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Published December 5th 2015
So much to do and so much to see
Hidden at the bottom of the valley on the western side of the Fleurieu Peninsula, Yankalilla is often in the shadow of the more popular holiday spots or wine regions of the Fleurieu Peninsula. However with an emerging café scene stretching the better part of the main road from Yankalilla and Normanville, the secrets of Yankalilla and surrounding towns are fast escaping. On my recent trip south, I took time out from those cafés to find the top things to do in and around the rugged and natural beauty of the Yankalilla region.
The Hills and Seascape Discovery Drive 52 is a must for any visitors to Yankalilla. With 85km of iconic Fleurieu scenery, this drive takes visitors through cattle farming valleys, past waterfalls and on to Deep Creek Conservation Park with its magnificent views of Kangaroo Island.
The views of Kangaroo Island continue all the way around to Cape Jervis and include the Sealink ferry terminal and the enormous windfarms. Coastal towns round out this scenic drive with Rapid Bay, Second Valley and its historic seawall, and the beautiful beachside town of Normanville all providing spots for kids to play and for adults to rest and take in the serenity.
The cooler climes of the Fleurieu combined with reasonable annual rainfalls provide the perfect environment for waterfalls. The Hindmarsh Falls are a short distance drive away, while the oft-running Deep Creek falls are at the end of a 2km walk from the Trig Campground. The closest falls, and perhaps the most easily accessible, are the Ingalalla Falls. Surrounded by the Second Valley Forest, the lower and upper falls are frequently running, and are accompanied by several picnic areas.
In a region of outstanding cliff faces, natural hill sides and coastal sands, it is no surprise that lookouts feature prominently. With southern and eastern views across oceans, the sunsets become majestic while the rolling farms across Torrens Vale and Parawa feature prominently.
However for those looking for an entirely different view then the Myponga Reservoir is a must see visit. Built in 1962, this Reservoir is contained within a valley and has a trafficable wall to hold and control water flows. The lookout atop the aptly named Reservoir Road provides exceptional 360 degree views across the water and over the surrounding farmlands to the coast near Myponga Beach.
Undoubtedly one of the real secrets of the region are the beaches. From the quiet and secluded beaches through Myponga, Second Valley and Rapid Bay to the long stretch of beach at Normanville that was once home to the Port of Yankalilla.
History records some encounters between ferocious storms and the local jetties but these are the rarity. For the majority of the days each year, these golden beaches are calming interfaces between the cool seabreezes and the grassy slopes of the nearby hills, and are home to a raft of seaside activities including swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, diving, boating and fishing.
One of the best ways to experience the western side of the Fleurieu is to walk. The long stretch of beach from Carrickalinga to Lady Bay provides an extended long distance and romantic walk especially around sunset, while slightly inland a walking / cycle path runs parallel to the coast for those with prams or kids on small bikes.
For the more adventurous the Heysen Trail departs Cape Jervis with a number of smaller 10-15km day walks through Deep Creek Conservation Park making it easily accessible for everyone. While for those wanting to understand the history of the region, the historical walks around Yankalilla and Normanville highlight the maritime, farming and religious past.
At a time when we are becoming spoilt for choice in terms of food, Yankalilla and surrounds adds further to this confusion. Iconic hotels, tapas bars and cafes provide options for those looking to sit down and watch the world go by, while Normanville and Yankalilla are blessed with great bakeries with hard-to-resist pastries.
But what would be a trip to the coast be without sampling local fish and chips at one of the local beaches. With great serveries at Cape Jervis, Second Valley and Normanville, the choices are again many, as are the seagulls who seem to be able to smell the enticing aroma of salt and vinegar from different postcodes.
Being only 15 minutes from McLaren Vale, the cellar door choices are plenty, but why travel back towards the hustle and bustle of the City when you don't have to. Hidden in the hills behind Yankalilla is a boutique winery known as Allusion Wines that has been producing great wines since 1999.
With a wide range of blends, a cosy cellar door and a large outdoor grassed area, Allusion Wines offers a great opportunity for you to try some great regional wines and to have a special afternoon out while still being close enough to appreciate that special mix of sea and farming airs.
Yankalilla is 72km south of Adelaide along the Main South Road, and just 20km south from the magnificent Guan Yin Buddha at Sellicks Beach. Further details on the above, and more, are available from the Yankalilla Visitor Information Centre, which is open 7 days a week.
Steve,I agree entirely with your comments,sewn together with some great photos.This part of S.Aust. has everything going for it...a view expressed by interstate tourists to the area, who seemed a little surprised that the scenery was so good.