Welcome to your 2020 summer guide. Whether your eyes are peeled on the dolphins from The Big Duck around Granite Island as pictured above, riding a bike along the 7km Shiraz trail from McLaren Vale to Willunga or investigating the spectacular western coast, enjoy your holidays on our Fleurieu Peninsula. It’s so much fun that we live here.
VICTOR HARBOR-PORT ELLIOT-MIDDLETON
Welcome to our journey around the Fleurieu Peninsula starting from Granite Island, Victor Harbor. Here we discover the Oceanic Victor experience. Hand feed and interact with various sea species including the amazing Southern Bluefin tuna, either from the surface or jump in and swim with them, along with a variety of other marine wonders. Prices from $120 or $150 with a seafood platter. It’s one of life’s ‘must experience’ activities. www.oceanicvictor.com.au
The Little penguins on Granite Island have increased in numbers and come twilight time the family would love a guided tour. Cost $25. Call 1800 557 094. www.oceanicvictor.com
The Big Duck boat tour is exhilarating. See seals and dolphins off the spectacular cliffs behind Granite Island and The Bluff. Different packages available and this life-long memory is definitely worth checking out. Book online: thebigduckcom.au or call 1800 442 203.
Take the horse drawn tram. This is the only year-round service of its kind in the world and the kids love it. A mighty Clydesdale pulls the tram – it actually rolls along with an easy pushy hand – and the views are stunning. Ride a camel on the foreshore or have a lot of fun playing mini golf by the start of the causeway.
The South Australian Whale Centre by Warland Reserve is both educational and entertaining. There are three floors of exhibits. Look out for special holiday activities. Buy a pass combination for both the Whale Centre and a return ride on the horse drawn tram. www.sawhalecentre.com
Go to the movies at Victa Cinemas in Ocean Street or simply explore the precinct. Walk along the shoreline to the bridge by the Hindmarsh River estuary and the kids will love going through the walkways through the mangroves and sand.
Urimbirra Wildlife Park on the Adelaide & Armstrong Road corner is a fabulous family event – get up close to a koala, perhaps hold a big friendly snake and see some unusual animals. Children’s farmyard is popular. www.urimbirra.com.au
For those who like native gardens the Nangawooka Flora Reserve across the Adelaide Road is very good. Established over two hectares, it is well set-out and the birdlife is special.
Head north to Sawpit Road, Hindmarsh Valley to Softfoot Alpaca and experience a private guided farm and sanctuary tour. During the day get on terrain buggies and get up close to alpacas and see kangaroos and koalas; at night experience the Softfoot Marsupial Sanctuary. T: 0498 336 488 / www.softfoot.com.au
Further up Adelaide Road 17km from Victor Harbor is the Alexandrina Cheese Company. Taste the finest of handmade award-winning cheese – and the milkshakes are sensational.
Jump aboard the SteamRanger and take a ride on the Cockle Train or one of the giant steam engines like the Duke Of Edinburgh. This is a lifelong memory for the kids – book online: www.steamranger.org.au or call 1300 655 991. You are on Australia’s first passenger service line – first stop Port Elliot.
While some choose to go on the history-filled rail line, others follow one of the best bikeways all the way to Goolwa.
Port Elliot has some great shops of mall kinds off the main road up The Strand.
See the olde style shop where Mr Percival strutted his stuff in the Storm Boy movie. There is a great walking trail at the end that offers breathtaking coastal views, and follow it around to Horseshoe Bay. Here, you will find The Flying Fish… buy a cone of sensational chips and eat them on the beach or the lawns, or dine inside.
The Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum at the nearby showgrounds in Wright Street is extremely well presented and interesting. The old-time displays and farm machinery from yesteryear are special. www.sfhmuseum.net.au
Going through Middleton you will see more superb coastal views – and there are some excellent places to surf.
The Fleurieu Aquatic Centre on the corner of Beach & Waterport roads, Hayborough is a must visit for the family – three pools for all ages and capabilities. The facilities are first class; it’s a well-managed environment.
