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Travel guide Fleurieu Peninsula


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Touring Routes Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island
  • Countryside of the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
  • McLaren Vale wineries
  • Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Some of Australia’s finest wine valleys and wildlife wonderlands are just a stone’s throw from Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Historic architecture, fine food and a friendly welcome just add to the mood. Among the first travellers to cruise South Australia’s coast was explorers Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin. Although their respective nations, England and France, were at war at the time of their encounter in 1802, the pair swapped notes before peacefully going about their business to map the southern coast of Australia. It’s thanks to Baudin that today we have the Fleurieu Peninsula (honouring French politician, Comte de Fleurieu). This route takes you from Adelaide down through the scenic Fleurieu Peninsula and across to Kangaroo Island, a haven for wildlife, including sea-lions, penguins and koalas. You then return to the mainland and travel round the peninsula, to Victor Harbor – South Australia’s most popular seaside town and a great spot to see whales in winter. It’s also the home of the famous horse-drawn tram to Granite Island. Then it’s on to historic river port of Goolwa and the nearby wetlands of Coorong National Park, where the Murray River meets the sea. Last, but definitely not leas,t is the wine country of McLaren Vale. There are a lot of great restaurants there too.

We’ve made planning your accessible journeys easy. We have highlighted a variety of wonderful journeys with specific information about the many accessible options that can assist in making touring easier for people with disabilities. Whether it is marvelling at the landscape, visiting the vibrant cities, trying the local produce, or meeting the characters and experiencing the unique Australian way of life en route – these trips will leave you feeling inspired. And no matter whether you pack up a car, board a plane, jump on a train or float on a boat, the stories you’ll bring back will stay with you forever.

Kangaroo Island

Separated from the Australian mainland about 9000 years ago, Kangaroo Island is a real haven for native wildlife of all sorts including seals and sea lions, echidnas and koalas, platypi and possums, tammar wallabies and even kangaroos. One third of the island is protected as conservation and national parks and half the island has never been cleared of native vegetation. It has four town centres: Kingscote, Penneshaw, Parndana and American River. There are two ferry services that cross from the mainland to the island as well as several air services. The ferry crossing takes about 50 minutes. There are coach connections from Adelaide to the terminals: by car it’s allow 90 minutes for the drive.

TRANSPORT Kangaroo Island Sealink operates the ferry between Cape Jervis (90 minutes drive south of Adelaide) and Penneshaw. Both ferries, the Sealion 2000 and Spirit of Kangaroo Island, have ramp access onto the ferries, accessible toilets and a wheelchair is available. The crossing takes about 50 minutes from the mainland to Kangaroo Island.

Address: 40 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Phone: 61 8 8202 8688 or 131 301 Web: www.sealink.com.au

ATTRACTIONS

Sealink Tours Sealink offer a range of tours, but their buses do not have wheelchair access, so patrons would need to be able to climb steps into the bus. The ‘Highlights’ day tour is probably the most relaxed, visiting more accessible spots, whereas the ‘Remarkably Wild’ tour, although visiting a number of accessible sites, is definitely for the more energetic!

Address: 440 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Phone: 61 8 8202 8688 or 131301 Web: www.sealink.com.au

Kangaroo Island Parks The Department of Environment and Heritage websites has information about the parks and accessible facilities available within Kangaroo Island. Information is available on the website at www.parks.sa.gov.au. Some of the highlights include:

Cape Willoughby Conservation Park is home to South Australia’s first lighthouse. The ground floor displays in the lighthousekeeper’s cottages are accessible and visitors requiring easy access are requested to drive up to the wall next to the visitor centre. The ground is surfaced with gravel and there is a large female toilet, but no grab rails.

Address: Cape Willoughby Phone: 61 8 8553 1191 Web: www.parks.sa.gov.au

Flinders Chase National Park is a vast park at the western end of Kangaroo Island. The Visitors Centre at Rocky River has good access and accessible toilets. Boardwalks at Remarkable Rocks and Cape de Couedic are designed for wheelchair access, but the lower sections are a steeper gradient and might not be suitable for all wheelchairs.

