8 rock pools to explore in South Australia

8 rock pools to explore in South Australia

Head out with the kids and uncov­er South Australia’s fas­ci­nat­ing rock pool trea­sures. Here’s where to go.

Rock pools are nat­ur­al aquar­i­ums left behind by the tide on rocky sea shores.

These watery sea­side trea­sure-troves are inter­est­ing places that offer kids and adults alike end­less hours of fun dis­cov­er­ing mini ecosys­tems and secret marine worlds at any time of year.

You can find all sorts in South Australia’s rock pools – small fish, jel­ly­fish, crabs, sea anemones, sea stars (they aren’t actu­al­ly a fish but an echin­o­derm), coral, shells, bar­na­cles, sea­grass, sea sponges and wrack, which is loose kelp or sea­grass that wash­es up ashore.

Expe­ri­ence nature but take noth­ing but pho­tographs. It’s actu­al­ly ille­gal to remove any ani­mals or plants from fore­shore and seashore rocky reefs in SA (from high tide down to 2 metres). We want our marine life to con­tin­ue to live and thrive.

Here are 8 of the best rock pools to explore across SA:

1. Kingston Park

Kingston Park is locat­ed about 17 km south of Ade­laide, near the sea­side sub­urb of Brighton.

Take a walk down on the beach to the south. You’ll find lots of large rocks, and in between them is a great place for kids to search for rock pools.

Top tip: There is a beach­front park near­by with a pic­nic area, play­ground and toi­let, as well as a ten­nis court if you want to have a hit. 

2. Moana Beach

Moana Beach is about a 45-minute dri­ve from Adelaide’s CBD. Kids can tip­toe through the rock pools at the north­ern end.

Top tip: At this spot, you can even park your car on the beach.

3. Oliver’s Reef

Oliver’s Reef is locat­ed at Vic­tor Har­bor in Encounter Marine Park. Enjoy a fun time beach­comb­ing at the reef.

Top tip: When walk­ing down to the beach remem­ber to look both ways when cross­ing the Cock­le Train tracks.

4. Aldin­ga Reef

Aldin­ga Reef Sanc­tu­ary Zone is also part of Encounter Marine Park.

Take a wan­der through the Aldin­ga Reef rock pools at low tide. You might spot sea stars, crabs, urchins, dif­fer­ent types of algae and sea grass pools.

Top tip: Aldin­ga Reef is recog­nised as one of Australia’s best dive sites.

5. Sec­ond Valley

Sec­ond Val­ley beach is a scenic one-and-a-half-hour dri­ve from Adelaide’s CBD. It is one of SA’s small­est yet most sig­nif­i­cant beaches.

Kids can spend hours explor­ing Sec­ond Valley’s mys­te­ri­ous rock pools.

Top tip: Sec­ond Val­ley is ide­al as a Kan­ga­roo Island stopover as it’s only a 15-minute dri­ve from the fer­ry at Cape Jervis, or 20 min­utes from Deep Creek Nation­al Park with its spec­tac­u­lar scenery and bushwalks.

6. Stokes Bay

Stokes Bay is locat­ed on the North Coast of Kan­ga­roo Island. The bay is a seclud­ed beach pro­tect­ed from the pound­ing surf by a giant pool sur­round­ed by rocks.

Walk through the rocks to emerge on to a beau­ti­ful sandy beach with rock pools.

Top tip: Take a stroll in Lath­a­mi Con­ser­va­tion Park, locat­ed next to Stokes Bay, and keep an eye out for the endan­gered glossy black-cock­a­too.

7. Smooth Pool

Smooth Pool is south of Streaky Bay on the West Coast of the Eyre Peninsula.

This is a seclud­ed loca­tion but has an enor­mous rock pool pro­tect­ed from the surf. It has a life of its own with numer­ous habi­tats and hid­den rock outcrops.

Top tip: This is also a great beginner’s snorkelling location.

8. Lady Bay

Lady Bay beach is in Nor­manville, nes­tled between Sec­ond Val­ley and Car­rick­alin­ga near Lady Bay Road.

The beach is a great spot for a fam­i­ly day out with beau­ti­ful white sand and lots of rock pools to explore.

Top tip: Lady Bay is only a stone’s throw away from some of the best bak­eries on the Fleurieu Penin­su­la.

Don’t for­get to be sun-safe and wear soft-soled shoes to pro­tect your feet and the ani­mals liv­ing in the rock pools.

Your guide to South Aus­tralian marine life

If you love all things marine, then we’ve got some great news for you.

Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice and Parks Aus­tralia have put togeth­er 2 guides with infor­ma­tion about dif­fer­ent species you might find on the beach and in the water in SA.

The beach explor­er’s guide and under­wa­ter guide will help you iden­ti­fy the fas­ci­nat­ing species you might find while explor­ing South Australia’s beach­es, rocky reefs and waters.

You can find out more about South Australia’s marine life by vis­it­ing The rock pool’ web­site. It’s an SA-focused coastal and marine infor­ma­tion hub. 

Main image: Smooth Pool

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in Sep­tem­ber 2016.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living