Largs Bay is the smallest of a number of seaside resorts on Gulf St Vincent and is within easy reach of Adelaide city centre (15kms). Located between Semaphore and Outer Harbor it is certainly worth a stop if you are driving around the LeFevre Peninsula or riding along the cycle path which runs from Outer Harbor, in the north, to Brighton, in the south. Outside the natural beauty of the coastline the historic Largs Pier Hotel is worthy a look.
The hotel, just off the esplanade, has what have got to be the most beautiful looking (Italian style, I believe) balconies I have seen anywhere, or at least in Australia.
Until the building of Outer Harbor, a few kilometres north of here in 1908, Largs Bay was the arrival point for ocean liners and mail ships from Europe. The hotel was built in 1882 to provide accommodation to, and an opportunity for, ocean liner passengers to regain their ‘land legs’ after months at sea. According to the Adelaide Observer (1882) the hotel offered:
‘bathrooms fitted up luxuriously with hot and cold salt water. There were electric bells and indicators on every floor, and fire plugs on each landing and speaking tubes to the bar.”
I do wonder if the speaking tubes to the bar are still functioning !
Pictured above (from the Port Adelaide Historical Society) is the hotel in around 1900 together with the jetty rail track that I will refer below.
In its more recent history the hotel was the site of Australia’s first drive through bottle shop (off-license), in 1953 and during the 1970s and 1980s Jimmy Barnes with Cold Chisel, AC/DC, The Little River Band and The Angels all played here, albeit during their early days.
As I have not stayed in or otherwise frequented the hotel I cannot comment on it as an operating hotel.
Like all places along the coast, Largs Bay has a beautiful white sand beach (hidden behind the scrub in the picture above!) and a nice jetty, both worth a stroll.
Like the hotel, the jetty opened in 1882. Ocean liners and mail ships anchored in the Bay and launches brought passengers, freight and mail to the jetty. The original jetty, 640 metres long with a railway track running its entire length and up past the hotel, was built in only 8 months by Messrs Baillie, Davies and Wishart. While building the jetty, Mr Wishart rested his arm on a pile and the monkey (a two tonne block of iron used to drive piles into the seabed) dropped. Suffice to say, following this incident Wishart became known as the one-armed jetty builder. Charming, I hear you say!
In 1953 a storm severely damaged the jetty and when repaired it was shortened to one-third its original length. This is the jetty you see today.
The cairn, depicted above, commemorates the 100th anniversary of Largs Bay (1882 to 1883). The anchor and small ship’s bell are reminders of Largs Bay’s importance as a port prior to the building of Outer Harbor in 1908.
Also here is a very sea-side looking kiosk, the offerings of which I didn’t sample, and Largs Bay toilet block!
I have included the picture of the toilet block, not to assure you one exists but, to let you see the nice painting on the seaward wall. As with the kiosk, I did not avail of this facility so cannot comment on it from that perspective.
Address, etc of hotel – everything else is just across the road.
Address: 198 Esplanade, Largs Bay
Directions: On the intersection with Jetty Road, not that you can miss it!