Discover Victor Harbor
Victor Harbor is an iconic seaside town less than an hour out of Adelaide. The weather is always a little cooler in Victor, which makes it the IDEAL place to visit with the kids during the searing heat of Adelaide summers. The beaches are great, with Middleton, Carrikalinga, Goolwa and Port Elliot minutes away. The beaches are good for body boarding, surfing or just floating (floating was my specialty before kids, but now with my extra 5 bums and inbuilt floatation tyre, I would say I “wallow” more than float). Then there is the chance of spotting Whales between May and October – plus the super cool SA Whale Centre open all year.
Anyway, personally, I actually really love visiting Victor Harbor for a weekend in the winter time when there are less people around and it’s just calling for long walks to The Bluff, snuggles and puzzles with the kids and red wine with the hubby.
Here are some of the features that I think make Victor a great family friendly place to visit.
Victor Harbor Playgrounds-
There are many playgrounds around the foreshore in Victor.
The main playground is right near the Granite Island Jetty. Named the GT Fisher Playground, its features include:
- Fully fenced playground. *Please note that when we last visited I noticed the gates don’t swing shut themselves very easily so please make sure you pull these shut yourself to ensure little children don’t venture out unnoticed.
- Large train
- Climbing equipment, swings and play spaces for a range of ages (we have been there with kids ranging from age 1-7 and all kids loved it)
- Large Norfolk Pines provide shade for most of the day, but there is no shade cover directly over the playground
- Plenty of park space and benches around the playground for leaving bicycles, prams and bags on, or for breastfeeding (which is all I seem to be doing at the moment! Ha!)
- Toilets are very close by
- Coffee and food a very short walk away
- Located right next to the beach
- BBQ facilities next to the playground
There is also a newer, more adventure style playground for older kids, near the Skate Park, along the foreshore (Bridge Terrace). Features include:
- Large, interesting climbing equipment
- Suitable for slightly older kids (probably 4+)
- NOT fenced or shaded
- Close to skate park and beach
- Short walk to cafes and toilets
Soldiers Memorial playground. This playground is a little further around to the right of the jetty. It’s a nice, small playground, right next to the beach. Features include:
- Partially fenced- the fence is on the road side of the playground but extends quite far either side of the playground
- BBQ area close by
- Plenty of space for having a picnic
- Toilet facilities at the playground
- There is no shade cover on the playground but trees and grass make it cool and shaded
- Good “pulley” system for kids to experiment with and some great other features to help kids learn and play together
- Close to the main strip of Victor for cafes and icecreams!
Victor Harbor Beaches
The beaches along the coast at Victor are beautiful. Make sure you’re aware of the tidal movement if you’re out in a kayak as there can be some rips that pull you out. There are very few waves as Granite Island tends to block these, which makes it a lovely place for children to play in the water, fly kites and build castles and forts.
Middleton and Port Elliot are close by if you have kids who are interested in body-boarding or surfing. The waves here are great for those learning to surf as the waves aren’t too large and the water is shallow quite a long way out. Please be aware that the tidal pull here is extremely strong. Even though the water looks very shallow it can drag children out very, very quickly and sweep their feet from under them. It is very important you keep a close eye on your children.
Family Friendly Eats in Victor Harbor
Port Elliot Bakery
I don’t even know where to start with the Port Elliott Bakery. Basically, it’s a South Australian icon and you can’t go to Victor without getting a pie, pasty or sausage roll from there! There are often line ups so that pretty much explains just how awesome this place is. I’ve always figured that the energy and kilojoules it takes lining up balances it all out! *Photo from Port Elliot Bakery Facebook Page
Family Friendly Things to do in Victor Harbor
The South Australian Whale Centre is South Australia’s largest marine focused interpretative centre.
Visitors can experience the natural wonders of the deep, explore the world heritage listed railway building, and gain further knowledge about Victor Harbor and South Australia’s marine treasures. The centre provides whale sighting information, education and research support services through a range of mediums. The centre brings together a unique collection of historic treasures, marine, cultural, and aboriginal heritage to deliver an inspiring and enjoyable experience for every visitor.
The Steam Ranger, or Cockle Train, is a beautifully restored, fully working, steam train. It chugs along the coast between Victor Harbor and Goolwa with literally everyone you see waving up at you! It’s a beautiful way to spend a morning and the kids love sitting in the old-style carriages and listening to the train ‘toot toot’!
The Bluff is a long bike ride, walk or scoot along the coast, with a steep track to the top for awesome views. Or you can take the car and enjoy it too! It’s a great spot to look back towards Victor Harbor and examine further down the coast.
Granite Island is a short walk (or horsedrawn tram ride!) across the bridge from the main part of Victor Harbor. There are steep stairs and dusty walking paths that kids love exploring as they wander around the island. Be aware that prams can go across to the island but the walk around it is not suitable for young children (unless carried) or prams. Older children love it though and it’s not a long hike. Sensible shoes are recommended.
Granite island is also home to little penguins. There are tours nightly, but please check the website for information as this has been rumoured to be changing.
The horsedrawn tram is an iconic feature of Victor Harbor! The clydesdale horses pull the swaying tram across the bridge to Granite Island and back again. Kids LOVE going on the tram, or even just watching the horses being fed and groomed. The beautiful horses are magnificent, and the olden-days tram is a nice change of pace for kids.
The Urimbirra Wildlife Park is around 5 minutes drive out of Victor Harbor. There is lots the kids will love, and it’s a great place to go if you have had enough of the beach! There are koalas, birds, lizards, snakes (gah!), wombats and also farm yard animals. It’s worth packing a picnic and spending the day in the park. Guaranteed winner with the kids!
Shopping in Victor Harbor
There are some great new shops popping up in and around Victor Harbor. Check out Port Elliott for some cool homewares and interior design stores (while eating your pie from the bakery!). The Encounter Centre Wooden Toy Store is a great place to go for a special gift for the kids too. Don’t forget the Farmer’s Markets, where you will always find some goodies.
There are also many other things to do, such as: the movies, dining out, playing golf, tennis, skate boarding, bike riding and whale watching (during the winter months). If you’re anything like my family, you’ll probably end up going walking, swimming, having naps and playing board games! Luckily it’s so close to Adelaide, that you don’t have to worry if you miss out on doing something as you can always drive down there for the day and experience something new each time. We hope you enjoy visiting Victor Harbor.