Victor Harbor

Population 10377

In the 1830s the crystal waters of Encounter Bay – and the Southern Ocean beyond – throbbed with the whalers and sealers of the south. Granite Island housed a whaling station, Victor Harbor was its port, and life revolved around the ocean slaughters. Today the whalers and sealers are gone, Granite Island is a recreation park and Victor Harbor is a holiday town. The naming of Encounter Bay comes from the unexpected meeting in the bay between explorers Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin.

Visitor Information

The Causeway; (08) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094

Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Port Elliot

    Port Elliot is a charming historic town set on scenic Horseshoe Bay. Its popularity as a holiday destination lies in the fabulous beaches...more

  • Goolwa

    Goolwa is a rapidly growing holiday town on the last big bend of the Murray River before it reaches open waters. In 2007 Goolwa became the...more

  • Yankalilla

    Since the first land grant in 1842, Yankalilla has been the centre of a thriving farming industry. It is a growing settlement just inland...more

In Town

South Australian Whale Centre This unique centre focuses on the 25 species of whale and dolphin, and other marine life found in the southern Australian waters, with an aim to educate and conserve these species. Past atrocities are displayed alongside interactive displays and presentations that reveal the wonders of the amazing creatures. Between May and Oct, southern right whales mate and breed in Encounter Bay. The centre offers whale cruises and sighing information, as well as a Whale Information Hotline for the latest sightings (in season) 1900 WHALES (1900 942 537). Open 9.30am–5pm daily (except Christmas Day); Railway Tce; (08) 8551 0750.

Encounter Coast Discovery Centre: National Trust museum that covers Aboriginal, whaling, settler and recent local history. A museum walk finishes at the Old Customs House, which has period furnishings; open 1–4pm daily; Flinders Pde.

Cockle Train: departs from Railway Tce for return journey to Goolwa; bookings 1300 655 991; for more details see Goolwa.

Horse-drawn tram: operates daily; (08) 8551 0720;

Amusement Park: family fun fair on the beach with the state's historic Ferris wheel, dodgem cars and an inflatable slide; open long weekends and school holidays; the Causeway; 0418 845 540.

SteamRanger Heritage Railway: heritage steam and diesel tourist trains run to Port Elliot, Goolwa, Strathalbyn and Mount Barker; phone 1300 655 991;

Scenic flights: helicopter joy-flights over Victor Harbor, Granite Island, local vineyards and the mouth of the Murray; (08) 8552 8196.


Granite Island Recreation Park Granite Island has a long and varied history. It has significance in the Ramindjeri people's Dreamtime; in 1837 a whaling station was established; and today the island is a recreation park. This history is detailed on the Kaiki Trail, a 1.5 km walk around the island. A highlight is the Below Decks Oceanarium, just off the Screwpile Jetty, with close-up views of marine life and tours daily; at dusk, take a guided Penguin Discovery Tour to see the penguins scuttle in and out of their burrows (all tour bookings (08) 8552 7555). The island is linked to the mainland by a 630 m causeway. Walk or take the horse-drawn tram, the last one remaining in the Southern Hemisphere; tram departs from entrance to Causeway at 10am daily. Tickets available at visitor centre or on the tram.

Hindmarsh River Estuary: peaceful picnic and fishing spot with boardwalk through coastal scrub; 1 km NE.

Greenhills Adventure Park: family-fun activities including go-karts, jumping castle and water slide; Waggon Rd; 3.5 km N.

Victor Harbor Winery: cellar-door tastings and sales of cool-climate reds, whites and fortified wines; open Wed–Sun; Hindmarsh Valley; 4 km N.

Urimbirra Wildlife Park: popular fauna park with a wetland bird sanctuary, crocodile-feeding and children's farmyard; Adelaide Rd; 5 km N.

Big Duck Boat Tours: Spectacular half hour and 1 hour tours taking in Encounter Bay and coastal parts of Victor Harbor. Leaves from Granite Island causeway; 0405 125 312.

Nangawooka Flora Reserve: tranquil walks through native bushlands with over 1250 native plant varieties on show; opposite Urimbirra Wildlife Park.

The Bluff (Rosetta Head): 500-million-year-old mass of granite, well worth the 100 m climb for the views; 5 km SW.

Newland Head Conservation Park: known for its wild surf and coastal vegetation, this park protects the headland and Waitpinga and Parsons beaches, which offer surf-fishing opportunities and beach walks; turn-off 15 km SW.

Hindmarsh Falls: pleasant walks and spectacular waterfall (during winter); 15 km NW.

Mt Billy Conservation Park: mallee and forest park renowned for its rare orchid species; 18 km NW.

Inman Valley: features Glacier Rock, said to be the first recorded discovery of glaciation in Australia; 19 km NW.

