A Tourist's Guide to Regional Australia – Part 3: Victor Harbor and Goolwa, South Australia

This is the third in a series of articles that will help tourists both local and international visiting Australia find information about locations that are not usually covered in television travel programs and magazines.

South Australia

South Australia is a state in Australia which is located in the south central region of Australia. It covers 983,482 square kilometres and is the fourth largest state. The population is approximately 1,650,000 and it is estimated that 1,280,000 people live in the capital city, Adelaide. The South Australian coastline faces the Southern Ocean, and the climate ranges from Mediterranean in the south to a Desert Climate in the north.

Transport Options

Adelaide has an international and domestic airport. The best option for travelling to Victor Harbor and Goolwa would be via a hire vehicle. Victor harbor is approximately 90 kilometres south of Adelaide. For tips on driving in South Australia, please see this site http://dpti.sa.gov.au/roadsafety/safe_road_users/visitors_to_SA

Stop 1 – Mount Compass

Mount Compass is located approximately 50 kilometres south of Adelaide, and has a population of just under 700. It is renowned for its produce, and there are many farms from which you can buy direct. These include pheasants, venison (deer) and a trout farm where you can catch your own fish or buy fresh or smoked produce. You can also visit the local strawberry farm where you can pick your own strawberries, or buy some freshly picked ones. And if you are visiting in February, Mount Compass holds their own world famous cow race, the Mount Compass Cup. This is a fun day for all, with produce stalls and entertainment for children and adults. For those that want a break in driving there are several cafes and bakeries where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.


Mount Compass

Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor has long been a destination for locals and tourists. Due to its close proximity to Adelaide, you can make it a day trip or stay longer for a holiday. It has a population of approximately 11,000 and faces the Southern Ocean. This makes for ideal weather conditions, as Victor Harbor is often several degrees cooler than Adelaide in the summer months due to the breeze coming off the ocean. There are many accommodation options here, ranging from caravan parks to five star hotels. The Victor Harbor Golf Course is a great place to visit if you play golf and is one of the most picturesque courses in Australia. Food options are also plentiful with many restaurants serving fresh local produce and seafood.

If you have younger children, Greenhills Adventure Park is a great place to spend a fun day, with rides and fun activities for kids of all ages. You can also visit the Whaling Museum, or spend the day swimming at the idyllic Horseshoe Bay which is located in Port Elliot, 5 kilometres east of Victor Harbor. Another must see attraction is Granite Island, a small island that lies in the bay of Victor Harbor. It is made up of large granite rocks and is home to native animals such as kangaroos and wallabies. There is a man-made jetty if you wish to walk across, or you can choose to take a tram which is pulled by draught horses. For those who enjoy fishing, there are a large range of operators who conduct fishing charters.


Victor Harbor


Goolwa is located approximately 15 kilometres east of Victor Harbor and is located on the lower reaches of the Murray River, which is the largest river in Australia. The population is approximately 6,000. Goolwa was originally utilised as a river port, but is now a popular tourist destination. There is a wide range of accommodation available here, and has some excellent seafood restaurants who serve local seafood. There are safe swimming beaches and areas in which you can fish from land, or if you would like to go on a fishing charter there are plenty of operators. You can also hire a boat and explore the mouth of the river, or take a ride on a historic paddle steamer. Hindmarsh Island is located on the other side of the river and is linked by a bridge, and is the gateway to the Coorong National Park. Goolwa is also home to many native water birds and marsupials.


Goolwa Beach

This concludes our guide of Victor Harbor and Goolwa in South Australia. All information is correct to the knowledge of the author at the time of publication. Please note that weather events or factors could affect the information given here so please ensure that you check with local authorities and media upon arrival.


When swimming anywhere in Australia please be aware that certain beaches can be prone to rips and strong currents. Please always read and follow the relevant signs. More information can be found here http://www.australia.com/about/australias-landscapes/australian-beaches.aspx

South Australian waters are home to several species of sharks. Whilst shark attacks and fatalities are extremely rare, it is suggested that all swimmers remain vigilant and swim at patrolled beaches and follow any signs that are placed at beaches. Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk as this has been identified as the high risk times for shark attacks. For more information, please see this site http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/fisheries/fishwatch/sharks

South Australia is also home to several venomous animal species, including spiders and snakes. Whilst bites and fatalities are extremely rare, it is advised that caution is taken and a first aid kit which includes a snake bite kit is carried at all times. Please visit this site for more information http://www.adelaidebound.com/wildlife.html

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