McLaren Vale local Karena Armstrong shares her guide to a weekend on the Fleurieu Peninsula with RAA Travel.

From her favourite coffee roastery and a top-notch food and wine experience in McLaren Vale, to a cosy dinner at an Aldinga gem, a must-visit lunch destination with ocean views, and a scenic drive to a Port Elliot icon. If you’re planning a weekend away on the Fleurieu Peninsula, be sure to book your travel through RAA Travel. RAA members can save up to 15% on select SA accommodations!

Best Coffee

For some of the best coffee in the Fleurieu Peninsula, head to Dawn Patrol Coffee. They roast on-site and have a cellar door-style approach to coffee. Here, you can sample a wide range of offerings at their Brew Bar, including both filter and espresso choices on a menu that changes seasonally. Great snacks are available too.

Premium Food & Wine Experience

Situated in the heart of McLaren Vale, Maxwell Wines is one of the Australia’s top regional restaurants. Complementing the estate vineyards, winery, and cellar door, the restaurant offers a memorable dining experience led by chef Fabian Lehmann. The restaurant also offers stunning views of the winery, vineyards, and the Fleurieu Peninsula.

RAA members can enjoy a complimentary premium wine tasting in the Maxwell Cellar Door when dining at Maxwell Restaurant from Friday to Sunday.

Cosy Dinner Spot

Karena is at the helm of The Salopian Inn, a delightful regional diner nestled among McLaren Vale’s vineyards. Expect a menu featuring fresh ingredients from the restaurant’s organic kitchen garden, with a strong Asian influence.

For another cosy dinner option, head a little further south to The Little Rickshaw in Aldinga. What looks like a corrugated iron shed is actually an impressive South-East Asian diner owned by Trinh and Mike Richards, who converted a 190-year-old blacksmith’s workshop into a 40-seat restaurant. It’s one of Karena’s favorite spots in the region.

Best Bakery

No visit to the Fleurieu Peninsula is complete without stopping at the iconic Port Elliot Bakery. Proudly satisfying pastry cravings for 28 years, the bakery is still operated by its original owners, the Gorman-Horrocks family. The site has been a bakery and patisserie for over a hundred years, with the original wood-fired oven still in place. There are picnic tables and seating outside under the gum trees, making it the perfect place to enjoy a delicious lunch and take in Port Elliot’s surroundings.

Lunch with a View

Silver Sands Beach Club is a surf lifesaving club with a twist. In 2018, respected wine critic and beverage expert Nick Stock, along with co-owner Mark Kamleh, transformed it into the stunning beachside venue it is today. With a seafood-forward menu, succinct wine list, and epic ocean views, it’s the perfect seaside destination to add to your weekend itinerary.

Relaxed Wine Tasting

Looking for a laid-back wine tasting? Samuel's Gorge was established by winemaker Justin McNamee in 2003. Housed in an 1853-built farm shed, the winery overlooks the spectacular Onkaparinga River National Park, offering breathtaking views and some of the best Grenache in the region. 

Locals Favourite

Hey Juj on McLaren Vale’s main street is a café by day and a wine bar by night. Serving everything from breakfast bao buns to acai bowls, poké bowls, and their signature ‘sando of the day,’ there is something for everyone! As the venue transitions into a wine bar at night, visitors can enjoy the best local wine, beer, and spirits, with the option to order from a tapas menu as well.

Where to Stay

Nestled behind Serafino’s restaurant and cellar door is their 30-room, four-star accommodation, offering seclusion, privacy, and comfort. Perfectly situated in the heart of McLaren Vale, it’s the ideal base for a weekend on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Book your stay via RAA Travel, where RAA members can save up to 15% on select SA accommodations.

Best Thing About the Fleurieu Peninsula

Along with a thriving food scene and world-class wine region, the Fleurieu Peninsula is home to some of the most stunning natural attractions in South Australia, including its lush national parks and pristine beaches. Come for the food & wine, stay for the spectacular scenery.