Arriving at Goolwa on the SteamRanger represents the only place in the world where a steam train meets the paddle steamers at the River Port of Goolwa. See the P.S. Oscar W. in all its glory. Go into the nearby Visitor Information Centre and find out all the special trips available.
This is a special part of Australia – go over the Hindmarsh Island Bridge and see the mouth of the mighty Murray River. Enquire about a special visit to the privately-owned Mundoo Island cattle and sheep station enriched with history. mundooisland.com.au or T: 8555 2242.
Without doubt one of the best experiences in this region is exploring the amazing wetland wilderness of the Coorong National Park on board the Spirit of Coorong. There is a range of cruises from 6-1.5 hours. See the growing population of fur seals, and flocks of pelicans and other birdlife. Go on a Cruise the Coorong tour – 6 hrs or 2.5 hrs – and feel the amazing history and respect for the Ngarrindjeri people. www.cruisethecoorong.com.au. Also enquire about Cruise the Coorong tours: www.cruisethecoorong.com.au
Another great activity is Canoe the Coorong – immerse yourself in the serenity and natural beauty. Enquire about all-inclusive day, sunset and overnight camping tours. Kayak hire. www.canoethecoorong.com or 0424 826 008.
The Goolwa Beach is an amazing stretch, and if you would like to learn to surf then Phil at the internationally-accredited Ocean Living Surf School is your man. There are lessons for beginners to the advanced, and private or group coaching. www.olsurfschool.com.au or 0487 921 232.
Maybe collect some pipi on Goolwa Beach – it’s the season. There is a magnificent playground on Barrage Road just past the
Goolwa Aquatic Club – a great time for all families. Another good spot for the children is the Goolwa Animal Farm on Airport Road, Goolwa. Get up close to a wide variety of farm animals and go for a pony ride. www.goolwaanimalfarm.com.au
For the more adventurous, while on Airport Road go on an open cockpit gyroplane with Fleurieu Gyroplanes www.flyagyro.com.au or 0488 884 976. It is an exhilarating experience. And while you are at the airport enquire about going skydiving.
Goolwa is very much an arts & culture town. A visit to Artworx in Hays Street is a must. See a wonderful doll museum and doll shop at River Dolls of Goolwa at 33 Cadell Street, and while you’re there grab some irresistible traditional and favourite lollies.
CLAYTON BAY-MILANG-LANGHORNE CREEK-STRATHALBYN
Driving through Currency Creek to Clayton and Milang you will see much-varied terrain compared with the coastal towns – and it is stunning. You are entering Lake Alexandrina country with its amazing river and birdlife. These are destination towns and definitely worth visiting.
Clayton Bay offers stunning scenery, as is Milang which is steeped in history, especially with its old railway and farm museums. The highlight is Yesterday’s Power Rally at Milang Oval on January 18-19. It brings people from country areas all over the state to see the old machinery.
Continue along the edge of Lake Alexandrina towards Langhorne Creek, one of the most under-rated wine regions of South Australia.
The first must-stop and experience is at Newman’s Horseraddish Farm. It’s interesting and a fabulous spot for lunch.
From there you can turn right to Monarto Zoo about 30km away, or left to the main stretch of Langhorne Creek where there are six wineries each offering something special.
This is only 30 minutes from Goolwa, and the places to eat over a quite sensational wine are definitely worth the journey.
Monarto Zoo is an amazing experience. The tours are well organised, and they take you right up close to giraffes, lions, rhinos and much more. The huge monkey enclosure is very entertaining.
Strathalbyn is not much further on from Langhorne Creek – about 30 minutes from Goolwa if you take the direct route. The town is full of character; an antique collector’s delight.
The old Gilbert Motors site in High Street has been turned into the Gilbert’s Motor Museum, and it is brilliant. You don’t need to be a classic or vintage car buff to be enthralled by the displays in a century-plus old building. The town has a rich history with motor vehicles and motorbikes, and
you must see the amazing metal sculpture of the legendary motorbike racing champion Kenny Blake, made by well-known Goolwa artist James Stewart.
