Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights


Perched atop an 81-hectare hilltop site with expansive vistas stretching across Bird's Nest and Inman Valleys to the Southern Ocean is the newly opened ESCA at "Nest and Nature". ESCA's two architecturally designed, 60 square metre suites are completely off grid, minimise the land's footprint and deliver a high-end hotel quality experience surrounded by nature yet only an hour's drive from Adelaide. All the high spec luxuries you'd expect from a hotel suite are included and then some: wood fire, freestanding bathtub, bespoke furniture and lighting, heated bathroom floors, fire pit, alfresco bath, outdoor terrace and double glazed floor to ceiling windows. From $590 a night. See esca.com.au


Don't let the industrial location put you off. While this family owned coffee roaster is found in an unlikely village of warehouses in the back blocks of Port Elliot, its single origin coffee is spot on. At any given time, De Groot Coffee Co serves up a choice of three single origin coffees in a cellar door space with a sunny alfresco courtyard. See degrootcoffeeco.com.au


When you spot the queues stretching out the door you know you've arrived at this much loved local bakehouse. Established in 1989, the Port Elliot Bakery serves up some of South Australia's best treats baked fresh daily. Be sure and check out the bakery's famous donut and pie flavours of the month. Flavours range from Aero and strawberry shortcake for the former; hickory pulled pork and vegan curry for the latter. See portelliotbakery.com


The undulating Harbourmasters Walking Trail may be short but it's rich in history and far reaching coastal vistas. Starting in parkland opposite Port Elliot Beach House YHA, the loop trail skirts five beaches including Horseshoe Bay and its historic jetty, takes in granite rock formations, historic gardens and beautiful ocean views. Pack your swimmers for a dip in the sheltered Ladies Beach enroute. See walkingsa.org.au/walk/find-a-place-to-walk/harbourmasters-walking-trail-port-elliot/


This charming clifftop eatery named after a shipwreck off the coast of Port Willunga is a South Australian icon. Emerging from a year-long makeover (check out the incredible coastal views from the new bathrooms) thankfully none of its eclectic charm has been lost. Drawing locals, foodies and holidaymakers alike the Star of Greece instantly transports you to the Mediterranean. Local seafood such as squid, garfish and King George whiting are a specialty, the wine list contains the best of the neighbouring McLaren Vale wine region while the cocktails alone are worth the trip. See starofgreece.com.au


This family-owned small batch winery, Chalk Hill Wines may be dedicated to making handcrafted wines of distinction but it also offers one of the state's best distilleries, an Italian cantina and more. The Harvey family has been growing grapes for six generations and has six vineyards spread across the beautiful McLaren Vale wine region. Enjoy a gin and tonic tasting flight at Never Never Distilling Co, tuck into an authentic Italian style pizza or enjoy a picnic overlooking the bucolic vineyard. See chalkhillwines.com.au


xxFleurieu Fleurieu Peninsula South Australia One & Only ; text by Sheriden Rhodes
cr: South Australian Tourism Commission (supplied via journalist, handout, no syndication)  Port Willunga Beach

Photo: SATC

Located approximately 46 kilometres south of Adelaide the striking Port Willunga Beach is famous for its golden cliff faces, clear aquamarine water and long stretch of soft white sand - the type that squeaks between your toes. Port Willy as it's affectionately known, features a series of caves dug into the cliff face where fishermen once sheltered boats and nets from the elements. You can see the remains of the Port Willunga Jetty if you visit at low tide. See fleurieupeninsula.com.au/port-willunga


Another popular eatery named after the shipwreck of a two masted schooner, the Flying Fish Cafe, overlooking Port Elliot's bustling Horseshoe Bay has undergone several incarnations. Today it offers a seafood focused menu inside while its kiosk does a roaring trade in Coopers Sparkling Ale battered fish and chips served in signature paper cones. See flyingfishcafe.com.au



Hither & Yon, meaning "here and over there" is a McLaren Vale based wine brand started by brothers Richard and Malcolm Leask. Its Willunga cellar door is found in a cosy former 1860s butcher shop with a fireplace, limestone walls, vintage furniture, books and paintings. Made using a minimalist intervention approach, flight tastings of four (dangerously) easy to drink wines costs $5 a person. Varietals are predominantly from the Mediterranean and south of Italy which grow well in McLaren Vale's coastal terroir. See hitherandyon.com.au


Can you say you've visited the Fleurieu Peninsula, 40 minutes' drive south of Adelaide, without visiting the giant Rubix Cube that seemingly floats above the vineyards? The madcap d'Arenberg Cube sits among the rolling hills of McLaren Vale on Australia's largest biodynamic winery. Housing a tasting room, art gallery, bar, eatery and a zany museum, oenophiles can sample d'Arenberg's best drops, join a blending masterclass or just contemplate the audacity of this multi-faceted space that has put a new spin on wine tasting. Entry $15 a person. See darenberg.com.au/darenberg-cube

Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of the South Australian Tourism Commission and Newcastle Airport. Qantas recently launched direct Newcastle-Adelaide flights on a new year-round service. See qantas.com; southaustralia.com