Canoe the Coorong
The ultimate environmentally aware kayaking experience. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Coorong and Goolwa region. Call 0424 826 008 and ask about Coorong tour, fur seal tour, overnight & expeditions, and Pelican Island tour. Tours for beginners and the experienced – they’re all great fun and a chance to get up close to nature and see sensational scenery. Well organised and safety conscious. www.canoethecorrong.com
Granite Island penguins
Walk across the causeway and discover spectacular views. Temporary facilities with a new sensational development planned for near future. Granite Island is home to a small colony of wild Little Penguins, who return home from their day in the ocean at dusk. Granite Island Nature Tours are the best way to see them in their natural habitat. Visits limited to two hours after dusk via guided tour 1-1.5 hours to protect the wild penguin colony. Adults $25, children 4-15 $20, family (2 adults/2 child) $75. Book tour at the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre or call 1800 557 094.
Southern Boulder climb
Climb the boulder at Magpie Springs and also experience the wine, art and coffee, 1870 Brookman Rd, Hope Forest. Casual climbs from $10; multi-passes available. T: 8556 7351. firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s Fly Fleurieu Gyroplanes
Experience the thrill; and excitement of flying in an open cockpit gyroplane from Goolwa Airport. Pilot the gyro knowing that you will be flying with an experienced gyroplane pilot, or just sit back and enjoy the sensational views. M: 0488 884 976. www.flyagyro.com.au
The Big Duck boat tours
Jump on board The Big Duck – it’s safe and exciting. See sea lions, fur seals and dolphins at Seal Island and absorb some spectacular scenery around Granite Island and surrounds. Duration 45 mins, departs 1pm Sat-Sun, Wed from Granite Island Causeway. Cost is $65 (adult) for the 90 minute Southern Ocean Adventure – see seals, dolphins, Encounter Marine Park, offshore islands and cliffs. It’s $40 for the 45 minute Seal Island Tour, and $25 Calm Sea Experience. Watch seals bask, observe the seabirds and dolphins in the vicinity sometimes racing the boat. www.thebigduck.com.au Bookings 8555 2203 or e: email@example.com
Dive into the clear, clean waters of Encounter Bay by Granite Island and experience swimming with tuna and diverse fish species. There is a children’s marine touch tank and watch from an underwater observatory. Swim with the tuna in sea aquarium – adult (16+) $120, 5-15 yrs $95, family (2 adults, 2 children) $400, student/concession $110. Book online www.oceanicvictor.com
Fleurieu Aquatic Centre
Cnr Ocean & Waterport Rds, Port Elliot. The award-winning state-of-the-art facility has a 25m pool, hydrotherapy pool, great pools for the little ones and water splashes that keep the kids amused for hours. Safe and friendly environment, excellent facilities, and well-priced. Adults (16+) $6.20, children (4-15) $5, family $21. Mon-Thurs 6am-8pm; Fri 6am-7pm; w/ends & public holds. 8am-5pm. T: 7078 4150. firstname.lastname@example.org
There are eight golf courses across the Fleurieu Peninsula, and they include: Victor Harbor Golf Club – the sensational experience starts on Australian Golf Digest’s Iconic First Hole, named in Australian golf’s Hall of Fame. The first tee is 39m above sea level or the height of a 13-storey building with a magnificent view of Victor Harbor. Turn at roundabout by Encounter Bay Oval to 126 Inman Valley Rd heading for Yankalilla and discover this spectacular course. Casual bookings available, pro-shop and new excellent dining facilities. T: 8552 2030. www.victorharborgolf.com.au
Links Lady Bay, near Normanville: A stunning links course that offers its challenges to the best of golfers. Well-designed and overall a great golf experience. Casual bookings available, pro-shop and dining facilities. T: 8558 0600. www.linksladybay.com.au
South Lakes Golf Club at Billabong Rd, Goolwa: A well-designed course that also offers its unique challenges. Casual bookings available, pro-shop and dining facilities. T: 8555 2299. www.southlakesgolf.com.au
Milang Railway Museum
At the old Milang railway station by Lake Alexandrina. The tracks are now home to South Australian wagons and coaches which contain photographic and exhibits describing the history of Milang and its railway. Open Sundays and public holidays noon-4pm or by arrangement: 8536 3938. While in Milang, visit the old farm machinery museum.
