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Fleurieu Peninsula

It’s little wonder Australia’s richest landscape art prize is staged on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Beautiful, bald hills sweep down to sun-drenched beaches. Wineries, orchards and pastures are patch-worked between bushland; and quiet roads lead to alluring cellar doors where you can sit back and take it all in.

And it’s all less than 40 minutes from Adelaide. Jump in the car, drive south on the Fleurieu Way and within the hour you can be walking, surfing or fishing on long, sandy beaches; or eating the catch of the day at the beachside Flying Fish cafe in Port Elliot. Drive straight down the coast to dive on the former warship HMAS Hobart at Yankallila Bay; or begin the 1500 kilometre Heysen Trail at Cape Jervis, weaving your way through the dense bushland of Deep Creek Conservation Park.

Further around the coast you’ll find Victor Harbor, South Australia’s most popular seaside town with its horse-drawn tram to Granite Island, the historic Cockle steam train and whales playing just offshore in the winter months. Then it’s round to the pretty, historic river port of Goolwa, Hindmarsh Island and the mighty Murray River mouth and the internationally renowned Coorong National Park.

Wine Country

All over the peninsula you’ll find seriously good wine country (there’s more than 50 cellar doors in the McLaren Vale wine region alone) plus enough great restaurants, produce outlets and markets to break even the strictest diet. McLaren Vale is undoubtedly the most famous wine region, but there’s also Southern Fleurieu, Currency Creek and Langhorne Creek – home to the Brothers In Arms winery, which won the prestigious George Mackey Memorial Trophy for most outstanding export wine in 2003-2004.

Blessed Cheese

Home of the McLaren Vale Wine and Cheese Trail, the Blessed Cheese is one of the most awarded cafés on the Fleurieu Peninsula and supplies cheese for lovers of McLaren Vale wines. There is a fully licenced café stocking local cheese, as well as wines from smaller producers that you will not find anywhere else in the world. If you have time, book into one of their home cheesemaking workshops.

Granite Island

A stone’s throw from Victor Harbor, the compact Granite Island is home to 2,000 Little Penguins, dolphins and an oceanarium. It’s also an excellent location for whale watching in winter. Take a penguin tour at dusk, or a dolphin cruise. To get there, walk the causeway (about 600 metres) or catch the heritage double-decker tram that’s drawn by obliging Clydesdale horses.

Strathalbyn

Settled in 1839 and retaining much of its Scottish flavour, Strathalbyn boasts a long boulevard of heritage buildings housing antique shops, galleries and cafes. Among its most beautiful buildings are the Police Station and Court House Museum, the old school and the gasworks. There’s a lovely manicured park beside the Angas River and it’s just a short drive to the wineries of Langhorne Creek.

Fabulous Food

Along with fabulous wines, the peninsula is famed for its olives and olive oil, almonds and cheeses. You’ll find gourmet bread, regional lamb and venison and great seafood from the oceans and the Murray River. A growing number of restaurants, farmers markets, cellar doors and speciality stores are devoted to regional fare and October is Fiesta, an annual celebration of the new season’s olive oils and wines. Discover more about the region’s restaurants, chefs, seasonal calendar and harvests by visiting Fleurieu Peninsula Food.

Cruise the Coorong

Catch a Spirit of the Coorong cruise from Goolwa into the shallow lagoons of the Coorong National Park. It’s a fragile 120 kilometre strip of coastal wilderness, home to wader and waterfowl birds. The cruise lands at places accessible only by boat, and expert guides take you to spectacular dunes and across the Younghusband Peninsula to the Southern Ocean. The park and its adjacent wetlands host the annual Meet the Waders festival where the arts, nature conservation and the environment are celebrated in gallery exhibitions, bushwalking, painting and bird watching excursions.

Fleurieu Artificial Reef

The former Navy ship HMAS Hobart was scuttled off the Fleurieu coast near Yankalilla in November 2002 – creating one of the best dive sites in Australia. More than 7,000 divers have explored the submerged vessel, which remains largely intact. You’ll still find everything from the engine room, smoke stacks, to missile launchers and gun turrets.

Deep Creek Conservation Park

Encounter echidnas, kangaroos and sea eagles in the spectacular setting of Deep Creek Conservation Park, nestled against the rugged southern coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Hike the Heysen Trail or follow the extensive network of coastal trails for views out to Backstairs Passage and Kangaroo Island.

