the fleurieu peninsula's best country pubs
We might be biased, but we think the Fleurieu Peninsula has some of the country's best pubs. The combination of stunning remote locations, an unstoppable well of some of the world’s greatest wines, and an abundant source of food – everything just falls in exactly the right place to help make a road trip across our region all the more tempting.
There’s no single criteria that achieves the gold standard for a great country boozer (although the weight and circumference of the house parmy does make an impression). The Fleurieu Peninsula’s best pubs hit a sweet spot where history, imagination and great food and drink collide. Whether you’re looking for a trivia game, a family meal, a big group catch-up, a place to go to celebrate or a place to simply just enjoy the night, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
From true-blue outback pubs to charming riverside taverns, there are plenty of pubs demanding a road trip or weekend away. Pack the car, hit the road (with a designated driver), and tick these off your list while you explore the Fleurieu’s coastline, wine regions and rugged outback countryside.
First up, we have the McLaren Vale Hotel. This local pub is a special place in the Australian psyche, performing a kind of civic service from meeting place to eating place, drinking place, local grapevine and general barometer of the local community – particularly in rural areas. The McLaren Vale Hotel, in the heart of one of Australia’s premier wine growing areas & gateway to the Fleurieu Peninsula playground, performs all these functions admirably. Very much the quintessential Australian pub where locals meet for an afternoon or evening meal complemented by a pint from the growing number of local craft breweries. This pub is always buzzing and well worth a visit as soon as the late afternoon sun starts bending through its windows.
Almost certainly one of the best pubs in the state, the success of this establishment can be put down to it's kitchen. Serving great homemade food sourced from local producers, every meal is beautifully paired with any number of the nearby McLaren Vale winemakers product. Priding itself on providing an inviting, hospitable atmosphere while serving the best wine, beer and food the Fleurieu Peninsula region has to offer!
McLaren Vale Hotel, McLaren Vale
ALDINGA HOTEL, ALDINGA
Classy but not pretentious, the Aldinga Hotel is a contemporary Aussie pub with a bit of bistro flair. Boasting a newly renovated bistro and front bar, the family-friendly Aldinga Hotel provides first-class food in a welcoming, safe environment. Licensed since 1851, the refurbished pub retains its historic décor in its exposed brick and natural stone. The current licencees have owned Aldinga Hotel for over 30 years, and have put a lot of love and resources into preserving the heritage building. The wrap-around beer garden and underground wine cellar complete the warm and inviting atmosphere. On warm days, they can open the beer garden’s blinds so to enjoy the sunshine. While in winter, they keep the area warm with outdoor heating.
Local Tip: Their all-day wood-oven pizza specials on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have proven to be a big hit with regulars and visitors alike. The upmarket daily menu features South Aussie oysters and Angus scotch fillet as well as pub favourites with a twist – salt and pepper squid, fish and chips and chicken schnitzels.
OLD BUSH INN, WILLUNGA
The Old Bush Inn (the Top Pub) in the heritage market town of Willunga, is a rustic and relaxed country pub with a friendly atmosphere. It truly is everything you're looking for in a cosy country pub. Tucked in on the left of 51 High St, Willunga, The Old Bush Inn is one of the oldest pubs in South Australia. Established in 1839, it hosts 150 years worth of photos throughout the interior. This is one step into history you will want to make.
Perfect for catching up with friends, having a family meal or for celebrating that special occasion, find this pub just 45-minutes from the Adelaide CBD, in the heart of the Fleurieu Peninsula. This state heritage listed pub features open fireplaces and a picturesque veranda, open plan dining room and a central bar. Plus the local wine list here is seriously impressive.
Local Tip: The Old Bush Inn removed the pokies facilities 5 years ago, turning their focus on good food, local wines, craft beers and ciders in a family friendly setting.
VICTORY HOTEL, SELLICKS HILL
Head south from the city and you’ll stumble across this iconic Fleurieu Peninsula pub, the Victory Hotel on Sellicks Hill. A country pub which boasts one of the state’s best and longest wine lists. Wine is very much the thing to order here. A seriousness and passion for grapes that extends to a thoroughly impressive cellar which holds around 8,000 bottles of the good stuff.
This popular food and booze landmark effortlessly captures the unique McLaren Vale mix of coast and wine country with its stunning panoramic view over Aldinga Bay. Enjoy fresh local fare (Myponga Beach salt and pepper squid & local meats from Nomad Farm in Finniss) on the outdoor patio before relocating to the lawn to laze away the rest of the afternoon or evening.
