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.
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.
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.
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.
One must preach in the pulpit.
And have a rest in the cradle.
Or shelter under the umbrella rock.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Time passed. We grew up. Had families of our own. But the pilgrimages to Victor Harbor continued.
Camel rides appeared on the sandy shores.
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.
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.
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.
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.
© 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,
And escape to adventure in the Australian Outback.