The allure of Bali is a hard thing to shake. Even now, two months after returning to Australia, I constantly find myself yearning for its long white beaches, clear blue waters stretching off into the horizon and, most importantly, its constant saturation of warm tropical weather. I’d spent so much time dreaming about my return to this incredible place that I was almost overwhelmed when my partner and I stumbled upon one of South Australia’s own natural jewels – Second Valley. One that could, possibly, rival that of even Bali’s beaches.
After enduring weeks of terribly cold weather on the edge of Australia’s winter, just before it crossed into Spring, the ensuing warm weather came at a shock to the system. Not just due to its severity, but because it came after an incredibly cold day; it was 22C one day, and the next it was 38C. Nonetheless, it was a welcome change.
Eager to not miss the opportunity, my partner and I skipped out on work and headed down to a little-known spot on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Along the way it quickly became apparent than every man and his dog had the same idea and were heading for refreshing coastal waters. A drive that should have taken 1 hour took an additional 45 minutes. It was mayhem and there were people everywhere. Luckily, most of the people began to veer of, at one point or another, and headed to different places to our own.
Nestled in the hills of a small coastal region, Second Valley is a dainty jewel. Rolling hills covered in dense sun scorched crops surround the region, complemented by rich turquoise waters. It could not be more of a contrast and, as if intentionally designed, it only increases the waters pull.
We arrived just before lunch time, as the sun was beginning to reach its peak. By this time the air was dry and the ground was scorching under our thong-less feet. The car park had few cars, thankfully, so we did not have far too walk to get of the asphalt. We had come for one thing, not the white sandy beach that abuts the carpark, but the clear waters and sandstone cliffs that require a great field of molten rocks – not literally, but on bare feet they certainly feel like it – to be traversed before reaching.
With expressions of pain and clamped shut teeth we braved the field of pebbles. Admittedly, we were quite vocal and many a curse word was uttered on that day. As long as no people were with in ears distance, we made it to the water’s edge relatively harm free. There was less than a second between our belongings hitting the ground and our feet hitting the water. The whole ordeal seemed to have made this place all the more incredible.
We searched the areas under water environment for some time, even being graced by the presence of a small pod of dolphins. We could have continued to swim all day without getting board. However, there is another reason besides its incredible waterthat people make the long journey to visit second valley. Namely, it’s incredible cliffs that beg to be climbed. Despite the area hosting a menagerie of signs warning people not to scale the cliff faces, a continuous stream of people scaling the cliff face can be seen. And for good reason. These are some of the best cliffs to jump from. With a variety of different heights and places to explore, for most the reward is worth more than the risk.
We spent hours perched atop the cliffs, only occasionally making the fateful decision to jump off. Our time was spent mostly just watching others do so and occasionally laughing at a momentous belly or back flop. By mid-afternoon we were accompanied by nearly 30 others. The whole area had taken on the vibes of a party. There was music playing, people laughing and swimming, conversations were on high, but, most importantly, we were all just happy to finally be basking in the suns warm rays.
Unfortunately, like all good things, the day was coming to an end. For us this was signified by the sun descending over the horizon, though it was still strong enough to illuminate the cliffs and provide us with enough light to safely trek back to the car.
Expecting are day to be finished, we hopped in our car and began to descend the long winding road that would take us home. Not contempt with letting us leave, it seemed the area had one final thing to keep us there. The Normanville cliffs sit about 10 minutes down the road from Second Valley. Normally, these cliffs are incredible. But at this specific time the sun was just beginning to set on the horizon, and these amazing cliffs were basking in a warm golden light; they went from amazing to godly.
Slightly saddened that it was getting dark and we had to leave, we remained on a high knowing that today had only been a taste of good things to come, before summer finally arrives and brings with it the incredible weather and good times. I guess I can wait a little longer for Bali.