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SA's best beaches for whatever you want to do

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The beach means something different for all of us. Whether building sandcastles or chasing surf is your thing, here’s SALIFE’s guide to the best beaches in the state for your leisure activity of choice.

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Best beaches for kayaking and camping: The Coorong

Coorong National Park boasts 130 kilometres of saltwater lagoons, striking scenery and internationally-recognised wetlands. The waterways are perfect for canoeing and kayaking, with beaches that are protected by the sweeping sand dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula. Nestled in the dunes of the Coorong Channel, Godfreys Landing is a campground that must be accessed by boat, 10 kilometres from Hindmarsh Island. Kayaking is the most sustainable way to see the Coorong, allowing an intimate experience with the wildlife. Guided canoe and boat tours are available from local tourism operators. With an abundance of fish, seals and birdlife, the region is ideal for photographers as well as anglers chasing Coorong mullet.

The Coorong is a great place for kayaking.

Best beach for swimming: Horseshoe Bay

One of South Australia’s most loved and recognisable beaches, Horseshoe Bay is safe, scenic, and the perfect base for a family day of swimming, sandcastles and beach cricket. Located in Port Elliot, Horseshoe Bay is a relatively safe swimming beach with body surfing waves at the eastern end. With a cafe, public amenities, barbecues, playground, lawn areas, bowls club and surf life saving club, there is plenty to do.

Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot

Best beach for photos: Talia Beach

The Eyre Peninsula town of Elliston is renowned for spectacular sunsets and rugged coastline, which is a delight for photographers. A 40 kilometre drive from the town will take you to Talia Beach, which has spectacular natural features including The Woolshed – a large cavern in the granite cliff that has been carved out by the ocean. A walkway and wooden steps provide access onto the rocks to view the cave with its honeycombed ceiling, dark crevices and nearby blowholes. The Tub is a large crater in the cliff with a tunnel connection to the sea. It is 10 to 30 metres deep and 50 metres across with a granite base.

Talia Beach, Elliston: The most photogenic beach in SA?

Best beach for fishing: Streaky Bay

Surfers Beach is one of the many coastal gems near the Eyre Peninsula town of Streaky Bay. Although huge swell makes it a mecca for wave-chasers, anglers also relish the local waters, which are teeming with the likes of King George whiting, snapper, Tommy ruff, garfish, mulloway and more.

Surfers Beach, Streaky Bay – a top place for fishing.

Best beach for wildlife: Seal Bay

Kangaroo Island draws in 200,000 visitors each year, and one of the major attractions are the local residents at Seal Bay. No trip to the island is complete without a visit to the bay, which has been home to an Australian sea lion population for thousands of years. The endangered species is unique to South Australia and Western Australia, and Seal Bay is third largest colony. Guided tours allow visitors a close-up look at the creatures.

Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island

Best beach for water skiing: Lake Bonney

Barmera’s Lake Bonney is a sparkling fresh water lake fed from the River Murray through the Chambers Creek wetlands. A two and a half hour drive from Adelaide and two hours from Mildura, Lake Bonney is a well-catered tourist destination with sandy and grassed beach areas that are popular with holiday-makers. The shallow lake’s sandy bottom and banks provide safe swimming, ideal for sail and motor-powered water sport.

Lake Bonney, Barmera

Best beach for surfing: Pondalowie Bay

Pondalowie Bay is located in the spectacular Innes National Park, about 300 kilometres from Adelaide, via Port Wakefield, Ardrossan and Marion Bay. The park comprises 9000 hectares of coastal vegetation, with landscapes, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. Accessed by a boardwalk from the nearby campground, Pondalowie is one of Yorke Peninsula’s renowned surf spots, but is only for experienced paddlers. The spectacular surf can be viewed by spectators from the boardwalk.

Best beach for vehicle access: Long Beach

Robe’s famous Long Beach is a family-friendly stretch of shoreline with mostly gentle surf and is one of the few beaches where you are able to drive your car onto the sand. The 12 kilometre stretch of beach provides plenty of space during Robe’s busy tourist season in summer. Long Beach starts at the Robe town end. Known as “first ramp” this section is not accessible to vehicles, making it the safe choice for families. Vehicles can hit the beach from the second and third ramps, with the latter being a popular surfing spot with lessons available during summer.

Long Beach, Robe

This is an edited version of a story that appears in the December-January issue of SALIFE magazine. Read the full story by picking up a copy at your newsagent.

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