Stand up paddle boarding
Encounter Bay Water Sports presents an exciting water experience. Introductory lessons are conducted in the safe waters of Encounter Lakes. After a full safety briefing you will be given instruction on correct paddle grip and technique plus self-rescue. Then it’s time to hit the water and have fun. Great for single or family groups. Call Andy on 0414 521 475 for more details and bookings. Encounterwatersports.com.au
Goolwa Boating Cruises
Explore on of SA’s oldest towns and discover the river trade history, shipwrecks, boats, homes, wildlife. One or two hour small group charters. Book at Goolwa Tourist Information Centre. T: 0402 826 960. www.goolowaboatcruises.com.au
Play mini golf
The Dunes mini golf park by the Granite Island causeway entrance is all about great family fun. Open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am. A game takes about 30 minutes (dad may take longer); it’s challenging and enjoyable. Open nights throughout the summer. Cost: $8.50 for children 12 & under, $9 students/concession; $9.50 adults. T: 8552 8911 or 0407 187 267. www.dunesminigolf.com.au
Goolwa Motor Museum
An outstanding exhibition of 45 classic cars from all over the world from the 1920s-70s including some unique one-off vehicles. Gardiner St, Goolwa. T: 8555 3338.
Fly Adelaide Biplanes
Imagine sitting in a cockpit taking a scenic flight along the stunning McLaren Vale coastline. Absolutely awesome. Based at Aldinga Airfield, Colville Road, Aldinga. Open every day 9am-5pm. T: 8556 5404. adelaidebiplanes.com.au
McLaren Vale Motorcycle Tours
Experience the spectacular McLaren Vale Wine Region, south coast or the Adelaide Hills on the back of a classic Harley-Davidson. Riding gear supplied. 0423 668 342.
At the Wharf
Goolwa is a Cittaslow town and puts on a fabulous summer season of At The Wharf – a free event from 5-8pm at Signal Point Gallery Deck on the last Friday of each month with December 28 and January 25 earmarked for the holiday season. Local wine is on sale by the bottle and by the glass. Local food vans on site – Olaf’s Pippis, Boombox Kitchen and more. There are top local dance bands. You’re welcome to bring your own snacks, chairs etc, although seating and tables are provided. No BYO alcohol.
River Dolls of Goolwa
One of the best displays of antique dolls, toys, trains and teddies you will ever see. And another real treat is the huge range of traditional and favourite lollies. Open most days. 33 Cadell St, Goolwa. T: 8555 5801. www.riverdolls.com.au
Chook’s Little Winery Tours
Enjoy a tour of some of the best wineries and cellar doors in McLaren Vale region. Discover some of the lesser-known boutique wineries. Includes a cheese platter and lunch prepared with seasonal local produce. Prices from $120 p/p based on group of eight. M: 0414 922 200. chookslittlewinerytours.com.au
There are a few places between Victor Harbor and Goolwa where you can learn to surf, including the Ocean Living Surf School at Goolwa Beach with Phil, an experienced and highly recommended instructor who makes it fun and an enjoyable experience while learning to ride a surfboard. Lessons for beginners to advanced students; all equipment provided. Surf lesson 2hrs: $35 p.p; full day 2 x 2 hours $65. Private coaching also available. Lessons subject to conditions. M: 0487 921 232. e: email@example.com www.olsurfschool.com.au
Goolwa Animal Farm
It’s a great place for kids – getting up close to the emus, kangaroos, pigs and donkeys and so many other creatures. Cuddle the rescued joeys, rabbits and lambs, just to name a few. Pony rides and free trailer rides. Cafe facilities. Open seven days a week 10am-4pm. Please note: the farm is closed when the forecast temperature is above 35 degrees and in extreme weather conditions. Located just outside Goolwa on Boettcher Rd. Adults $10; children 2-17 & seniors $8. M: 0451 502 858. www.goolwaanimalfarm.com.au
Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum
A superb display of times gone by with a huge range of historic equipment and goods, including a special display of the old milking days. See the 38 half-scale size figures showing fashion from 1788-1956. There are some classic pieces very well displayed. Located at the Port Elliot Showgrounds, Tottenham Court Rd. Open Thurs-Sun 10am-3pm or by arrangement.
If you or the kids are into skateboarding you
must go to the skateboard park in North Pde, Strathalbyn. It is incredibly well designed and challenging.
