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Things to do in Fleurieu Peninsula with kids

Ultimate guide to things to do in Fleurieu Peninsula with kids

Known as Adelaide’s playground, The Fleurieu Peninsula is South Australia’s most popular tourist region.  A year-round destination right on the capital’s doorstep, the area is packed with endless activities for families.  

From white sand beaches, rivers and pretty coastal towns to lush vineyards and rural landscapes, it is all about the great outdoors in The Fleurieu Peninsula. 

The hills of McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Currency Creek and Strathalbyn offer a host of great family friendly farm gates and vineyards, while the coastal towns of Goolwa, Middleton, Port Elliot, Victor Harbor, Port Noarlunga, Port Willunga and Cape Jervis are perfect for watery adventures including fishing, surfing, sailing and swimming. Scuba and snorkeling are also popular activities for active families.

Pack your snorkelling gear for Port Noarlunga. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission/ Adam Bruzzone

Out of the water, cycling and blading along the Encounter Bikeway between Goolwa and the Bluff are popular pastimes, as are hikes and trail walks though some of the state’s most stunning landscapes. Deep Creek Conservation Park is one of the best places for wildlife spotting and incredible views of Backstairs Passage and the Pages Islands. 

Animal lovers will find The Fleurieu Peninsula to be one of South Australia’s best whale watching regions with Southern Right Whales coming quite close to shore during migration season. There are also plenty of playful dolphins, Australian sea lions and fur seals to spot. Some of the area’s most popular residents are its Little Penguins, and the best place to spot them is from the Penguin Interpretive Centre on Granite Island.

Top things to do in Fleurieu Peninsula

From beautiful beaches to wildlife and vineyards, there is plenty to entertain families here.

  1. Surf, swim or snorkel at one of the many beaches 
  2. Ride a camel on the beach at Victor Harbor 
  3. Enjoy the wild beauty of Coorong National Park 
  4. See the Little Penguins at the Penguin Interpretive Centre on Granite Island
  5. Visit Oceanic Victor’s undersea observatory to see Australian marine life
  6. Go Whale watching during the migration season 
  7. Taste the flavours of the Fleurieu at over 100 cellar and farm doors
  8. Ride on the Heritage Cockle train – one of Australia’s oldest trains
  9. Visit the Wilunga Farmers Market
  10. Explore the South Australian Whale Centre

Things to do in Fleurieu Peninsula with…

Little lovers of boats, trains and automobiles will love The Fleurieu Peninsula. Take them on a one-hour historic paddle steamer cruise along the marvelous Murray River on the PS Oscar W from Goolwa Wharf. Enjoy a ride on the Clydesdale Horse Drawn Tram from Victor Harbour to Granite Island. Or catch the historic Cockle Train to the top of the coastal cliffs for amazing views. 

There are a host of cool kids’ playgrounds throughout the area. Little kids will love clambering over the steam train themed playground at George T Fisher playground in Victor Harbor, or let them loose at the Jubilee Park Adventure Playground. Suitable for all ages, this multi-level, all-ages, wooden fort has a special area for toddlers with a tot sized slide and toddler swings. There’s also a climbing net, sand pit, an accessible carousel and a water play feature.

Spend your days swimming, building sandcastles and soaking up the sunshine on one of the Fleurieu Peninsula’s many beaches. Sheltered Horseshoe Bay at Port Elliot is particularly good for younger kids. See if you can spot Southern Right Whales from the beach during migration season as they come quite close to shore. To learn more about the magnificent beasts of the sea visit the SA Whale Centre at Victor Harbor. The education and marine conservation facility boasts artefacts, interactive exhibits and an excellent school holiday program. 

Visit Oceanic Victor’s to get up close and personal with magnificent Southern Bluefin Tuna and an array of Australian marine life. Kids will enjoy the marine touch tank and heading down below to watch all the underwater action from an underwater observatory. 

If you’d rather enjoy wildlife adventures above the sea, head on a guided tour of Granite Island to spot its adorable, wild Little Penguins.

