the southern rock lobster during the season beginning in October and going through to the end of May.
The importance of the sea and fishing are just some of the hints you’ll get with a few sculptures to see as you drive into the town. The sculptures were designed by Andrew Stock and Tony Rosella and represent what Beachport is known for.
Further along on the foreshore there’s another sculpture ‘whale tail’ which was created by Dominique Paolini and Celine Gorget. Between May and September each year whales can be spotted in the bay and from the jetty which is the second longest in South Australia, at 772 metres long.
Another sculpture to see on the way into town is a naval mine replica on top of a memorial. This commemorates the first World War 2 casualties on Australian soil when two sailors from the naval demolition squad were killed in 1941 when attempting to defuse a German navy mine. The mine had washed in near this point, from where it had been laid in southern shipping lanes.
On the foreshore there are a couple of large mosaic pieces, one at the ANZAC memorial was created by local man Bob Grieve and shows the rising sun, symbolising the spirit of the ANZACs. Nearby is a tiled wall surrounding a beach shower which was created by Michael Tye of Goolwa, depicting the leafy sea dragon.
There are two caravan parks in town and we stayed at the Beachport Caravan Park and Surfside Apartments, on the beach front. This is conveniently located in walking distance to town and the jetty and has terrific sea views. It’s also directly across the road from the golf course.
The park has modern, clean amenities and an excellent camp kitchen all undercover, and has indoor BBQs and everything else you may need to use in a kitchen. It also has a very impressive library of DVDs and some games to borrow while you’re staying in the park.
One of the most popular things to do in Beachport is to take the Bowman Scenic Drive. This drive takes you around the coast and there are parking spots to get out and walk to points of interest, including the Cape Martin Lighthouse and other lookouts to see the spectacular and wild Southern Ocean.
On part of the drive you go past the Pool of Siloam, a salt lake which is almost seven times saltier than the ocean. It’s a popular spot with locals and holiday makers in summer because of its buoyant properties and there are change rooms and a shower available.
If you visit the Information Centre in town you can also pick up a brochure on a drive to take, to see historic buildings around town including the tiny Old St Nicholas wooden church.
Beach drives at Beachport and the Limestone Coast are extremely popular and many 4WD enthusiasts and clubs from SA and Victoria make the trip to the south east, particularly for this reason. We were there over the long weekend and the streets were lined with 4WDs, many which were taking over the fuel station in town to reinflate tyres after their day on the sand.
When you’re in Beachport take a drive around the bay for around 20 kilometres to the small township of Southend, which is also the gateway to the Canunda National Park. Southend has safe swimming beaches, a jetty, surf and more beach driving spots.
Because Southend is surrounded by ocean and beaches, you can take a dog in and they are allowed under control onto the beaches. There are a number of walking trails in the park which vary in distance.
In Southend you’ll find the Geltwood Anchor Memorial, which refers to a shipping tragedy which happened here. The Geltwood was a three masted iron hull barque which departed Liverpool in England bound for Melbourne in 1876. On its maiden voyage and after being at sea for three months, it hit a storm and was driven aground at Rivoli Bay. The captain, his wife and one passenger and all of the 24 crew were drowned.
The wreck site was located in 1982 by an abalone diver and the wreck was positively identified and declared an historic shipwreck. This anchor at the memorial was recovered in 1991 and was one of two found along with some artefacts.
Next time we are in the region we will definitely be checking out the Southend bush camping sites. There are quite a few unpowered bush sites with a lot of space, easy access to the beach, toilets and fire pits to use. We took a drive through and it looks a very comfortable and secluded area to stay off grid for a while.