Walking Trails and Adventures in McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Peninsula

Walking Trails and Adventures in McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Peninsula

So much to do in McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula, check out a few of our Oliver’s Taranga suggestions:-

To experience: The Heysen Trail // Best things to do in McLaren Vale

TO EXPERIENCE // The Heysen Trail

The Friends of the Heysen Trail is a comprehensive and informative website complete with Southern and Northern Guidebooks plus Topographical Section maps available to purchase.

Complete with walking events, facilities/accommodation and drinking water stops along the way, your trail hiking planning is a breeze.
Check out the website and books available for purchase…. and get your walking poles out!

> Heysen Trail Website

To experience: Sup Down South // Best things to do in McLaren Vale

TO EXPERIENCE // Sup Down South

It’s all the craze and if you don’t have your own board, hire a SUP Down South stand-up paddle board on the beaches of Port Willunga and Aldinga. With a minimal hourly hire charge and no car transportation needed, it really doesn’t get any better.

Located at some of the best beaches in the world, the relaxation and tranquility cannot be rivalled.
Warning! Beautiful dolphins quite often make an appearance to add to this experience.

Stay in the loop with SUP Down South facebook for hiring details. Often they host events including beach yoga and paddle board combined mornings.

> facebook.com/SUP-Down-South

To Explore: Archery Park // Best things to do in McLaren Vale

TO EXPLORE // Archery Park

Archery Park is devoted to all forms of archery as a recreation and pastime for the whole family. Gone are fibreglass bows and arrows and boring targets.

Now the latest compound bows and carbon arrows make instruction and use simple. After a short familiarisation, you will safely and accurately negotiate over one of three-field courses. You will wander through 44 acres of natural bush, following established tracks. Over 90 targets await you, varying in size from wild buffalo to fox or rabbit. Your own skill will decide the distance you are required to shoot.

It’s easy. All ages from five to 80 can have a go. They cater for the beginner through to the advanced archer. As a bonus you will enjoy views over the gulf and McLaren Vale, more than 200 species of native flora, an abundance of wildlife including the elusive koala.

203 Piggott Range Road, Clarendon

08 8383 6448

To relax: Hallett Cove Conservation Park // Best things to do in McLaren Vale

Hallett Cove Conservation Park

‘The Geology Circuit’ trail provides a fascinating walk through Earth’s far distant past, with the whole area dating back over 600 million years.

Hallett Cove Conservation Park
> Photo credit: Greg Scales

To explore: South Coast Helicopters // Best things to do in McLaren Vale

TO EXPLORE // South Coast Helicopters

South Coast Helicopters is a proudly South Australian family owned and operated business, who specialise in creating unique heli-tourism experiences.

Regardless of your choice of destination the sheer convenience and luxury of travelling by helicopter adds an unforgettable third dimension to any adventure.

Located on the outskirts of the historic township of Strathalbyn, their base is less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide. It’s the ideal launching spot to cover the Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, the Coorong, River Murray and the wine regions of McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills.

> southcoasthelicopters.com.au

To relax: Nan Hai Pu Tuo Temple // Best things to do in McLaren Vale

TO RELAX // Nan Hai Pu Tuo Temple + Buddha

This beautiful lady represents the goddess of mercy – she will bring peace, harmony, prosperity and wealth to SA and those who visit.

> Cactus Canyon Road, Sellicks Beach

To explore: Adventure Kayaking SA // Best things to do in McLaren Vale

TO EXPLORE // Adventure Kayaking SA

Spectacular beaches , coastal cliffs, sea caves, seals… a great sea kayaking adventure awaits!

The tour begins at Rapid Bay on the lower Fleurieu Peninsula, where the rugged coastline boasts spectacular towering cliffs and crystal clear water. After meeting on the beach and running through procedures, you’ll soon be paddling to secluded beaches and mysterious sea caves. It’s here where you can meet the “locals”; a growing colony of seals that are always keen to make new friends.

The team at Adventure Kayaking SA provide the 1 or 2 person sea kayaks which are very stable and easy to use, comfortable buoyancy vests and friendly guidance that will make the experience both safe and great fun.

> adventurekayak.com.au

To explore: Leafy Sea Dragon Tours with NB Scuba // Best things to do in McLaren Vale

TO EXPLORE // Leafy Sea Dragon Tours with NB Scuba

If you have your PADI diving certificate or not, Nate is the man to go to. A highly experienced dive instructor, he’ll get you up to speed with your open water or refresher licence, and book you in for a guided Leafy Sea Dragon tour off of the Rapid Bay jetty.

An increasingly rare sight, you’ll experience the magical, mysterious and mesmerizing Leafy Sea Dragon in its own habitat. Along with these mystic creatures, you’ll also catch a glimpse of other local marine life – ranging from Cuttlefish to Blue Ring Octopus. So take a dive with Nate and see the Leafies in all their glory!

> E: nbscuba@gmail.com
> M: 0406 202 738


Tie yourself into a pair of sturdy shoes and try out one of our fantastic walks in McLaren Vale or around the Fleurieu Peninsula. Below I mention only a few of the tried and tested.  The variety is fantastic with some of the trails allowing just a short stroll for some fresh air, right through to a whole day out.  Plan a walk around your winery visits —they are definitely worth the effort.


Onkaparinga River National and Recreation Parks

The Onkaparinga National Park is spread over 1544 ha, the array of walks can take you down steep slopes, narrow river valleys, wetlands, estuaries and flood plains. This park is a fantastic corridor for wildlife and flora.

Download below the trail map and information  brochure for different trails and options.  A handy little guide available provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


Overview of Onkaparinga National Park


If you enjoy company and prefer to be chauffered, there are alot of great tour groups which take you to some scenic destinations in the Fleurieu.  One of my favourites is the well reviewed  Off Piste 4WD tours hosted by Ben Neville.  Below is a tranquil pic of a the best lunch spot-  taken in the Onkaparinga Gorge.

Onkaparinga Gorge Off Piste 3

Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park

If you like to smell the sea air and hike close to the beach one of the all time favourites is the Aldinga Scrub.  During spring the park is adorned with amazing wildflowers.  You need to take the time to stop and hear the birdlife and animals.  The sand dunes are forever moving creating undulating swales and plains.

If you are lucky you will spot a few kangaroos, and perhaps an Echidna.

I think the experienced is enhanced if you think about the Kaurna Aboriginal people who use to populate the scrub during the summer.  The scrub was a bountiful supply of food-such as nardoo, muntries yams and quandongs.

For unique plant species found in the park, I find the most amazing is the lacy coral lichen.  If you are limited for time this can be accessed on the Coral Lichen Circuit loop off of Fraser Street.


Aldinga Scrub Coral Lichen
Coral Lichen
5 monkeys in the scrub
5 monkeys



Even amongst the suburbs there are little pockets of wetland and wildlife worlds.  These man made wetlands are a natural water purifer as well as the reeds and sedges which absorb pollutants which often get into the stormwater.  These ecosystems then in turn support fish and bird wildlife  providing food and a haven.

Many of the Onkaparinga Wetland walks, also support recreational activities including a network of bridges, walking paths, community structures, playgrounds and interpretive signs.

After recently taking a walk around the Seaford Rise wetlands, I was suprised at how refreshing and removed you feel from the proximity of the houses.  The added advantage is all of these walks are also dog friendly.

Seaford Wetlands IMG_3481


The list of walks is long and varied.  Here are a few pdf links of some of the best publications I have found.  Remember to breathe in the air and have a smile on your face.

Cheers Nicky

National Parks guide-Fleurieu Peninsula

40 Great Short Walks