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Destination? Fleurieu Peninsula.

Why? Because the Fleurieu region is BURSTING at the seams, full of exciting, secret jewels, just waiting to be discovered by YOU.

And don’t just take our word for it, a bunch of these places were recognised in the SA Tourism Awards — the pinnacle of excellence within the SA Tourism Industry. In 2018, a whopping 17 Fleurieu Peninsula tourism businesses were finalists and to top it off,  the Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre was named best visitor centre in SA — soooooo, of course we’re going to scream their praises from the rooftops.

Here’s a mix of finalists and Adelady faves for you to file-save-as!

d’Arenberg, The Cube

:: 58 Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale

:: Website

It’s mad, crazy, colourful, insane and truly magnificent. Chester Osborn is the Willy Wonka of McLaren Vale and his dream to build a giant cube in the middle of his family’s vines came true just over a year ago — and man-oh-man it is everything he’d dreamed of, and more. The building itself is a batty, incredible work of art that architects all over the world would be envious of.

Inside, you’re welcomed into a wonderland with fruit walls, secret doors, art explosions and 360 degree views the region. And we haven’t even got to the fun part yet — the wine! Yes, this mind-blowing building is home to one of SA’s finest wines — d’Arenberg. They’re all about creativity, and encourage you to try the Tasting Bench where you can blend your own bottle using their small batch wines. You can also indulge in an eight-course dégustation. I’ve been sworn to secrecy about what to expect in this meal experience, so you’ll have to try it for yourself.

Well done, Chester, for bringing such fun into McLaren Vale! If you haven’t been — what are you waiting for? And by the way… when you visit, you must visit the men’s bathrooms. Trust me, you’ll want to take a photo!

Gemtree Wines

:: 167 Elliott Rd, McLaren Flat SA 5171

Where wine, walking and wildlife become one. This is just one of the experiences you can do when you visit Gemtree Wines in McLaren Flat. Because at Gemtree, it’s not just about wine tasting — it’s about nature! We can highly recommend the Wine and Wanderer tour: a self-guided tour of the Eco trail, where you’ll learn about bio dynamic grape growing and wine making, you’ll spot plenty of flora and fauna and you’ll end your trail with a scrumptious picnic from The Salopian Inn!

The whole walk is only about a kilometre, so it’s suitable for most people. And believe us, it’s totally worth it! This can be enjoyed at any time of year… even when it’s a little wet and miserable.

While you’re there, Gemtree Wines’ Cellar Door is the perfect place to settle in with a local cheeseboard and one of their delicious wines. The creators of Gemtree are full of passion enthusiasm and a love for their land and produce. Next time you’re after a fun and tasty experience like no other, put Gemtree Wines in your GPS and see what unfolds.

Lush Pastures

:: 29 Coomooloo Rd, Bald Hills

:: Website

What a beauty! Three immaculate eco-friendly villas set on top of a hill over-looking never ending kilometres of beautiful Yankalilla countryside… what more could you want? Alpacas! Yes, they have them too.

The owners are a lovely couple, Andy and Cheryl, who just want to make you feel welcome and give you an exceptional experience. Cheryl is a brilliant cook, and as part of your stay (depending on the package you choose), she whips up an exquisite brekky and three-course dinner. The thing we loved about Lush Pastures is the fact that there are no TVs in your room, which encourages you to head to the communal areas for a chat and to make new friends. The shared lounge/dining room is the perfect place to socialise and enjoy Cheryl’s food creations.

They can also personalise the menu and experience to make your birthday, engagement or wedding anniversary even more special.

Only an hour from Adelaide, you’ll feel a world away!

Smiling Samoyed Brewery

:: Hansen Street, Myponga

:: Website 

It’s exactly what the name suggests — Smiling Samoyed… and lots of them!

Full of personality and atmosphere, overlooking the gorgeous Myponga Reservoir, this pub invites you to pop in for a wine, one of their award-winning craft beers, or a tasty pizza. If the weather permits, grab the pizza to take away, head to the banks of the reservoir and dine with a view.

