Pete: Now I thought I knew a reasonable amount about the Fleurieu Peninsula, in fact in the office, they affectionately (I hope) refer to me as ‘Fleurieu Boy’. But today I’m joining a unique 4WD tour that promises a surprise around every corner. So let’s get started.
Yes, today I’m going Off Piste… in the traditional European sense that is!
Although, I am happy to say fine food and wine will play a big part in today’s itinerary, but more on that in a moment.
Fleurieu local Ben Neville is passionate about this part of the world and his idea was to take visitors beyond the usual sights to discover some special places that are out of bounds to the public.
After spending a decade in London – it was this view which inspired Ben to return home and start his tour company…
Ben: It was always in the back of my mind, and I always had a picture of Onkaparinga Gorge on my desk, thinking I’d love to be able to, have the opportunity to come back and set up a business here and really unpack those gems.
The first gem is right here at Samuel’s Gorge Winery… which overlooks the spectacular Onkaparinga River National Park. It’s neighbours are pretty well known.. Chapel Hill and Coriole, but even though this place flies under the radar a bit it’s equally worthy of your time.
A Stop here for canapés is a great start to the day but our next destination beckons…
I know what you’re thinking – 4wdriving is not something you’d necessarily associate with McLaren Vale…but that’s because I clearly don’t know this area as well as Ben – so it’s time to head off road and get the car dirty…!
Silver Sands is next on the list for the ultimate beach drive and an opportunity to stretch the legs.
Ben: We’ve got Sellicks Hill just up here and Aldinga Beach that stretches all the way down into Adelaide. This paradise, we’re so lucky to be able to drive along here it’s one of our little gold pieces of the Fleurieu.
Pete: Now it’s a very interesting business name – it must raise a few smiles here and there?
Ben: It ah, yeah. I think one of the guides at the tourism commission said it was ‘brave’ (laughs) but let’s face it, it was never meant to mean one thing. Ben’s promised me THE ULTIMATE secret Fleurieu lunch spot today… half the fun is getting there which involves a bit of 4 wheel driving on private property and a chance to spot a few critters along the way.
Ben: Probably my favourite track on the whole of the Fleurieu looking through this great avenue of gum trees here. I love this, its natural scrub it’s virtually untouched, the grass trees here would be hundreds of years old, they’re absolutely beauties here.
Pete: Much of the Fleurieu these days is fenced off as private land so taking a tour with Ben is the only way you can experience places like this…
And… to top off a brilliant day… today chef Stewart Douglas joins us to fire up the camp stove for a gourmet lunch (matched with local wines – of course.)
Ben: Alright guys here we go – 1st course, Seared tuna with a lime and sesame vinaigrette.
Pete: That looks magnificent. Thank you mate.
Yes folks, this is not exactly what I’d call roughing it…But I like it!
Ben: Got a bit of Rissoni here with chorizo, wilted spinach and 2 mushrooms, field mushrooms from the Fleurieu Peninsula… All local produce. So if you’d like to go Off Piste yourself or take some visitors out for a unforgettable slice of SA.. Contact Ben via his website.
Pete: And how good is this view? What an amazing place to have lunch, I have had a great day and I’ve been so surprised by the amount of picturesque spots around here I didn’t even know existed. Get on board.