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Published March 12th 2016
Nosey around Normanville
If you enjoy a weekend drive and don't want to go too far, then one of the many options available is a trip down to Normanville, located on the picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula, about 76 kms ( just over an hour's drive) from Adelaide.
Being the largest regional town on the western side of the Fleurieu, Normanville was originally established by South Australia's first dentist, Robert Norman in 1849. The town soon flourished and grew to become a successful wheat exporting area, using the nearby jetty at Normanville Beach as a port for shipping.
Today it is a popular spot for beachgoers, fishing, boating and soaking up the community atmosphere around the town and here are but a selection of some worthwhile things to see and do:
If you like the idea of starting your day with a leisurely breakfast overlooking the sea, then you should give Normanville Kiosk and Cafe a try. Having started originally as a basic kiosk, it now caters not only for breakfast but also for lunch and dinner and has a great decking that has been added on to really be able to enjoy the sea breezes and fresh air.
Normanville Beach runs along the coast for just over 7 kms and is ideal for boating, fishing, swimming as well as long walks on a relatively flat sandy beach. The beach is very popular with families and people on stand-up paddle boards and in kayaks seem to enjoy the sheltered bay.
The Norfolk Pines planted along the foreshore make a great backdrop to the rolling hills which end abruptly at the sea's edge. At this time of the year the landscape around Normanville is quite brown, however a dramatic change occurs in the winter months, when almost by magic ( and with some much needed rain), the landscape changes to a vivid green.
One of the oldest hotels in South Australia is the Normanville Hotel dating from 1851. Like many hotels, this one has been re-furbished as recent as 2003, with the outdoor eating area set up as recently as 2013.
The hotel is open for lunch between 12 Noon and 2 pm as well as dinner from 5.30 pm until 8 pm, 7 days a week. There are various dining venues within the complex, including the Beverley Restaurant, Georgies, the outdoor dining area, as well as function room and private dining room.
Main course prices will set you back anything from $17 right up to $36 per person, with a full range of cuisine on offer, from the humble Burger right through to Angus Rump Steak.
Whilst wandering along the main street, I discovered some great examples of street art which were painted on the side of several businesses, which seemed to add a splash of colour and enjoyment to the town. All with a seaside theme and great use of colour and texture.
Normanville has seen a growth in the number of diverse art, craft and clothes shops over the years and some of the shops I noticed, were spilling out onto the pavement including South Coast Surf which had racks of clothing as well as jewellery for sale, giving the area a "market" kind of feel.
Another quirky type of shop was Coastal Wares which offered a good range of homewares, clothing, gifts, furniture, toys as well as fresh flowers. Loved the hammock hanging outside of the shop!
I must admit one of the first things I look for in a country town is its bakery, and I wasn't disappointed with the Normanville Bakery, especially with their range of pastries on offer. They are open normally from 7 am - 5 pm, except for Sundays when they close at 4 pm.
If it is a quick coffee and snack you are looking for, then try Caffe on Bungala in the main street. The name of Bungala relates to the River Bungala which meanders through the town with the outlet flowing out to sea. They do cater for both breakfast and lunch and have a good selection on their menu, including for lunch, Fish, Curries, Lasagnes and Paninis/Foccacias.
For some fine dining and wine, then you can go a little more upmarket with The Courthouse in the main street of Normanville. The restaurant is housed in an historic court building dating from 1865 and has been established with its current owners as a restaurant since 2010.
The Courthouse favours locally sourced produce and boasts about its organic and sustainable food. Both Tapas and shared platters are quite popular and mains are between $29 and $35 per person. They are open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 11 am.
Other options include the Calaboose Grill and Smokehouse, and One Little Sister, which offers mouthwatering selections from its menu. These are both on the main street all within walking distance of each other.
Normanville really is a town that offers so much after a relatively short drive from Adelaide.