A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me www.potpourritravels.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/potpourritravels/
Published March 22nd 2017
Visit surf and seals and Southern Right whales in Sth Aust
It's a Riviera of a different kind; there's no high-rise apartment blocks and no huge Westfield shopping centres. Instead, there are white sandy beaches that stretch into the distance, rolling hills that tumble down to the coastline, interesting history that explains the quirky place names, quiet coffee shops and humble roadside art galleries full of beautiful works of art to tempt and bend the plastic.
I'm in Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, about one hour's drive south of Adelaide. It's a quaint beachside township with a laid-back vibe, and the protected waters of Encounter Bay make it an idyllic spot for a family-friendly break.
In the early 1800's Capt. Matthew Flinders and Frenchman Capt. Nicolas Baudin must've got quite a shock when they encountered each other, both mapping the same part of the South Australian coastline. And so the tranquil waters of the harbour were named Encounter Bay. By the mid-1850's Victor Harbor was a bustling place. Named by Capt. Crozier after his ship the HMAS Victor, the town grew into a busy trading port for wool, wheat and two whaling stations. These days the ambient temperatures and passive waters make it a popular tourist and holiday destination.
11 Top Things To Do: 1. Walk, ride or skate the footpath that runs all the way to the Bluff headland to the west of town, and all the way to the nearby town of Goolwa to the east. 2. Swim, paddle-board or kayak - the crescent shape of the foreshore makes this a safe swimming beach with very little swell or problems with rips, although it is unpatrolled. The Big Duck Boat Tours take you seal and dolphin spotting too. 3. Ride the horse-drawn tram to Granite Island and climb to the top of this big pile of granite for endless views over the ocean. 4. Visit the Penguin Rehabilitation Centre and do the guided- tour at dusk to see the Fairy Penguins on Granite Island. 5. Learn all about the ocean environment and whales at the South Australian Whale Centre. A 3-D theatrette and interactive exhibits make it a great place for children or to spend a rainy day.
the South Australian Whale Centre a fun way to spend the day
6. Ride the Steamranger Cockle Train, a broad-gauge locomotive run by volunteers that runs between Victor Harbor and nearby Goolwa. 7. Drive west along the coast visiting the Bluff, Newland Conservation Park, and Waitpinga and Parsons Beaches. 8. Take a country drive through the hinterland visiting Hindmarsh Falls and Glacier Rock. Stop at the Rock View Café for some fresh home-made scones, jam and cream.
9. Do a cruise around the Coorong Lakes System to the mouth of the Murray River, a great opportunity to see a variety of birdlife and the massive New Zealand Fur seals that loll about on the wooden barrages.
10. Explore nearby historic towns of Port Elliot and Goolwa, both full of art galleries and antique stores.
11. Spot wildlife; on our drives around the area we spotted emu, llama, goats, horses, sheep, cows, kangaroo and koala. May to October are the best months to spot whales.
Accommodation - we stayed at Victor Harbor Beachfront Caravan Park, which has direct access to the beach at Encounter Bay, and the Encounter cycleway and footpath. It's only a 10-15 minute walk into the main street of Victor Harbor, which has plenty of dining options, such Indian, Chinese, and fish and chip shops. Our on-site cabin had a king-size bed, en-suite, fridge, toaster and tea and coffee-making facilities. It's positioned in a quiet corner and I could see bushland out the bedroom window. A camp kitchen with full cooking facilities, laundry, swimming pool and water-slide are just a few minutes walk across the park.
One never tires of going to Victor,Port Elliot and Goolwa.etc.I have been going there since the 1940's and it remains very much the same today.There is bit more of buzz than back in those days,but the area has retained much of its charm.