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A scenic drive in South Australia makes for the perfect day out! - McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Coast Blog

McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Coast Blog

Find out the best of what our destination has to offer.

A scenic drive in South Australia makes for the perfect day out!

Words and Imagery by Kelly Golding

The car is packed with snacks for the ride, bathers and pup in tow and we are hitting the road for a Sunday drive. 

Who picks the tunes is the challenging part – usually it’s the driver which is me today. Mclaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast can easily be accessed from Main South Road which will get you from Adelaide to the Fleurieu Peninsula in just under 40 mins - but make sure you jump on to the Southern Expressway to shorten your trip considerably. Today, we are doing just that! Off to explore Route 31 – Coastal Drive. Thirty-one kilometres of pristine coastline in McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast on the Fleurieu Peninsula, with a multitude of quaint seaside stops along the way. All the hard work has been carefully planned. We follow the signs and have our map as back up. 

We spot the first vintage lookalike sign on Dyson Road, O’Sullivan Beach directing us to Gulfview Road, the gateway to Route 31 – Coastal Drive and the first landmark we arrive at is O’Sullivan Beach. Renowned as a boating haven, and as we soon discover, on Sunday mornings, a high energy pooch’s playground.  

Christies Beach 

Mid-morning coffee calls, so we decide to jump straight back in the car and head to Christies Beach. A nice seaside stroll, and a looksee at some of the local businesses and street art adorning the café walls, before ordering a takeaway almond latte and oat decaf from the  Flava Café which is located right on the beachfront. It’s been a while since I’ve headed to the Fleurieu via the scenic route and it’s a reminder to do it more often.  

Port Noarlunga 

We arrive in Port Noarlunga and the beach and car park is bustling with weekend adventurers, especially those with snorkelling or diving gear! The reef is visible at low tide, and although not quite warm enough for us to swim yet, the locals and travellers alike aren’t missing out on the opportunity to explore the rock pools and views from the jetty. There is such a variety of leisure activities to experience in this part of McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast that you could easily anchor down for the rest of the day.  

If you are hungry, you can grab a bite to eat at Cheffy Chelby’s, Port Burger, a vegetarian pasty at Beck’s Bakehouse or something from the plethora of other places to choose from. Then, enjoy some retail therapy along Gawler Street and top it off with fish and chips on the beach at sunset! 

Becks Bakehouse Port Noralunga
 

South Port, Moana and Maslin Beach are next. 

Plenty of people love a sunset stroll and Instagram pic on the stairs at South Port where the Onkaparinga River meets the sea. Moana allows you to drive the car onto the beach and popular for families, and Maslin Beach boasts some of the most spectacular cliffs you’ll see in the region, as well as the chance to lose your inhibitions or stroll and take in the contrasting scenery.  

Port Willunga 

We then opt to head straight to Port Willunga, one of the most stunning beaches on the Fleurieu Peninsula! If you have the time, a long lunch at the popular and newly renovated Star of Greece is an absolute must – a crisp glass of sparkling wine in hand as you watch the sun glisten on the water directly in front of you. Bliss! 

Port Willunga Beach McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast 

Aldinga 

We arrive next into Aldinga township and what a beautiful site it is. A little stroll and walk of the dog within the Temperance Precinct at Aldinga may or may not have seen me walking away with a Miss Gladys on Sea bag. Between there and the homewares and gift shops like, Sage House and Little Road Studio, I dare you to walk away empty handed. I’m sure it can be done but I’m yet to experience it. 

Time for some more food to enjoy, which takes us to The Little Rickshaw, just off the main street. There are no walk in tables available today which is a reminder that booking is a must if planning your drive ahead of time. I recommend you do because the food is incredible. Lucky for us the quaint Mediterranean coloured Willunga Gelato stall just a few metres up from Old Coach Road is open, and a nectarine sorbet has my name on it. 

Sage House Aldinga

Aldinga Beach, Silver Sands Beach and Sellicks Beach 

Our final stop is along this spectacular coastal drive are the drive on beaches of Aldinga Beach and then Silver Sands Beach for a well-deserved dip in the Southern Ocean. The water is sublime and the people watching with their boats, jet skis and stand-up paddle boards is entertaining. It’s a beach lovers paradise. A stroll towards Sellicks Beach will have you in awe of the stunning cliff faces with every step and wishing you’d brought a picnic basket with your dinner essentials to stay for sunset.  

You could easily complete the drive in under an hour, but why would when this incredible region is full of fabulous places to wine and dine, shop to your hearts content or simply soak up the coastal views any time of the year. . 

My advice – do it. 

Visit https://www.mclarenvaleandfleurieucoast.com.au/plan/route-31-coastal-drive and enjoy the drive!

 Kelly Golding on a scenic coastal drive in South Australia

 

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