Fleurieu Peninsula

We have just had a few days down the Fleurieu Peninsula which is south of Adelaide. We started at Port Adelaide which is at the very top and then followed the coast road down. We instantly liked Port Adelaide. It’s a mixture of art galleries, museums, good eating places and has been adopted by the arty, bohemian set. We’ll return and spend some more time there in the future. Just to pass through doesn’t do it justice. We also called at Port Adelaide’s smaller neighbour Semaphore.

We stuck to the coast road and visited Moana and Maslin beaches. These are both beaches that you can drive onto but they do get much busier than we like as they are dormitory suburbs of Adelaide. Another stop was at Sellicks beach, one of the few nudist beaches in Australia. Our final stop of the day was Normanville, a lovely small town with a good campsite close to the beach. We stayed for a couple of nights as it’s a good base to tour the region from. Whilst there we had a meal out at recently opened tapas bar (Aussie style) and very good it was too.

The next day we had a drive out to Victor Harbour on the other side of the peninsula, a quite sophisticated/retirement town where we had a ride on a horse drawn tram that takes you across a causeway to Granite Island where you can have a cream tea overlooking the sea (all very twee). We then drove on to Goolwa another 15km up the coast. This is at the mouth of the Murray River which was so hugely significant to Australia 100 years ago but it’s now a tourist town with paddle steamers on the river and very expensive housing developments around a new marina on Hindmarsh Island.

This whole area is so undeniably beautiful with green rolling hills, sheep and cattle farms and all very English. Trouble is it’s not the remote Australia that we’ve grown to love so much.

However, we had been given a recommendation (strangely from a checkout lady at a supermarket in Port Adelaide) to visit a place called Rapid Bay. We found it down a long steep road with just a few houses at the bottom. What a great place, surrounded by towering cliffs with just a municipal campground on the beach overlooking a beautiful bay.

Rapid bay was first discovered by Colonel William Light in 1836. He stepped ashore from his ship ‘The Rapid’ to form a new colony later writing in his diary “I have hardly seen a place I like better”. He also carved his initials on a rock with the date which is still here today just behind the beach.

Just when we think we won’t find another place as good as the last one up pops something like this. Just perfect. A natural open campground with just toilets but no showers or electricity and at just 6 dollars a night ideal.

There is so much more to see on the Fleurieu Peninsula but for now it will have to wait. The weather is just perfect and so is Rapid bay.

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