South Australian Whale Centre
Discover three floors of interactive and informative exhibits, plus a 3D theatrette, a kids zone and whaling artifacts. 2 Railway Tce, Victor Harbor (by Warland Res). Open 10.30am-5pm every day except Christmas Day. Fun Pass includes entry to Whale Centre and return passage on horsedrawn tram; adults $15, concession $13, child $10, family $42. T: 8551 0750. www.sawhalecentre.com
Stargazing Tours on the Fleurieu
Discover the starry southern night sky with multicultural laser pointer guided tour. See stars, planets and other celestial objects through telescopes at Wirrina Cove, McLaren Vale & Port Elliot. Bookings essential. T: 0488 705 224. www.thebackyarduniverse.com.au (weather permitting).
P.S. Oscar W
Cruise the lower River Murray on this unique wood-fired heritage paddle steamer celebrating its centenary. Departs the historic Goolwa Wharf. Watch the stokers fire the boiler and see the original steam engine at work. Feel the heat of the huge boiler and the vibrations as the paddle wheels turn. Wonderful experience. Check the bookings office for times for the one hour cruise. Cruising dates Dec. 15, 16, 28, 29, 30, Jan. 2, 6. Adults $20, concession $15, children 5-15 $8, family $48. Bookings: Goolwa Visitor Information Centre 1300 466 592. firstname.lastname@example.org www.oscar-w.info
Indulge with Fruchocs
Enjoy an iconic SA must-have… Fruchocs at The Fruchocs Shop, 203 Main Road, McLaren Vale. Open every day 10am-5pm, T: 8323 9105.
Alexandrina Cheese Farm
Come and taste some award-winning cheese and learn how it’s all made at Sneyd Rd, Mount Jagged (off Victor Harbor Rd between Mt Compass & Victor Harbor). Free entry. You must try the milkshakes. Weekends noon-5pm, weekend & public holidays 10am-4.30pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Mount Compass Produce Trail
Mount Compass and its surrounding region including the picturesque hidden valleys of Nangkita and Tooperang are part of a superb food and produce trail. Pick your own strawberries at Harvest the Fleurieu on the main road and enjoy a coffee, or pick your own cherries at the nearby Fleurieu Cherries on Pages Flat Rd. There are so many other delights to be discovered and devoured on this trail, not to mention the splattering of art galleries and pottery wares. A wonderful experience. Visit: www.visitalexandrina.com/region/scenic-trails-and-drives/mount-compass-produce-and-tourist-trail
There are some great and safe as possible playgrounds across the Fleurieu, especially the Bristow Smith Reserve Nature Playground on Barrage Rd, Goolwa. Best of luck getting your children to leave the wooden boat and beach-like play areas. Great place for a picnic as you watch the birdlife on the River Murray.
Watch a movie
Victor Harbor is one of the few rural centres which still has its original movie theatre. It’s Victa Cinema is located in Ocean St, and the facilities are very good – all with the character of an old-time theatre. And if you go at night, the whole theatre is lit up on the front with a laser show. They always have the latest movie releases here. Coast Lines has a comprehensive guide in this issue, but visit the website for session times: www.victacinemas.com.au
Wallis Cinemas at Noarlunga present all of the lastest releases in comfort. Visit: www.wallis.com.au
Like McLaren Vale, Strathalbyn is a gateway to the Fleurieu region and among many things this beautiful, friendly town is known throughout Australia as being the “antique capital”. Stroll through the clean and wide streets on a history trail and discover something special in every shop. You will need extra time in the bakeries, and you must visit the Garage Motorcycles shop.
Willunga Slate history
Discover Australia’s slate capital in the 1840s. Learn about Willunga’s slate industry and its quarrymen, their methods and tools. Visit authentic heritage-listed Courtrtoom and cells, and Bassett Boys’ School room. Check opening times; T 8556 2195. willunga.nowandthen.net.au
SteamRanger Heritage Railway
Travel on Australia’s oldest passenger railway line between Victor Harbor and Goolwa – an absolute must for all train enthusiasts. There are the big steam engines and the Cockle Train, and they all provide a lifetime memorable experience. Journey from Goolwa, Port Elliot, Middleton and Victor Harbor. For fares, bookings and specials please contact the SteamRanger crew on 1300 655 991 9am-5pm Mon-Sat. Cockle Train tickets may be purchased on the day of travel at the Goolwa, Port Elliot and Victor Harbor stations. E: email@example.com or visit: www.steamranger.org.au
Get on your bike
The Encounter Bikeway is an on-road and shared trail that links Goolwa and Victor Harbor. The total distance is 30km, but a range of riding distances have been clearly marked to cater for all ages and levels of fitness. The bikeway is used by cyclists, walkers, skaters, rollerbladers and wheelchairs. Contact Goolwa or Victor Harbor visitor information centres for bike hire details. Tour the McLaren Vale Wine Region on a bike… hire one for the day from McLaren Vintage Bike Hire, 189 Main Road. They come inclusive with a front basket to pack your goodies, and with safety equipment – $45 per bike per day. T: 0410 067 199.
