Victor Harbor, South Australia

Victor Harbor, South Australia

Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Victor Harbor
state = sa

caption = City of Victor Harbor, South Australia, viewed from The Bluff.
lga = City of Victor Harbor
postcode = 5211 [ [ Victor Harbor Postcode] . Australia Post. Retrieved on 2008-05-29]
pop = 10,380 "2006 Census" [ [ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007)] . Victor Harbor (Urban Centre/Locality). "2006 Census Quickstats". Retrieved on 2008-05-29]
est = 1837
stategov = Finniss
fedgov = Mayo
dist1 = 85
dir1 = South
location1= Adelaide via

Victor Harbor is a city located on the coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, located 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.


Explorer Matthew Flinders on his ship the Investigator, discovered and named Encounter Bay after his encounter near the Murray Mouth with French explorer Nicholas Baudin on the ship “Le Geographic”.

In 1837 two whaling stations were established, one at the Bluff (Rosetta Head) and the other near the point opposite Granite Island and whale oil became South Australia’s first export.

In his ship, “HMS Victor”, Captain Crozier anchored just off Granite Island and named the adjacent mainland Victor Harbor after his ship. The town of Victor Harbor itself did not exist until 1863, when stone buildings first appeared.

The last whale was caught off Victor in 1872.

Victor Harbor was originally called Port Victor, but its name was changed in 1921, as a result, it is said, of a near shipwreck blamed on confusion with Port Victoria in the Yorke Peninsula. Despite the fact that "harbour" is normally spelt with a "u" in Australian English, the name of the city is spelt "Victor Harbor". This spelling, found in several geographical names in South Australia, including Adelaide Outer Harbor, is the result of spelling errors made by an early Surveyor General of South Australia.


The area has a population of around 13,000, but can swell to close to 50,000 in summer time, and was declared a city in 2000. As a Local Government Area, the City of Victor Harbor includes the surrounding rural area and the contiguous township of Encounter Bay as well as the town of Victor Harbor itself; its total area is 34,463 hectare. It shares boundaries with the District Councils of Yankalilla and Alexandrina Councils. The city is in the state electoral district of Finniss and the federal Division of Mayo.


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. Another popular attraction is the "Cockle Train" historic railway operated by SteamRanger to Goolwa.

During the months of June to September Southern Right whales can be sighted throughout the waters of Victor Harbor’s Encounter Bay. The South Australian Whale Centre located at Victor Harbor provides hands on interactive activities and presentations as well as information on whale watching tips, which has become one of the regions most popular tourist activities.

Another popular tourist attraction at Victor Harbor is the penguins at nearby Granite Island. Colonies of penguins inhabit the island and each evening come ashore, returning to their burrows. Daily penguin walks are held at dusk.

Greenhills Adventure Park offers activities including: waterslides, canoes, rock wall climbing, archery, mini golf, and go-karting.

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 ensures that the surf in the centre of Victor Harbor itself is fairly calm, although when the swell is really big there is a break known as the "Dump" that breaks right in town.

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.

Festivals and Events

This town hosts a three day schoolies festival in late November mainly for South Australian school leavers. Victor Harbor hosts the second largest Schoolies Week Festival after the Gold Coast. The centre of the town is a dry zone and hosts various live music and other events for participants.


* Charles R. Hodge, "Guide-book to Victor Harbour (the miniature Naples of Australia) and the South Coast", Adelaide: The Advertiser, 1930, [ OCLC 37077169] .

External links

* [ City of Victor Harbor]
* [ Steamranger Tourist Railway]
* [ South Australia Central]
* [ Tourism South Australia]

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