The Mid Coast is one of South Australia’s most popular coastal regions, with a host of well-known surf breaks, diving spots, reefs to explore and of course beautiful clean beaches to swim in. This diverse coastal landscape offers some of the best coastal experiences outside of Adelaide.

Local diver and manager of the Encounter Marine Park, Jon Emmett, says the stretch of coast is popular with both locals and visitors. “This section of coast is always busy, even in winter, because it’s perfect for so many water sports,” he says.

McLaren Vale Visitor Guide

Jon recommends Port Noarlunga, Moana, Maslin, Port Willunga, Aldinga, Silver Sands and Sellicks beaches as some of the best for swimming. “We’re blessed with some of the most beautiful, safe swimming beaches in South Australia,” she says.

For diving, Jon’s favourite is the Aldinga ‘drop-off’. “We’re spoilt for choice as divers along here, but the drop-off is regarded by many divers as one of the best dives in SA,” he says. “The reef is a protected sanctuary zone, so divers will see lots of large fish and beautiful creatures like big gorgonian fan corals.” He also recommends Port Noarlunga reef, as well as the Star of Greece shipwreck at Port Willunga. “Port Noarlunga reef is great for easy, safe, family diving or snorkelling, putting smiles on thousands of faces every summer. From the moment you step off the ramp at the end of the jetty, you’ll be surrounded by fish!”

McLaren Vale Visitor Guide

Encounter Marine Park runs the length of the Fleurieu Peninsula coastline, all the way across to Kangaroo Island and down to The Coorong. “The park stretches over 3,000 square kilometres and is Adelaide’s underwater wonderland,” Jon Emmett says. “I tell people the Fleurieu is just as beautiful below the water as it is above it. The park protects leafy sea dragons, sea lions, southern right whales and a myriad of other sea creatures and it’s right on our doorstep. Marine sanctuaries are like national parks on land – they’re places where we can appreciate nature in all its glory.”

McLaren Vale Visitor Guide

Jon says the waters are well suited to both novice and experienced divers, but going in a group dive or taking a tour organised by a professional dive company could be your best option. For those wanting a more experienced or intermediate diving experience, try the HA Lumb and Seawolf shipwrecks offshore from Port Noarlunga. If you’d like an easier introduction to the world of diving, try Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries, a not-for-profit group offering guided snorkelling experiences. It’s ideal for kids and families.

For more information, check out environment.sa.gov.au/marineparks/enjoy 

Have you got a favourite Mid Coast spot? Share it on social media using the hashtag #mclarenvaleguide

McLaren Vale Visitor Guide

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