By Rebecca Francis
September 11, 2020 | 5 minute read
The Fleurieu Peninsula is an picturesque and diverse region, and one great way to explore what’s on offer is to grab your helmet and hit the road on your bike. From sea-view trails along the coast to winding roads through the countryside, you’ll soon understand why South Australia is recognised as a cyclist’s haven. Here are five of the best cycling trails to try.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Coast to Vines Trail
Spend a leisurely day exploring along the Coast to Vines Rail Trail. Stretching for 37km from the coastal suburb of Marino through to the historical town of Willunga, this cycle trail along an old railway line is rich in history and beauty.
You’ll have plenty of photo opportunities as you transition from ocean views through to the hinterland, passing the striking hills of Hallett Cove, winding through the towns of Old Reynella and Old Noarlunga, and finishing your journey in the spectacular vineyards of the McLaren Vale wine region.
The trail is family friendly and is known for its easy riding, although there are a few slight inclines. Take it slow, admire the sights and don’t forget to stop in at one of the many cellar doors, like the Shingleback Wine Cellar Door, for a refreshment or two before continuing on your merry way.
The Shiraz Trail
If the Coast to Vines trail is a little longer than you’d like, try the Shiraz Trail. This is one section of the trail, from McLaren Vale through to Willunga, and is a lot flatter.
The Shiraz Trail is 14km return and follows the old steam train line that thrived 40 years ago. It then links the wine district to the regional produce hub of Willunga.
Before you set off on your bike, take a peek inside the iconic Almond Train, a 1920’s train carriage that showcases some of the local gourmet foods, along with South Australia’s largest range of flavoured almonds!
If you’re cycling on a Saturday, be sure to reward yourself at the Willunga Farmers Market with some tasty local treats.
Get out of the city and head south to enjoy a smooth ride along some of Adelaide’s most popular family beaches. An easy and gentle ride along sealed roads, this offers a great opportunity to round the family up for a day of beautiful scenery. Beginning in Port Willunga, this ride should be enjoyed at a relaxing pace to admire the cliff faces and clear waters of Port Willunga beach, one of the Fleurieu’s most photographed beaches.
Stop in at the Star of Greece Cafe, nestled on the edge of a cliff top, for the incredible views along the coast or grab an ice cream from the adjacent kiosk as you learn more about the history of the iron cargo ship that shipwrecked off the coast in 1888.
Once you’ve topped up your energy levels, head on to Aldinga beach and admire the Aldinga Reef Aquatic Reserve. The reserve covers 66 hectares and was created in 1971 to protect the local reef and its inhabitants. The southern end of the reserve, at Silver Sands, is where the trail ends and it’s time to turn back around and enjoy the ride all the way back up for a second look.
If you’re keen to experience the breathtaking coastlines of the south then take a ride along the Encounter Bikeway from Goolwa to Victor Harbor. Passing through coastal towns and foreshore dunes, the Bikeway stretches for a total distance of 31km along flat terrain and is a mixture of shared pathways and quiet back streets. Park your car at the base of The Bluff and if you have time, climb to the top to admire the 360° views over the bay and Petrel Cove before catching your breath and starting your cycling journey along the foreshore.
Keep your eyes open for whales, stop for a picnic at Horseshoe Bay or visit the markets at Port Elliot. The Bikeway ends at Laffin Point but before you make your way back, take a moment to grab a cold one at The Steam Exchange Brewery. Distance boards, maps and information signs are situated along the trail.
Get back to nature as you cycle along the Meadows Loop trail. With some steep climbs, the Meadows Loop trail is a sure way to burn some calories! Start your ride in Strathalbyn, before heading along the long but gentle climb up through the Angas Valley. Continue the climb to Macclesfield, and freshen up at The Three Brothers Arms, an old country pub that was established in 1841 and is well known for its wood-fired pizzas and heritage bar.
More steep climbs lead you through to Meadows and onto Ashbourne, where you’ll be met with wide open views across the southern plains. Take a moment to enjoy the sites of the Coorong beyond, before starting the homestretch back to Strathalbyn with its long and well-deserved descent to end your ride.
We think you should know
The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers.
We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with,
any of the entities listed in or referred to in this article.