South Australian’s are probably sick of being told just how lucky we are to live in this state. With a rapidly growing city packed with one of the most vibrant arts and entertainment cultures in the country, food and wine surrounding us on the doorstep of our metropolitan area, the heart of Australia’s bush land just to the north of us and pristine white sandy beaches along all of our coastlines, we get it. We’ve got it good.
But what the tourism campaigns glaze over is to live in South Australia is to be part of a city, of suburbs and town who retain strong community roots. Sure there are plenty of flashy destinations and adventures to be enjoyed here, but no matter where you live in Adelaide the lifestyle is about knowing your local shop keepers, the barista who gets your coffee right every time and catching up with friends at locations that are always under a half hour away where you can enjoy a walk along the beach or watch the endless sunset over a wine and still keep that feeling that no matter where you are in SA, you’re at home.
Of all the changing locations, and facades of Adelaide, this feeling has never been lost at Henley Beach. In many ways, it is like a small beach town. The focus is drawn towards the beach front where either side of the Jetty you can walk for hours over looking St Vincent Gulf and any time of day. The beautifully redeveloped Henley Square is not only a meeting place enjoyed by families all year round, but it invites you to explore the eateries that surround it, much like a European plaza. The main strip isn’t over crowded by pedestrians and whether you’re looking for a boutique to pick up something small, fresh food to plan your dinner around, a splash of floral colour for you home or to simply be wined and dined, you’re afforded all the same conveniences as locals.
Henley Beach isn’t just a community for those who live there, but extends it’s welcome to those who visit. Even in the last month of our cold weather, there is an inescapable charm and delight to be taken in watching the brave souls who say boo to the season and walk the white sand from any number of local vantage points. Whether your a resident, adopted local or soon to be first time visitor, here is our guide to what makes Henley that little slice of something special.
People To Save Our Lives and Give Us Beers:
Henley Surf Life Saving Club. When people see a beautiful ocean, along a beautiful beach, and a beautiful jetty, common sense can sometimes disappear out the window, and an all-encompassing desire to jump in can take over. Luckily for us, the Henley Surf Club is right there, fully equipped with amazing life savers, to stop us from sinking under the waves. If we’re swimming between the flags of course. For all other times, the club house is INCREDIBLE, boasting pretty much the best balcony in Adelaide, right over the sands of Henley Beach. Open to the public, the club has great platters, a full bar, meals and even does breakfast. Get on to this before everyone else finds out too. It’s a cracker.
Food & Drink:
Stella Restaurant, 2/257 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. Boasting one of the most beautiful views in South Australia out across the ocean, the recently renovated restaurant’s traditional Italian fare has been a hit with locals for over 20 years. Breakfast space in their alfresco tables in Henley Square are always packed on weekends.
Bacchus Bar, 253 Esplanade, Henley Beach. Reopening on August 19 after a much needed rest for the owners, the laid back wine and cocktail destination are soon to include a fire pit beneath a new patio extension which will take diners even closer to the shoreline. They’re a huge hit with dog lovers as well, offering a special menu for your pooch to enjoy after a long walk.
Malobo, 257 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. They still feel like newcomers to Henley, but Malobo have absolutely hit their stride with a stunning menu across Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Extending into Henley Square also, they have place heaters and blankets available if the breeze brings a chill, but really all you’ll need is one of their Espresso Martinis.
Thai Orchid, 255 Esplanade, Henley Beach. You can’t say you’re a local if you haven’t eaten at the Thai Orchid. A favourite of local footballers and families alike, this place know how to serve up a feast, and turn you around just as quickly, so you can get back to enjoying the beach.
303 By The Sea, 303 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. When you walk into this place which, by the way, is totally adorable, you get a great homely vibe. It feels like a proper local cafe. The kind you might find along a coastal beachside town, where everyone knows your name and your order. Breakfast and Lunch is their fare and they know it back to front.
Hermanos Cubanos, 257 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. This ‘hole in the wall’ is the purveyor of fine Cuban inspired sandwiches and general Mexican style fare. A brilliant splash of colour along the main road, their takaway is best enjoyed around the corner watching the sunset reclined in the bench seats at Henley Square.
Estia, 255 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. An iconic Greek restaurant with a laid-back atmosphere, serving generous portions of delicious food and wine. As any foodie knows, the seaside and Greece are a pairing made by the Gods themselves.
