Spread the love
Once we left the Murray River Mouth and Lakes country we came across a sneaky little peninsula which is only 60 kilometres in length and about 30 kilometres in width which tapers into a cape at the bottom which is the gateway to the fabulous Kangaroo Island. The Fleurieu Peninsula is 45 minutes from the state’s capital, Adelaide and is probably most renowned for the popular tourist destination town of Victor Habour.
You will find some famous winemaking regions, some of the South Australia’s most beautiful beaches, rolling hills, dairy pastures, orchards and a rugged coastline. The Fleurieu Peninsula offers a tapestry of experiences and something for everyone.
A model little seaside village, set around the gorgeous Horseshoe Bay, renowned for its cafes, pubs and gift shops along The Strand. Follow the Port Elliot Maritime Heritage Trail on the foreshore of Horseshoe Bay, or explore excellent vantage points such as Freemans Nob and the cliff top walking path for stunning views of the Encounter Bay coastline.
For an absolute waterfront dining experience, eat at the Flying Fish Restaurant & Café right on Horseshoe Bay. Check out the Returned Soldier’s Memorial Park that fringes the bay, it is very pretty.
Nestled on a wide, sandy arc of Encounter Bay, Victor Harbour has been the Summer holiday choice for generations of South Australians, with just about everything you could want for a relaxing holiday. Sun, surf and sand: clear turquoise waters and stunning views; outstanding early colonial architecture; and good pubs, cafes and restaurants – it’s easy to understand why.
The ten top things to do in Victor Harbour would have to be:
1. Catch the Cockle Steam Train from Victor Harbour to Goolwa which winds its way down the coastline with spectacular views.
2. Take the horsedrawn tram journey across the causeway to Granite Island.
3. Circumnavigate Granite Island by foot on the pathway that takes you to points of interest along the way. You may even see some Little Penguins. Some of the views from this granite bouldered island are to die for.
4. Surf or swim at one the numerous beaches such as Waitpinga, Parsons, Chiton Rocks and Dump Beach.
5. For a close encounter with the Little Penguins take a one hour tour at dusk at the Granite Island Nature Park .
6. Drive up to The Bluff and hike around the pathway for panoramic ocean views of Encounter Bay and Granite Island.
7. Go to the Urimbirra Wildlife Experience for some more wildlife encounters with Koalas, Crocodiles and Snakes.
8. Visit the South Australian Whale Centre to experience and discover three floors of interactive and informative exhibits.
9. Hop aboard The Big Duck Boat Tour and see seals, dolphins and whales (in season).
10. Amble around the town which has a great array of gift shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, pubs and lovely parklands lining the foreshore.
The drive from Victor Harbour through the ranges and rural area to Cape Jervis at the bottom of the peninsula is quiet spectacular. It is a very manageable day trip from Victor Habour.
The departure point for the ferry service to Kangaroo Island and a popular base for fisherman, Cape Jervis has both good boat, jetty and beach fishing. Bushwalkers will love nearby Deep Creek Conservation Park or the Heysen Trail from Cape Jervis to Victor Harbour.
Near Cape Jervis, visit Fishery Beach, the site of the former Cape Jervis Whale Fishery, a State Heritage listed site. Discover the highlights of South Australia’s premier nature-based tourism destination, Kangaroo Island. From Remarkable Rocks to playful fur seals, Flinders Chase National Park, renowned as a sanctuary for native Australian animals including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and echidnas. A day cruise will take you to the Kangaroo Island’s natural highlights which will more than likely be the highlight of the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Rapid Bay and Second Valley
A small hamlet, nestled between a long sandy beach and towering cliffs, Rapid Bay hasn’t succumbed to the flurry of beachside development. The approach into the bay is down a steep winding road, with spectacular views across the gulf.
Rapid Bay is a popular dive site because of its pristine waters and has a long jetty that is great for fishing. For history buffs, there is a boulder here, which Colonel William Light (South Australia’s founding father), carved his initials after he first stepped ashore from his ship ‘The Rapid’.
The town of Second Valley is reminiscent of a Cornish fishing village, hugging the edge of Yankalilla Bay. The rugged geological rock formations and steep coastal cliffs help make Second Valley unforgettable. Same goes for the Old Mill, on the main road into this tiny town, which has now been converted into a restaurant and reception venue.
Its protected waters provide scuba divers and snorkellers with a memorable experience and anglers know it best for the fine fishing.
If you are after a unique diving experience then the wreck of the HMAS Hobart, which was scuttled four nautical miles west-north-west of Marina St Vincent in Yankalilla Bay, is a great dive spot because of its accessibility to the ship.
An internationally acclaimed wine district, McLaren Vale also offers beautiful scenery, with local restaurants serving up delicious regional produce. It is nestled between the Mt Lofty Ranges and the beaches of Gulf St Vincent and is only 40 Km’s from Adelaide.
The McLaren Vale wine region is rich in history, with the first vines planted in 1838. As early as 1850 the famous Hardy and Seaview wineries were in operation and remain today.
To get a feel of the countryside, walk or ride the 8 Km Shiraz Trail beginning adjacent to the Visitor Information Centre and meandering through the township of Willunga, passing via vineyards, olive groves and old gum trees.
Experience the McLaren Vale wine region with a wine tour, which can include meeting a wine maker and behind the scene tours with a gourmet lunch platter or your choice of restaurant/café. Or get a wine trail brochure from the Visitor’s Centre and DIY winery tour.
An old port township found at the mouth of the Onkaparinga River, Port Noarlunga is a popular family holiday destination. Southern Beach, which at low tide exposes a natural marine reserve, is perfect for aquatic exploration. What makes this beach so special is the reef, a natural rock pile which runs parallel to shore for over 1.5 km. This protective barrier shields the beach from waves, large sea creatures, and strong rip currents.
Fisherman take advantage of the long jetty to dangle their lines and snorkellers and divers can enjoy the marked underwater trail at the end of the jetty. The reef is home to Leatherjackets, Rays, Cuttlefish, Starfish, Crabs and more. The water is 7-9 meters deep, but the top of the reef is flat and easy to get on to at low tide.
For walkers you can do the Port Noarlunga to Christies Beach beachside walk that winds around some spectacular cliffs above and some rocks below. The more intrepid walkers head for the river estuary and Onkaparinga River Recreation Park. The tranquil estuary and wetlands abound with flora and fauna that will keep nature watchers content.
The village itself provides great places to stop for a coffee and interesting shopping, along with a hint of what the old port would have looked like more than a century ago. Also worth a visit is the Port Noarlunga Surf Lifesaving Club which is perched on a hill overlooking the beach.
The Fleurieu Peninsula is jam-packed with a whole lot of things that I enjoy the most – bleached sandy beaches, historic coastal towns, ample bike and walking trails, a world-class wine area, spectacular scenery and many opportunities to interact with wildlife either above or below the sea. You can definitely be revitalized by all the Fleurieu Peninsula has to offer – I was!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
Comments are closed.