Port Hughes

 

Although Port Hughes is not exactly a quiet, secluded camping spot, it is a beautiful little town with a lot to offer anyone who might enjoy getting away for a few days (or longer).  

Port Hughes is on the western side of the Yorke Peninsula, about two hours drive from Adelaide, and only about 4 kilometres from the town of Moonta.  It's right on the coast and there are not too many South Australians who haven't visited it at some stage.  It is a very popular location and now boasts a large new land release, with new homes popping up all over the place.  This has ruined it a bit for me, as I remember it when there wasn't much there at all.  That's progress I guess.

You can't camp anywhere within the town itself or along the foreshore, but you can choose between two caravan/holiday parks.  The first is behind the shop/tavern right on the foreshore, near the car park and jetty.  It used to be a bit larger than it is now, but the car park has been enlarged somewhat.  The caravan park is now quite small, but it does have powered and unpowered sites.  The park is on a hill and there is no shelter from any onshore wind, so you would be a wee bit exposed if the weather turned nasty.  (Would be OK in a caravan, but could be interesting in a tent).  It is a nice tidy park with clean amenities and it's nice and close to the shop, jetty and foreshore. 

 You can just see the caravans on top of the low hill...there are in the caravan park.  This is looking back towards the shore from the beach.

The other park at which you can stay is nestled amongst the sandhills to the south of the town.  It's not far out and there are paths through the sandhills onto the prisitine beach south of the jetty.  I know that this park offers cabins, but I'm not sure as to powered/unpowered sites etc. 

South Beach, mentioned above, is a beautiful beach and is a very popular spot for swimming.  The water is crystal clear.  There is about 30 metres of clear water before the weed line starts, which makes it a great place for kids to swim.  There is rarely much wave action and there are no rips or strong currents.  The beach north of the jetty runs between Port Hughes and Moonta Bay and is also a superb swimming beach, with shallow, calm, clear waters.

This is South Beach.  It stretches for a long way to the left of the photo.

The fishing here is still quite good, although it does receive a hammering during holiday periods, or on nice Sunday afternoons.  Squid are probably the most popular target from the jetty, and with good reason.  The planks of the jetty are black with ink.  There are thick weed beds around the jetty and a nice rocky shoreline.  This reefy environment is like a magnet for squid and the most productive spot is right along the weedline at high tides.  Garfish and Tommies are caught in good numbers from the jetty, along with Snook at night.  I have seen numerous Bronze Whaler Sharks caught from this jetty, but they have all been very small, around 2-3 foot long.

Wading on the beaches and casting to sandy holes around the weedline is a great way to fish on a warm day.  Flathead can be caught, along with Yellowfin Whiting and the occasional King George Whiting.  Mullet are very common on the beaches in Autumn.  I recently watched a couple of guys standing in the sandy stretch in front of the rocks at the land end of the jetty.  They were casting squid lures into the weeds and retrieving them over the weed beds.  I saw them land two squid, and this was around the low tide at 2 in the afternoon on a bright, sunny day. 

Port Hughes Jetty

Offshore fishing at Port Hughes is legendary in South Australia, due mainly to the Snapper fishing in the shipping channel way offshore.  If you have a boat, then Port Hughes is a great spot.  Larger boats can make the long haul out to the channel where Snapper, Whiting and Snook are all caught.  Cape Elizabeth, south of the town, is a reefy spot that produces Snapper, Snook and Whiting, along with Salmon at times.  Small boat owners can make the trip to Cape Elizabeth in good weather and can also fish the bays.  Some of the Garfish caught near Cape Elizabeth are whoppers.  Garfish are also plentiful just off the beaches and Whiting can be caught on the sand patches.  Squid are never far away, and I remember drifting around in a small aluminium dinghy one afternoon, about 100 metres off shore, and catching plenty of Squid.

As mentioned, Moonta isn't far away, and neither is Wallaroo.  All have excellent swimming beaches, with Wallaroo and Moonta having a small variety of shops.  This area of Yorke Peninsula sits within what is known as the Copper Triangle due to the copper mined years ago by Cornish settlers.  It is possible to visit old copper mines around Moonta and there is heaps of information available about the areas history.

Although hardly remote area camping, Port Hughes is a great place to spend a few days within comfortable driving distance of Adelaide.  A very relaxing spot (if you manage to avoid the Summer crowds) and the kids will love the place.