SA: Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island
"Rolling Scenic Hills and Valleys of Vineyards and their Fruitage"
The Adelaide Hills are home to many Historic German Settlements and their Traditions
The drive through the picturesque Adelaide Hills is something special with the route via Chain of Ponds and Kersbrook until arriving at Williamstown being a particular favourite of the locals. Stop to sample the wines and walk the streets of old German styled townships like Lyndoch and Nurioopta and find wonderful shops offering cuisine delights and craft shops that reflect the heritage of the area.
The most famous, and possibly the oldest, of the many wine-making areas of Australia, the Barossa Valley is just outside Adelaide to the east in the Adelaide Hills. As well as the wonderful wineries there are other German traditions to enjoy, like the famous bakeries, local music and art and the numerous festivals that showcase everything from food and wine to music and dancing, including Marching Bands in the main streets.
The many Bed and Breakfast hostels and classic old English and German pubs are wonderful places to spend the night and have a drink with the locals. They are very talkative and can tell you some stories.
Further south the beachside suburbs of Noarlunga and Maslins Beach are becoming more popular with the Southern freeway making it easy to get from the city. Thereafter the drive through historic Willunga and Yankalilla or over Mount Compass both provide wonderful veiws and bring you to the picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula town of Victor Harbour.
The Fleurieu Peninsula, named as early as 1802 by the French explorer Nicholas Baudin after another French explorer, extends south from Noarlunga on the southern suburbs of the city of Adelaide towards Kangaroo Island and the Great Southern Ocean. It is a district of historical sites, vineyards, beaches and dramatic coastlines. It is also home to the picturesque scenery surrounding the southern Adelaide Hills with its water catchments and the vineyards of McLaren Vale, one of the newer major winemaking areas of South Australia.
The south-coast the towns of Victor Harbour, Port Elliott and the old river port of Goolwa are adjacent to where the Murray River flows into the Great Southern Ocean. The delicate habitat surrounding the low-lying islands, wetlands and dune system scattered along the long narrow stretch of land that is the Coorong National Park is home to a great variety of vegetation, animals, birdlife and fish.
A nice way to spend the day is to cross the bridge to Hindmarsh Island that sits between Lake Alexandina and the river system as it winds towards its outlet to the sea, and have a picnic looking across at the mouth of the mighty river and the open sea on one side and the expanse of Lake Alexandrina on the other.
At Victor Harbor a horse drawn tram crosses the bridge linking the mainland to Granite Island where viewing the migrating Southern Right Whales in the winter and the cute Fairy Penguins are the major attractions. The drive to Cape Jervis at the tip of the peninsula has some great views, and there is an ocean-going ferry that crosses over to Kangaroo Island on a regular timetable. Bookings are essential and it takes about three and a half hours but the time can be spent relaxing or watching out for the dolphins that like to surf in the wake of the big ferry. Among other things Kangaroo Island is renowned for its rugged coastline and an abundance of Aussie wildlife, including the seals at Seal Bay, kangaroos, koalas and an incredible array of birdlife and wildflowers.
The coastline along the Fleurieu Peninsula has some great summer and winter surfing, swimming, diving and snorkeling. There are numerous shipwrecks along the southern coast and the marine life is abundant. At Willunga and Goolwa there are public Art Galleries and there are a couple of private art exhibitions as well as wine tasting at some of the over sixty MacLaren Vale wineries.
Cape Jarvis is also one end of the Heysen Trail, a fifteen hundred kilometre walking track that takes the bushwalker through some of the most diverse country its northern point at Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges.
It is also where the ferry leaves for the exciting and picturesque Kangaroo Island where either a couple of days or a week can be had relaxing amongst real nature with the island teeming wildflowers and wildlife as well as being home to some spectacular scenery.