Given its enviable location, the Victory Hotel is especially popular on sunny weekends as it has ample outdoor seating areas.
Local Tip: Perfect for a relaxing weekend away - stay in one of their gorgeous cottages after dining on their Modern-Australian menu at the restaurant, admiring a spectacular sunset.
The Victory Hotel, Sellicks Hill
YANKALILLA HOTEL, YANKALILLA
There’s country pub charm and then there’s the Yankalilla Hotel. A beautiful old pub that seamlessly blends into the surrounding bushland. Built in 1851, the Yankalilla Hotel is both a destination eatery and an old-school, everyday pub for it's front bar regulars. There are very few things better in this life than an icy cold pint (or wine) at a pub that still looks like it did when it was built.
Local Tip: A community pub with broad appeal, the Yankalilla Hotel is best known for its schnitzels (including chicken, beef and eggplant) and their Kangaroo Island oysters with chilli, lime & coriander. Their $15 schnitzel nights on Tuesday's are available dine in & takeaway. Before heading home from the Fleurieu coast, be sure to grab a sourdough loaf from the Yankalilla Bakery across the road.
The Yankalilla Hotel, Yankalilla
NORMANVILLE HOTEL, NORMANVILLE
Welcome to one of the oldest pub's in South Australia, the Normanville Hotel. Established in 1851 by Dr Robert Norman. The Normanville Hotel is one of the longest continuously family operated hotels in the state, having been owned and operated by the Blacklock family since 1973. It continues to be an important local landmark and meeting place for locals and visitors to the region alike.
The Normanville Hotel offers relaxed, affordable dining throughout its restaurant, beer garden and bars. The fusion of historic character with modern comfort, fresh food and friendly service results in a charming hotel ambience that makes everyone feel welcome. Hotel chefs have sourced quality produce to create a contemporary menu balancing pub classics and specialty dishes. A wide range of beverage options are also available including local wine, cider and craft beer.
Local Tip: Many old bottles and coins were discovered over the years since the hotel has been operating, which you can find here displayed in cabinets, along with some pretty impressive photos of the local district. Wander the Yankalilla and Normanville Heritage Trail and learn the history of both the Normanville Hotel & Yankalilla Hotel. Find out more here.
ANCHORAGE HOTEL, VICTOR HARBOR
Break on out of the city and head straight to Victor Harbor if you want to grab a drink in this treasured old pub. Boasting sea views and honouring local heritage, the Anchorage Hotel is an iconic hotel providing exceptional quality fare. Located on the waterfront, enjoy the quaint wine bar here whilst warming up by the log fire.
The Anchorage Hotel is a quintessentially Australian country pub where the welcome is warm, the beer is cold, the wine is local, and no one leaves hungry.
Local Tip: Enjoy an afternoon exploring the nearby Granite Island before your delectable pub feast. Granite Island is so iconic to the Fleurieu Peninsula, you can meander the 2.9km walking trail, admire featured artworks designed by five local Ngarrindjeri & Ramindjeri artists & watch the dolphins from atop the rocks.
The Anchorage Hotel, Victor Harbor
HOTEL ELLIOT, PORT ELLIOT
A Fleurieu favourite, the Hotel Elliot is located in the heart of picturesque Port Elliot. This popular pub offers a welcoming country atmosphere, with a delicious menu to match. Just 350 metres from the iconic Horseshoe Bay Beach, and 650 metres from the popular whale spotting Freeman Lookout, a day spent here is sure to impress. What's even better? You can arrive here by the iconic Cockle Train, with the Port Elliot Railway Station situated right outside the hotel.
If you’re on a mission to visit every pub in the Fleurieu Peninsula, this one is not to be missed!
Local Tip: Water lovers in Port Elliot are absolutely spoilt for choice, and not only are the beaches stunning but the town itself is bursting with character and charm - making for a perfect pub meal combo! It’s so easy to spend a few days here wandering the quaint streets, vintage shopping & taking in all of the breathtaking coastal scenery.
The Hotel Elliot, Port Elliot
CORIO HOTEL, GOOLWA
A major historical landmark in our favourite heritage town is The Corio Hotel, Goolwa. The building itself has been an integral feature of the landscape since its construction in 1858. The pub was named after the paddle steamer 'SS Corio', which sank in 1857 on the Murray River.
The dining facilities here have been designed to provide both a memorable and value for money experience. From simple and traditional front bar meals to family oriented ensembles, the chefs and kitchen staff here are leaders when it comes to ensuring an impressive take on pub grub classics as well as unique flavourings to add to the epicurean experience.