Eco-friendly activities around town

Whale-watching on the Fleurieu Peninsula 6 km

Between May and October, southern right whales often cruise right next to the shore of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Popular viewing spots include Port Elliot, Goolwa, Middleton and Victor Harbor, but your best starting point... Find out more

Birdwatching around the Fleurieu Peninsula 15 km

Abutting the Coorong, and with wetlands, beaches and a wide variety of terrain, the Fleurieu Peninsula is a top spot for birdwatching. There is a hide off Barrage Road at Goolwa, and the Goolwa Effluent Ponds can have... Find out more

Diving and snorkelling off the Fleurieu Peninsula 37 km

Some of the state’s best diving – particularly in-shore and around jetties – is on the Fleurieu Peninsula, with leafy sea dragons, shipwrecks, dolphins and myriad fish species. Second Valley is great... Find out more

Swimming with dolphins off Glenelg 65 km

Since 2002, the eco-accredited Temptation Sailing has offered a ‘swim with the dolphins sail’ on a 17-metre catamaran out of Glenelg, in which the bottlenose and common dolphins reputedly come to the vessel... Find out more

Morialta Conservation Park 69 km

One of the most stunning parks in the region and located only 10 kilometres north-east of Adelaide, this has waterfalls and deep gorges, woodlands, koalas, echidnas and southern brown bandicoots. The pick of the walks is... Find out more

Aboriginal gallery, Adelaide 70 km

The Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery at the South Australian Museum holds the largest collection of Aboriginal artefacts in the world. Some 3000 are on display at any one time.... Find out more

Adelaide Zoo 71 km

With its catchphrase ‘We exist to save animals from extinction’, this is another of Australia’s excellent zoos. Visit the Giant Panda enclosure to see the Wang Wang and Funi. The sea-lion display... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Links Lady Bay Resort 29 km

‘A pleasurable golf course,’ Dr Alister MacKenzie once wrote, ‘is not necessarily one that appeals at first sight, but rather one that grows on a player like good music, good painting, or good... Find out more

Glenelg Golf Club 66 km

Glenelg is to Adelaide what Bondi is to Sydney – the city’s most popular beach suburb. The terminus for the City to Bay tram, a Glenelg icon, can be found where Jetty Rd meets the beach, where you will... Find out more

Kooyonga Golf Club 70 km

Kooyonga is a thinking player’s golf course. One of the game’s greatest strategists, Peter Thomson, gave an insight into what is required to play well at Kooyonga after winning the 1972 Australian Open here.... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Anchorage Cafe Restaurant Wine Bar

Chargrilled steaks and seafood are the forte of this restaurant, part of the historic Anchorage Seafront Hotel in the heart of town. Creative sauces enliven many dishes: try their rib-eye steak with shiraz and thyme... Find out more

eat at whalers

With a smart outdoor deck overlooking Encounter Bay and Wright Island, there are few finer places to be on a warm summer’s afternoon. Asian flavours grace several, entrées, like their spring rolls or prawn... Find out more

Nearby eco-friendly places to eat

The Organic Market and Cafe 61 km

This bustling cafe and organic produce outlet in Stirling was the national winner of the best organic retailer award. Something of an institution in the area, it has delicious antipasto platters and great coffee. About... Find out more

The Locavore 61 km

The Locavore (‘local eater’) at Stirling in the Adelaide Hills sticks to the ‘100-mile’ philosophy of sourcing food, which in its case includes the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and the... Find out more

Goodlife 64 km

This innovative restaurant and takeaway not only makes carbon-neutral pizzas, but also places an emphasis on sourcing produce that is organic and local. Takeaway pizzas here even come tied up with string.... Find out more

Nearby breweries

The Steam Exchange Company 16 km

South Australia seems to have more than its fair share of craft breweries in significant historical locations, and The Steam Exchange Brewery is no exception. It’s housed in a heritage-listed former railway goods... Find out more

Campsites around town

Waitpinga camping area 15 km

Sheltered sites are set amongst coastal scrub a short stroll from Waitpinga Beach, 16 km south-west of Victor Harbor. Access is from Range and Dennis rds. A permit is required and cooking is by gas/fuel stove only.... Find out more

Cole Crossing camping area 25 km

Around 17 km north-east of Mt Compass, this peaceful camping area is reached from Cole Crossing Rd, 6 km south of Mt Magnificent Rd. No fires: only gas/fuel stoves are permitted.... Find out more

Barker Knoll camping area (boat-based camping) 26 km

This is a great beach location for self-sufficient campers, right at the Murray Mouth and reached only by boat via Goolwa or Mundoo Channel, or from Hindmarsh Island. Pick up a permit from the self-registration station.... Find out more

Godfreys Landing camping area (boat-based camping) 26 km

Beach camping just south of the Murray Mouth is accessible by boat only. Come equipped for self-sufficient camping, and pick up a permit from the self-registration station. There is a limit of 6 people per site.... Find out more

Tapanappa camping area 34 km

There are fantastic views along Tunkalilla Beach and over to Kangaroo Island from this lofty ridgetop campground on the Heysen Trail. It’s also a staging post for challenging bushwalks to Deep Creek Cove and... Find out more

Stringybark camping area 35 km

Deep Creek’s main camping area is sheltered by delightful stringybark forest, a feature of the park’s higher ground. It’s a comfortable base camp for daytrips and walks on Tapanappa Rd, 9 km south-east... Find out more

