Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
Fleurieu, less than three-quarters of an hour’s drive south of Adelaide, is something like heaven for food and nature lovers. With over 75 cellar doors and outstanding local produce, as well as plentiful wildlife at eight national, conservation and recreation parks, the peninsula is a feast for the eyes and belly.
Fleurieu contains four wine regions, most notably the McLaren Vale, one of Australia’s favourites. A love of wine and cheese can be satisfied along the McLaren Vale Wine and Cheese Trail, which starts at the renowned Blessed Cheese on Main Street. Numerous operators also offer group tours of the local cellar doors. As well as this, the region has four breweries: the McLaren Beer Company, Myponga Brewery, Star Exchange Brewery and Goodieson Brewery.
Fresh local produce can be savoured at numerous farmers’ markets, including the Willunga Farmers Market, the first in South Australia and said to be one of its best. It is held every Saturday at Willunga Town Hall and its motto is “Meet the grower and taste the region”. In October, the region celebrates its local produce and cuisine with the Fiesta!, with a number of competitions involving cheeses, olives and regional cookery.
As well as splendid local produce at its farmers’ market every Saturday, Fleurieu’s Victor Harbor boasts heritage railway tours to Goolwa on the Cockle Train, as well as the South Australian Whale Centre. From June to September visitors have the chance to see southern right whales at the harbour. Off the harbour is Granite Island, joined to the mainland by a tram and pedestrian causeway.
The region also draws many divers wanting to explore the ex HMAS Hobart, scuttled in 2002, at Yankalilla Bay. The Hobart is the most intact of Australia’s three scuttled naval vessels. The presence of a licensed operator is required to dive at the site.
Finally, the Deep Creek Conservation Park includes part of the 1,200 kilometres Heysen Trail, as well as five camping grounds, over 100 bird species, echidnas, many kangaroos, and the Blowhole Beach dive site (only accessible by four-wheel drive).
The region enjoys four separate seasons, and is typically mediterranean in climate. The average maximum and minimum temperatures in January at Victor Harbor are 24.5 and 15.1 degrees Celsius, and 15.4 and 7.7 in July.
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