What's even better is you're only 500m from the Goolwa Wharf Precinct, an iconic waterfront destination to discover, experience, and celebrate. Goolwa is one of only two places in the world where you can link a journey between a steam train and a steam-powered paddleboat in just a few steps? Pretty impressive if you ask us!
Local Tip: Not too many pubs on the Fleurieu Peninsula host their Schnitzel Night on a Friday, so add the Corio Hotel to your list.
The Corio Hotel, Goolwa
ISLANDERS TAVERN, HINDMARSH ISLAND
The Islanders Tavern is part classic watering hole, part high-calibre food destination. The unique characteristic of Islanders' Tavern is serving mouthwatering schnitzels, prawns, paella and an impressive variety of international cuisine. It’s a much-loved favourite amongst locals and the food is always delicious.
The outdoor deck, named 'The Landing', overlooks the harbour at Aggie Greek leading out into the serene Goolwa. Guests can relax and spend time watching the boats on the calm still water and basking in the wonderful atmosphere that surrounds this part of Hindmarsh Island.
Local Tip: You can drop in here by boat! Spend the day out on the water before tying up to the private jetty of the Islanders Tavern. These guys also have a fireplace fired up during those colder winter months.
The Islanders Tavern, Hindmarsh Island
VICTORIA HOTEL, STRATHALBYN
Beyond the restored exterior of this historic 1865 bluestone building, the Victoria Hotel in Strathalbyn is a country hotel with a difference. Located only 50 minutes from the Adelaide CBD, the award winning Victoria Hotel has unique surroundings and quality food and wines, sourced locally from the Fleurieu Peninsula region. Open fires and great country hospitality complete the experience here to perfection.
The bistro is complete with lush gardens and a magnificent water feature view. You can also dine outdoors and look out over the Soldiers' Memorial Gardens, whilst enjoying an extensive menu featuring traditional pub style meals as well as sensational modern cuisine.
This place never lets you down when you’re simply in the mood for the warm comfort of a pub on a winter evening.
Local Tip: Whilst you're here, enjoy picturesque walks through the Soldiers’ Memorial Gardens, browse the craft and antique shops, or visit the acclaimed wineries of Langhorne Creek. Langhorne Creek is home to the oldest recorded Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world and fifth-generation winemaking families, the fertile flood plains of Langhorne Creek produce some of South Australia's most premium wine grapes.
THE GREENMAN INN, ASHBOURNE
Idyllically located at the gateway to the Fleurieu Peninsula, you'll find the the Greenman Inn. Built in 1865 the Inn was the original Post Office and General Store for the Ashbourne area. After extensive renovations in early 2018, the Greenman Inn re-opened for business. The Greenman Inn still has its country charm, but with a hint of modern contemporary. Whether you are looking for a relaxing coffee, refreshing drink, a snack, a long lunch sitting under the veranda or on the lawn taking in the beautiful views, these guys have you covered.
The chef's here love to tweak the taste buds and challenge the combination of flavours. Sourcing all ingredients from local growers and producers, whilst taking pride in their regional wine list.
Local Tip: The Greenmann Inn has a family friendly feel, with a cubby house & sandpit for your little people, and lawn games for the big people. The Inn welcomes dogs with treats and water bowls available.
The Greenman Inn, Ashbourne
Honourable mentions: We could go on and on about epic country pubs in the Fleurieu Peninsula! If you’re still looking for more, we've compiled an extended list below so you won't miss a delicious bite & pint.
- Alma Hotel, Willunga
- Willunga Hotel, Willunga
- Seaford Hotel, Seaford
- Port Noarlunga Hotel, Port Noarlunga
- Cape Jervis Tavern, Cape Jervis
- Hotel Victor, Victor Harbor
- Grosvenor Hotel, Victor Harbor
- Hotel Crown, Victor Harbor
- Royal Family Hotel, Port Elliot
- Middleton Tavern, Middleton
- Goolwa Hotel, Goolwa
- Mt Compass Hotel, Mt Compass
- The Bridge Hotel, Langhorne Creek
- Commercial Hotel, Strathalbyn
- Robin Hood Hotel, Strathalbyn
A road trip to some of these locations will take your breath away, and by including some of the best country pubs in the Fleurieu Peninsula, you immediately take your trip to a whole new level of local.
Whether you want to discover the outback, laze on a beach or visit world heritage sites, the Fleurieu Peninsula really does have it all! Check out the map below to start planning your country pub adventure.