Local Attractions

Local Attractions

One of the sweetest beach settings in South Australia, Port Elliot is a popular place to visit.

Port Elliot is a model seaside village, it has cafes, antique and gift shops along The Strand. Feel the sand between your toes at picturesque Horseshoe Bay - its large beach and safe swimming conditions which makes it a hit with the children. If you like surfing, Boomer Beach is the place to go, it lies on the western edge of the town.

Jump aboard the Cockle Train to nearby Goolwa or Victor Harbor - other popular seaside destinations - or try the cliff-top walking path for stunning views of the coast. The Encounter Bike way weaves its way through Port Elliot's streets.


Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay is great for kids and adults. It is fairly sheltered so it's safe for kids to swim. There's enough surf some days for the boogie boards to come out safely. The life guards regularly patrol the beach. The Flying Fish Cafe and resturant serves great fish and chip shop right on the Bay. There is plenty of parking and picturesque walking trails overlooking the bay.

Harbourmaster's Walking Trail

Simply stunning scenery... Harbourmaster's walk is a short but delightful path that runs from Horseshoe Bay to Knights beach in Port Elliot, or in the opposite direction if one wishes. The views are panoramic to the east, south and west, providing excellent views and photographic opportunities from dawn to sunset. The area with the path, and indeed most of Freemen's Knob, is a part of the Commodore Reserve.

The history of the track appears to begin when the proposed shipping port (at what was then) Elliot halted due to the growing number of shipwrecks and ensuing public outcry. Tourists started coming to escape the heat of the Adelaide plains in summer, and the tracks they made walking around the island were paved by volunteers in the 1930's and 40's. Keith Dodd and the Lion's Club are responsible for the plantings of succulents, which grow very well in the harsh conditions on the slopes.

The track starts on the right of Horseshoe Bay and can be found by taking the upward path next to the Surf Life Saving Club and jetty, or just opposite from the Port Elliot YHA. First stop is Ladies Beach, a quiet patch of sand with great views at sunrise and sheltered swimming.

Continuing along the Harbourmaster's walk there are plenty of benches, each with a magnificent view. The path curves around the side of Freemen's Knob, roughly a third of the way between the top of the hill and the water below. You can hear the waves as you walk, and it must get very windy at times – especially in winter.

Stairs leading to the top to the lookout offer a different view, but the path continues along around to the west.

Green Beach is accessed via a stairway down to the rocks, and can have fairly rough water at times due to its angle to the sea. Further still down the path is descent to Knights Beach. This is the side with the sunset views, and the granite outcrops with steep sides are often explored by the bold and the young.

Although the Harbourmaster's path ends here, one can follow the beaches and walk all the way to Victor Harbour. It is advisable to check the Cockle Train schedule as a method of return.

Port Elliot Maritime Heritage Trail

The Port Elliot Maritime Heritage Trail is a self-guided walk that highlights Port Elliot's role as the first seaport for the River Murray trade. Development of the river as a significant inland transport route involved by-passing the hazardous Murray Mouth and constructing a rail link (the first public railway in Australia) between Port Elliot on the coast and the Port of Goolwa on the Murray.

From 1851 to 1866 more than 500 vessels used the areas facilities as a seaport. Unfortunately the wrecking of seven vessels, between 1853 to 1864, confirmed Horseshoe Bay's growing reputation as a 'ship-trap', resulting in nearby Victor Harbor replacing Port Elliot as the coastal outlet for the River Murray trade.

Four of the vessels wrecked within the bay ('Harry', 'Josephine Loizeau', 'Lapwing' and 'Flying Fish') are often exposed within the surf zone at Horseshoe Bay and continue to interest many visitors on the beach. Mystery surrounds the exact location of the remaining shipwrecks; the 'Emu', 'Commodore' and 'Athol' sites which are thought to lie outside Horseshoe Bay are yet to be located.

For more information on the trail a brochure is available and five interpretive signs have been placed on the foreshore of Horseshoe Bay.

Visit website: http://www.southaustralia.com/info.aspx?id=9002469 

Soldier's Memorial Gardens

Overlooking Horseshoe Bay, the Soldier's Memeorial Gardens was made during World War 1 so returned injured could recoupriate. Some of the Norfolk Pines are named after local residents killed in action from both wars and the ANZAC memorial remembers fallen service persons from Australia and New Zealand.

The gardens are beautifully maintained by the council and local volunteers  is a popular venue for weddings from October to April. There is a BBQ and seating for family picnics where the kids can play on the large lawned area or explore along the pathways.


Cockle Train Steam Ranger

Mt Barker to Victor Harbor - South Australia. Come and Travel with us soon!

The SteamRanger Heritage Railway operates a number of different heritage steam and diesel hauled tourist trains between Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, up over the crest of the southern Mt Lofty Ranges, down to Strathalbyn and on through the coastal holiday towns of Goolwa and Port Elliot to the tourist resort town of Victor Harbor.

Trains operate on up to 140 days a year and are manned by volunteers from the Australian Railway Historical Society, who are also responsible for maintenance of the rail line and the heritage locomotives and carriages.

We will guarantee a great day out for you, your family or your colleagues. Our philosophy is that when you buy a ticket you are not just buying a train ride but a whole new experience!

Visit website: www.steamranger.org.au

Encounter Bikeway

The bikeway is an on-road and shared trail that links the coastal city of Victor Harbor and the river port town of Goolwa, via the coastal towns of Port Elliot and Middleton.

The total distance of the bikeway is 30km.However, a range of riding distances is available, making it suitable for all ages and levels of fitness.The bikeway can be used by cyclists, walkers, skaters, rollerbladers and is wheelchair accessible. The trail is located on the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula, approximately one hours drive from South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide. The region has plenty to offer the visitor: great options for accommodation, fantastic food and wine, surf beaches, bush walking and much more. Contact our local Visitor information centre to obtain further information on the bikeway and what the area has to offer.

Cliff-top Walking Path

Walking trails start at the carpark on Basham Beach Road, Middleton or from the carpark at the end of The Strand, Port Elliot.

Walks range from 40 minutes to two hours and take in spectacular scenery, wetlands and historical sites. This is a popular whale watching spot in the whale season (see Basham’s Beach Regional Park Guide). Port Elliot Maritime Heritage Trail (Easy)This 1.5km trail along the foreshore of Horseshoe Bay features interpretive signs that tell the story of seven vessels wrecked at Port Elliot between 1853 and 1864. Start at Freeman’s Nob Lookout, The Strand for scenic views, walking trails and whale watching in season.


Whale Centre in Victor Harbor

Whaling was a big business in the early days of Victor Harbor and the SA Whale Centre featues 3 floors of interesting and interactive displays. There is a replica of Steve Irwin's ship, 3D theatrette, explore marine history, whale skeletons and murals, kids activites and more.