Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
16-21 March 2006 - Port Elliot  (Victor Harbor & Goolwa)

Location map Port Elliot is on the coast lies between Victor Harbor and Goolwa at the entrance to the Murray River. These townships were established in the days when paddle steamers carried huge volumes of goods to and from the pastoral properties along the rivers of the Murray-Darling system. The original plan had been for paddle-steamers to go from the river, through the Murray entrance out to the ocean, and then to export destinations. Initially Adelaide was to have been located at the mouth of this river which was (inaccurately) envisaged as a highway to the interior of Australia. But the mouth of the Murray proved extremely dangerous and the practice was adopted of terminating river traffic paddle steamers at Goolwa and offloading exports (especially wool) onto horse drawn trams which took the goods to ocean-going ships at Port Elliot or Victor Harbor. Inbound goods went through the opposite process.

Although the mouth of the Murray was disappointing for the early explorers and politicians the Victor Harbor area is quite fertile and well-watered and a large range of agricultural pursuits have been adopted. We went for a drive around and bought locally made cheese and jam and saw properties devoted to grapes, olives, cattle, horse studs, trout farms, berries (blue and straw) to name a few. This is also a recreation area for Adelaide which is about 1 hour 15 minutes drive away. Although the summer tourist season is now drawing to a close and many places are closing up others are looking forward to the beginning of the whale watching season in May. Southern Right Whales come to Southern Australia to breed and, since this species quite likes shallow water, the mothers and calves can be easily seen from hills and cliffs ashore. We have previously seen Southern Right Whales at the Head of the Bight and understand how easy it is to spend a long time just watching them cruising up and down along the coast. Locals estimate that 40,000 people come to the Victor Harbor area each season to watch the whales.

Former hotel Former hotel in Goolwa township, built of stone with brick trims.
Cape Barren Geese Cape Barren Geese are commonly seen on Hindmarsh Island
Lookout hill Hill near Victor Harbor formerly used as lookout for shore-based whalers, now used to spot whales in the bay.
Pelicans resting Pelicans resting near victor Harbor
Timber bridge Bridge used by horse-drawn carriage was originally built to connect offshore island used as wharf for deep-sea ships, rail tracks were originally laid to carry export wool to ships alongside there.
Horse-drawn carriage Horse-drawn carriage in Victor Harbor.
Dairy cattle Fertile land lies inland from Victor Harbor; these dairy cows are one of many agricultural enterprises there.
Cattle Cattle grazing inland from Goolwa
Statue of whale tail Statue of Right Whale tail flukes in Victor Harbor