Ekhidna Wines Cellar Door & Restaurant, McLaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
The Fleurieu Peninsula offers a delightfully fascinating region with world-class wines, sensational shoreline and organic food.
The Fleurieu (pronounced floo-ree-oh) Peninsula is just a short drive from the South Australian capital but you can spend a long time exploring all that this region has to offer. Sipping McLaren Vale wines, trawling through antique stores and tackling plenty of ocean adventures from sea kayaking to coastal walks.
DAY ONE MORNING
Try the best of South Australia’s produce
Start early with coffee and breakfast, at Kangarilla, 32 kilometres (20 miles) due south of Adelaide, at Dawn Patrol Coffee, a “cellar door” for single origin, hand-roasted coffee set among vineyards.
You will now be wide-awake and ready to sample the award-winning wines of the McLaren Vale region. With more than 100 cellar doors in the area, start at d’Arenberg, a prolific red wine producer, and sign up for the blending bench where you create your own exclusive bottle of wine. If you’re in Willunga on a Saturday, pick up some beautiful produce at the farmer’s market.
Lunch at The Elbow Room in McLaren Vale town for local specialities such as barbecued South Australian squid with kimchi dressing or lamb with spiced, lamb-stuffed figs.
DAY ONE AFTERNOON
Shop for antiques and stay in luxury
Visit Strathalbyn, where more than 60 heritage-listed buildings sit on the banks of the Angas River and are home to specialty antique, vintage and art and craft shops.
Time for another tasting. Next stop is Beach Road Wines overlooking the rolling hills, flourishing vineyards and ocean in the distance.
Then dine on fresh local produce and stay at Red Poles, a place that brings together Fleurieu’s eclectic charms in the one spot. It’s a natural bush-set winery with a gallery showing the best of local art, a restaurant celebrating the region and charmingly original accommodation.
The Strand, Port Elliot, South Australia
DAY TWO MORNING
Savour the views and taste the flavours
The best view of Victor Harbor is from The Bluff at the eastern end of the main beachfront; a significant landmark steeped in Aboriginal legend, which depicts The Bluff as a traditional fighting club. After walking around the area’s native scrubland, continue east to the next township and follow your nose to Port Elliot Bakery for breakfast. You’ll find a queue out the door for a very good reason: their savoury pastries are unbeatable, with lots of regional flavours.
But if you want a place to sit down and eat, stop for breakfast at Flying Fish Café, then head across the road to overlook the very special Horseshoe Bay.
At Rapid Bay, join Fleurieu Adventures for sea kayaking among the rugged, towering cliffs and cobalt water, or try your own snorkelling escapade among the leafy sea dragons that congregate near the bay’s parallel jetties.
With all that activity, salt and fresh air, you’ll be ready for a good lunch and the Courthouse at Normanville is just a short drive north for Mediterranean-style share plates and tapas.
DAY TWO AFTERNOON
Go for golf and great Greek cuisine
Relax into the afternoon at Links Lady Bay golf course on the outskirts of Normanville for superb sea views and the company of friendly kangaroos and native birds.
Alternatively, if you find yourself here in winter, make the most of the season and take a Big Duck boat tour for a whale-watching tour in and around Port Elliot and Encounter Bay (which borders Victor Harbor) – see how many southern right whales you can spot. For the final stop of the day, complete the eastern Fleurieu trifecta at Goolwa. Unlike Victor Harbor and Port Elliot, Goolwa is a river port and is set on the banks of the Murray River, very near the mouth where it joins the ocean. Hectors on the Wharf is a great spot for pelican watching and an afternoon coffee alongside the bridge to neighbouring Hindmarsh Island.
Still, the best part of the day is yet to come, and when you pull up at Port Willunga’s Star of Greece restaurant you’ll see why. The site is reminiscent of cliff-top dining on the Greek Islands and it has long been heralded as South Australia’s leading five-star regional restaurant. Finish the day with a stay at Port Willunga Cottages.
Find accommodation on the Fleurieu Peninsula