Geological Site It's hard to miss the Bluff when you arrive in Victor Harbor. It's very prominent and can be seen from all over the area. The Bluff is also a famous geological landmark. The headland is granite that came from deep in the earth's crust about 500 million years ago. The boulders that sit on top of the Bluff were carried there by ice and the smooth shape of the Bluff's profile was also caused by ice erosion. Granite from West Island was used as the base and to build the steps for Adelaide's Parliament House. West Island is now a protected wildlife habitat conservation area. Located nearby in the Inman Valley, is Glacier Rock, also another famous geological attraction. A visit to these sites is recommended so as to appreciate their origins close up.
On top of the Bluff is a plaque that commemorates the encounter between Matthew Flinders and the French explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1802. The inscription reads, "In commemoration of the meeting near this bluff between HMS Investigator Matthew Flinders who explored the coast of South Australia and M F Le Geographe Nicolas Baudin, April 8, 1802. On board the Investigator was John Franklin the Arctic discoverer. These English and French explorers held friendly conference and Flinders named the place of meeting Encounter Bay.'"
Encounter Bay memorial plaque, The Bluff, Victor Harbor
History Back in the 1800's the whaling industry had a house on the side of the Bluff. There were people on lookout for whales - when one was spotted a flag was raised, a whaling boat was launched, and the search was on to harpoon them and bring them back. Mining was also started there in 1863, but was abandoned a short time after. The shaft has been filled in, but is still visible today.
The Ngurunderri people also feature The Bluff in their Dreamtime stories. When Ngurunderi threw his club to the ground, the Bluff became the shape of the traditional fighting instrument.
The Walking Trail The walking trail starts and ends in the car park. The track is reasonable, but can be steep and slippery in places. Good walking shoes are a must.
As are binoculars and a camera, as the views from the top are stunning. There are 360 degree views of Victor Harbor, the amazing coastline in the opposite direction, and the might and beauty of Southern Ocean. If you travel to the area between May and October, it's a perfect viewing spot for the Southern Right Whales which have returned to the area after being hunted almost to extinction. It's also a great spot to see paragliders set off and sail over the coast.