Whether its sunrise or sunset, soak up some of South Australia’s best beaches or enjoy the coastal serenity along the breathtaking coastline. From Sellicks to O’Sullivan Beach we have you covered.

With stunning vistas from almost every beach along the gorgeous 31 kilometre coastline, you’d be hard-pressed to pick a favourite spot. Arguably one of the best coastlines in the country, where striking burnt orange cliffs and rock-faces make way for pristine white sand. Each sandy stretch showcases its own special character and sometimes you even have them all to yourself!

A special coastal haven is the Mid Coast Surfing Reserve (first regional surfing reserve in the world) stretching from Moana to Christies Beach, attracting budding surfers from all over the globe. The Reserve also forms part of the beautiful Encounter Marine Park which incorporates the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. This provides some of the finest marine experiences in Australia. This is best explored by scuba diving, snorkeling or even snuba (a combination of scuba diving and snorkeling) offered by local tour operators.

mclaren vale guide southport cliffs

“The coast is such a fantastic part of this region, it’s our uniqueness and distinctive difference compared to our neighbouring wine regions,” says Doug Govan, winemaker and owner of the iconic Victory Hotel at Sellicks. After arriving in the area as a child, Doug took over the hotel 27 years ago and says it’s the coast that sealed the deal.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of weather we have, you can enjoy a swim or a surf, take the kids, go for a walk on a stormy day in autumn or even just watch the water in its winter glory. It’s just amazing any time of year.”

For natural beauty, one of the most iconic beaches is Port Willunga. It’s home to the famous Star of Greece shipwreck and the old weathered jetty pylons – it is arguably the most photographed location on the southern coastline. The beach is also home to old boat caves carved out of the cliffs (as pictured above) and a constant fascination for locals and visitors.

Port Willunga also offers a stunning clifftop walk and if you are there at sunset, you can watch the colours fall over the cove. It is truly memorable and spectacular.

Local Port Willunga surfer Julian Foale, owner of SUP Down South – stand up paddle board hiring business – says you can’t beat Port Willunga. “It’s a pretty special spot. I love the cliffs here. You can paddle out to Snapper Point and experience the aquatic reserve, or discover the shipwreck by paddle board or snorkel.”

Further south, Sellicks is a popular spot for kite surfers, hang gliders and paragliders. Dubbed ‘the funnel’ by locals, the beach is the perfect spot to watch the mesmerising and fast-paced action.

From Sellicks you will see the recently erected giant Buddha statue and Nan Hai Pu Tuo Temple. It’s well worth a visit and also offers spectacular views of the coastline. The Buddha represents the goddess of mercy bringing peace, harmony and prosperity.

If your little ones are in tow, all the beaches along the mid-coast are typically safe for swimming, the cliffs providing shelter from wind or swell. There’s also surf life saving posts at Aldinga Bay, Moana, Southport, Port Noarlunga and Christies Beach for extra safety.

For kids wanting to learn to surf or body board, Aldinga Beach, Moana and Southport usually provide the perfect calm conditions for beginners. Surf Culture Australia is South Australia’s original surf school and runs surf schools for all ages at Moana.

Stay on the sand and play some classic beach cricket, frisbee or even cook up a barbecue, with many beaches offering nearby public cook-tops. At Aldinga, Sellicks, Moana and Silver Sands you can even drive your car onto the sand, so you can really dine beachside with your picnic or fish and chip dinner.

For a moderate hike, steady walk or even a bike ride to enjoy the views, try one of the routes along the Coast Park Trail, or dive under the surface and see the coastline from below. The unique self-guided aquatic trail is a great way to explore the 12 underwater sites.

Whether you experience the spectacular coastline by land or sea, there’s no doubt it’s second to none – one of the reasons locals never leave and visitors keep coming back. So grab your towel and soak up the beauty.

Favourite beach spot or enjoyed a great coastal experience on our coast? Share it on social media using the hashtag #mclarenvaleguide

McLaren Vale Visitor Guide

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For more info about accommodation around the Vale, visit our website. 📸 @sharon62baker .
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  • Heading to the @willungafarmersmarket tomorrow? Their food chakra is full of veggie brekkie goodness. 💚 A must-try! 😋 They also have lunch options prepared fresh on-site with local market ingredients. Discover more places to visit in #McLarenVale by clicking the link in our bio.
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