Address: Rocky River, SA 5223 Phone: 61 8 8559 7235 Web: www.parks.sa.gov.au

Seal Bay Conservation Park is home to a large colony of Australian Sea-lions that laze on the beach after days fishing far out at seas. The Visitors Centre is accessible with access toilets, and boardwalk and viewing platforms give visitors good views of the colony and the landscape. Address: Seal Bay Phone: 61 8 8559 4207 Web: www.parks.sa.gov.au

A Maze ‘n’ Fun is an amusement park for the kids. It comprises a hedge maze, railway track around the park, crazy golf, black bream fishing in the lake and other games including giant quoits, checkers, and skittles. Barbecues and a kiosk are available as is an accessible toilet.

Address: Lot 139 Min-Oil Rd, Kingscote, SA 5223 Phone: 61 8 8553 9012

Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery and Bushcraft Souvenirs Emu Ridge is South Australia’s only remaining eucalyptus oil distillery. Production is powered by a steam engine, solar panels and wind generator. There’s an accessible parking space and toilets and a tour is also available.

Address: Willson Road Macgillivray, SA 5223 Phone: 61 8 8553 8228 Web: www.emuridge.com.au

Parndana Wildlife Park promotes Kangaroo Island wildlife. It features a collection of rare and protected birds, including black cockatoos, parrots, hawks, eagle, owls, kookaburras and curlews. You’ll also find finches, doves and quail housed in a walkthrough aviary. The park provides accessible parking and an accessible toilet.

Address: Playford Highway, Parndana, SA 5220 Phone: 61 8 8559 6050

The Penneshaw Penguin Centre runs informative nightly tours lasting 45 minutes, which include entrance to the Interpretive Centre and viewing platform. Easy viewing is available for all and there is an accessible toilet.

Address: Lloyd Collins Reserve, Penneshaw, SA 5222 Phone: 61 8 8553 1103

Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor is about 80km, or an hour’s drive, south from Adelaide. Originally a whaling and sealing town, Victor Harbor is now Adelaide’s favourite seaside holiday town. It’s close to beautiful beaches, wineries, the mouth of the Murray and the Coorong and is a vibrant town with a variety of attractions and activities. On the foreshore there are accessible toilets and a sealed walkway traverses the edge of the bay. It’s one of the best places in South Australia for watching southern right whales in winter – these fantastic creatures travel from sub-Antarctic waters to breed and nurture their young in protected Encounter Bay. There’s also a penguin colony on Granite Island and good birdwatching.

ATTRACTIONS

The Encounter Coast Discovery Centre Enjoy an audio-visual presentation of the Dreamtime, struggles of early settlers, local whaling heritage and historical displays of Victor Harbor and its environment. There is level entry and access throughout, including old Customs House. The toilet is not accessible, but there is one opposite in the Visitors Centre.

Address: The Esplanade, Victor Harbor, SA 5211 (opposite visitor information centre) Phone: 61 8 8552 5388 Web: www.victor.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=319

Granite Island Penguin Walks Granite Island is about 800m offshore and connected by a long wooden causeway. As this is quite bumpy, best access to the island is by wheelchair taxi (book ahead on phone: 61 8 8552 2622). The Penguin Interpretive Centre is built into the granite and offers guided tours. These follow paths around the island – let them know your needs when you book. There is an accessible toilet.

Address: Granite Island, Victor Harbor, SA 5211 Phone: 61 8 8552 7555 Web: www.graniteisland.com.au

Whale watching Pods of whales visit the waters off Victor Harbour between June and October. For more details, sighting and the best watching-spot on the day, call the Whale Information Hotline on 1900 942 537 or the SA Whale Centre’s website at www.sawhalecentre.com

The Cockle Train transported goods from Goolwa to Port Elliot, which is 4 km to the east of Victor Harbor. Opened in 1854, it was South Australia’s first railway with horses providing the power until 1884 when they were replaced by steam engines. Today, the thirty minute journey is a spectacular trip along the coast with lovely views of the beaches, villages and countryside. Good access is available onto the ‘perambulator carriage’ where seating allows space for prams. A portable steel ramp is carried on the carriage and station staff are willing to assist passengers on board. Services operate every Sunday year round and daily during most South Australian School and public holidays.