Jump to It

Get the adrenalin pumping with a 25-minute tandem skydive over the sensational southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula. With Skydive Adelaide, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Victor Harbor, Goolwa and Port Elliot’s Horseshoe Bay (and you might even spot a whale or two in winter). While you’re down that way, try cable hang gliding or sky diving with Airborne Action at Old Noarlunga or hot air ballooning over Strathalbyn.

French Connection

Among the first travellers to cruise South Australia’s coast were explorers Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin. Although their respective nations, England and France, were at war at the time of their encounter in 1802, the pair swapped notes before peacefully going about their business to map the southern coast of Australia. It’s thanks to Baudin that today we have the Fleurieu Peninsula (honouring French politician, Comte de Fleurieu). Learn more about the historic meeting at Victor Harbor’s Encounter Coast Discovery Centre.

Walk, cycle and skate trails

Drive south out of Adelaide, and in about 45 minutes you’ll reach the Fleurieu Peninsula, for generations a favourite summer holiday playground for Adelaide residents. Adventure parks, national parks and fine restaurants draw visitors all year. Attractions include the Cockle Train, a historic steam-engine that chugs along Australia’s first public iron railway, built in the 1850s.
Bordered by a sweeping coastline and countless white sandy beaches, the peninsula is home to the McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek wine regions, and over 20 national parks. Enjoy spectacular views of the Southern Ocean on the 30 minute journey between Victor Harbour and Goolwa. Whale watching is a popular pastime during July to September, when up to 20 southern right whales head here to breed.
The region is perfect for walkers and cyclists – a combined walk, bike and skate trail runs north to south and the 1500 kilometre Heysen Trail starts at Cape Jervis. The Heysen, Australia’s longest walking trail, is also one of the longest in the world. Named after Hans Heysen, an acclaimed artist who worked in the area, this magnificently varied trail extends to Parachilna in the northern Flinders Ranges.
If you enjoy leisurely transport, the Fleurieu Peninsula offers Australia’s only horsedrawn tram, pulled by massive Clydesdales. It traverses the restored wooden causeway to Granite Island, home to 700 pairs of fairy penguins. Perhaps drop into Urimbirra Wildlife Park to see more than 70 species of Australian animals in their natural environment.

White sands, whales and wine

Drive south out of Adelaide, and in about 45 minutes you’ll reach the Fleurieu Peninsula, for generations a favourite summer holiday playground for Adelaide residents. Adventure parks, national parks and fine restaurants draw visitors all year. Attractions include the Cockle Train, a historic steam-engine that chugs along Australia’s first public iron railway, built in the 1850s.
The Fleurieu folk are passionate about food. Look out for roadside stalls and farmhouses selling everything from smoked salmon and raspberries to almonds and olive oil. Drop into Blessed Cheese and Medlow confectioners in McLaren Vale and visit weekend farmers markets for fresh seasonal produce.
Bordered by a sweeping coastline and countless white sandy beaches, the peninsula is home to the McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek wine regions, and over 20 national parks. Enjoy spectacular views of the Southern Ocean on the 30 minute journey between Victor Harbour and Goolwa. Whale watching is a popular pastime during July to September, when southern right whales head here to breed.
The region is perfect for walkers and cyclists – a combined walk, bike and skate trail runs north to south and the 1500 kilometre Heysen Trail starts at Cape Jervis. The Heysen, Australia’s longest walking trail, is also one of the longest in the world. Named after Hans Heysen, an acclaimed artist who worked in the area, this magnificently varied trail extends to Parachilna in the northern Flinders Ranges.
If you enjoy leisurely transport, the Fleurieu Peninsula offers Australia’s only horsedrawn tram, pulled by massive Clydesdales. It traverses the restored wooden causeway to Granite Island, home to 700 pairs of fairy penguins. Perhaps drop into Urimbirra Wildlife Park to see more than 70 species of Australian animals in their natural environment.

Activites and Experiences at Fleurieu Peninsula

  • Bushwalking
  • Sightseeing
  • Wine Tasting
  • Aussie Lifestyle
  • Rural/Country
  • Food and Wine

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