The Fleurieu Peninsula

After arriving in Adelaide earlier than expected with the issues we were having with the Land Rover we took the opportunity to explore.  We had planned to stay at Maslin Beach with Belinda and Adam for one weekend but arrived earlier after dropping the Land Rover off at a garage in the CBD.  We decided to hire a car for a week while ours was busy getting a new engine, which meant we could carry on exploring SA.

img_0621We spent 5 days at Maslin Beach before heading further south on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Maslin beach and the surrounding areas are certainly well worth a visit and we were pleased to have time to have an explore along the cliffs, little villages and a brief walk along Australia’s first official unclad beach. Port Noarlonga has some lovely little shops and cafes we enjoyed exploring.


Maslin Beach to Moana Beach

The cliffs in this region are just spectacular and the beaches so different to the white straight sands of WA we are used to. We walked along the top from Maslin beach to the northern end of Moana, stopping briefly to chat to a friendly fisherman who was telling us the tips and tricks to catch local squid, before heading to The Deep Blue Café for lunch. We keep saying we should learn to fish, maybe we will on this trip. On the return journey we walked back along the beach, clambering over a fun rocky section. Here we saw the endangered hooded plovers frolicking by the water’s edge. That evening after reading the local newsletter, we found out that they have their third nest down on this beach for this season, with the other two sadly ending both times in tragedy.


Onkaparinga River National Park– Sundew River Walk

img_0403This 4.5km hike was graded on the map as hard, but following the big storms that hit the region recently, after a steep descent into the gorge we were faced with the path being washed away, several large branches blocking the route and higher than normal water levels. This made for a challenging but fun scramble zig zagging our way over the river and climbing up and around boulders. Once we reached the ford there was a good path literally straight up the bank, back to the carpark. One to get the heart rate up. We popped into McLaren Vale on the way home for a quick wine tasting at D’Arenberg Cellar Door and picked up some olive oil and olives at Lloyds Brothers.  The evening was spent at Belinda parents overlooking the mouth of the mouth of the Onkaparinga river, we had been walking in.


McLaren Vale and the Willunga Markets

 Every Saturday there are farmers markets at Willunga, after healthy ricotta and buckwheat pancakes with fresh fruit, we headed down to re-stock up on fresh local produce and try a few samples. With McLaren Vale being so close we spent the rest of the afternoon at Olivers Vineyard tasting. The range of wines were so good and their Corrina’s Shiraz Cabernet beautiful….we wish we had bought more.  Also at the vineyard were craft markets and so it was a good time to pick up some Christmas presents, before a stroll on the length of Maslin beach, with some interesting sights. That night we had a fantastic meal at the Victory Hotel at Sellick’s beach with stunning views of the bay. I would also love to try the Star of Greece in Port Wilunga too, there are so many great culinary places in this region.


Heading South to Silverton

Belinda’s Mum and Dad kindly offered for us to use their holiday home in Silverton near Delamere which is not far from Cape Jervis where the ferries head across to Kangaroo Island where we have been before on a previous holiday.  This cottage is the perfect location for seeing a lot of the sights on the Peninsula and we stayed for 7 nights which gave us enough time for a good explore, here are a few of the highlights:

For information and bookings at the cottage check it out on Stayz.

The scenic route to Silverton

We hugged the coast the all the way down to Silverton stopping off at Aldinga beach. From here we took reservoir road taking in the spectacular view of Myponga reservoir, this is well worth the short detour. Today’s coffee stop was at a cute café, little sister in Normaville, before spending the afternoon exploring Second Valley beach, which has a really interesting harbour and in good weather amazing snorkelling and swimming areas. If you’re into diving the scuttled ship H.M.A.S Hobart is located off the coast here. A warm welcome awaited us at the cottage by Belinda’s parents and their dogs Lola and Leo.