Grab your boogie board and head to one of the regions’ stunning surf beaches to get wet. Or unleash your inner grom at a surfing lesson with a pro on Middleton or Moana Beach. Animal lovers can ride a camel along the beach at Victor Harbor or saddle up to ride a horse on the beach at Normanville.  Or if you prefer your transport with wheels instead of legs, take The Cockle Train, an old steel railway, from Goolwa along the Wharf Precinct to Victor Harbor to enjoy the stunning coastal views. More adventurous kids might prefer to try quad biking or 4WDing. 

Nature lovers can take a hike along the Goondooloo Ridge Walk to spot native wildlife and soak up stunning scenery. And active kids will enjoy cycling and blading along the sealed Encounter Bikeway between Goolwa and the Bluff or enjoy an afternoon of Paintball warfare.

Action loving teens will be spoiled for choice in and out of the water in the Fleurieu Peninsula. Surrounded by the ocean and crisscrossed by waterways, water sports enthusiasts will be in their element in this region. There is excellent surfing with lessons for beginners. Try sailing, kite-surfing, jet-skiing, kayaking, canoeing and wind-surfing. And for those who prefer to explore under the water, there is excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. And for the ultimate thrill, try a tandem skydive over the stunning surf town of Goolwa.

Active teens will love camping out in Deep Creek Conservation Park, the only national park within 100-kilometres of Adelaide that offers bush camping, including a ‘hike-in’ only site situated on the Heysen trail. There are many other walking trails to explore for spotting native wildlife and soaking up spectacular views of Backstairs Passage, Kangaroo Island and the rugged Deep Creek Valley.

Port Willunga is great for family photos! Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission/ Adam Bruzzone

Best time to visit Fleurieu Peninsula as a family

With four distinct seasons and an array of activities all year-round, the Fleurieu Peninsula is perfect any time of the year. In fact, you may find yourself coming back time and again to experience every season.

Wildlife is plentiful all year round but if you wish to see the majestic Southern Right whales during their migration, the months from May to October are the best. For those that like birds, Coorong National Park is famous for its migratory waders and another 230 migratory birds that travel annually from Siberia, Alaska, Japan and China to this stunning national park.

Spring, winter and autumn are best for hiking and camping. During autumn the pretty colours of the trees add another dimension to Mother Nature’s picturesque palette of ever-changing colours.

Peak season is during school holidays and summer when people flock to this beautiful region to unwind, explore and rejuvenate. If you’re looking for a bargain, it is best to do so outside these times.

Horseshoe Bay. Credit: SA Media Gallery

Family-friendly places to eat in Fleurieu Peninsula

The Mediterranean climate makes this region a great one for dining all year round.  Spoiled by the bounty of the Southern Ocean, the Fleurieu Peninsula boasts a variety of delicious prawns, oysters, lobsters, fish and other seafood delicacies, and inland you will find a huge variety of fresh farm produce.

With the best of the best from land and sea, Fleurieu’s farmers, chefs, and provedores deliver amazing food made from quality local produce and foodie families are spoiled for choice with everything from café delights and high-end pub meals to fine dining. Wine lovers too can taste the best of four distinct wine regions – including McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Currency Creek and Southern Fleurieu.

For the ultimate gourmet experience, take the food and wine trail from Mount Compass to catch your own rainbow trout, taste cheese and buy olive oil straight from farm gates.

Walk along the boardwalk to Middleton Beach. Credit: Bound Round

Things to do for free in Fleurieu Peninsula

  • With an abundance of things to do for free, you will want to be extending your stay and exploring the diversity the Fleurieu Peninsula has on offer.
  • There are beaches with fabulous surf, snorkelling, diving and fishing opportunities, let alone the leisurely walks along the sandy beaches. Middleton Beach has some of South Australia’s best surf for those that like to ride or paddle a board.
  • For those that like to see nature below the waterline, people come from around the world to view Leafy Sea Dragons, a rare and delicate creature that calls the waters around the peninsula home, plus the world’s smallest penguins live around Victor Harbour, but these are only two. There are birds, whales, dolphins, seals and more.
  • Port Willunga, one of the oldest settlements in Australia is worthy of a visit. The Farmers markets here are a great place for fresh produce.

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