A few month’s back, I opened up about my lonely life as a surfing widow and shared my favourite Victorian surfing widow beaches. Lifestyle and inspo site Adelady asked me to do a South Australian sequel…
My husband has a serious addiction. It’s not alcohol, drugs or PlayStation. It’s surfing! His life is ruled by the rhythm of the ocean.
At the peak of his addiction, he’s awake at 5am on the weekends, eagerly checking the surf conditions. This is coming from a guy who Monday to Friday snoozes his alarm three times before he reluctantly crawls out of bed, swearing like a drunken pirate. Yet, when Saturday and Sunday roll around, if the surf is on, come hangover or high water, he’s out of bed with more energy than a couch-jumping Tom Cruise.
This makes me a surfing widow. I have come to terms with the fact that I will always come second to the surf, and that he would much rather sleep next to his surfboard than me (and I have previously found his shortboard cosily tucked up in our bed!).
However, the life of a surfing widow isn’t all bad. I mean, I can think of more revolting ways to spend a Saturday than loitering around Southport Beach. It also means I’m incredibly well-versed in surfing widow-friendly surf beaches, i.e. beaches with good amenities, shops, cafés, toilets, lookouts, etc. Beaches where you can happily lose a couple of hours as your seal, I mean man, disappears into the ocean.
And in the spirit of the sisterhood of the surfing widow, I thought I’d share some of my Adelaide favourites:
Goolwa is hands-down my favourite surfing widow spot in South Australia. Primarily because of the super fresh baguettes you get from the beachfront café Bombora, which are laden with absolute deliciousness.
Perched right on the sand, Bombora puts a totally different spin on your traditional beachside fish and chip shop, serving up everything from said baguettes and gourmet burgers to locally-caught seafood and ice cream. Plus you can take-away or dine-in on the beachside deck, which is licensed for a cheeky afternoon wine.
Booze and baguettes aside, Goolwa is also a pretty impressive beach in its own right, ticking lots of surfing widow boxes: toilets (warning: they do require shoes), a big car park with a few hot property ocean-facing parks (if you don’t want to leave the shelter of the car) and the Goolwa Shopping Centre just up the road for those emergency chocolate chip biscuit cravings (yes, this has happened).
The super long stretch of beach is patrolled during summer so you can generally find a safe, non-surf patch of ocean to frolic in, although you do need to have your wits about you unless you want to feature in an episode of Bondi Rescue. If you’re feeling energetic (and want to work off that baguette), the coastal walk along the Murray Mouth next door is quite something – or you can just look out from the boardwalk adjacent to the car park.
On the Mid Coast, Christies Beach is a good compromise between surfer and surfing widow, as it has good surfing conditions but also good amenities: public toilets; nearby cafés and take-away options; and if you snag one of the car parks that snake down the Esplanade and overlook the beach it has million dollar, cliff top, coastal views.
If it’s a stormy day (which I’m told turns Christies Beach into a surfing Disneyland), sheltering in the car with a magazine and being able to look out across the beach and storm front is pretty priceless. Alternatively, you can also escape to the nearby Colonnades Shopping Centre where you’re guaranteed to bag a bargain.
If the bikini is out, Christies Beach is ok for swimming but mildly hazardous, so I prefer to head next door to Port Noarlunga Beach – a calm alternative with the reef blocking any of those annoying (surfable) waves. The public toilets are also better here and impressively well stocked with toilet paper (although as a surfing widow I always come prepared with a spare roll in the glove box).
I find Middleton Beach incredibly calming and peaceful. If the South Coast were the Kardashian sisters, Middleton would be Kourtney – it’s a little calmer, not as notorious, so generally you don’t have to fight with the crowds as much, but still absolutely stunning. It’s definitely worth considering an overnight stay at the cute Middleton Beach Huts.
Sheltered by some seriously towering cliffs, Middleton is a great spot to spread out a towel, slather on some sunscreen and get lost in a paperback. However, if you’re not up to poking your head out of the car, there are some amazing views to be enjoyed from the cliff top car park. Either way, there’s public toilets on standby for any insurance pees. For eats, the Middleton bakery, Heritage Pies and Pastries, is up there among the best in the state and only a short drive away.
Given it’s a beach for serious surfers, it’s not exactly the calmest swimming beach. Although the words ‘surf’ and ‘calm’ probably don’t really belong in the same sentence together. Every time I’ve gone beyond ankle deep water I’ve felt I was in serious need of a life jacket, given how rough and surging the waves have been.
If you’re dead set on swimming but don’t want to battle with the pesky rocks or rips, Port Elliot next door is the safest bet. That’s if Port Elliot’s shops and cafés aren’t beckoning, or the Port Elliot Bakery, which deserves a standing ovation. Alternatively join the crowds for a delicious lunch at the Flying Fish Café.