Victor Harbor is a beautiful town
located on the south coast of the Fleurieu
Peninsula. Originally Victor Harbor was the main
sea port for South Australia as it was also well
positioned as an access point for goods being transported
up and down the Murray River.
Victor Harbor has numerous historical
attractions, natural wonders and wildlife. It offers
wonderful shopping opportunities, art galleries,
history, fine local food and wines. It is the ideal
destination for the water sports enthusiast offering
surfing, swimming, scuba diving, fishing and boating
Encounter Bay at the southern end of
Victor Harbor is where , Captain Matthew Flinders
on the 'HMS Investigator' and Captain Nicholas Baudin,
the French explorer on 'Le Geographe', meet each
other in April 1802. Both explorers were on very
similar missions to chart the coast line and record
the local flora and fauna of New Holland.
Prior to becoming the main port on
the Fleurieu Peninsula, Victor Harbor was already
a major location for whalers and sealers who hunted
in the waters of the Southern Ocean. In 1837 a whaling
station was established on Granite Island.
European settlers moved into the area
in 1839. Many found work at the whaling stations
whilst others started grazing sheep and cattle. In
1864, seven ships sunk off Port Elliot which at this
time was being used as the main port. After this
it was decided to relocate the main sea port to Victor
Harbor. In the 1880s wool from all over western New
South Wales and Queensland was shipped down the Murray
to Goolwa and then moved by train to Victor Harbor
where it was shipped to destinations around the world.
As the railway lines were expanded the shipping on
the Murray River ceased and Victor Harbor lost its
prominence as a sea port.
The local natural beauty has inspired many
artists and there are several local galleries that
exhibit paintings, handicrafts, textiles, ceramics,
pottery and sculptures. Each January the Victor Harbor
Rotary Art Show offers a large cash prize which attracts
artists from all over Australia.
Victor Harbor offers range of bird watching sites including Nangawooka Flora
Reserve, Hindmarsh Falls, Newland Head Conservation Park, Waitpinga Beach,
Inman River Estuary, and Granite Island of course for the penguins
Camel rides are a unique experience. Operating near the Causeway entrance to
Granite Island the rides provide breathtaking views of Granite Island and
the Bluff summit.
Victor Harbor is a fabulous year round fishing destination. It is ideal for
jetty, river, beach or boat fishing.
If you are going river fishing you
can expect to find Bream and Mullet. Jetty fishing
offers species such as mullet, squid, garfish, tommy
ruff, morwong, snook and salmon trout whilst the
beach fishing in Victor Harbor is legendary for Australian
salmon as well as other species including mulloway
(jewfish), mullet, Tommy ruff, salmon trout and shark.
Or if boat fishing is more your style expect to find
snapper, shark, whiting, trevally, snook and mackeral.
Greenhills Adventure Park
Situated on 26 acres, this is a great place to keep the children entertained.
It offers a maze, water slides, go-karts, flying foxes, canoes, rock-climbing
wall and other activities. There are also great sporting facilities such
as half-court tennis, volleyball, archery, mini golf or par 3 golf.
This walk takes you past 21 of the most significant historical buildings and
points of interest in Victor Harbor including Anchorage (originally known
as 'Warringa'), the Railway Gates (the only hand operated gates still remaining
in South Australia), Customs House (1865), St Augustine's Church of England
(1869), Reads Wool Mill (1868) and the sites of the early whaling stations.
A brochure is available from the tourist office located at eh entrance to
Granite Island. The walk takes about 2 hours.
Horse drawn Tram to Granite
One of Victor Harbor's most popular tourist attractions is the horse drawn
tram service. The tram travels along the causeway between Granite Island and
Victor Harbor. It started in 1896, the service ceased in 1954 and recommenced
The tram is a heritage double-decker
tram and you are transported across the 630 metre
wooden Causeway to Granite Island. The Victor Harbor
Horse Drawn Tram uses 14 Clydesdale Horses on a rotational
basis and the trams carry approximately 50 passengers.
Each horse only works two shifts a week and to make
it easier for them the trams running on roller bearings.
Granite Island Penguin Walk
Granite Island is home to 1800 penguins and are managed by the South Australian
National Parks & Wildlife Service.
Every evening you have the opportunity
to see the Fairy Penguins returning to their burrows
on Granite Island after a days fishing. They can
often be heard calling from the water. They usually
come ashore in small groups, pausing briefly before
heading off to individual burrows.