If you choose to dine in, you can see the brewery through a window from the dining room and can even see the brewers in action.

The real perks of the pub though (apart from their amazing brews) are the three beautiful Samoyeds who just loooove to hang out with guests — they’ll even curl up on your feet in the cooler months, like your own personal space heater.

Hot tip: try the 12 Paws Beer — a refreshing ale with fruity, floral hop notes balanced with a firm bitterness.  It also won the ‘Champion Australian Style Pale Ale’ award at The Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards in 2015, so you know it MUST be good.

They’re open 7 days a week, serving lunch from midday — you’d be crazy not to visit!

Myponga Reservoir

Nature-lovers unite — The Myponga Reservoir Reserve is now alive and waiting for you to visit!

With beautiful water views, you can walk, run and cycle around bushland tracks, enjoy picnics, and of course, bring your cameras because there is looooads of wildlife to snap!

There are always events happening around the reservoir, so keep an eye out for local markets, Nature Play SA activities and loads more family fun.

Mitolo Wines  

:: 141 McMurtrie Rd, McLaren Vale

:: Website 

A fine-dining experience at its best, don’t be intimidated by the well-dressed ladies and gentlemen who welcome you through the doors. It simply sets the tone for what’s to come — top notch McLaren Vale food and wine.

In what appears to be fancy shipping containers, the cellar door opens out onto never-ending vines and SA Gums, with a wrap-around deck encouraging you to enjoy some sunshine on the warmer days.

Inside, wine tastings are an absolute must, and may we suggest staying for lunch or dinner? You don’t want to miss out on this unique food experience. Chef, Tom, is ridiculously passionate about food textures and flavour combinations, which means you’re surprised and delighted with every mouthful. Owner, Frank Mitolo says, “In my life, it’s all about family and friends. A table, served with food and wine made with passion and love — this is the essence of Mitolo”. And he was spot on.

Muntiri Eco Lodge (2018 Silver, New Tourism Business)

:: Clayton Bay SA

:: Website 

Located in Clayton Bay — in what appears to be the middle of the wilderness — Muntiri Eco Lodge is the perfect off-the-grid accommodation. The truth is though, you’re only 10 minutes away from delicious coffee shops, with some of SA’s best wine regions and country towns just around the corner.

Muntiri Eco Lodge ticks all the boxes. A lovely and spacious country-style open plan cottage with all the creature comforts you need — like a fully-functioning brand new kitchen, two gorgeous bedrooms, laundry, bathroom, TV, a log fire and its own private conservation park.

So, you can relax and take in the country views, walk or run on the 3.5km sandy trail, or adventure through the 175 acres of native woodland. You can even bird watch, and the owners have created a book so you can learn all about the native birds in the region.

Husband and wife owners, Chris and Allie, have created a luxury eco-experience, perfect for a romantic weekend away, or a couples’ holiday.

A Birdie Told Me

:: 4/79 Main Road, Normanville

:: Facebook 

As cute as a bug’s ear, A Birdie Told Me is homeware heaven and knick-knack central in Normanville. Teapots, wall hangings, pot plants, hand poured candles, jewellery, hats and succulents — this place has it all! Owner, Tracy says, “I believe all country towns should have Arts and Crafts shops. This is where locals can showcase their wares. Handmade bespoke crafts are the inspiration of many talented people and all made from the heart.”

And you definitely have her word… her shop is full of locally made arts and crafts. With over 80 traders, she’s created a real community hub and is an absolute delight to meet. Make sure you pop in and support local. It’s hard to leave empty handed.

So, what are you waiting for? Head for the Fleurieu Peninsula and we promise you’ll have an absolute ball discovering (or re-discovering) these fabulous places!

Check out the region’s website for more exciting ideas and things to do.

Hayley xx

Hayley Pearson

Hayley Pearson

Co-Creator and Writer for Adelady, she still gets goosebumps that she’s combined her creative passion with sharing the best of her stunning home state.

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