Port Willunga, Fleurieu Peninsula, SA © Adam Bruzzone, South Australian Tourism Commission

Guide to the Fleurieu Peninsula

d'Arenberg Cube, McLaren Vale, SA © SATC

Go wine (and spirit) tasting in McLaren Vale

Explore the undulating vineyards of McLaren Vale, renowned for its grenache, shiraz and Italian varieties, where the laid-back style of owner winemakers seduces all who visit. Laugh at some of the quirkiest wine names in the business, such as Derelict Vineyard Grenache, Woop Woop Cabernet, The Mongrel Sangiovese Blend and Dead Arm Shiraz. But there is nothing silly about the quality of the wines, which you can taste at terrific wineries such as Wirra WirraPrimo Estate and SC Pannell. Sample wine, cheese and olive oils at Coriole Vineyards. Lunch at d’Arenberg (and check out the quirky Cube tasting room). Enjoy dinner and taste from the huge selection of gins (including the locally distilled Settlers Gin) at The Salopian Inn.

Star of Greece, Port Willunga, SA © Adam Bruzzone, SATC

Have lunch or dinner at the Star of Greece

Enjoy casual Mediterranean fare with loads of fresh local seafood and produce at the Star of Greece, a simple seaside café perched above the turquoise waters and white sands of Port Willunga Beach. Ask for a table on the deck and soak up the views that are particularly gorgeous at sunset. Or order fish and chips from the outdoor kiosk and head down to the beach. Other nearby beaches include family-friendly Sellicks Beach, Aldinga, Port Noarlunga, Normanville and the clothes-optional Maslin Beach.

Canoeing, Coorong National Park, SA © SATC

Explore the mouth of the Murray River at Goolwa

Discover Goolwa, gateway to the Murray River (Australia's longest) and the internationally renowned wetlands of the Coorong National Park. Take a boat tour to explore the mouth of the Murray River, admire the Coorong wetlands, learn about local Aboriginal culture, and Canoe the Coorong to see birdlife up close. Ride the 30 minute cockle train along the oldest steel-railed railway in Australia between Goolwa, Port Elliot and Victor Harbor. Bring your rental bike on board to ride back along the coastal trail. Go for a swim at pretty Horseshoe Bay in Port Elliot, where there is also a terrific bookstore, boutiques, and a bakery, plus the excellent Hotel Elliot and Flying Fish restaurant.

The Big Duck Boat Tour, Victor Harbour, SA © SATC

Discover Australia's aquatic animals from Victor Harbor

Hop aboard with The Big Duck Boat Tours to see New Zealand fur seals, Australian sea lions, common and bottlenose dolphins and lots of sea birds year round, as well as southern right and humpback whales during the winter months. Take the double-decker, horse-drawn tram (the only one in Australia) to Granite Island. Families will love the Kaiki Walk, a 1.9-kilometre (.5-mile) loop that circles the island. Spot birds, dolphins and more along the way. For something completely different, visit Encounter Coast Spirits on a working farm near Victor Harbor, where you can taste gin, vodka and brandy liqueurs enriched with local botanicals. You can also buy jams, chutneys and vinegars.

Off Piste 4WD Tours © Off Piste 4WD Tours (Benjamin Neville)

Go off road with a local to encounter wildlife and wilderness

In the north of the Fleurieu Peninsula are the dramatic gorges of the Onkaparinga River, which offer spectacular bushwalking and rock climbing. The river's estuary is a breeding habitat for fish as well as herons, spoonbills and egrets. In the south is the Deep Creek Conservation Park, where you can discover kangaroos and lots of colourful birdlife from dramatic coastal hillsides. Off Piste 4WD Tours offers a tantalising selection of adventures, incorporating bespoke food, wine and craft beer experiences plus beach and bush driving, wildlife encounters and spectacular picnic viewpoints over the Southern Ocean.

Red Poles Gallery, Fleurieu Art Trail, McLaren Vale, SA © SATC

Follow the Fleurieu Art Trail

Discover local arts and crafts on the Fleurieu Art Trail, which highlights more than 40 galleries, artist studios and exhibition spaces, many of them at winery cellar doors. Check out, for instance, Willunga GalleryNo 58 Cellar Door and Gallery in Middleton, and Artworx in Goolwa. Red Poles is not only an Aboriginal art gallery but also a restaurant and B&B.

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