Through The Lens: Fleurieu Peninsula (South Australia)

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)

As I write this, I am sitting in my parent’s backyard, strategically positioning myself to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine whilst avoiding glare on my laptop’s screen.  I am multi-tasking between editing photographs from a recent trip to Tasmania, researching TEFL courses as I consider teaching English as a way to fund my travels when my savings start to run low later in the year, co-ordinating plans to visit the Arctic, Africa, Turkey and Croatia in a few months and working on my blog and photography website.

Birds are providing background theme music to my morning.  The deadlines, meetings, office politics, spreadsheets and train delays that dominated my life in London and suffocated my mojo are in the distance – both geographically and emotionally.  The new chapter in my life that I’ve been dreaming about for the past three years has begun.

I’m spending most of April in Adelaide, the place I lived for a decade before relocating to London in 2000.  Although I’ve been back for visits a number of times during the past 12 years, it’s the first time I’ve come back without the busy itinerary that allows me to enjoy catching up with family and friends but has me feeling like I need a holiday at the end of it!  Instead I’m enjoying the balance of catching up with people with some R&R time to recover from “office-job-itis”!

And I’m keen to rediscover a part of Australia that I’ve had a love-hate relationship with in the past.

Ironically the characteristics of South Australia that once irritated me  are the same ones that are now calling me back.  One of the things I love most about travelling is its ability to see your own country through different eyes and to appreciate where you have come from.

A Mini Road Trip

I decided to begin my “South Australia: Through New Eyes” experiment with a little photography focused road trip and headed south towards the Fleurieu Peninsula.  The journey can easily be done in a day, but I decided to stay overnight at Victor Harbour, allowing me to enjoy the magic hours of dusk and dawn whilst enjoying two full days to slowly make the round trip from Adelaide.

Through the lens:

Highlights from the Fleurieu Peninsula:


My first stop was Normanville, a picturesque coastal hamlet just off the Fleurieu Way.  Whilst bright sunshine didn’t help my photography, walking along a relatively empty beach was a great way to enjoy the 30 degree sunshine.  I shared the coastal view with an elderly man, his metal detector and couple of horses, highlighting one of South Australia’s real attractions – safe, beautiful and uncrowded beaches.



Second Valley

Before heading towards Yankalilla I decided to head a little further south and came across a magical little spot in Second Valley.  This little cove had all the key ingredients for an enjoyable photography stop: a small fishing jetty in the distance, rocks strategically laid out in the foreground and beautifully framed by the wild coastline.



Encounter Bay (The Bluff)

After returning to Normanville for a typical Aussie road trip lunch (a meat pie!) I changed direction and swapped the coastal landscapes for the countryside of Yankalilla.  Further into Inman Valley, I made a ‘tick the box’ stop at Glacier Rock – a 500 million year old boulder carved out by glaciers during the ice age – before reaching Victor Harbour.  I arrived to see a school of dolphins arching through the calm waters of Encounter Bay, the location named after the peaceful meeting between Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin.  But a great view does not always make a great photograph and as the sun began to set I drove up to the more dramatic setting, the Bluff.  Unfortunately the sunset proved disappointing, but surfers and a friendly fisherman (who kept pointing dolphins out to me!) provided an alternative to the sweeping landscapes I’d initially hoped for.




Victor Harbour 

As a child on holiday in Adelaide from Broken Hill, Victor Harbour always featured as an enjoyable day out.  It’s proximity to Adelaide and diverse range of attractions for people of all ages sees it survive as a popular holiday destination.  As I left the Bluff I packed away my camera and planned to check into my hotel.  But the sunset that had started out as an uneventful disappointment grew momentum as the skies exploded into a watercolour palette of pink and blue hues.  A few metres from my hotel I saw a random wooden structure that seemed to have been placed there for me – and my camera came out again.  I enjoyed it so much, I headed  straight there for sunrise the following morning to shoot in the opposite direction!





Victor Harbour – Granite Island

I lost count of the number of times I visited Granite Island as a child.  I remember crossing the bridge from Victor Harbour to the Island on the little characteristic train build for the tourists, watching Fairy Penguins waddle across the path as they left the water at sunset to find a rocky burrow for the evening, and climbing up rocks feeling adventurous as the surf crashed close by, spraying us with salt water.  But I’d never crossed the bridge on foot at 7am – which is why it took me 38 years to take this photograph!



Goolwa & Hindmarsh Island

As I left Victor Harbour, I made a few brief stops at Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot and Middleton before hitting Goolwa.  Now after living in Adelaide for more than ten years, I assumed I’d been to Goolwa.  I must have right?  Apparently not, as it was completely unfamiliar to me – which made for a great day of exploring.  I could have easily spent longer there but a few hours were still enough to explore the beaches shared by surfers and fishermen, the southern part of the Coorong National Park, the marina and a drive over the Hindmarsh Island where the Murray River meets the Southern Ocean.





The Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills warrant a day to themselves, especially as the autumn colours are exploding throughout the landscape.  But driving from Goolwa through Strathalbyn, Mount Mt Barker, Hahndorf and Mt Lofty was the perfect end to a great couple of days.  I made a brief stop to capture this image from the Mt Lofty Scenic Drive, but am planning a full day out soon to enjoy this part of South Australia.



All in all, a great couple of days that reminded me South Australia is full of diverse and picturesque landscape and wildlife.  My “South Australia: Through New Eyes” challenge is off to a great start!

Are you from or have you been to South Australia?  Where do you recommend I head next on my self-imposed challenge?



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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at


  1. Lovely photos! I am currently on student exchange from England in Adelaide and love it. The diversity of landscapes is great! I recently went on a road trip to the Eyre Peninsula. That’s a very beautiful place to explore if you have the time 🙂 Can’t wait to read more about South Australia!

    • Hi Sarah – welcome to Adelaide!! I’ll have to check out your posts to get some inspiration for my next few trips. I’ve been looking at the Eyre Peninsula, so good to hear you think it’s worth the visit!

  2. Kellie, that was a wonderful tour of Fleurieu Peninsula. Beautifully captured images. And your stories showed how well you know these places, even Goolwa & Hindmarsh Island, that you visited for the first time. Thank you for such sharing.

  3. Hi Kellie .. beautiful and I love seeing your photos – thanks so much for sharing ..

  4. That is very fascinating, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking extra of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

  5. Great shots – you are a fantastic photographer.!!

    Love Victor and Hindmarsh Island – couldn’t work out where you took the photos from of Victor but the last photos gave it away 🙂

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