The closest point of the Fleurieu Peninsula is just a short 40 minute drive away from Adelaide, but as the large expanse of this special part of South Australia opens up before you you will definitely want to drive on and explore more of it. Its ideal for a daytrip, but there is also enough going on here to fill a whole holiday. Either way, you will be glad of the freedom your hire car gives you as you explore the ever changing landscapes of the Fleurieu peninsula, from its rugged coastline to the thick bush of its conservation parks.
The breezy Mediterranean climate is favourable for a lot of things. It means the weather here is generally pleasant and very mild no matter what time of the year you choose to visit. It has also contributed to the fertility of the region, whose lush soils have turned this into a literal land of milk and honey. Cheese, olive oil, exotic fruits and vegetables and livestock are distributed from this region to the rest of the state in large quantities. Roadstalls on various farms sell fresh produce to passers by, so stop in and stock up on some local produce for your picnic basket.
The fertility of the peninsula also means it is one of Australia's chief producers of fine wines, with over 75 cellar doors distributed around it. Mclaren Vale is the best wine growing spot in the region, and one of the oldest established wine production regions in Australia. World class, award winning wines match the beautiful and quaint scenery, making this a definite for your to-do list while in the area. The small townships of the Mclaren Vale such as Seaview and Willunga are picturesque and cosy, and you can enjoy soaking up the friendly country atmosphere in one of their welcoming and warm pubs.
The coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula is another of its drawcards. White, sandy beaches are punctuated by tall and rocky headlands that provide spectacular ocean views. The blue waters are alive with fish of all shapes and sizes, and the sheltered bays are a haven for all anglers. There is nothing quite like eating your own catch of the day for dinner! The variety of marine life also means the snorkelling and scuba diving on the peninsula is world class, especially amongst the many old shipwrecks that lie close to the shore. The southern coast and the beaches of Gulf St Vincent are rife with dolphins and fur seals, so keep your eye out for a glimpse of these pretty creatures.
In the months of June to October also keep an eye out for the pods of humpback whales that make their annual migration close to the coast. Victor Harbour is one of the most popular resort towns in South Australia, and from here you can view the amazing displays the whales put on just 100 metres form the shore. At Victor Harbour you can also take a ride in a genuine horse drawn tram out to Granite Island, which is home to a colony of little penguins. Visit the Below Decks Oceanarium while you are here, which offers an under sea look at sharks, rays and other impressive creatures of the deep. Its an informative and educational experience that the kids will love.
The natural beauty of the Fleurieu Peninsula is well preserved by over 20 conservation parks spread out across it. Be sure to visit as many of these as you can, but if you have to limit yourself to one then head to Coorong National Park, which lies adjacent to the Murray River mouth. Here a string of shallow saline lagoons over 100 kilometres in length lie next to the Southern Ocean, seperated by the impressive sand dunes of the Young Husband Peninsula. It is a significant refuge for numerous species of migratory birds and other local bird species. The scenic landscape and the abundant wildlife place this park ahead of the rest on the Fleurieu.
With all of this and much more to see here, its no wonder the Fleurieu Peninsula is considered the richest in Australia. With its delights accessible with discovery-carhire in adelaide its no wonder that for generations this has been a favourite holiday haunt of Australians young and old. If you are in the region then its essential you head down here and see what all the fuss is about. You will not regret it, and chances are you will end up spending much longer than you had planned exploring this amazing part of the country!
Gavin Wyatt is a journalist with a passion for travel. originally from Zambia he has traveled around the world to end up on the sunny shores of Australia. For more of his articles visit South Australian Car Hire