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Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram

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by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia. https://www.facebook.com/paula.mcmanus1
Published August 12th 2013
Clydesdales, Penguins and Whales
The Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram is a South Australian icon and has been thrilling tourists travelling between Granite Island and Victor Harbor since 1894.

Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram (©paula mcmanus)
Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram


A ride on the double decker heritage tram is a unique "world's only" visitor experience. It is the only all year round public transport horse drawn operation of its kind in the world and the only recognised horse drawn tram service in the Southern Hemisphere that operates on a continual basis.

A Clydesdale horse pulls the tram across the 630 metre long Causeway which joins Granite Island to the mainland. The tram can take 50 people at a time. To know that the service carries approximately 180,000 passengers per year tells of its popularity. There are 14 Clydesdales who work on a roster - each horse usually works only 2 shifts per week.

Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram (©paula mcmanus)
Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram


Those who ride the Horse Drawn Tram, from the very young to the very old and everyone in between, come away from their ride with a very special memory of their visit to Victor Harbor.

Tickets for the Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram can be purchased at the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre or they can be purchased on board the tram.

The Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram terminal is situated at the start of the Causeway next to the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre opposite Warland Reserve.

It operates 7 days a week and leaves every 20 minutes.

Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram (©paula mcmanus)
Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram



From Wikipedia: "The South Australian Railways (SAR) reached Victor Harbor in 1864, when a railway connected pier was constructed. In 1867 this pier was extended to reach Granite Island, the resulting link becoming known as "The Causeway". The railway line continued onto and around the northern edge of the island to where a jetty was constructed. Although railway goods vehicles were routinely horse hauled on this line, no passenger service was offered until 1894, when the SAR decided to utilise an unused horse-drawn tram to offer a passenger service.

"From 1900, the horse tramway was operated by private contractors, George and Frank Honeyman, on behalf of the SAR. By the 1950s, the causeway was in need of repair, but a dispute between the operators and the local council meant that in 1954 the causeway was reconstructed without rail tracks. The service continued to operate on Granite Island itself until 1956, when the cars were disposed of. Between 1956 and 1986, a rubber tyred train provided service across the causeway.

The 150th Jubilee of South Australia was due to be celebrated in 1986, and a fund was established for special projects to mark the jubilee. Reinstatement of the horse tram was nominated as such a project, and the bid was successful. Replica tram cars were built, tracks were relaid and service recommenced on 14 June 1986."

Granite Island, Victor Harbor (©paula mcmanus)
Granite Island, Victor Harbor


Return Ticket
Adult $9
Child $7 (4 to 15 years)
Family $25 (2 adults, 2 children)

One Way Ticket
Adult $7
Child $5
Family $19

Contact the ticket office for details on Group Bookings

Clydesdale Horse, Victor Harbor (©paula mcmanus)
Clydesdale Horse, Victor Harbor


For more on what to see and do in Victor Harbor, check my profile or click on these highlights: Whale Watching, Granite Island Penguin Centre, Hindmarsh Falls.
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Why? Ride A South Australian Icon
When: All year round
Phone: (08) 8551 0720
Where: Victor Harbor, South Australia
Cost: Prices start from $7, but do vary. Check the website for details
Your Comment
It looks odd to see a horse drawing a carriage like that, but it must be a fun experience.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12258) 2051 days ago
It looks wonderful - a unique experience. Adelaide seems very pretty.
by Katy Holliday (score: 3|1133) 2051 days ago
So lovely... As a child we rode in that "rubber tyred train" and mum always reminisced about the days of the "horse drawn tram". How wonderful it's been returned... :-)
by caiteile (score: 1|41) 1905 days ago
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