From northeast Adelaide, to the southern coast; the XC90 was off to the Fleurieu Peninsula.
One hour south of Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula is a beautiful, pristine coastal region rich in history, and a spot my family has frequented for summer holidays since before I was born.
No trip to this region is complete without a trip to the beach – and there’s no shortage of beaches to choose from: Middleton, Normanville, Aldinga and Port Willunga are all beautiful options, but from where we were staying in Victor Harbor, Horseshoe Bay in Port Elliot is our favourite swimming beach.
This time I was travelling with my mum, aunty, uncle and cousin – the perfect excuse to trial the third row, a responsibility bestowed upon the shortest in the group (sorry Mum). With a simple click, we set up the two extra seats. While this accommodated the additional passengers, it decreased our boot size by more than 50 percent. I watched my family walk out from the house loaded up with beach gear like something straight out of National Lampoon’s Family Vacation and declared we’d have to rationalize; I was certain it wasn’t going to fit.
But ye of little faith – even with the boot reduce from its standard 651 to 291 litres, we managed to pack in three beach bags, a pile of towels and my uncle’s snorkel and flippers, with a little bit of space to spare.
First anxiety hurdle defeated. But we still had the beach to get to and all I could think about was sand and wet bottoms in my beautiful new Volvo (a vehicle, I’ll remind you, I thought I’d have no sentimental attachment to).
Using the 360 degree reversing camera (one of my favourite features of the extra-priced Driver Support Pack), I backed out of the narrow driveway while my family ooed and ahhed at the ultra-lux SUV.
Until this point, I always thought endless “are we there yet?” questions would be the most annoying part of a road trip. But I was wrong.
“What does this do?”
“The colour is nice, are you going to include that in your review?”
“The seats are comfortable, but I suggest…”
In my family, there’s no lack of advice givers and suggestions.
Originally a port for shipping goods, Horseshoe Bay became a popular spot for fishermen and swimmers in 1864 when trade moved to Victor Harbor. Shaped like a horseshoe (go figure), it’s now one of the more family friendly beaches in the area as the bay’s waves gradually increase in size from one end to the other.
A jetty, walking trails and the Flying Fish café are all accessible to beachgoers, and the Port Elliot Surf Lifesaving club host sausage sizzles during the warmer tourist season.
So once our skin had soaked in enough of the salt water and our bellies were full of fish and chips from Flying Fish, it was back into the XC90.
Luckily, the women in my family are as anal retentive as I am – dusting as much sand away as possible before getting in the car, followed by a vacuum when we got home. Thankfully, the leather seats and floor mats are incredibly easy to clean.
I was surprised by the amount of space the XC90 had and the comfort of the third row, according to my 5ft 3in mother. But if you’re a family of more than four and you need to use the rear seats, fitting everything in the boot may be a challenge – where will all those school bags go? The leather seats, though, are definitely worth the investment.
Read part one of our Volvo XC90 road trip here.