Fleurieu Peninsula

Australia: The Fleurieu Peninsula – A land of top tucker

February 1, 2023
Best Destinations

Australia: The Fleurieu Peninsula – A land of top tucker

A strong wind blows me to the land of fruity Shiraz and top Turk. After the hurricane that struck Adelaide for nearly a week, sailing trips were postponed to allow me time to explore the Fleurieu Peninsula in the south of the city.

Looks interesting on the map. A sharp piece of land protruding to the Southern Ocean is full of lyrical place names invented by early settlers—Golden Forest, Happy Valley, and One Tree Mountain.

In 1802, a French explorer named its collective name in memory of his patron, the Secretary of the Navy Charles Pierre Claret (Comte de Fleurieu). Australians think the original pronunciation sounds like fluoride.

However, there is nothing objectionable about this. Fleurieu is a fertile land in the rolling green landscape between wooded hills and the sea; many vineyards and farms produce the well-known “top taco” wine and gourmet food. Imagine a champagne landscape with rubber trees.

I briefly learned about the charm of Adelaide. This is a laid-back community. Residents of Sydney and Melbourne arrogantly call it Australia‘s largest rural town.

There is a sense of the border of a small town in the suburbs of a 19th-century bungalow. The compact inner city is surrounded by parkland. The loudest sound is probably the bell of the tram.

“We are famous for our food and wine,” my daily guide Greg Linton affirmed. “I know the person who grows vegetables for me, which is a good thing. So if you want, you can call us a country town, and we are fine.”

The centre of the local wine industry is McLaren Vale, a real In rural towns, there are “wine cellars” everywhere, where visitors can taste the best things the winemaker has to offer. Fruity red wine is a speciality, especially Shiraz, and Greg said that he’s grateful American customers are often frustrated by the high cost of home delivery. “I have seen grown men cry,” he said.

It’s still early to drink wine, so we decided to have a cup of coffee and homemade sultana cake at Blessed Café to see how the world changes. It passed slowly, and a group of club cyclists on a drive decided it was time to take a break and cheer in the cafe. “We are never in a hurry here, we always have time to drink and chat,” Greg said.

This can be seen at our next stop, the weekend farmers market in Willunga. Greg is very famous here, and every few steps we take, we will be stopped by a friend of his who likes to pass the time. The market is very popular. A cheese maker said that he had sold all the blue cheese in the morning, and the butcher next to him had run out of venison steak pie.

We continued to drive south along the country roads winding between the green fields of the main pastures, judging from the way the residents’ cattle and sheep were well fed. The farmhouse is nestled in the shade of eucalyptus trees, a bit like a hobbit house, and it feels like nothing will disturb them.

We go to the coast and train. Enlightened citizens built a 20-mile “Encounter Bike Path” from the seaside resort of Victor Harbor to the river port town of Goolwa, along the route of South Australia’s first railway. The plan was for me to ride about half the time, meet Greg in his van, and then return to a restaurant for lunch on the way.

We rented a bicycle in Victor Harbor, and the gently undulating path by the sea turned out to be one of the most beautiful bicycle tours in the world. Fortunately, when I drove past the bowling and croquet lawns, the wind blew on my back, and the greens were full of white men and women participating in weekend games. Soon I was alone, climbing to the headland, passing the expensive glass curtain wall, overlooking the Southern Ocean, towards Antarctica. The air is fresh, full of splashes and the chattering of seagulls; I am deeply happy.

This is a popular mating and breeding site for southern right whales, so named because the slow, gentle giants are considered to be whales suitable for hunting. They were slaughtered by American whalers in Victor Harbor in the 1790s, but now they migrate annually from sub-Antarctic waters to attract tourists rather than harpoons.

It was late in the calving season, and I did not see any mothers with their new family, but I did see a majestic white-bellied eagle hovering on the waves. The Peninsula is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with 230 species of birds, especially in the wetlands and lagoons of the lower Murray River, where there are many ducks, herons and black swans. There are dolphins, seals and green sea dragons offshore, which look like seahorses on steroids also has freckles. This is a succulent and delicious white fish. Greg and I tried it at the Flying Fish Restaurant and Cafe in Port Elliot. The beachfront restaurant is as close as possible to the waves of the Southern Ocean, which crash and roar on the rocks and coral reefs but are not actually in them.

We ordered the aforementioned fish with paper bag fries and bottled locally brewed light beer, Australian style, and enjoyed the stormy scenery. Lunch by the sea is not much better.

On the way back to Adelaide, we will pass Strathalbyn, a rural town with ancient stone buildings that has become a treasure trove of antique shops. It was established by Scottish immigrants on a winding river bank in 1839, and its old core has not changed much. Half of them wanted to meet a tall, red-bearded Highlander from one of the confusing shops. Instead, I met a lady wearing a bracelet and pearls, and she offered to check the client’s chakras.

The wedding is coming soon. I found a small brass Buddha statue for my wife. It will be very attractive after years of cleaning up the dirt. Greg suggested celebrating the purchase with coffee and mixed berry cheesecake at the Appleseed Café across the street. I agree and think that a bad wind blows away my day’s happiness.

How to get there

Qantas flies daily from Heathrow Airport to Adelaide for £899 round trip in economy class and £2,999 in business class (qantas.com).

A room at the

Adelaide Hilton Hotel is priced at £145 (0061 8 8217 2000; hilton.com).


Greg Linton offers a day trip to the winery with lunch for £161. Other itineraries (323980; winedivatours.com.au) can also be arranged.