Talisker Conservation Park & Silver Mine and Ingalalla Falls

This is a perfect 5km walk straight from the cottage door by first heading down the dirt track to the car park then entering into the silver mines. This is well worth a visit with some fascinating history to discover on a good loop walk around the mines with lots of extension tracks to explore further. There is also a short walk through a beautiful meadow, full of butterflies and yellow flowers in spring/summer, up to a view point, with views across the water to Kangaroo Island. After a coffee in the gardens of the stunningly restored Leonard’s Mill at Second Valley we decided to head for a drive and visit the beautiful Ingalalla falls. As the rainfall this winter/spring was high there was a good amount of water tumbling down the rock face.  Later in the week we went for dinner at Lenard’s Mill…a must do treat at this 13 Hat restaurant.


Deep Creek National Park & Morgan Beach

img_0487Deep Creek National Park is not far from the Cottage to access some of the many hiking trails.  The famous Heysen Trail runs through Deep Creek so some of the walks use sections of this trail.  We decided to do the circuit trail from Trig Campground and picnic area.  This is one of the longer walks being a 10.9KM loop and the suggestion is this will take 7 hours.  Yes, there are scrambles and lots of undulating terrain however it took us under 3 hours so the 7 hours estimate is quite high.  This hike is likely to be up there in our top ten trails in Australia so far and great to walk a section of the Heysen trail.  The scenery is spectacular into the gorges and half the hike you are near the Ocean and the other half up near the ridge winding through the bush with glimpses back at the Ocean and crossing waterfalls.  We have written a seperate blog post on this hike which you can check out here.


Victor Harbor, Granite Island & Port Elliot.

A 40-minute drive from the cottage and you arrive at Victor Harbor a large holiday town on the Encounter Bay. You can either take the horse drawn tram or make the short walk along the causeway to granite island. A beautiful 1.5km circular walk, provides great views and a chance to explore some interesting rock formations. At night there are tours of the island and their small colony of fairy penguins. The town east of Victor is Port Elliot which has some nice coffee shops and beautiful beach coves and paths.


Coorong Cruise from Goolwa

Goolwa is a cute little town with some interesting places to explore. We decided to take a 6.5 hr cruise along the Coorong National Park, with Cruise the Coorong who run this tour outside of winter on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It was a windy day and so the route was changed a little and the ride a little rough on-board the 10 metre vessel. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave us a great history of the area and the different boats which have travelled up and down the Murray River over the years. As we headed through the Goolwa lock there were lots of Fur seals playing around the boat, which was adorable. We were extremely well fed during the trip and stopped at the mouth of the river for morning tea of bush tucker muffins, before we walked on the sandbar and got swooped by the fairy turns as we got a little closer to their nests than they liked. As we couldn’t head out around the north side of Hindmarsh island due to the weather, this was an additional stop and an amazing chance to get up close to these birds. Also along the shore were tiny migratory birds, which had flown none stop for 8 days to arrive in SA. Lunch was also full of some interesting bush tucker asparagus, berries and spinach as well as some fresh pipis (cockles) which the guide cooked up for us on board. After lunch we headed across some massive yellow sand dunes to a historic aboriginal site at cattle point, here the area is covered in pipis shells which the aboriginal’s ate and then lined their hut floors with the shells. Just like the aboriginal’s we dug in the sand to find and drink fresh water which is found as the Younghusband peninsula has salt water on both sides, creating this reservoir of water. We then headed back the way we came and landed on Sir Richard Peninsula and walked across to the ocean side, sampling and learning about the different berries and plants in this area. We can now survive in the bush!


Deep Creek National Park Cobbler Hill 6km hike and Rapid Beach

img_0540Today we decided to go back into Deep Creek National Park as we loved it so much earlier in the week and headed down a grassy bank covered in kangaroos from Cobbler Hill picnic area to Blow Holes beach, before joining the Heysen trail and meandering back up the valley through another lovely campsite.  After lunch we headed to Rapid Beach and walked along the jetty and beach.

The following 10 days we spent between Maslin beach and Adalaide CBD waiting for the car to be fixed. We finally got it back on the 23rd Dec. This gave us a chance to explore the small bars of Adalaide, walk the Shiraz trail and head south on the coast from Maslin Beach.

Next stop the Grampains …………

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