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Aldinga Beach to Port Willunga Historic Walk

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Aldinga Beach and Port Willunga are two of the most popular beaches for holiday makers and swimmers in the south. The silver sands and clear blue waters are overlooked by magnificent cliffs but these towns aren’t just pretty holiday spots. They are rich in history too, some of it tragic and a few remnants of the past remain to this day.

Length of walk: 8km (return)

Allow: 2-3 hours (return)

Aldinga Beach (KAURNA NAME: NGALTINGGA)

Park your car at the Aldinga Beach boat ramp,  and follow the path along the cliff top or, if you’d prefer the sand between your toes, then head down onto the beach. For the best of both worlds, why not head along the beach one way and the cliff top the other?  With plenty of sets of stairs connecting the path with the beach along the way, you can mix it up and switch between pavement and sand for the best views anytime. For the first part of the walk, just breathe in the fresh air and admire the unbelievable views! This part of the coast is incredibly beautiful and too good to miss! However,  if you prefer a shorter walk, you can begin anywhere along the Esplanade or even start at the other end, Port Willunga, where most of the historical relics to see are located.

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The pristine Aldinga Beach and boat ramp. Photo courtesy: Videoblocks.com

Port Willunga Beach Caves

After a long stoll, you’ll come across some pretty impressive caves.  Decades ago, these caves were carved out by fishermen into the soft rock of the cliffs. They were used to store boats and nets back in the day, but can now provide a cool shady place to stop for a breather on your walk. Oh, and that insta-worthy photo!

Port Willunga Beach Caves Photo courtesy: flickriver.com

Port Willunga Beach Caves Photo courtesy: flickriver.com

Port Willunga Jetty pylons

Speaking of Insta-worthy, one of the most photographed spots on the Fleurieu Peninsula is the old jetty pylons in conjunction with the fabulous sunsets over the ocean. The pylons are easy to find as they are directly opposite the caves 9and they stick out of the ground and are visble from hundreds of metres away!). These relics of the maritime past date back to 1868 when Port Willunga was one of the busiest ports in the colony of South Australia and the jetty was used to export grains and slate.

The old Port Willunga Jetty pylons Photo courtesy: walkandwines.com

The old Port Willunga Jetty pylons Photo courtesy: walkandwines.com

The Port Willunga Jetty on New Year’s Day in 1913. Photo supplied: E.L.Fidge

The Port Willunga Jetty on New Year’s Day in 1913. Photo supplied: E.L.Fidge

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The Star of Greece

As you walk along the picture perfect coast, look out to the ocean and imagine what lies beneath. There are actually a number of shipwrecks hidden beneath the beautiful calm waters of this area. One of the most catastrophic maritime disasters in South Australia’s history was the sinking of the Star of Greece in the early hours of 13 July 1888, just a mere 200 metres off the coast of Port Willunga!  Imagine the horrors that sailors on the Star of Greece would have faced that terrible dark night. Huge seas and ferocious winds that would make it impossible to swim to shore. Seas were reported to be 16 metres high and winds of up to 129 kilometres per hour. Some sailors were lucky enough to cling to debris from the ship and float to shore. They were taken to the nearby hotel in the scrub to recover (the ruins of the hotel are visible from the car park), however at least 18 people perished that night.

The wreck of the ship can still be seen from the shore at low tide and forms a part of the Adelaide Underwater Heritage Trail. There are also interpretive signs at Port Willunga (near the café of the same name, The Star of Greece) that tell the tragic story of the Star of Greece.  You can also visit the shrine to Captain Harrower and ten sailors who lost their lives in the shipwreck. They are buried in a small cemetery  in Aldinga Church where the locals at the time erected the shrine to their memories.

Image of the Star of Greece Photo: State Library of Victoria. (Malcolm Brodie Collection)

Image of the Star of Greece Photo: State Library of Victoria. (Malcolm Brodie Collection)

The Star of Greece as it lays under the ocean.

The Star of Greece as it lays under the ocean.

Image of the Sailor's shrine.

Image of the Sailor’s shrine.

Harbour Masters Cottage

These cottage ruins may take a little looking for amongst the bushland, but the easiest way to access it is by walking along the beach. For other routes, check Google maps here. The ruins are the remains of the old Harbour Master’s cottage, built around 1880 and occupied until 1966. Being one of the busiest ports in South Australia, this Harbour Master really had his work cut out for him!

The remains of the Harbour Masters Cottage Photo credit:Dave Walsh

The remains of the Harbour Masters Cottage Photo credit:Dave Walsh

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Aldinga is one of SA’s  ideal holiday locations. It’s a quiet town most of the year and renowned for its pristine beaches, safe swimming and impressive surf!  Come summer time though, it does become popular. Aldinga Beach is also a top spot for scuba diving and snorkelling too. If you’re not into the beach scene, Aldinga may still have something for you!

Aldinga Beach borders the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, which is home to some 166 species of birds, as well as numerous other native wildlife and vegetation. What a delightful place to explore, to chill and to experience a unique coastal habitat.

If you are thinking of an Aldinga Beach holiday, we have the perfect pet friendly accommodation for you!

This relatively new holiday home is located right on the esplanade of Aldinga overlooking the stunningly beautiful ocean from Port Willunga all the way to Sellicks Beach! You won’t even need to park your car at the boat ramp to enjoy this historic walk, just walk across the road!

We haven’t forgotten the furry family members either. No, we aren’t talking about hubby! Pets are welcome inside and out with a secure backyard, food and water bowls, a couple of pet trampoline beds and a scratching pole and litter box! For more information on our Aldinga Beach holiday home click here.

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You may also like:

South Coast Tourist Drive

Carrickalinga Esplanade Walking Trail

9 Dog Friendly Walking Trails on the Fleurieu Peninsula

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