Fantastic Fleurieu: Victor Harbor

With travel now a dream of the past since staying home is our future (for the time being), the following is a virtual escape into my “backyard”, the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Victor Harbor: A Pilgrimage Down Memory Lane

The road to the seaside town of Victor Harbour some 85 km from Adelaide’s CBD, is not without its risks. In years past it has claimed many lives who have dared to speed along its two laned path. This highway has improved and widened in recent years and a sign near the Willunga turnoff boasts how many days the road has been accident/fatality free.

I remember when the road was narrow, hilly and full of car-sick-creating twists and turns. That was way back when I was a child and my family took their yearly pilgrimage to Victor Harbor, usually around New Year’s Day.

One of the first trips was in the comfort and safety of my mother’s womb. The whole T-clan, plus some G’s (mum’s family), met at Victor Harbor on the lawns near the causeway to Granite Island.

[Photo 1: Grandpa T and Hubby resting and enjoying Victor Harbour view © L.M. Kling 2000]

Each year, we picnicked on the grass under the shade of Norfolk Pines, then, after crossing the Causeway by foot, we did the obligatory lap of Granite Island.

[Photo 2: View of Granite Island along the Causeway © W.A. Kling 2000]

We watched the waves from the Southern Ocean crash against the rocks. ‘Don’t go down too far,’ Dad would warn me while my brother would race ahead to the edge.

[Photo 3: Waves Crashing on Rocks © L.M. Kling 2000]

We’d dangle our feet on a seat suffering the effects of land-erosion beneath it. Or throw stones into Encounter Bay from the Causeway.

[Photo 4: Boys who throw stones © L.M. Kling 1997]

One must preach in the pulpit.

[Photo 5: Preacher me © R.M. Trudinger 1978]

And have a rest in the cradle.

[Photo 6: Lee in the Cradle © M.E. Trudinger 1978]

Or shelter under the umbrella rock.

[Photo 7: Victor Harbour from under Umbrella Rock © L.M. Kling 1985]

The horse tram fascinated me, but Dad always had an excuse. ‘Too dear,’ he’d say, and another year shuffled by without a ride in luxury over to Granite Island.

[Photo 8: Horse-drawn luxury from behind © L.M. Kling 2014]

Finally, my wish became reality when my friend and I showed my Japanese friends around Victor Harbor. ‘This is a famous dating place,’ I informed them.

[Photo 9: The horse tram approaching © L.M. Kling 1985]

Fairy Penguins were in abundance, or they were, back then. My Japanese friends had great fun searching for these shy birds in rocky crags where they nested.

[Photo 10: Spotted, a fairy penguin © L.M. Kling 1985]

Victor Harbor and surrounds were the go-to places in summer. A friend had a shack where we camped for several days. What mischief and mayhem we got up to.

[Photo 11: Meanwhile…the calm side of Granite Island © L.M. Kling 2015]

The other side of the Bluff fascinated me. Eventually, we braved the drive up the steep gravel road, just to see what was there on the other side of the Bluff.

[Photo 12: The Bluff from Granite Island © L.M. Kling 2000]
[Painting: The Other Side of the Bluff © L.M. Kling 2016]

Time passed. We grew up. Had families of our own. But the pilgrimages to Victor Harbor continued.

Camel rides appeared on the sandy shores.

[Photo 13: Camel Riders © L.M. Kling 2015]

Picnics on the lawns continued…once we’d snagged a carpark. Victor Harbor has become increasingly busy over the years. And we lugged our picnic hampers, ice- boxes, blankets, deck chairs, bat and ball for cricket, and BBQ equipment to a spare patch of grass. Then, once settled, trekked back and forth several times to the car for forgotten items necessary to set up for the day. After lunch, Grandma and Grandpa T, armed with puzzles for entertainment, would mind our worldly goods, while we raced off to do our lap around Granite Island with the boys.

[Photo 14: Boys climbing rocks on Granite Island © L.M. Kling 1997]
[Photo 15: Son avoiding seaweed piles © L.M. Kling 2000]

Other times my mum and I would have a coffee in one of the many cafés that have sprung up in Victor Harbor, then we’d walk down the main street and browse in the clothes and craft shops.

With the K-Team there was the whale museum to explore and in summer maybe a mooch around the annual Rotary Art Show.

[Photo 16: Fun in the fountain near Whale Museum © L.M. Kling 2011]

At the end of the day, my hubby would just have to look at the Cockle Train, longingly, before being persuaded that it was getting late and we must make the drive home before the traffic builds up.

[Photo 17: Cockle Train longings © L.M. Kling 2009]

The last time I visited Victor Harbor, I took a walk along the recently developed wetland near Adare Conference Centre. This lagoon was a peaceful place to relax and reflect.

[Photo 18: A wonderful retreat © L.M. Kling 2016]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2020

Feature Photo: Classic View of Victor Harbor from Granite Island © L.M. Kling 2014


Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari.

And escape to adventure in the Australian Outback.

12 thoughts on “Fantastic Fleurieu: Victor Harbor

  1. Lovely painting! We’ve visited Victor Harbor a couple of times, both as a result of the Santos Tour Down Under in 2016 and 2017, and cycled up Willunga Hill. Thanks for reminding me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Riding up Willunga Hill not something I’d manage riding my bike. Even when I was younger and fitter, any hills, and we have lots of them where we live in the Adelaide foothills, I’d end up hopping off my bike and walking up.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, the Adelaide Hills is flat compared to the Alps and Pyrenees. I guess the right hearing would help, though. My mountain bike is fairly basic with 18 gears, I think. Need to dust off the cobwebs and start riding again…while we’re still allowed to. Not a total lockdown yet in South Australia.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lee-Anne,

    Another great blog, I don’t always respond I know, but I enjoy this. This one very much so; as I also think Victor Harbor is a great spot—the Retirement Capital of the world as Peter Goers used to say (maybe of the State, it’s a long time since I heard him on the radio, so I could even have that wrong).

    Like you, we had to trudge off to Granite Island on foot and never had a ride on the Cockle Train either.

    Great pictures bring even more to life.




    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this. Victor Harbor brings back so many happy memories, visited heaps as my late grandparents retired there whilst a village . Hate what turned into now, lost its special meaning to me. The photos are great. Keep it your writing

    Liked by 1 person

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