There are some very good eateries and shops in Strathalbyn, and on the outskirts is Glenbarr, a heritage-listed homestead built for Scottish pioneers in 1842. While noted for its heritage features, Strathalbyn offers much more, even a great skate park for kids.
MOUNT COMPASS-WILLUNGA-McLAREN VALE
Back-tracking slightly to Goolwa and heading west we come to Mount Compass. There is a beaut bakery in the main group of shops, and on the outskirts heading towards Adelaide you will find Harvest of the Fleurieu. They sell genuine local produce here including delicious fresh strawberries – and you can pick your own. There is another strawberry farm on the road to Myponga.
Mount Compass is also home to a blueberry farm, trout and many other wonderful home-grown foods.
Willunga is enriched in history as the site from which slate was originally obtained for many of Adelaide’s classic heritage buildings. Dedicated volunteers can take you on a heritage trail of this beautiful town – it’s a worthwhile walk ‘n talk. www.nationaltrust.org.au/event/willunga-heritage-walks-the-courthouse-loop
Check whether the fun crew from Cinemullunga is having a film night in the local hall, and make time to visit the Australian award-winning Willunga Farmers’Market held every Saturday.
Willunga is also on the edge of the world-acclaimed McLaren Vale Winery Region, and the local eateries are magnificent. For the pie & pasty connoisseurs of this world, the original Willunga Bakery has the best on the Fleurieu.
Follow the main road and you are right in the heart of the wine region. There are countless wineries right across McLaren Vale and McLaren Flat that have superb cellar door facilities, many of which also offer great places to dine. The best thing to do is call into the McLaren Vale Visitor Information Centre, which is also home to the McLaren Vale Wine & Tourism Association, and get some ideas. https://mclarenvale.info/
Both Willunga and McLaren Vale feature prominently in two stages of the Tour Down Under from January 16-19. (See preview P8-9)
There are so many wineries to recommend, but Maxwell Wines on Olivers Road, Wirra Wirra on Strout Road, and Hugo Wines on Elliot Road, McLaren Flat are special.
Of course, The Cube at d’Arenberg Winery on Osborn Road is amazing, definitely worthy of the national attention it has received and the thousands of visitors it attracts annually. The wines and food are sensational, the art is as brilliant as it is strange, and overall it is one great adventure.
However, McLaren Vale is more than just a wine region – it has so much more to offer including eight boutique breweries. There are some very good local tour operators who can help make the Willunga-McLaren Vale experience a safe one – try Chook’s Little Winery Tours: www.chookslittlewinerytours.com.au
Welcome to a special part of South Australia’s coastline; pristine beaches relatively so close to the city, and within minutes of one of the world’s finest wine regions, McLaren Vale.
The carefully planned coastal paths offer sensational walking and cycling trails overlooking magnificent views. You may meander down to the Onkaparinga River to the recreation park and go kayaking or stand-up paddling. Catch a fish or two.
Aldinga Beach is one of the few not-out-of-the-way beaches where you may drive onto the clean sand and park your car for the day. So simple, yet it delivers a life-long memory.
The region has a strong connection with the arts; visit the Port Noarlunga Art Centre in the Old Institute Building on Gawler Street, Port Noarlunga. Sauerbier House at 21 Wearing St, Port Noarlunga is brilliant – an innovative artspace providing a platform to support cultural exchange through contemporary visual arts. And look out for the mural trails on this journey.
There is a marina at O’Sullivan’s Beach, and what a better time than this summer than to learn how to scuba dive. If you enjoy this adventure then you must go on a scenic flight with Adelaide Biplanes. Imagine the aerial views of this spectacular coastline. The business is located at Aldinga Airfield, Colville Dr, Aldinga. Visit: email@example.com
This St Vincent’s Gulf experience is also very much about discovering the amazing food and wine amidst superb ambience, especially at award-winning restaurants like Hortas on the beachfront of Port Noarlunga, and the Star of Greece in equally sensational surrounds at Port Noarlunga. If you’re looking for a great pub you must go to the Victory Hotel at Sellicks Beach.
