Only an hour’s drive from Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula has long been a popular way to escape city life and find freedom in the fresh air, tasty local produce and varied wildlife. The Fleurieu is recognised as encompassing beachside towns from Sellicks to Victor; the vineyards of McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek, to the nature spots of Deep Creek and the Coorong. So, if you have a spare weekend, here are some of the myriad places, locations and spots you will want to explore.
A weekend on the Fleurieu
Kimbolton: If you’ve got the kids in tow, Kimbolton Wines in Langhorne Creek is the go-to for a family-friendly day. Kimbolton has developed a kids’ tasting flight so little connoisseurs can happily taste flavoured milks paired with sweet treats while you unwind with a tasting flight of your own. Head to the lawns where a selection of outdoor games is ready to keep the family entertained – the adults do tend to get more competitive than the kids on occasion.
Chalk Hill: It’s easy to spend an entire day at the three-in-one destination that is Chalk Hill at McLaren Vale. Start your day with a gin flight at Never Never Distilling Co before indulging in decadent wood-oven pizza from Cucina di Strada. In the afternoon, take in the panoramic views of vineyards with a glass of Chalk Hill wine in hand.
Factory 9: Everything needed for a weekend away can be found on the outskirts of Port Elliot at Factory 9. Housed in a row of unassuming sheds, visitors will find fresh coffee, fine art, local food, a hair salon and a pilates studio. At the heart of it all is The Joinery Wine Room, a space to gather, play board games and taste delicious flights of Charlotte Dalton and Cooke Brothers wine.
Battle of Bosworth: Cosying up in a converted 1850s chaff shed and stable with a glass of red wine is the perfect way to enjoy the colder season and Battle of Bosworth in McLaren Vale offers exactly that. The cellar door is open every day and accepts walk-ins, but you’re better to book because the tasting room has a tight capacity.
Bremerton Wines: Lounge on the lawns of the family-owned winery and cellar door at Bremerton Wines and delight in the crisp wines made extra-special by the Langhorne Creek climate. After a tasting, head upstairs and take in one of the rotating art exhibitions featuring works from local artists. Gin is also on the menu as winemaking sisters Rebecca and Lucy created Willson Small Batch Gin in honour of their father’s 70th birthday.
Paxton Wines: You’ll find Paxton Wines at the gateway to McLaren Vale and with red-wine-by-the-fire-season well and truly here, you won’t have to travel any further. Learn the winery’s organic and biodynamic practices at one of the tasting experiences – but be sure to book if you’re bringing a crowd.
Vale Taphouse: Glass windows offer panoramic views of the Fleurieu Peninsula from Vale Taphouse – the home of the Vale Brewing Restaurant and micro-brewing facility. The seasonal menu is designed to complement Vale Brewing’s craft beers and features local produce prepared daily.
Silver Sands Beach Club: Soak in the seaside and good vibes at Silver Sands Beach Club at Aldinga Beach. Pull up a chair with views over the ocean and indulge in a menu offering a mixture of pub classics and decadent seafood dishes. It is impossible to go past the salt and pepper squid with a glass of wine.
Salopian Inn: With a menu crafted using only the region’s freshest and most seasonal ingredients, there is no questioning why Salopian Inn is an icon of McLaren Vale. Venture to the historic wine cellar downstairs and select a vintage from the racks before indulging in a decadent menu showcasing the flavours of the Fleurieu. See where much of the produce comes from with a stroll through the Kitchen Garden which, over the past seven years, has grown to almost an acre in size.
Whale watching: Only an hour south of Adelaide is one of the best locations to spot whales in their winter migration – Victor Harbor. The Fleurieu Peninsula coastline offers many locations to see the spectacular species, with experts recommending The Bluff, Encounter Bay and Freeman Lookout. For more whale-watching tips, Victor Harbor is also home to the South Australian Whale Centre.
Heysen Trail: Head to the western tip of the Fleurieu at Cape Jervis to see the start of the Heysen Trail – South Australia’s 1200-kilometre hike that traverses coasts, bushlands, gorges, forests, vineyards, farmlands and towns to reach the Flinders Ranges. The full trek offers a challenge for experienced hikers, but walking short sections of the trail can be a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.
Encounter Marine Park: Stretching from the Fleurieu Peninsula to the north-eastern coast of Kangaroo Island and the Coorong, Encounter Marine Park is one of Australia’s best-preserved ocean environments. Sanctuary zones are vital for native fish to shelter and breed, and offer incredible opportunities for diving and snorkelling. Other stretches of the park are ideal for fishing, water skiing and jetty jumping.
The Creek Cottage: Enjoy a night in The Creek Cottage – a charming bed and breakfast owned by the Follett family of Lake Breeze Wines. Nestled in the heart of Langhorne Creek, the cottage features a spacious living area, two queen bedrooms and an outdoor patio perfect for sipping wines and enjoying the picturesque township.
Beresford Estate: If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, Beresford Estate in the McLaren Flat offers the ideal destination to unwind. Reserve Suites line the Estate’s vineyards with studio accommodation offering secluded plunge pools, in-room massages and breathtaking views all within close distance of the Beresford Wines Tasting Pavilion – so you’ll never run out of wine.
Angas Plains Wines: Spend a night surrounded by vineyards at Langhorne Creek’s Angas Plains Wines in a century-old homestead just steps away from the working winery and cellar door. Guests are invited to stroll the property and watch the stars from their patio in the evening before waking up to a country-cooked breakfast.
This article first appeared in the July 2023 issue of SALIFE magazine.
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