The Fleurieu Peninsula really is one of South Australia’s best destinations for families with something for everyone and every age group. Only one hour’s drive south of Adelaide it’s really accessible for a day trip or weekend away with minimal travel and you can spend as much or as little as you like.
At the very top of the list for adventure is The Big Duck Boat Tours. Many people travel long distances for ocean tours and we are incredibly lucky to have one of Australia’s best so close to home. Imagine pods of dolphins cheekily swimming alongside the boat as you travel out to the nearby islands, seals and sea lions basking in the elements, and majestic views of the cliffs and coastline. If you have the opportunity to go during whale season then this just takes the experience to a new level of amazing. Tours leave from the Granite Island Causeway at Victor Harbor daily, weather permitting. There are two tours to choose from. The Wildlife and Whale Discovery Tour is 90 minutes and takes you to Seal Rock, Shark Alley and Wright Island, and then further west past the magnificent cliffs of Kings Beach and Waitpinga, which are breathtaking from the water. Spray jackets are provided so you can be rest assured of returning to land dry.
If time is precious, the shorter 45 minute Seal Island Tour also rewards you with spectacular views of Victor Harbor, and an abundance of wildlife and marine life en route to Seal Rock and Wright Island before returning back to the Causeway. Bookings for all tours are recommended to avoid disappointment. It really is the perfect family experience with children two and over able to join in.
The Cockle Train of course is another popular family favourite, where you get to travel along the oldest steel railed railway in Australia. You can board the steam ranger from Victor Harbor (or Goolwa Wharf) with departure times throughout the day. Lunch or coffee at Hectors on the Wharf is a common landing place within a convenient walking distance, or if a freshly poured brew is more to your liking then you’ll appreciate the eclectic Steam Exchange Brewery. If time allows, a short walk to Motherduck café in the main street is a treat, as are the Goolwa Wharf markets every first and third Sunday of the month. If you haven’t over indulged by the time you return back to Victor, the Anchorage in Victor Harbor has delicious salads for a light lunch or heartier pub fare options, and it’s hard to go past their cakes for afternoon tea.
If you have older children or your own desire for adrenalin, the Waitpinga Quad Bike Adventure tours are a fun way of taking in the amazing Fleurieu scenery with no experience necessary. There’s a one hour Scenic Tour, and a 1.5 hour Adventure Tour to choose from. The views from this property are quintessential Fleurieu and stunning. There’s a lot of fun to be had. Tours are suitable for people 12 years and over and bookings are recommended. There are four tours a day between Friday to Monday, and it’s open every day in the school holidays except Wednesdays.
As with all great holidays, some of the most rewarding and fun adventures are often the simplest. If you want to see a fresh take on an old playground favourite visit the Nature Playspace at Bristow-Smith Reserve in Goolwa. Kids just love the unique playing equipment as well as sensory and water play and the wonderful bike and walking trail nearby. Another hidden gem is the Starfish Playground in Hayborough complete with flying fox and climbing net. The newly completed Fleurieu Aquatic Centre, a heated indoor swim centre in Hayborough, provides yet another great active space for parents and kids alike all year round, despite the weather.
Adventure options are plentiful in this region, and that’s without mentioning the wonderful beaches, surfing and fishing spots this part of South Australia is renowned for. If you want to stay longer the Victor Harbor Beachfront Holiday Park is just one of the many great accommodation options to base yourself for a memorable trip away.