This coastal region from Christies Beach to Aldinga is full of pleasant surprises, and even though it is so close to Adelaide and major shopping centres it is a great place for the family to stay for a holiday.
MYPONGA-YANKALILLA-NORMANVILLE-WIRRINA-SECOND VALLEY-RAPID BAY
Travelling west through Myponga is one of the ‘hidden secrets’ of the Fleurieu Peninsula – Myponga Beach. You feel ‘miles’ from the coast and suddenly you drive down to a spectacular, clean and almost secluded beach with magnificent views. Further on this journey there is another turn-off to the magnificent Myponga Reservoir, again offering wonderful scenery. Take a picnic; enjoy the sunshine.
The road leads to Yankalilla where the first stop for most is the bakery. You can also get a great meal across the road at the family-friendly Yankalilla Hotel. There are quaint coffee shops and places of interest. Another good drive is turning into Inman Valley Road and on to Kemmiss Hill Road, which takes you through some spectacular hill country offering sensational views right across to the Deep Creek Conservation Park. You come out to the hamlet of Inman Valley, and then back into Yankalilla.
Just before entering Normanville there is a turn-off on the left on Hay Flat Road to the Ingalalla Falls, another top spot for the family to enjoy.
Get back on the main South Road leads to Normanville. Head past the caravan where there is a great little cafe in front of what has to be one of the shortest jetties in Australia – but it’s quaint and a superb area for the kids to play.
Continuing north from Normanville we come to Carrickalinga and its pristine beach and amazing sunsets.
Turn south and we head to Links Lady Bay, and as the name suggests the golf course has a strong links course character. At this turn off there is the old home of Comic Court, the 1950 Melbourne Cup winner, and is now the High Country Trails horse riding centre. Experience an hour-long horse ride through the heritage dunes of Normanville Beach. T: 0408 795 373.
Continue driving on the Main South Road to Wirrina Cove, which is a great spot at night to go stargazing with The Backyard Universe. The business also operates from McLaren Vale and Port Elliot weather permitting of course – www.thebackyarduniverse.com.au
There is some amazing coastline along this journey through Rapid Bay – has a great jetty for fishing – Delamere and to Cape Jervis where the ferries head from to Kangaroo Island.
From Delamere follow the signs to the Deep Creek Conservation Park – and heed restrictions and rules. Headquarters off Tapanappa Road, Delamere and please note permit required; fees apply. Walk through 4500ha of pine forest to 18km of incredible coastline. Enquire about 4WD access to Boat Harbour Beach. T: 8598 0263. Bookings 8558 0240 or www.environment.sa.gov.au
The Delamere road takes us back east through the rich farmlands of Parawa. Stop off at the Waitpinga Beach where the surf is great and the fish off the golden sands are nearly always biting.
Just further on is Waitpinga Farm Quad Bike Adventures. Get on a four-wheeled motorbike and drive through natural bushland with local farm animals. Bookings essential. T: 8552 3558 or: www.waitpingafarm.com
Continue driving and you look down at sensational views of The Bluff and Victor Harbor. To the right is Granite Island where this journey started. You have covered one of the special places Australia has to offer, and we do every main part of this 450km journey over two days every month delivering copies of this magazine you are reading.
We hope you enjoy everything great the Fleurieu Peninsula has to offer.
VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRES:
Fleurieu Coast: 163 Main South Rd, Yankalilla. T: 8558 0240
Goolwa: Lot 4 Goolwa Tce, Goolwa. T: 1300 466 592
McLaren Vale & Fleurieu: 796 Main Rd, McLaren Vale. T: 8323 9944
Strathalbyn: 20 South Tce, Strathalbyn. T: 1300 007 842
Victor Harbor: 1 Esplanade, Victor Harbor. T: 8551 0777