Urimbirra Wildlife Park
A terrific family outing. Hand feed the Kangaroos, walk through the Rainbow Lorikeet aviary, listen to keeper talks and get up close and personal with koalas every day at 11am, 2 & 4pm, or enjoy snake handling with professional snake handlers at 4pm. Lizards, dingoes, crocodiles, wallabies, wombats – there are more than 400 Australian native animals throughout the native wetlands. Located on Adelaide Rd, by the roundabout to Waterport Rd. Open every day 10am-5pm. Cost: adults $14, seniors & students $10, children 4-14 $7. T: 8554 6554. www.urimbirra.com.au
Deep Creek Conservation Park
Contains the largest portion of natural vegetation on the Fleurieu Peninsula. See the Blowhole Beach (4WD access only). Walk the Heysen Trail.
Nangawooka Flora Reserve
Situated opposite Urimbirra Wildlife Park on Adelaide Rd is this beautiful reserve featuring 1200 varieties of Australian native plants over 2 hectares. There is a bird hide and haven for native birds, and picnic facilities.
Wine Coaster Tours
McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills, Southern Fleurieu. $250 per person or $200 each for a group of four. Lunch included.
Horse riding Normanville
The High Country Trails is one of those life-long memories… walk a well-trained horse through the back of the sandhills and along the beach at Normanville. Must be aged nine years older, and weigh less than 95kg. One hour ride costs $60 p.p. Lot 203 Williss Dr, Normanville. T: 8558 2507 or 0408 795 373. www.facebook.com/pg/horseridingnormanville
Murray Mouth Tours
4WD adventure tours to the Murray River Mouth starting from where Australia’s largest river meets the sea. Explore in an air-conditioned special bus, collect pipi along the beach. There is a 2.5 hour tour and a 4-5hr tour which includes a two-course lunch at a quaint country-style cafe. Bookings 0424 777 161 or www.murraymouthtours.com.au
Yankalilla Historical Museum
Extensive collection reflecting rural and social life in the district. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, weekend pub/hols 10am-4pm. Also take a look at Saint Mary McKillop Old School House
at 48 Main South Road, Yankalilla, the first Josephite country school convent outside of Adelaide.
Spirit of the Coorong Cruise
There is no better way to explore the captivating Coorong and the Murray Mouth than aboard a Spirit of the Coorong cruise. The tours take you to special places, and the expert guides are the best. There are various packages available, including one and two-hour cruises, 3.5 and six-hour adventures; everything to to provide a significant life experience. It is not something you can do anywhere else in the world. Tours leave Goolwa Wharf. T: 8555 2203. www.coorongcruises.com.au
Charter boat fishing
For reliability and value, you cannot go past Pirate’s Sea Charters (see advert this section).
There are some great fishing spots right around the coast and along the Murray River waterways. Go to Waitpinga and Parsons Beach for salmon and mulloway, to Cape Jervis and Rapid Bay for tommy ruffs and squid, the No.19 Beacon on Barrage Rd, Goolwa for bream, mullet and school mulloway, Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot for mulloway, snapper, squid, whiting and flathead or to Victor Harbor causeway or jetty for a host of fish including bream and garfish. Get your supplies at Tonkins Sport Store in Ocean St or the Liberty petrol station in Victor Harbor. Go to the nearest tourist information centre for a map of some of the best fishing spots. Best of luck!
Go for a walk
There are some magnificent walking trails right across the Fleurieu Peninsula. Contact the respective tourist information centres for a guide and further information. And be sun smart and take a bottle of water. Here are a few ideas…
Climb The Bluff: Explore the Bluff by walking the 800m Rosetta Trail to the top of the Bluff, the most visible sight of Victor Harbor. A dog and child-friendly walk, explore the beaches and headlands between Petrel Cove and Kings Beach (dangerous swimming area). Understand the landscape, geology and European and Aboriginal history through the interpretive signage along the trail. Extend this walk by starting in central Victor Harbor, or Kent Reserve near central Victor Harbor, or walk further along the Heysen Trail to Waitpinga Cliffs.
