Exploring South Australia: Top 10 Coastal Photographs

Yorke Peninsula

(Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula)

My first exposure to the South Australian coastline was as a child on holiday.  At least once a year, we’d take a family road trip from Broken Hill, leaving the hot and dry outback for the exciting “big city” in Adelaide.  My earliest memories of this 515km drive included enjoying our pre-packaged sandwiches by the river at Burra, hearing stories of our parents taking the same trip “in the old days” on a dirt road and playing “Eye Spy”  to pass the time.

Upon arrival in Adelaide, we would immediately turned on the TV to explore the four local channels (which doubled the number of channels we had at home) before asking when we could head down to the beach.  Grange Beach was our holiday playground and a novelty that never grew old for a family from the dry and arid outback.

Many years later I’ve returned to Adelaide to spend a few months recharging my batteries, catching up with family and friends…and having my gallbladder removed (but that’s another story!)  After spending most of the last decade in London, having the beach on my doorstep is a change I’ve welcomed with open arms.

But it’s not just the Adelaide beaches with their relatively safe waters, calm surf and endless shorelines that South Australia boasts.  The state’s coastline is over 3,800 kilometres long and is dotted with coastal towns, swimming and surf beaches, fishing jetties and wild, rugged cliffs.

And being back in Australia for a few months has given me the perfect opportunity to explore the coastline with my camera – through new eyes.


Here are my Top 10 Coastal Photographs from these road trips.

10. Ethel Beach – Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula

Yorke Peninsula

Ethel Beach is a 450 metre long sandy surf beach located in Innes National Park.  It was named after the Norwegian ship Ethel which washed ashore there in 1904. A second ship, Ferret also saw it’s demise there in 1920.  My first view of the beach was from the car park at the top of the bluff.  A windy and cloudy day seemed appropriate as I looked out at the wild and rugged coastline and down at the rusty remains from the ships that lost their battle against Mother Nature.


9. Kingscote Jetty – Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

This photograph of Kingscote Jetty was captured in the first light of the morning, following a breath taking sunrise on Kangaroo Island.

Photography Tip:  Don’t go back to bed after the sun has risen.  An hour or two after sunrise often provides fantastic light and it’s usually too early for the tourists to arrive!


8. Goolwa – Fleurieu Peninsula

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

Goolwa is one of those locations I assumed I had been to – but when I arrived during a weekend in the Fleurieu Peninsula, I realised I hadn’t!  The beach itself was a hive of activity, despite being a cool April morning.  Fishermen shared the shoreline with couples enjoying a romantic stroll.  Surfers searched for that perfect wave alongside a group of local footballers spending their morning training session shivering in water.  An elderly couple sat on towels as they watched young children playing in the sand and a blue sky hovered above a mist that was threatening to take over the landscape.

7. Granite Island, Victor Harbour – Fleurieu Peninsula

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

As a child, no visit to Adelaide was complete without a day trip to Victor Harbour.  And jumping aboard the little train that crossed this bridge to Granite Island was a mandatory activity!  Granite Island is home to fairy penguins, coastal walks and surf crashing into the rocks – a wild, rugged and natural landscape.  Approaching the island on foot at 7am however was a different story.  Too late for the fairy penguins and too earlier for the tourists, I shared the island with a handful of walkers and joggers and started the day in peaceful and re-energising isolation.

6. Encounter Bay (The Bluff), Victor Harbour – Fleurieu Peninsula

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

The lack of a picturesque sunset doesn’t mean there is nothing to photograph at sunset.  I shared the end of the day in this small cove at the Bluff with a friendly local fisherman, a couple of surfers and a group of dolphins swimming through the surf.

5. Cape du Couedic, Flinders Chase NP – Victor Harbour

Kangaroo Island

I had enjoyed a beautiful sunset through Admirals Arch, a natural rock formation in Flinders Chase NP a couple of days earlier and was keen to attempt to photograph another.  As I stepped onto the coastline walkway I realised with dismay that an approaching storm was eliminating my sunset opportunity.  Instead I re-focused my attention to the wild and rugged scene in front of me as the mood of Cape de Couedic turned dark.

Photography Tip: Don’t be deterred by an approaching storm.  The unpredictable and changeable weather can create unexpected photo opportunities


4. Victor Harbour, Fleurieu Peninsula

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

As I left the Bluff (see number 6) I packed away my camera and planned to check into my hotel, accepting an enjoyable day in the Fleurieu Peninsula was coming to an end.  But the sunset that had started out as an uneventful disappointment gained momentum as the skies exploded into a watercolour palette of pink and blue hues.  A few metres from my water-front hotel I saw a random wooden structure that seemed to have been strategically placed there for me – and my camera came out again!  I enjoyed it so much, I headed straight there for sunrise the following morning to shoot in the opposite direction – and walked away with this photograph.

3. Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, Flinders Chase NP – Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Cape du Couedic Lighthouse opened in 1909 and is the starting point of a number of scenic coastal walks in the south-western part of Kangaroo Island.

Travel Tip:  Visiting Kangaroo Island outside the peak summer season will often result in having idyllic coastlines completely to yourself


2. Henley Square – Adelaide


It feels a little ironic that one of my favourite coastline photographs was taken from the end of a jetty, looking away from the beach.  Henley Beach is one of my favourite locations for sunset, not only because it is within a few minutes drive from where I am currently staying.  It’s a location I’ve grown up with – from holiday visits as a child to Friday night happy hour at one of the bars.  I’ve enjoyed early morning walks along the beach, hot chips on the grass during the day and sunsets in the evening.

1. Henley Jetty – Adelaide


My favourite coastal photograph is Henley Jetty, a popular subject for my sunset shoots.  It’s not only the reflection of the light in the water that I love about this shot, but the atmosphere of relaxation created by the light and calm water.

Do you agree with my number one selection?  Which of these photographs is your favourite?

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

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Exploring South Australia: Through New Eyes
Exploring South Australia: Top 10 Wildlife Photographs