You may have head of Glenelg, within a hop of Adelaide's downtown. But don't miss the gems hidden on the Fleurieu Peninsula and in McLaren Vale, where vines meet the sea.
Adelaide's most popular beach is a 20 minute drive from the CBD. Buses and a vintage tram from Victoria Square take you to Moseley Square, the end of the line and the beginning of the beach. Glenelg is close enough to the centre of the city for friends to meet after work for a swim, coffee, dinner or a drink. Jetty Road has hotels, restaurants, cafés, shops and a beautiful beach which has been attracting people since the first settlers in 1836. The side streets are also worth checking out.
Not just for grown-ups, The Beachhouse Amusement Centre is open every day and has 3 waterslides and Australia's first single arm ferris wheel. There are bumper boats, dodgem cars, play castle and a beautiful 19th century carousel.
The Oaks Plaza Pier has 1 and 2 bedroom apartment with balconies, indoor lap pool, gymnasium, spa, plunge pool, sauna, steam room and a selection of bars, restaurants and cafés. It overlooks the beach.
40 minutes from Adelaide on the laidback Fleurieu Peninsula, Port Willunga is another local favourite. The coastal village is home to ancient shipwrecks and fantastic marine life making it popular with divers, snorkelers and fishermen. The soft, sandy beach is popular as a safe family swimming haven. It has seaview restaurants and some great ice cream. It's perfect for a day trip or a longer stay.
Willunga was once a busy grain port but the Fisherman's Boat Caves in the cliff where boats and nets were stored and the old jetty pylons are all that remain of those times.
The wreck of the Star of Greece, a 3 mast iron cargo ship which sank in 1888, is a poignant reminder of storms that can occasionally disturb the normally placid coastline.
Star of Greece restaurant on the waterfront was established in 1947 and is a little bit of the Mediterranean in South Australia. Enjoy a quick coffee, a meal of local squid and fish or other delights in colourful and quirky surroundings.
Josh D'Ambrosio of Adelaide Scuba specializes in diver training and offers great tours for those wanting to explore the wrecks.
McLaren Vale, where the vines meet the sea, isn't far away. The wine growing area goes back to 1842 and produces some excellent vintages enjoyed the world over.
Glenelg and Port Willunga in South Australia.
Oaks Plaza Pier Glenelg Studios start at $179 a night.
Adelaide Scuba at Port Wilunga costs $75 for a half day.
Prices correct at June 3, 2010.
For further information
Oaks Plaza Pier, Glenelg
16 Holdfast Promenade
Ph: (08) 8350 6688 or 1300 551 111
Fax: (08) 8350 6699
Ph: (08) 8295 1511
Fax: (08) 8295 6545
Star of Greece
Esplanade and Port Road
Port Wilunga 5172
Ph: (08) 8557 7420
Shop 4, 355 Brighton Road
Ph: (08) 8296 0577