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Bounded by rocks bluffs to the south and a sea wall to the north, and with Norfolk Island pines lining the foreshore, Christies would be millionaire’s row if it were in Sydney. It’s that picturesque. Instead, it’s a delightfully untouched seaside spot with a laidback 70s vibe.
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This is Adelaide’s most popular – and most built-up – beach suburb. The sandy strip here is surf patrolled, family-friendly as well as great for people-watching and sports like beach cricket and volleyball.
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Where the Onkaparinga River meets the sea; this river mouth and beachscape are seriously picturesque. The offshore reef (at the end of the jetty) is ideal for snorkelling and scuba-diving, plus it shelters the beach from swell and waves making this sandy patch perfect for little ones who need calmer swimming conditions.
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In summer, this beach is strewn with cars – yep, you can drive on the sand here (as with many other beaches in this area). It’s much loved by families, and especially by furry four-legged friends, who frolic with abandon in the shallows and golden sand.
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Not only is the natural curve of Horseshoe Bay extraordinarily pretty, it’s super-sheltered. No wonder it’s a family-friendly hotspot. Hungry? Nothing beats takeaway fish ‘n’ chips from local hotspot Flying Fish Café.
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It’s a bustling seaside suburb but there’s still plenty of space to spread out on this vast, golden stretch, which is backed by a rocky seawall. The boardwalk runs all the way to Seacliff – a beautiful way to enjoy the views. The adjacent main street features chic cafés and homewares boutiques.
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The flat, inviting sands at Henley are just 10 kilometres from the CBD. Behind the beach, on Seaview Road, is a gently buzzing nucleus of shops, cafés and restaurants. The esplanade walk, between the beach and the road, is popular with cyclists, joggers and walkers.
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A calm stretch, backed by low dunes, Semaphore offers views of the Adelaide and Fleurieu coastlines and Gulf St Vincent. In summer, a funfair sets up on the grassy foreshore, while the pier is a favourite for fishing and crabbing.
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The vibe here is more chilled than Henley, Brighton and Glenelg. Nab a spot under the jetty for shade and, at low tide, wade in the gentle lapping waves.
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With a coastline that curves into the ocean, Seacliff offers delightfully sheltered swimming conditions. Dolphins regularly patrol this part of the coastline: keep your eyes peeled for these inquisitive creatures as you paddle, they often come close to shore.
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The shimmering waters, skeletal remains of the jetty and steep sandy cliffs make Port Willunga scenic beyond belief. It’s known for reliable surfing breaks and one of South Australia’s best regional restaurants, Star of Greece, is perched high on the cliffs here.
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The bluffs and cliffs that line the three-kilometre stretch of sand seem sculpted rather than eroded, while the colours of ochre and rust contrast strikingly again the azure water, especially at sunset. Maslin was Australia’s first official “unclad” beach – and the southern end is still for the sartorially uninhibited.
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Another beach that’s drive-able, at times you’ll even see sedans parked on the sand—it’s so level that 4WDs aren’t required. A picturesque walking track runs on the top of the high cliffs and dunes (part of the Coast Park Trail), while the shallows draw snorkelers, swimmers and fishermen alike. The reef at the southern end has rock pools perfect for exploring.
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A smooth, pale expanse of sand with calm shallows and lapping waves, Carrickalinga, in any of the eastern states, would be bustling. In glorious South Australia, it’s often deserted – even in the midst of school holidays. There’s very little here, so if you’re in need of sustenance, head to nearby Normanville, where the kiosk is right on the beach.
Second Valley Beach
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Only 100 or so metres long (tiny by South Australian standards), but surrounded by steep cliffs on both sides, this picturesque cove features rocky outcrops and tidal rock pools that will keep the kids entertained. Even though it’s 90 kilometres from the CBD, it’s still a firm favourite with many Adelaideans.