Address: Departs Victor Harbor, Port Elliot, Middleton and Goolwa Phone: 1300 655 991 Web: www.steamranger.org.au

Urimbirra Wildlife Experience has more than 400 native animals in all-weather enclosures. There’s also a picnic area, kiosk and gift shop. What’s more, it’s a very accessible attraction, with dedicated parking space, accessible toilet and pathways.

Address: Adelaide Road, Victor Harbor, SA 5211 Phone: 61 8554 6554 Web: http://users.chariot.net.au/~wildlife

Goolwa

Goolwa is only about 15km from Victor Harbor on the mouth of the Murray River and the huge Lake Alexandrina. It was major port for the paddle steamers that carried cargo down the Murray-Darling river system. Across the river is Hindmarsh Island, a bird watcher’s haven and a good place for fishing. You can see a piece of history with a monument to Captain Charles Sturt, who landed on the island when he sailed down the river and Captain Collett Barker who swam across to the mainland but was never seen again.

ATTRACTIONS

At the river mouth, there’s a boardwalk to the river’s edge and a network of accessible bike paths lead around the town. The Encounter Bikeway map is available at the visitor centre. Many of the historic buildings in Goolwa justify wandering but most provide limited access. Cruises to Coorong National Park and the mouth of the Murray River are available from Hindmarsh Island but the vessel does not offer easy access.

Steam Exchange Brewery Taste a range of fine beers in the railway goods shed that’s been converted to a microbrewery. There is an accessible ramp.

Address: The Wharf, Goolwa SA 5214 Phone: 61 8 8555 3406 Web: www.steamexchange.com.au

Ballast Stone Winery has easy access with dedicated car space and level entry into the wine tasting room and cafe/restaurant (book ahead).

Address: Myrtle Grove Road, Currency Creek, SA 5214 Phone: 61 8 8555 4215 Web: www.ballaststonewines.com

Hindmarsh Island is linked by bridge giving access to a number of unique water bodies including the Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina and the long lagoons of The Coorong. There’s a marina, some residential development, several cafes and cellar doors on the island. The Marina Hindmarsh Island Here can hire a ‘barbie boat’ and find floating pontoon wharves and an accessible

McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is one of Australia’s most famous and pretty wine regions, with vineyards from the foothills to the seas. Many wineries offer tastings and sales, and most offer easy access.

ATTRACTIONS

Adelaide Biplanes Web: www.mclarenvale.info Accessibility at Adelaide Biplanes, 10 minutes from McLaren Vale, varies. The biplane requires some lower limb mobility. However, the door can be removed for easier access into other aircraft.

Address: Aldinga Airfield, Colville Road, Aldinga, SA 5173 Phone: 61 8 8556 5404 Web: www.adelaidebiplanes.com.au

Blessed Cheese This cafe and shop are a McLaren Vale institution, with classes in the art of cheese making and home to McLaren Vale Cheese & Wine Trail.

Address: 150 Main Road, McLaren Vale, SA 5171 Phone: 61 8 83237958 Web: www.blessedcheese.com.au

Wineries There are over 40 cellar doors in the region, most with good access and facilities. The following sample provides accessible toilets, parking and easy access:

Chapel Hill Winery has level access from the car park into the cellar door and there are accessible toilets. The winery also offers accessible accommodation and a gallery.

Address: 1 Chapel Hill Road, McLaren Vale, SA 5171 Phone: 61 8 8323 8429 Web: www.chapelhillwine.com.au

Fox Creek Wines At Fox Creek the parking, grounds and wine sales areas are accessible. There’s also an accessible toilet.

Address: Malpas Road, Willunga, SA 5172 Phone: 61 8 8556 2403 Web: www.foxcreekwines.com

Middlebrook Estate Winery The best entry to Middlebrook Estate is via a path to the second entry past the formal car park. There is level entry into the restaurant and an accessible toilet. There are a couple of small “lips” down to the cellar door sales area.

Address: 43 Sand Road, McLaren Vale, SA 5171 Phone: 61 8 8383 0600 Web: www.middlebrookestate.com.au

Penny’s Hill Between McLaren vale and Willunga, this modern winery has great access and facilities, along with an award-winning restaurant

Address: Main Rd, Willunga, SA 5171 Phone: 61 8 8556 4460 Web: www.pennyshill.com.au

 

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