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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Port Willunga, South Australia

And the historic township of Willunga



Remains of the Port Willunga jetty, the second one, built in 1868. Port Willunga was a working port during the early days of the colony of South Australia. The area now is a popular beach with only a few remnants of its historic past.



The beach at Port Willunga with the Star of Greece restaurant on top of the cliff. The restaurant is named after the ship the Star of Greece, it was blown onto the nearby reef during a heavy storm. The ship took on water and sunk, apparently the wreck can sometimes be seen at low tide. Due to the heavy seas and distance from Port Adelaide, the attempts to rescue the sailors failed and they drowned, it was the largest maritime loss of life in the colony. The restaurant itself is a hugely popular foodie destination, with the added attraction of the view across the gulf.



Looking down the coast, the limestone cliffs of the Fleurieu peninsula.



These caves were carved into the cliff face by fishermen to house their boats. I didn't know that before I saw them and was just puzzled by them. They looked very 'Star Wars' universe to me, really out of place in an Australian beach. Once home I researched them and discovered what they were used for, they only date back to the early to mid 20th century. Nowadays they're used like beach huts, people spend the day camped in them. Talking about being fascinated by these caves at work one day, a colleague told me she had been to a wedding reception held in the caves! She then proceeded to show me pictures, it was stunning, lighting was strung up in the cave, you've got the sunset views and a truly memorable wedding reception!



A few kilometres inland is the town of Willunga. For South Australia it's quite a historic town as it was founded in 1839, less than 3 years after the first white settlers arrived in December 1836. It was established as a farming community and now is part of the Southern Vales wine district. It's a pleasant spot to visit and have lunch when holidaying in the area or just a day trip from Adelaide.

The Willunga Hotel, now all one complex but originally the building closest to the camera was a store with the residence above it. Currently there are footpath renovations going on so lots of speed restrictions and bunting around the main street!


Now a restaurant, this had been the Methodist church, the 1839 name acknowledges the foundation of the town in 1839.

Willunga had been the major town in the area and this was the Courthouse and police station. It's been restored by the National Trust and run as a local history museum.

Across from the Courthouse had been the Telegraph station, the buildings are now a private home.

As well as vineyards, the area around Willunga is famous for its almond trees. Each year, the last week of July is the Almond Blossom Festival, it's a gorgeous time to visit as the trees are covered in pink and white blossoms and it all makes for a wonderful scene. (Closest you can get in South Australia to the Japanese Hanami! The picnics under the cherry blossoms.)





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