Before British colonisation of South Australia, the western side of the peninsula was occupied by the Kaurna people, while several clans of the Ngarrindjeri lived on the eastern side. The people were sustained by the flora and fauna of the peninsula, for food and bush medicine. The bulrushes, reeds and sedges were used for basket-weaving or making rope, trees provided wood for spears, and stones were fashioned into tools.
The Fleurieu Peninsula was named after Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu, the French explorer and hydrographer, by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin as he explored the south coast of Australia in 1802. The name came into official use in 1911 after Fleurieu's great-nephew, Count Alphonse de Fleurieu, visited Adelaide and met with the Council of the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia, which recommended to the state government that the unnamed peninsula terminating in Cape Jervis be given the name Fleurieu Peninsula "in honour of one who is worthy to be remembered in the annals of Australian geography". The government approved the name later that year, making it one of the few Australian places with a French name.
- 1 Cape Jervis — the gateway to Kangaroo Island, the third (or fourth) largest island of Australia
- 2 Victor Harbor, including 3 Port Elliot — a popular weekend getaway for people from Adelaide
- 4 Rapid Bay — for recreational fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling
- 5 Yankalilla – home to some of the most beautiful hills in the region
Encounter Bay - see Victor Harbor
It is an easy 45 minutes to drive the Fleurieu Peninsula south from Adelaide, although where in Fleurieu Peninsula you'd want to go would mean you'd have to take different paths out of Adelaide. You'll initially have to use the Southern Expressway, but then the road after the southern terminus of the freeway diverges: use towards Victor Harbor and Granite Island, and to go to Yankalilla, Kangaroo Island or Cape Jervis.
Train services operate between Adelaide and Seaford.
There are airstrips in Aldinga and Goolwa for private and charter traffic.
It is easy to get around by car. If hiring a car consider getting a 4x4 if you want to get off the well beaten paths.
There are many good beaches to see here. Although they can be a bit cold at times, the beaches near some particularly beautiful rolling hills near Yankalilla, provide good photo opportunities.
Granite Island near Victor Harbor is home to Australia's only horse-drawn tram. It's also known for its population of fairy penguins in addition to its rather unusual signage.
Some of the many popular things in the Fleurieu Peninsula are swimming on the many beaches here is popular, but that's if you happen to be by the coast. Be careful, as most of the beaches have hazardous rocks that may make swimming dangerous and unpleasant.
As with most other Australian areas, hiking trails always present, and mostly have different things to offer with different difficulties and lengths, suitable for different ages.
Fishing and other water recreational activities are possible to do here, but large parts of the Fleurieu Peninsula are "no fishing zones" as a bid to preserve endangered species, but other things like jet skiing or surfing are something not to be missed, and the beaches on Victor Harbor provide just that.
One things that is not to be missed is what is possible with the large sand dunes in South Australia, and Fleurieu Peninsula isn't short of sand dunes, and in some areas, they may be offering tobogganing and some other things.
There are some good cafes in this area, particularly in Victor Harbor, although that's no surprise given it's the largest city and harbor in the region, but the quality of the cafes might not be as good as you'd expect in Melbourne.
There are four wine regions on Fleurieu Peninsula.
- McLaren Vale
- Langhorne Creek
- Currency Creek
- Southern Fleurieu
Each has a number of wineries offering great wine tasting and cellar door wine tour experiences.
Also cafés, vineyard restaurants or charming country pubs are to be found all over.
In an emergency, call Triple Zero 000.