Tuesday, March 8, 2011

South Australia - Victor Harbor

City of Victor Harbor viewed from The Bluff

This was the final leg of our trip to Adelaide and a visit to Victor Harbor had been recommended to us and we were not disappointed.

Victor Harbor is a city located on the coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 80km south of Adelaide, South Australia. The city is the largest population centre on the peninsula, with an economy based upon agriculture, fisheries and various industries. It is also a highly popular tourist destination, with the city's population greatly expanded during the summer holidays.

Traditionally home of the Ramindjeri clan of the Ngarrindjeri people, the bay on which Victor Harbor sits was discovered by Matthew Flinders in the HMS Investigator in April 1802. Flinders was surveying the then unknown southern Australian coast from the West. He encountered Nicolas Baudin in the Le Geographe near the Murray Mouth several kilometers to the east of the present day location of Victor Harbor. Baudin was surveying the coast from the East for Napoleonic France. The ships returned to the bay and sheltered while the captains, who were probably unaware their countries were at war, compared notes. Flinders named the bay Encounter Bay after the meeting.In 1837 Captain Richard Crozier who was en-route from Sydney to the Swan River Colony in command of the “HMS Victor”, anchored just off Granite Island and named the sheltered waters in the lee of the island 'Victor Harbor' after his ship. About the same time two whaling stations were established, one at the Bluff (Rosetta Head) and the other near the point opposite Granite Island. Whale oil became South Australia’s first export.

A popular site for visitors is Granite Island, which is connected to the mainland by a short tram/pedestrian causeway. The tram service is provided by the Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram, one of the very few horse-drawn tram routes remaining in public transit service. Granite island is home to a large colony of Fairy Penguins which are a popular attraction on the island. These penguins shelter on the island during the night, departing in the morning to hunt for fish before returning at sunset.

During the months of June to September, whale spotting is a popular attraction. Southern Right Whales come to the nearby waters to calve and to mate. The South Australian Whale Centre located at Victor Harbor provides hands on interactive activities and presentations as well as information on whale watching tips.

Victor Harbor is the centre of the surf zone known as the "South Coast" to Adelaide and local surfers. Popular surf beaches in the area include Parsons, Waitpinga, Middleton and Goolwa. The Granite Island breakwater usually shields the town from waves. Victor Harbor also offers numerous fishing opportunities varying from offshore reefs for larger boat based anglers to excellent surf fishing on the beaches closer to the Murray Mouth.

"Carmen" the Clydsedale pulling the tram to and from Granite Island -

Looking towards Granite Island -

On the tram to Granite Island looking back towards the township of Victor Harbor -

Towards Granite Island -

Carmen plods on. Four Clydesdales are used each day in two hour spells to pull the tram across to the island and back -

Looking towards The Bluff across the Harbour. Note the 'white water' of the tidal sandbar across the entrance -

It had become overcast, causing the water to take on a dark hue, however, the sun came out for a few minutes to show "The Anchorage" at Granite Island in blue sea -

Looking back across the causeway -

Sharon's Naked Lady plants were in full bloom on Granite Island, South Australia -

and, along the cliff top -

On this windblown, almost treeless island, vegetation sought to grab hold wherever it could -

Soon we were on our trip back and Carmen had us safely home -

and, ready to go again

There's also the Whaling Information Centre, tho' "whaling" these days is very eco-friendly and restricted to "whale watching" cruises -

 And there are 'watering holes' for humans as well -

Golf courses for the golfers -

Or just enjoy the view from your Victor Harbor Beach House at Encounter Bay. Their brochure describes it as - " private self-contained holiday rental accommodation with magnificent views over Encounter Bay and 'the bluff' on South Australia's beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula. With its secluded garden and lawn, and easy access to the beach, this fully restored 1950s beach house is the ideal South Australian holiday retreat."

Anyway, it was soon time to head back to Adelaide and a quiet drink at our hotel, a light meal and to pack and be ready for our 'red eye' flight back to Canberra Airport at 5.30am.


Sharon said...

Hello, John, I do love Victor Harbor, it seems to have something to offer everyone! The flowers, the views of the ocean, golf, hiking,it does look like a fantastic place to go and be a "tourist"!

I imagine you were a little sorry to see it all end, when it was time to head home. I really did enjoy your travels!


JohnD said...

Yeah! We liked it too - seemed more 'laid back' and capable of supporting 'oldies in recreation'. We've talked, loosely, of perhaps a week or two down there in the off-season as an R and R spot.

Jim said...

John, fantastic photos! Looks like a great place to live as well as visit.