How to spend a day in Encounter Marine Park

How to spend a day in Encounter Marine Park

Want to make the most of your vis­it to this diverse marine park? We’ve got you cov­ered with this day-trip itinerary

Locat­ed just south of Ade­laide, Encounter Marine Park stretch­es from the south­ern met­ro­pol­i­tan beach of Christies Beach to the north­ern coast of Kan­ga­roo Island and the mouth of the mighty Riv­er Murray.

This park is not just a des­ti­na­tion in the warmer months, there are plen­ty of activ­i­ties to enjoy all year round includ­ing swim­ming, snorkelling, div­ing, kayak­ing, surf­ing, whale-watch­ing, beach­comb­ing and fishing.

To help you plan your vis­it to Encounter Ranger Nik­ki Zanar­do has put togeth­er this itin­er­ary for a great day out:


Start your day explor­ing Adelaide’s south­ern met­ro­pol­i­tan beach­es at either Port Noar­lun­ga, South­port or Aldin­ga Beach. 

Walk – or swim if it’s not too cold – to the end of Port Noar­lun­ga Jet­ty and immerse your­self in Port Noar­lun­ga Reef Sanc­tu­ary Zone. Or if pad­dling is more your thing, grab a kayak or stand-up pad­dle­board and explore the adja­cent Onka­paringa Riv­er Wet­land Sanc­tu­ary Zone, which is also part of Encounter Marine Park.

This area is an impor­tant fish breed­ing nurs­ery for Encounter Marine Park and is a great spot to see birdlife.

Top Tip: Explore the rock­pools of Aldin­ga Reef, and use our beach­comb­ing guide to iden­ti­fy what you find. Remem­ber this area is pro­tect­ed, so you can look and touch, but do not take.

How to spend a day in Encounter Marine Park


Con­tin­ue your jour­ney south fol­low­ing the scenic route through the town­ships of Mypon­ga, Yankalil­la and Normanville.

Enjoy lunch at Sec­ond Val­ley beach, a 50-minute dri­ve from Aldin­ga and one of South Australia’s most insta­grammed loca­tions.

How to spend a day in Encounter Marine Park


After lunch, make your way east towards Encounter Bay. To get there, con­tin­ue south on Main South Road and take a left turn on to Range Road at the small town­ship of Dele­mere towards Vic­tor Harbor.

You might like to take a scenic detour via Wait­pin­ga Road and stop to admire the views of Par­sons Beach and Wait­pin­ga Beach in New­land Head Con­ser­va­tion Park.

These are renowned surf­ing beach­es that are only rec­om­mend­ed for very expe­ri­enced surfers (and def­i­nite­ly not rec­om­mend­ed for swim­mers) as they can be extreme­ly haz­ardous with strong rips and cur­rents. If that doesn’t sound like you, it is best to just admire them from the shore.

How to spend a day in Encounter Marine Park

As you approach Vic­tor Har­bor, you’ll be greet­ed with stun­ning pic­turesque views as you descend down the hill into the township.

If you’re vis­it­ing between May and Sep­tem­ber, you might be lucky to spot south­ern right whales in Encounter Bay.

Spot­ting whales is much eas­i­er when you know where to look, so check out the whale sight­ing log. And most impor­tant­ly, don’t for­get your binoculars!

How to spend a day in Encounter Marine Park

If the whales aren’t around, there are some great walks to explore in the Vic­tor Har­bor and Port Elliot area that have spec­tac­u­lar views over Encounter Marine Park. Hike up to the Bluff (Roset­ta Head) for amaz­ing 360° views, cross over the Vic­tor Har­bor to Gran­ite Island cause­way and immerse your­self into a world of art along the Gran­ite Island sculp­ture trail or take a short dri­ve to the near­by town­ship of Port Elliot and explore the Har­bour­mas­ters Walk­ing Trail.


Just off the coast of Vic­tor Har­bor, and with­in the bound­aries of Encounter Marine Park, is Gran­ite Island Recre­ation Park.

Park of the Month

Through­out July, Encounter Marine Park and Upper Spencer Gulf are being cel­e­brat­ed as the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Australia’s Park of the Month. There are lots of events and activ­i­ties to get involved in – check the web­site for all the details.

Inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about Encounter Marine Park? Check out these tips from Ranger Nik­ki Zanardo.

Main image: Petrel Cove (image cour­tesy of the South Aus­tralian Tourism Com­mis­sion and Gra­ham Scheer)

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in August 2019.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living