Less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula’s winning combination of food, wine and wildlife means it’s well and truly on the getaway trail. Most people, though, head straight to the wineries and restaurants of McLaren Vale, or to Victor Harbor (famous for its whales, penguins and steam trains) and stay there. But take a drive along the western coast instead and you’ll find an altogether quieter slice of peninsula life.
From McLaren Vale, head towards Port Wilunga for the first of the expansive coastal views that are a highlight of this drive. Stretch your legs at Maslin Beach and take a walk along the multicoloured cliffs that flank the beach (watch out for nudies at the southern end!).
Continue south to Myponga, then take the Reservoir Road, driving across the dam wall and down the steep hills to the cluster of beach houses and shacks tucked away on tiny Myponga Beach. The views as you head down to the shore are breathtaking.
The seaside community of Carrickalinga is just down the road, and from there a terrific coastal drive and walkway lead to Normanville. From here all the way to Cape Jervis on the tip of the peninsula the views are simply amazing, and you’ll find yourself pulling over again and again to take photographs of the bald green hills dropping abruptly into the sea.
The road cuts inland, but take a side trip down to Rapid Bay for more stunning cliff-line views, and to find the boulder marking the spot where Colonel William Light first stepped ashore to establish the colony of South Australia back in 1836.
There’s not much to Cape Jervis – an angular lighthouse, the ferry terminal to Kangaroo Island and that’s about it – but this is a day drive that’s all about the journey, not the destination.
Distance // About 230km return.
Getting there // Cape Jervis is 107km from Adelaide, if you follow the main road (A13/B23).
More information // southaustralia.com/regions/fleurieu-peninsula.aspx