Thinking of doing a walk at Port Elliot this summer? Here's a warning: You're going to be spoiled for choice.
Last time I counted, it looks like five options will be competing for your attention, each of them a delight. Purely arbitrarily, the other day we chose one of the two heritage walks, then added a bit of world-class bay scenery. Begin at the railway station and turn right down The Strand towards the sea, passing worthy sites like the 1879 council chambers, a library and institute hall, police station and old courthouse. What impresses about these structures (many of them in elegant sandstone) is how graceful and permanent they appear, a testimony to the foresight of those responsible for their creation. At the same time, they are so entirely appropriate to their setting in a sun-splashed coastal village.
Pass the 1856 ruins of the first post office and the telegraph office until you reach the 1852 obelisk, a landmark for ships entering the port. Nearby is what was once the ladies-only beach, where, as a marker tells us, the Harding girls, Mary, Doris and Daisy, would often come to bathe in the early 1900s. In the 1920s-50s especially, Port Elliot was a prized destination for visitors weary of Adelaide's bustle and heat. Today there are reminders of that era everywhere, especially the vintage holiday homes and the croquet court. Gardens full of vivid blooms are another lure. Finish off your easy walk along the Encounter Bay bike trail, with its sublime outlook of wildflowers, rocks and restless crashing waves. Equally delightful options for another day include the other heritage walk, the Harbourmasters Walk with its excellent interpretation signs, a maritime heritage trail and a westerly trek along the Encounter Bay walk and its sweeping ocean vistas and cute coves.
Local travel writer and photographer Steve Robertson explores fascinating locations in our region to walk, photograph and learn.