Chasing The Coastline in South Australia

Following her undergraduate degree in International Relations, Sarah Pannell decided to switch tracks to a more visual sphere, picking up a degree in photography and focusing her practice on documentary work.

Now based in Melbourne, Pannell has been exhibited and published throughout Australia. Whilst driving through South Australia recently, she documented her travels along the rolling coastlines of the state. In the following feature, she shares her thoughts on its evocative, ever-changing landscapes: “Following the road signs for the Fleurieu Peninsula, it didn’t take long after leaving central Adelaide to be surrounded by the rolling green hills of Mclaren Vale – a thriving wine region and open coastline to my right as I headed directly south towards the coast, for a week on the road in South Australia.

Rather than take the fastest inland highway route that leads to Victor Harbor, I chose to drive as close along the coastline as possible making various stops along the way, often pulling over on the side of the road when I found an interesting view over the sea and surrounding mountains. Following a sign for the Myponga Reservoir, I took a local road and wound my way through lush countryside, with the landscape constantly changing as the road cut its way past farmland and forests with images of the sea coming in and out of view.

Eventually I found myself half in the remote coastal town of Carrickalinga, full of idyllic beach houses and little to no shops, I felt like this would be the perfect place to retire to. After driving through a number of quiet beach towns, I followed the signs for Cape Jervis at the tip of the mainland, heading for Second Valley, a beach known for its unique clifftops and rock formations. A local friend had told me about this spot and as I exited the jetty and made my way around the edge of the rocky cliffs and found some beautiful swimming holes. The water was perfect and very refreshing after long hours in the car.

Over the week I made my way further along the coast through many small towns in an area steeped in colonial history. I swam with wild bottle nose dolphins off the coast of Glenelg Beach in Adelaide and went on a mountain bike tour through the mountains overlooking the city through native bushland, passing many kangaroos and koalas among other Australian wildlife. I’m looking forward to returning to South Australia in the next year to explore more and do a camping trip through the Flinders Ranges.”

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