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The Riches Of The Fleurieu Peninsula
fleurieu peninsulaIf you journey just 40 minutes outside of Adelaide you will come across the beginning of the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula. This spectacular part of South Australia spans for such a large distance that it is almost impossible to see it all, but you should at least get to see a good deal of it. Whether you escape here for the day or for an extended visit, your hire car will give you the freedom to explore the ever changing landscapes of the Fleurieu peninsula, from its rugged coastline to the thick bush of its conservation parks.

The breezy Mediterranean climate of this region is favourable for many reasons. Most importantly, it means the weather here is generally pleasant and very mild no matter what time of the year you choose to visit. It also means that the region has a high fertility rate, at least in regards to the lush soils, which have turned this into a literal land of milk and honey. Cheese, olive oil, exotic fruits and vegetables and livestock are distributed from this region to the rest of the state in large quantities and are among the country's finest. Roadstalls on various farms sell fresh produce to passers by, so stop in and stock up on some local produce for your picnic basket.

The fertility of the peninsula also makes it one of Australia's best wine regions. Home to over 75 cellar doors, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding your perfect wine. Mclaren Vale is the best wine growing spot in the region, and one of the oldest established wine production regions in Australia. World class, award winning wines match the beautiful and quaint scenery, making this a definite for your to-do list while in the area. The small townships of the Mclaren Vale such as Seaview and Willunga are picturesque and cosy, and you can enjoy soaking up the friendly country atmosphere in one of their welcoming and warm pubs.

The coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula is another of its most fascinating drawcards. Pure white, sandy beaches are punctuated by tall and rocky headlands that provide spectacular ocean views. The aquamarine waters are alive with fish of all shapes and sizes, and the sheltered bays are a haven for every type of fisherman. There is nothing quite like eating your own catch of the day for dinner! The diverse range of marine life here also means the snorkelling and scuba diving on the peninsula are second to none, especially amongst the many old shipwrecks that lie close to the shore. The southern coast and the beaches of Gulf St Vincent are rife with dolphins and fur seals, so keep your eye out for a glimpse of these majestic creatures.

If you are here between the months of June and October, make sure you keep an eye out for the pods of humpback whales that make their annual migration close to the coast. Victor Harbour is one of the most popular resort towns in South Australia, and is a perfect looking point to marvel the wonders of the whales just 100 metres form the shore. Victor Harbour is also the place to take a ride in a genuine horse drawn tram out to Granite Island, which is home to a colony of little penguins. Also, a visit to the Below Decks Oceanarium while you are here, will offer an under sea look at sharks, rays and other impressive creatures of the deep. Its an informative and educational experience that the kids are sure to love.

The preservation of the natural beauty of the Fleurieu Peninsula is possible because of the 20 conservation parks spread out across it. These are all worthy of visitation, but if you can't see them all be sure to at least check out Coorong National Park, which lies adjacent to the Murray River mouth. This park is home to over 100 kilometres of lagoons that are separated by the impressive sand dunes of the Young Husband Peninsula. It is where many migratory birds flock to, creating a pretty landscape of abundant wildlife and beauty.

All of the natural aspects are essentially what makes the Fleurieu Peninsula such a worthwhile place to visit. A favourite with those young and old, this part of the country is an essential place to visit if you want to experience the true wonderous beauty of this great southern land.

Christine Barton

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