Swedish Tarts, 22/330 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. Built on inspirations from the Swedish kitchen and fused to fit in with modern Australian taste buds, these guys have new freshly baked treats arriving daily from their Findon Bakery. More adventurous customers will not be disappointed by some of the more uncommon dishes we have to offer.
Joe’s Kiosk, Corner of South Street and The Esplanade, Henley Beach. The very definition of an institution. The decor and menu might not have changed for decades, but if you ever want a humble cup-of-joe overlooking the white sands, then Joe is the guy to see.
Goodpress Juices, 9-15 Henley Beach Rd, Henley Beach South. Like everything these days, there are knock offs, good attempts, and the real thing. Away from the Square, yet only a short walk away, the Goodpress menu is simple. And good. There are light bites available, which are perfect for breakfasts on the run, or taking home a snack for later on. And boy do they know their juice.
One Rundle Trading Co., Shop 26 340 Seaview Road, Henley Beach. Inspired by the decoration and design of European country houses throughout the centuries, One Rundle is a mecca for furniture, fashion and homewares that are anything but ordinary.
Minnow On Seaview, 350 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. An artisan florist with an incredibly personal approach to flowers. Perhaps the beach side lifestyle at Henley has leant itself to their particular feel for arrangements and presentation, but whatever the reason Minnow’s attention to detail has quickly spread and pushed their reputation state wide.
Seed & French Connection, Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. Two of our fav chain stores, Seed & French Connection are perfect for picking up some wardrobe staples, grabbing a great coat when the wind picks up, or a hat when the sun comes out. Plus Seed has stuff for the kids too. Bribes, and goodies galore.
Henley Square, Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. A recent multi million dollar redevelopment was completed in 2015 and has proved a hit ever since. Opening out onto the Jetty and beachfront the Square is complete with lawns, rolling seating and creates a European plaza style feel that connects the host of eateries that surround it. It is not only a community hub but also the home for some of Henley’s best events throughout the year.
Ramsgate Hotel, 328 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. The classic 1897 fascade of the Ramsgate overlooks Henley Square. It’s fast become a regular destination for national touring musicians, but live music isn’t the only draw on offer. Saturday night’s it’s absolutely packed with revelers enjoying a host of DJs, but if that isn’t your thing it returns to a classic hotel on the beach front throughout the week.
Fry’s South Henley Meat Store, 9-15 Henley Beach Rd, Henley Beach South. A neighbourhood butcher known for outstanding cuts and local service. Nothing like a visiting a wholesome shopfront to get to know the real personality of a suburb.
Seafood On Henley @ Henley Square Pavilion, 340-354 Seaview Road, Henley Beach. Fresh Seafood retailer specialising in fresh local and Australian seafood including a large range of ready to cook seafood meals such as Fish Cakes, Seafood Lasagnes and Linguine and Seafood puff pastries.
Foodland @ Henley Square Pavilion, 348/354 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach. South Australia’s best known independent grocers have everything.
Cellarbrations @ Henley Square Pavillon. Yep, it’s a bottle shop. The perfect accompaniment for all the amazing seafood you’ll be buying next door at Seafood on Henley. Or for buying a great bottle of wine to take over to the Thai Orchid, who have BYO & corkage.
Stay A While:
Henley on Sea via Elite Accommodation. Who said Henley Beach was just for day trips? This magnificent home in the heart of Henley Beach is right by the beach and has fantastic sea views. It’s close to shops, restaurants and public transport. Open plan lounge/ dining and kitchen area allow you to enjoy the sensational views of beautiful Henley Beach come rain, hail or shine. There are 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, so it sleeps up to 6 people in comfort. Sounds like the perfect mid-week getaway after a big meal in Henley Square, or a great way to holiday near the comforts of home with the family.
Walks, Bike Trails & Jetty:
The iconic Linear Park trail, which runs along the River Torrens from the foothills to the ocean finishes on the boundary of Henley Beach South and West Beach. A premier trail, free from cars and linking the city to the coast, it is a must for all walking, running and cycling enthusiasts. Heck, for any South Australian really! See the trail map here.
Leading from the Linear Park trail are dedicated coastal walking trails from Henley Beach both towards the north and south, free from cars and perfect for the family to follow. See the trail maps here.
But if you’re not up for a long walk, a walk along the Jetty at the end Henley Square is a bit more manageable with a coffee. Recreational fisherman can often be found hooking King George Whiting, squid and crabs at the end of the Jetty too.
For more information the Visit Henley Beach website should have everything you need. But the best means of discovery is truly to just hop in the car and see things for yourself.