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Fleurieu Peninsula SA Drive Now


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Fleurieu Peninsula & Kangaroo Island
Holiday Destinations & Towns SA


At the very tip of Fleurieu Peninsula is Cape Jervis. It was charted in 1802 by Mathew Flinders who named it after the then first Lord of the Admiralty. The coastline around Cape Jervis is rugged, the result of glacial action and aeons of elemental weathering. The surrounding cliffs and coves are great for exploring. On most days, the outline of Kangaroo Island can be clearly seen. The waters around Backstairs Passage can be treacherous and Cape Jervis lighthouse is still important to shipping.

Several ferries depart from here daily for Kangaroo Island, sixteen kilometres away. In addition to fishing and boating, the district is a popular venue with hang gliders.


Population: 2.360 This is an historic river Port on the lower reaches of the River Murray, the last before it empties into the Southern Ocean.

It was once a thriving port, built to funnel the trade in wool, grain and merchandise from up-river to Port Adelaide and interstate. A busy shipbuilding industry provided and repaired paddlesteamers, whilst the first public railway in the country was built to carry the goods cross country to Port Elliot and later, Victor Harbor.

However, by the turn of the century Goolwa had lost its significant importance - railways built from Adelaide to the River Murray and from Melbourne to Echuca quickly siphoned its trade from the 1880s. As a tourist destination, Goolwa has a unique claim to fame - it's the only place in Australia where paddlesteamers and an historic train join forces to provide a double- barrelled adventure in steam transport.

The town is a junction for the Cockle Train, a holiday maker's train of historic carriages that travels between Goolwa and Victor Harbor. From Goolwa, the paddlesteamer Mundoo' and a number of other vessels depart on day trips or longer to cruise the lakes, Coorong and river reaches.

Hindmarsh Island, a large island impeding the flow of the River Murray before it reaches the ocean, is accessible only by ferry, making it an ideal escape destination as well as a point from which to see the Murray Mouth. A large marina has been constructed on the island.


Population: 1,924 Strathalbyn is one of South Australia's most beautiful towns and has some fine colonial buildings. Many of its founders were Scottish, and the town's architecture reflects this influence - not to be missed are the Old Courthouse Museum, the Old Police Station and Saint Andrews Church which overlooks the tree-lined River Angas. The town's old-world charm is best experienced on a walk through its wide streets guided by a walking tour booklet available at the Tourist Office and other retail outlets. Strathalbyn is also renowned for its Craft and antique shops.


Population: 5,318 This is the South Coast's Premier holiday resort, and has been since last century. It is also the largest town. The area was first settled in 1837 to service the whaling industry. Had it been for Governor Hindmarsh, the colony's first governor, it would have been the capital of South Australia, but on Colonel Light's insistence, Victor Harbor, or Alexandra as it was first known, was rejected as a possible site.

For a few years, Victor Harbor was a major South Australian port of export for the River Murray trade. A railway linked Goolwa and Victor Harbor but when the trade died tourism became an important part of the Victor Harbor economy. The historic railway track is still in use, this time to carry the popular Cockle Train between the two towns.


Population: Approx 250
This is one of the state's oldest resorts. Mathew Flinders' first called here in 1802 at nearby Pelican Lagoon. A year later, 33 years before South Australia was settled, an American brig visited the estuary and stayed to build a 32-tonne schooner, the 'Independence,' from native pine.

On the edge of Eastern Cove, American River's beautiful blue waters are a haven for birdlife, especially pelicans.

Holiday-makers are never short of things to do - there's plenty of birdwatching, sailing, canoeing or fishing, bushwalking or horseback riding. At night, wallabies and other nocturnal animals come out of the bush and can be spotted around the town.

In August, the entire town is ablaze with the blooms of Ereesias whilst wildflowers provide a continually changing carpet of colour along the road and through the bush trails.


Population: 1,450
This was the first settlement in South Australia. It was first named Angas, after George Fife Angas, one of the colony's founders, but a dispute saw it renamed after Henry Kingscote, another of the founders. On the shore of beautiful Nepean Bay, Kingscote is the island's capital, and its centre of commerce and tourism.

To the north of the town, steep cliffs provide a good vantage point for views over the town, the bay, and Western Cove. Yachts and fishing boats dot the water. At the base of the cliffs is Reeves Point, the colony's first landing-place. To the south, the cliffs give way to beach and swampland near the mouth of the Cygnet River where birds nest and breed in profusion.


Population: 300
Penneshaw is on the north-east coast of Dudley Peninsula, a small, pretty town overlooking Backstairs Passage. The mainland is a mere sixteen kilometres away, and vehicle ferries from Cape Jervis dock here daily. Hog Bay has an excellent swimming beach and jetty, and its picnic spots make it a destination favoured by families.


Population: 500
The only major town on the island not on the coast, Parndana is a good central base from which to explore all parts of Kangaroo Island. It sits on the Playford Highway, forty kilometres from Kingscote and services the grazing land and western end of the island. It is a relatively new town, having been settled by soldier-settlers after World War II. Its country town atmosphere provides a good contrast to the coastal resort towns of Kingscote and Penneshaw.

For further travel information on: Kangaroo Island | Fleurieu Peninsula

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