Worn and weary, after a less than ideal Christmas day working on the Troopy to change the water pump, we rolled into Port Elliot. We were to stay at the YHA here for about 10 days and we were looking forward to having a hot shower. As we cruised through Port Elliot, it was eerily quiet… either from the Christmas hangover or the quiet before the New Years storm. We turned south at The Strand and as we came over the crest, the Port Elliot Beach House came into glorious view.
The building was built in 1914 by the future mayor of Port Elliot, Mr Harry Handby, who named it the Arcadia Guest House. It was the perfect seaside destination for holiday makers as it overlooked the beautiful Horseshoe Bay and since then, it has had a variety of functions, including an aged care facility for about 25 years. In 2009, it went on the market and was purchased by YHA Australia. They refurbished the building and it is now a spacious, comfortable hostel with a historic feel that accommodates up to 60 guests.
Rooms include double shares, multi-shares, double rooms and family rooms. The shared bathrooms are nice and clean, and there is even an unisex one upstairs. If you’re after something a little more special, they also have The Suite, which is a self-contained room with lounge, bathroom and bedroom that overlooks the bay.
The indoor common areas include a television room with free movie hire, and a bookshelf filled with books and board games and a spacious dining area. The kitchen has all the gear – glasses, mugs, plates and cutlery with all the cookware your heart desires. There are two sinks, kettles, toasters, microwaves and stoves. They also have two fridges and pantry shelves to accommodate your food too! If you’ve run out of cereal, check out the mini store, which is also stocked with tuna, beans and milk.
Outside in the backyard, you’ll find a large deck with sun chairs, a BBQ area, large tables for al fresco dining, as well as a ping pong table. The laundry shed has two machines at $3 a load, and there is even a vegetable and herb garden with lots of tomatoes, beets and mint.
One thing we noticed on the first day was the awesome soundtrack that played throughout the hostel. Tunes from artists like The Cure, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Beck, Primus, Queens of the Stone Age, the list goes on. We were in heaven. Plus, the staff at the hostel were awesome and always willing to chat and offer suggestions of where to swim, fish or hang out.
Things within walking distance
- Hotel Elliot – the closest pub. A great location with a fabulous beer garden. Sit in for a pint and a parmi, or try one of their gourmet pizzas, but make sure you have a wad of cash in your wallet. If you have a YHA membership, you’ll get a 10% discount on meals.
- The Cockle Train Station – catching the train to either Goolwa or Victor Harbor is a short trip and costs $6.50 per adult for one stop. A bit pricey but if you’ve walked all the way to Victor Harbor, you probably don’t want to walk all the way back.
- Port Elliot town centre with a grocery store, bakery and café.
- The Royal Family Hotel – on the main road in town, this is the second closet pub from the YHA but if you’re after a true blue pub meal that won’t send you bankrupt, this would be the place to go.
- Horseshoe Bay – the YHA overlooks the bay so you practically have the sea at your doorstep. You have the choice of lazing along the beach, jumping off the jetty or snorkelling at the breakwater.
- Port Elliot Bakery – one of the best bakeries in the region, it’s usually busy and has a great selection of soft bread and delicious pies.
Victor Harbor is a 1.5 hour walk west along the coast, or you make the trip in 30 minutes on your bike. Middleton is the next town to the east and takes about 50 minutes to walk to the Middleton Tavern. By car, The McLaren Vale wine region is about 45 minutes north and Deep Creek Conservation Park is about 45 minutes west.
If you’re a YHA member, accommodation starts at $25 for a bed in a mixed dorm room, but if you’re after something a little more private, the Suite is available for $144 a night. Book now at yha.com.au!
We’d like to extend a massive Thank You to Ben and Chris for being so hospitable and friendly. We had an amazing time at the Port Elliot Beach House YHA and we look forward to visiting again once we’ve circumnavigated Australia!