Victor Harbor is the perfect place for a relaxing day out, our guide will show you the best family activities for a enjoyable day with the family.
Originally established by whale and seal hunters sometime around the 1800’s, Victor Harbor was then a small community consisting of family huts and whaling lookout stations.
The site was chosen for two main reason. Due to the abundance of whales that came to breed in the shallow waters off Encounter Bay, and the high lookout points of Granite Island and Rosetta Head (The Bluff).
Whale hunters could see approaching whales from a great distance from these two vantage points. This allowed enough time to launch their boats and harpoon the passing whales.
Whale number eventually dwindled and hunting was abandoned, but Victor Harbor remained as a shipping port for wheat, wool and other products.
Victor Harbor has since transformed into a bustling sea side town. Due to its abundance of attractions and stunning scenery. It has become a favourite holiday spot and road trip destination for the day.
A trip to Victor Harbor wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Granite Island.
Dominating the view from almost every angle, you cannot miss it as soon as you arrive in Victor Harbor.
Climb the stairway to the top of the granite cliff top and enjoy the views of the surrounding ocean and township.
The Kaiki Walk is a well maintained path which winds it way around the islands cliff top. Stop and watch mighty waves crash upon the orange lichen covered granite rocks or visit the strange weather carved rock formations, like Umbrella rock.
Getting To Granite Island
Walking the causeway connecting Victor Harbor to Granite Island is relaxing and beautiful.
The walk takes around 10-15 minutes and offers some great photo opportunities of Rosetta Head (The Bluff) and the surrounding oceans and beaches. Don’t forget your camera!
Don’t feel like walking? The horse drawn tram is a favourite among kids.
The double-decker tram offers the perfect views of the surrounding area. Sit back, relax and enjoy as the beautiful Clydesdale horses take you across to the causeway.
Tram runs everyday (Except Christmas Day) from 10:00 to 15:20. Extended hours on the weekend.
Tickets can be purchased from the tram driver.
Greet The Horses
Pulling a tram is obviously tiring work. The tram horses are regularly swapped and given some time off.
You can visit them in their rest area at the beginning of the causeway to Granite Island.
They have a shaded pen to relax in, have a bite to eat and a drink, and complain about how heavy the humans are.
You can get up close and marvel at the sheer size and strength of these beautiful horses. Great fun for the kids.
Visit The Penguins
Granite Island is the breeding ground for the world’s smallest species of penguins. The Fairy Penguins.
These little fellows stand around 35 cm tall and weigh as little as 1.2kg.
Spending days out at sea feeding, they return to their island home around dusk to nest.
Unfortunately, the number of penguins on the island have dwindling and sighting are getting rare.
Night tours are still available if you want to try your luck at spotting one of these cute little creatures. A guided tour is the only way onto the island after dark.
Tours can be booked from the Victor Harbor Visitor Centre on the causeway plaza or by calling 08 8551 0777.
Tour booking closes at 4pm. The tours begin a few hour later, once dark enough. Tour duration is 1 to 1.5 hours.
[alert type=”info” dismiss=”no”]Penguin tours are seasonal, so call to confirm they are operating. Penguins are also wild animals, so no guarantees can be made you’ll spot any.[/alert]
The Humpback and Southern Right Whales frequents the waters off Victor Harbor during the winter months. Returning from Antarctic to the warmer waters to mate and give birth.
June to October is the time to visit if you want to witness these giant and majestic creatures. Often seen within 100 metres from shore, frolicking and playing in the shallow sandy bottomed ocean with their calves.
Head to an elevated location for the best views, such as Rosetta Head (The Bluff) or Granite Island.
Don’t forget to bring your binoculars or zoom lenses!
Whale and wildlife boat tours are also available through The Big Duck Tour company. Hit the water for an up close and personal experience.
Ride The Steam Train
The SteamRanger Heritage Railway runs a wide range of trains throughout South Australia. But as every kid knows, noisy and smokey steam trains are the best fun!
The Cockle Train runs along the oldest steel railway in Australia. Built in 1887, this is one train journey back in time.
Puffing its way along the gorgeous coastal regions between Victor Harbor and Goolwa. The Cockle Trains 30 minute journey passes pristine beaches, across the plains of Middleton and ends by the mighty Murray River in Goolwa.
Grab A Bite To Eat
Victor Harbor has some superb food options. Albert Street and Ocean Street are the main foodie districts.
You will find everything from pub grub to local fish and chips or something fancier if your heart desires.
Our favourite is the Norfolk Cafe at the Victor Hotel. Right across the road from Warland Park. Have a bite to eat in the inside dining room or the outside seated area in the sunshine.
Relax In The Park
Warland Park is the heart of Victor Harbor. Located right near the beach and causeway to Granite Island. It’s a favourite spot for locals and tourists.
The lovely pine shaded green area features the whale tail fountain and plenty of space to play and relax.
Warland Park is just across the road from an abundance of local cafes, pubs and restaurants and minutes from the main strip, Ocean Street, as well as being right across the road from the main car park.
Urimbirra Wildlife Park
Just minutes from Victor Harbor is Urimbirra Wildlife Park. The park wont blow your mind with it appearance, but if you’re wanting to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s unique wildlife, then add it to your day trip.
The park has hundreds of Australia’s unique animals to see and interact with. Crocodiles, Lizards, Dingoes, Wallabies and Wombats are just a handful of what you’ll see.
Hand feed the friendly Kangaroos. Watch the snake handling display for some slithering fun. Or see everyone’s favourite, the cute and cuddly looking Koalas. You might even be lucky enough to pat one of the Koalas if you visit during the Koala show.
Climb Rosetta Head (The Bluff)
Visiting Rosetta Head and climbing to the peak is a must do experience. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the views.
Multiple car parks are dotted close to the peak, so you can drive most of the way, and walk the last few hundred metres to the top.
The summit offers a great scenic view from every direction. One side looks over the windswept Wright Island, with waves crashing and breaking against its shores. The other side give views over Petrel Cove, with West Island in the horizon.
When the wind conditions are right, you will often see remote control gliders out souring on the updrafts created by the bluff.