Protection of the fairy penguins is
paramount and so all walks are accompanied by a trained
guide. In 2001 man made burrows and boardwalks were
constructed to assist in their protection.
National Trust Museum
Also known as the Encounter Coast Discovery Centre, the Victor Harbor National
Trust Museum is located in the charming Old Customs and Station Master's
House in Flinders Parade.
Seal and Dolphin Watching
Dolphins are always present in Encounter Bay. Anyone out boating or fishing
will most likely spot them. Sightings from the shore are also common, occasionally
a count of 50-60 dolphins have been taken as they feed on schools of fish.
Seals can often be seen feasting on
squid in the waters close to shore around Rosetta
Cove, or hunting for fish amongst the surfers and
body boarders. There is a seal colony on Seal Rock
but this is only accessible by boat and for the protection
of the seal colony permission to land is required
by The Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
South Australian Whale Centre
Located in Railway Terrace, the centre provides information on whales, dolphins,
seals and penguins.
The whale centre provides accurate
whale sighting information for those interested in
Whale Watching. The South Australian Whale Centre
also plays an important role in marine research and
preservation of whaling relics as well as providing
an extraordinary display of Victor Harbor's whaling
Also known as Rosetta Head, the Bluff is a 100 metre high granite outcrop located
at the end of Encounter Bay. A plaque is located here marking the meeting
of Nicholas Baudin and Matthew Flinders. The Bluff also provides spectacular
views over Encounter Bay and is a great vantage point for whale watching.
The Steam Ranger Cockle Train
The steam train which runs during school holidays is a great testimonial to
the history of the area. It has played a major part of Victor Harbor's history
since 1853 when the rail line was extended from Goolwa and Port Elliot.
Steam Ranger travels the original
route between Goolwa and Port Elliot to Victor Harbor.
It was the first railway in South Australia and also
the first public line to be laid with iron rails
in Australia. It started in 1853 and was officially
opened in May 1854.
The steam trains of the region were
soon known as 'cockle trains' due to the train's
close proximity to the foreshore which are abundant
with cockles (a type of shell fish).
Urimbirra Wildlife Park
The Urimbirra Wildlife park has more than 70 species of Australian animals
and birds set on 40 acres. There is also a 16 acre Wetland bird sanctuary
which is home to many Australian native birds. The park is renown for the
opportunity to see Koalas and Wombats close up, and there are opportunities
to feed the kangaroos and wallabies, or watch the spectacular crocodile feeding!
The park also offers tranquil picnic and BBQ areas, a kiosk and souvenir
This is a wonderful location for surfers and at dawn and dusk large mobs of
kangaroos graze on the hills surrounding the beach.
Each year between May and October, giant Southern Right Whales return to the
waters of Victor Harbor's Encounter Bay to breed. Whale cruises are offered
by several companies. There are strict guidelines for the operators of these
cruises and they may only go within 300 metres of the Whales. There are also
several coastal vantage points including the Bluff to watch the whales as
they frolic off the coastline.
The first European pioneer settlers, arrived in 1839. They cleared the land
for timber and to plant crops such as wheat, oat, barley, maize and potatoes.
Vines were first introduced at Encounter Bay in 1840. In 1848 Buxton Laurie
arrived, and he was one of the earliest vignerons in the region. By 1866
Laurie's Southcote property was producing 1,500 gallons of wine annually
from varieties such as Dolcetto, Black Frontignac, Mataro, Grenache, Shiraz
and Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfortunately the Southcote vineyards were destroyed
by massive bush fires in the late 1800s.
However, excellent vineyards and premium
wine making continues around Victor Harbor today.
There are several wineries within a few kilometres
drive of the Victor Harbor township. Enjoy a day
trip wine and cheese tour travelling the loop which
The area has a Mediterranean style
climate with an annual rainfall of approximately
500mm or 20 inches. The majority of rain is received
from May to September.
Average winter temperatures 10-18 degrees
Average summer temperatures 24-35 degrees celsius
Victor harbor offers a wide range of
accommodation options including hotels, motels, charming
guest houses, cottages, bed and breakfasts, self
contained apartments, caravan parks, backpacker accommodation,
and self contained holiday houses.
Tourism Victor Harbor http://www.tourismvictorharbor.com.au/
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