Inman River Walk: An easy 8km stroll starting at Kent Reserve, Victor Harbor and following the banks of the Inman River. It traverses through natural bushland, and although the path is mowed good walking shoes are recommended – and be alert for snakes. Carry at least 1lt of water per person. Alexandrina Bird Trails: Grab a map from the Goolwa Visitor Information Centre and walk through some spectacular bushland and see an incredible number of bird species (no pets please).
Enjoy the beaches
There are some spectacular beaches along our coastline, but some can also be dangerous with the rips. Make sure you swim where lifesavers are in attendance, and between the yellow flags. The Goolwa Beach is stunning with its crashing waves, while by the beach at Second Valley on the western Fleurieu region is much calmer and absolutely beautiful – worth visiting. Myponga Beach is in a small cove with spectacular views. Excellent swimming area.
Rapid Bay jetty dive is said to be the best jetty dive in Australia. You can expect a large range of fish and marine life including the leafy sea dragon.
Visit the art galleries
Goolwa has a host of art galleries and there are always exhibitions, but a great place to see a stunning cross-section of art and gifts from across the region is at Artworx Gallery & Gifts at 12 Hays St, Goolwa. Gallery owners John & Liz Francis always have new pieces on display in the gallery; very impressive and well priced. Open most times, but check the website: artworxgallery.com.au T: 8555 0949. Also visit Art@Goolwa in Porter St, Goolwa which always has a great display of talent across the Fleurieu. Open seven days 11am-4pm.
The Strand Gallery, 41 The Strand, Port Elliot. Has superb exhibitions by internationally acclaimed local artists, and exceptional works by gallery owners Ron Langman with his amazing photography skills and his wife Sonya Hender with her exquisite printmaking. The new dining facility also makes it a unique experience. M: 0419 501 648. www.strandgallery.com.au
Stationmaster’s Art Gallery: Located in the historic Strathalbyn Railway Station, the gallery showcases great talent with mediums including quality artwork, fabric art, silk, woodwork, jewellery, prints, ceramics and cards.
McLaren Vale has rapidly emerged with its fine art culture. There are always exhibitions at the Tourist Information Centre, the fine galleries in or around the main street and at the countless cellar doors across the region.
It’s a cellar door with an incredible difference. Enjoy the panoramic views, fine wines and scrumptious food. Each of the five levels have been carefully designed to entice and excite the senses, including features such as a wine sensory room, a virtual fermenter, a 360-degree video room, and many other tactile experiences. Visitors are encouraged to explore the Alternate Realities Museum, located on the ground floor, and view the many art installations on display. Cellar door open 10am-5pm daily. Restaurant open for lunch, Thurs-Sun. Entry costs $10 per person, free for children under the age of two, dining guests, experience goers, and for members of the Cenosilicaphobic Club. Visit: www.darenberg.com.au/darenberg-cube/
Open the cellar doors
There are almost 100 cellar doors across the McLaren Vale wine region. Call the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association on 8323 9944 or visit: https://mclarenvale.info/
Internationally acclaimed wineries are spread across McLaren Vale and McLaren Flat, and leading into the beautiful and historic almond region of Willunga. Visit the most impressive tourist information centre on the main road, just off South Road, for a complete guide. Among the special places is the outstanding Doc Adams Wines, which won an award for its cellar door. Try the J&J organic wines cellar door in Rivers Lane, McLaren Vale, Hastwell & Lightfoot, and Hugo Wines at McLaren Flat – all of the cellar doors are inviting.
… the Langhorne Creek wine region is also magnificent: www.langhornecreek.com/about-langhorne-creek
It’s one of the great regions in South Australia where eight wineries produce some of the finest wines along the trail just south of Strathalbyn and 30km from Goolwa. Perfect for afternoon day-trippers; call through Clayton Bay and Milang and see the spectacular water life on the way to this region, and you must call into Newman’s Horseradish farm and winery. Each winery is special, but don’t miss Lake Breeze on Step Rd, Langhorne Creek, and have a bite to eat at The Winehouse, Langhorne Creek Rd. www.langhornecreek.com