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Fleurieu, South Australia

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Adelaide’s southern suburbs merge into the beach communities of the Fleurieu. It’s a landscape of coastal bluffs, sheltered sand beaches, foothills farmlands and vineyards. McLaren Vale wine district, overlooking Gulf St Vincent, takes credit for some of the nation’s best wines - shiraz, grenache, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. The first grape vines were planted in 1838 at Reynella. Today, visitors are welcomed at around 50 cellar doors, each with a special ambience, be it art, music, fine food, vineyard vistas - or an affable winemaker. The peninsula’s other important grape-growing region is Langhorne Creek to the east beyond the Ranges, which produces red wine varieties.

The beaches of the southern coast, Maslin, Port Willunga, Aldinga, Sellicks, Carrickalinga and Normanvillle, blazon the gold and blues of sand, surf and sky, attracting holiday-makers for long, lazy, summer days and meditative walks in the cooler months. This coastline is synonymous with water sports - swimming, surfing, diving and fishing. Scuba divers can spend hours exploring the reefs and wrecks off Port Noarlunga and also the ex-HMAS Hobart, sunk in Yankalilla Bay. The Fleurieu’s southern hinterland is the wild terrain of Deep Creek National Park, the head of the Heysen Trail. At the tip of the peninsula lies Cape Jervis and the Kangaroo Island ferry terminal.

Just under an hour from Adelaide you’ll find the traditional coastal holiday towns of Encounter Bay: Victor Harbor, and Port Elliot with its perfect crescent of sand, Horseshoe Bay. Urimbirra Wildlife Experience exhibits 400 Australian native animals and birds in a natural setting. Children love clambering aboard the horse-drawn tram across the spit to Granite Island, where at dusk the valiant little penguins waddle to their nests. The Cockle Train is another big adventure and the views from the historic train’s windows are breathtaking.

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