7 Rockpools to explore in South Australia

By Michelle Tyndall

 

Summer school holidays bring with them long lazy days, an abundance of sunshine and the chance to make lasting memories with your kids. Whether you have an afternoon, a weekend or an extended break, there’s never a better time to explore South Australia’s picture-perfect beaches.  

 

Even more exciting for young adventurers? Rocky shorelines that at low tide reveal a microcosm of sea life just waiting to be discovered. 

 

We’re sharing seven of our favourite rockpools for families to discover around metropolitan Adelaide and across the regions these school holidays.  

 

Go on, find out why #ItsBetterOutside 

 

Before you go, remember: 

  • always monitor children near water and pay attention to signs and local conditions 
  • remind children not to put their hands in rockpools as some marine life can sting if provoked, and 
  • be sun smart. 

 

For more beach safety tips visit Surf Life Saving SA. 

 

You can find a detailed list of unique beach treasures in SA’s National Parks and Wildlife Service’s A Beach Explorers Guide to Plants and Animals in South Australia. 

 

1. HALLET COVE, METRO SOUTH

 

Hallet Cove beach is a wonderland for adventurous kids with rock hopping, sea life and beach treasure by the bucketful (taking nothing with you but memories, of course!). If you’re wanting to explore the rockpools, visit when it’s low tide and you’ll find them all the way along the coastline. They’re usually teeming with anemones, whitebait, nudibranchs, and both shore and reef crabs.  

 

Location: Hallet Cove (25km south of Adelaide) 

Facilities: Parking, toilets, café, playground and recreation facilities nearby 

 

Things to do: Walk the interpretive trail in Hallet Cove Conservation Park, marvel at the Sugarloaf and learn about the Park’s unique cultural and geological history. Check out Nature Play SA’s 40 things to do in Hallett Cove CP. 

 

2. MARINO ROCKS, METRO SOUTH

 

As its name suggests, the beach at Marino Rocks is rocky, with countless varieties of shells and pebbles underfoot. The walk down to the beach is pathed, but a little steep. To make the most of the rockpools, you’ll want to visit at low tide. Careful exploration should reveal seastars, feather stars or even the odd washed-up sea cucumber.  

 

Location: Marino Rocks (19km south of Adelaide) 

Facilities: Close to public transport, parking, toilets 

 

Things to do: Stroll the boardwalk all the way to Kingston Park to see what other beach treasures you can find. It takes around 30 minutes (maybe longer with kids in tow!).

 

3. KINGSTON PARK, METRO SOUTH

 

Conveniently located near Brighton, it’s easy to spend a day exploring Kingston Park and the surrounding area. If you wander south along the beach, you’ll find a rocky shoreline – the perfect spot to search for rockpools and the sea life that inhabit them. Walk along the cliff face to enjoy the view from Tjilbruke Monument or head along the boardwalk to visit Marino Rocks. 

 

Location: Kingston Park (18km south of Adelaide) 

Facilities: Parking, toilets, picnic facilities, barbeque, playground, tennis courts, caravan park, cafes 

 

Things to do: Explore the various walking and shared-use trails, visit Kingston House or grab a bite to eat at the Seacliff Hotel or surf lifesaving club. You can also hire a stand-up paddle board at Seacliff beach. Learn more about the cultural significance to the Kaurna people. 

 

4. STOKES BAY, KANGAROO ISLAND

 

Stokes Bay is a pristine, hidden treasure on the north coast of Kangaroo Island (KI), around 40 minutes’ drive from Kingscote. With numerous rockpools of differing depths and sizes to discover and explore, Stokes Bay is ideal for kids of all ages. This idyllic beach is one to include on your KI itinerary.  

 

Location: Stokes Bay (93km east of Penneshaw; 48km east of Kingscote) 

Facilities: Parking, toilets, barbeque, picnic facilities, Stokes Bay Campground, café 

 

Things to do: Pop into the Rockpool Café to fill hungry tummies before the drive back to your campsite or accommodation.  

 

 

5. SECOND VALLEY, FLEURIEU PENINSULA

 

Around 90 minutes from Adelaide, Second Valley is a great option for a day trip or long weekend. You could also stop over on your way to Kangaroo Island. From the jetty, head west (left) and meander along the shoreline until you find the rockpools. If you head the other way (right of the jetty), make sure you’re up for a challenge! More rockpools await but may be harder to get to, particularly with young children. They’re worth the adventure if your kids are old enough to navigate the rocks themselves.  

 

Location: Second Valley (90km south of Adelaide) 

Facilities: Parking, toilets, jetty, Second Valley Caravan Park and Jetty Store 

 

Things to do: Take advantage of everything this beach has to offer on the water including swimming, snorkelling, fishing and kayaking. If you’d prefer to stay dry, walk the trails to enjoy breathtaking views. 

 

 

6. SHELL BEACH, YORKE PENINSULA

 

If you’re exploring Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, these school holidays, Shell Beach is home to a number of rockpools, some deep enough to swim and snorkel in (depending, of course, on the tide). Be mindful of the conditions and spend your time beachcombing if they’re not right – you’ll find more treasure than you can carry (but remember, it lives at the beach!).  

 

Location: Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park (318km from Adelaide) 

Facilities: Visitor Centre, camping, toilets, walking trails, picnic grounds, surf beaches, and a caravan park and pub nearby in Marion Bay 

 

Things to do: When visiting the Yorke Peninsula there are more beaches and townships to explore than you’ll likely have time for. Enjoy the relaxed beach vibes, and go fishing, crabbing or surfing – it’s a veritable playground for nature players.  

 

 

7. GREENLY BEACH, EYRE PENINSULA

 

Keen to venture a little further? Greenly Beach is around an hour’s drive from Port Lincoln. You’ll find pristine beaches, raw, rugged beauty and ample wildlife on land and sea. The Instagram-famous rockpools are crystal clear and large enough to swim in. As always, be sure to check the conditions. Especially when travelling remotely. 

 

Location: Coulta (676km from Adelaide) 

Facilities: Parking and camping with further amenities in Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay 

 

Things to do: While you’re visiting the Eyre Peninsula, take some time to explore Port Lincoln National Park (check this wildlife poster) and Coffin Bay National Park. A 4WD will help. You’ll also find rockpools further west in Streaky Bay. Or why not learn to surf while you’re out that way? 

 

Discover why #ItsBetterOutside with more handy tips and ideas for families, or subscribe to our e-news for ideas straight to your inbox. 

 

For more information on South Australia’s coast and marine plants and animals check out Where Birds Sing and Wildflowers Dance.  

 

Nature Play SA is supported by the Green Adelaide Board.

 

[Photographer: Jason Tyndall]