Jacks Paddock camping area 36 km

Opposite Kuitpo Hall, with access from Christmas Hill Rd, this paddock campground is 11 km south of Meadows. With a restored barn and horseyards, it’s recommended for group camping. Arrange your booking and permit... Find out more

Woodcutters Cottage 37 km

This former youth hostel is a 4-room stone cottage with a lounge, kitchen and sleeping room for 12, plus room nearby for tents. It is just 2 km from the information centre on Brookman Rd. Booking is necessary and a... Find out more

Trig camping area 38 km

This popular location in the heart of the park is sheltered and leafy, with good access to walking trails. It’s at the end of the steep Tent Rock Rd, 12 km south of Delamere. Bring wood and pick up a permit from... Find out more

Chookarloo camping area 39 km

Creekside camping is permitted just 1.5 km from Kuitpo’s main information centre, 8 km south-west of Meadows on Brookman Rd.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Victor Harbor Beachfront Holiday Park 1 km

Right on the beachfront, this park is also within walking distance of the town centre (1.5 km). It is a quality tourist park with good facilities. Ideal for a few days or an extended stay, bookings are required during... Find out more

Port Elliot Holiday Park 7 km

Located just 2 km from Port Elliot, between Victor Harbor and Goolwa in a fabulous beachfront position, this is an excellent place to stay year round. We feel this is one of the great seaside caravan parks on the... Find out more

Goolwa Caravan Park 19 km

Located 4 km from the town centre, in a quiet waterside area, this is a big park with large numbers of both annual sites and powered tourist sites, as well as an enormous number of unpowered sites. Reservations must be... Find out more

Mount Compass Caravan Park 21 km

As neat as a pin, this newer caravan park in a rural setting has reached a high standard in its early years. It is a great inland base for exploring the Fleurieu Peninsula. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Jetty Caravan Park - Normanville 31 km

This is a neat tourist park alongside the beach. Bookings are required during Christmas and Easter holidays and a minimum-stay period applies at Christmas, January, Easter and long weekends.... Find out more

Milang Lakeside Caravan Park 36 km

This neat and shady park on the western shores of Lake Alexandrina is the ideal getaway destination for those wanting to have a few quiet days in a waterside location. Bookings are required during Christmas and Easter... Find out more

Big 4 Port Willunga Tourist Park 36 km

In a quiet rural location about 4 km from Aldinga, this is a spacious park with well-established shady trees. Bookings are necessary at Christmas, January, Easter and long weekends and a minimum-stay period applies.... Find out more

McLaren Vale Lakeside Caravan Park 38 km

This is a spacious, quality park amid the vineyards of the McLaren Vale region. If you want to experience the great wines from the multitude of cellar-door outlets, you will find the park the best base on this part of... Find out more

Moana Beach Tourist Park 41 km

Only a short distance from the Moana town centre and close to the beach, this park is also not far from Adelaide’s southern suburbs. Bookings are required at Christmas, January, Easter and long weekends. There is a... Find out more

Brighton Caravan Park and Holiday Village 58 km

Just 17 km from Adelaide city, this tourist park enjoys absolute beach frontage and has a nice, relaxed feel. It is a popular family park and bookings are essential during busy holiday periods. A 2-night minimum-length... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Anchorage Seafront Hotel

This stately heritage-listed building occupies a prime seafront location in the centre of town. Its 20 rooms have been remodelled to provide a range of accommodation, from luxury spa suites to economical motel-style... Find out more


Riverhouse is a quiet, engaging country retreat sited near bushland and river gums. Fully equipped and self-contained, the home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attractive kitchen and family living area with wood... Find out more

Whalers Inn Resort

This resort takes full advantage of Encounter Bay’s ever-changing spectacle. Nestled in the lee of the Bluff, the resort offers a selection of single- and three-bedroom self-catered apartments. All come with... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Ridgetop Retreats 36 km

Three funky, architecturally designed cabins sit in quiet seclusion in Deep Creek Conservation Park at the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula. They have solar hot water, composting toilets, two bedrooms, floor-to-ceiling... Find out more

Antechamber Bay Ecocabins 57 km

This low-key, out-of-the-way spot in the east of the island is next to a beautiful and isolated beach. There are two fairly basic self-contained and solar-powered cabins with room for up to eight people each, half a... Find out more

Clarion Hotel Soho 69 km

Completed at the end of 2008, this five-star boutique hotel was designed with many hidden environmental features, such as water-recycling systems, sustainable building materials and airflow and passive cooling to reduce... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Meningie park area 67 km

At Meningie

Adjacent to the highway and on the shores of a lake.

What's on around town

Rotary Art Show: Jan.

Coast to Coast Bike Ride and Victor Harbor Triathlon: Mar.

Whale Season Opening: June.

Whaletime Playtime Festival: July.

Rock n Roll Festival: Sept.

New Year’s Eve Celebration: Dec.

comments powered by Disqus