Every family has ‘their special spot’… a place that fulfils all their needs as a family, but that few other people seem to know about. This is our families most special secret holiday location, and we have spent summers here for almost every summer for more than 10 years.
Port Willunga is on the Fleurieu Peninsula, a 45 minute drive south of Adelaide, and a 10 minute drive to McLaren Vale. It is a truly BREATHTAKING beach…soft golden sand, turquoise water, dramatic cliffs that could be anywhere in Greece, Portugal or even Turkey, so much so that several of the Gallipoli series were filmed here…each year when we arrive, I’m surprised, yet again, by just how unique this spot is!
There is a pod of dolphins who bob past one way at about 8 in the morning, and back again between 3 and 5 in the afternoon…heaven!
It’s perfect for kids, protected by an outlaying reef (read: NO SHARKS!) and has ample parking. There are two access points to get down from the cliff tops, those in the know (locals) go down the long ramp that pops out at the pier remains, and there’s a much shorter ramp at the northern end of the large car park, perhaps easier if you have smaller kids, and loads of gear to carry.
Between the two ramps, perched atop the cliffs is the Star Of Greece restaurant & kiosk…a special spot for Mez & I as we got married there all those years ago! The kiosk does great fish & chips and ice creams, but is quite expensive, and you can expect a wait in peak times. If you get your timing right, there is nothing better than having a drink on the outside deck of the restaurant as the afore mentioned dolphins cruise past in the late afternoon!
The most desirable spot is really just to the right of the old pier poles…at different times, depending on the tide, rock pools form, and there are anemones, sea snails and little pools for smaller kids to splash about in. Behind the pier are old caves, fun for older kids to muck around in, but best to wear shoes, as occasionally you come across a broken beer bottle.
Silver sands beach, just a few km’s south is also worth checking out, if only for the novelty of driving on the beach! The rock pools at the northern end make for good exploring too.
This region not only boasts beautiful beaches; the McLaren Vale wine region is a 10-15 minute drive away, meaning that exceptional cellar doors & restaurants are just down the road. We try to treat ourselves to a meal at our two faves…Fino & SC Pannell Wines.
Fino has long been my favourite, making use of the freshest local produce, cooked simply…with a killer wine list made up of innovative local & european offerings…and the deserts! Make sure you save room! The Crema Catalana is TRANSCENDENTAL!
SC Pannell Wines is simpler fare, perfect for sharing, tapas styled share plates, overlooking the rolling hills covered in green vines, with a glass of rose in hand…it’s easy to lose track of time staring out into the green. Perfect for kids too with a kids menu, and loads of grassy areas for them to go free range.
If you’re going to drink, don’t drive; give Chook McCoy a call…he offers very reasonably priced transfers, and will get you home safe & sound!
I’ve told you my special secret spot…I’d love to know yours!
We ate at;
SC PANNELL WINES
60 Olivers Road, McLaren Vale,
8 Hill Street
Willunga SA 5172
STAR OF GREECE
1 The Esplanade, Port Willunga
Call Chook McCoy on 0414 922 200