Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Explore the Fleurieu Peninsula with a virtual tour guide

Photos courtesy of South Australian Tourism commission

Jafri M

Crow Nest Road Lookout

Brimming with intriguing sights, the Fleurieu Peninsula unveils itself as you drive and meander. Located south of Adelaide, South Australia, this coastal region offers a glorious, leisurely world of sun-kissed beaches and fresh sea breezes.

The landscape is diverse — a charming blend of mountain ranges, farmland and vineyards, parks and hiking trails. Add to the lovely scenery flourishes such as gourmet fare, great wines, historic towns with a vibrant arts and crafts scene, and the holiday vibe really kicks in.

If you are driving down from Adelaide, try the Main South Road (A13), as we did, and in an hour, you will reach seaside towns such Port Willunga and Maslin Beach.

Cockle Train, a stop on the Fleurieu Way

For a focused road trip, rent a GPS system at selected visitor information centres in the state. The device, said to be the first of its kind in Australia, not only points out places of interest along the Fleurieu Way — a 235km sight-seeing route around the peninsula — but also features insider tips from Fleurieu denizens.

My February visit proved good timing as it was just the end of summer. There was a surfeit of sunshine and with it, a good dose of leisurely living. We ate, drank and enjoyed the slow pace of life.

McLaren Vale

Indeed, as a wine-producing region since the 1840s, the peninsula has no lack of quality tipples. We found them at McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. In the southern Fleurieu regions, boutique wineries abound.

The cuisine was just as memorable. Fleurieu’s farming roots ensure excellent produce and with plenty of cafes dotting the driving routes, frequent stops were called for. The spread included cheeses, smoked meats and homemade bread.

Fleurieu is also known for its bustling arts and crafts scene, and visitors who walk along the main streets of McLaren Vale and Port Noarlunga will discover small art galleries, stained glass workshops and antique shops stocked with curios such as old watches, silverware and rare books.

Granite Island antique tram ride

One of the most popular destinations is the town of Victor Harbour, perched on the southern coastline and great for whale-watching. From there, it’s just a hop over the causeway to Granite Island, renowned for its Fairy penguins and horsedrawn antique tram ride.

The active can stretch their muscles on the Heysen Walking Trail, a trek that starts at Cape Jervis on the south coast and goes up into the Flinders Ranges. It’s just one of the many stops in this thriving peninsula.

For more information, visit

From TODAY, Business – Thursday, 09-April-2009