So, join me on a walk to the top of the Bluff, just under a klm. loop walk, which is graded as Medium - Steep.
I started from the car-park which overlooked Victor Harbour. The track begins good, until the old Mine site, where they once mined Copper, Gold, Silver, Lead and Oxide of tin. In 1866 it was abandoned.
From here, the track is dirt, and you need to be careful because of the small pieces of granite on the track, you can easily go for a slide! As I climb, I see views of the rugged coast line, these get better and better! I can easily see West Island, but forgot the binoculars, so I can't see the colony of Seals that live there.
Between May and November you may see a Southern Right Whale.
At the summit, is a trig marker and a plaque affixed to a large granite boulder. The plaque gives information on the encounter between Captain Matthew Flinders as well as a French explorer, Nicolas Baudin in the year 1802.
From the top, the 360° is of various granite islands, wonderful views of Victor Harbour and of the amazing coastline on the other side. A track leads down to a point, past boulders of all shapes and sizes! The sea comes crashing in, making this a spectacular sight, and one that shouldn't be missed!
The Bluff OR Rosetta Head, is that big Knob of land jutting out into the ocean on the Western side of Victor Harbour. It can be seen by most coastal spots around Victor Harbour.
The drive up is a circular loop to a couple of car parks. We parked our car in the first carpark, from which we had good views over Victor Harbour. The second carpark gives you the view of the
coastline to the West. From both of these car parks, you can begin the walk to the top.
Parking is FREE, and the Birds are rather friendly too!
What is THE BLUFF?
"The Bluff originated when magma was squeezed up from deep in the continental crust during the mountain building episode which occurred about 500 million years ago. This is known because sediments left by the ice age, which occurred at that time, rest immediately on top of it, and boulders of granite were carried, by the ice, northwards. The smooth rounded profile of the Bluff is attributed to the erosive action of this ice sheet."
There are walking trails, so once again, I am going up to the very top. It can be quite cool to cold, depending on if the wind is coming from Antartica. Just take note of the windswept trees!
The track is rated as MEDIUM TO STEEP, so......
Have a puff on the Asthma spray, wear good shoes, take water, wear a hat, an be fit enough to make the climb! The track starts off good, then becomes rugged, and some scrambling is required, but it is well worth the effort.
THE BLUFF, is one of the best places to see Whales at Victor Harbour.
This has been the case since the first whalers and sealers settled from the mid to late 1700's and set up stations and lookouts. From here, with the naked eye, Whales can be spotted within 10 km from shore. Back then, when a whale was spotted, a flag was raised on top of The Bluff and small whaling skiffs were launched with men at the prow read to harpoon them
European whalers mainly took the slow-moving species swimming closest to shore, making one species in particular the 'right' type of whale - hence the name, "Southern Right Whale.
Before whaling, 100,000 Whales were estimated to be in the area from time to time, today, only some 7000 remain in the southern hemisphere.
At least now, when we climb the Bluff to see the Whales, it is in peace, as a Tourist who loves to view the giants of the Ocean.
The whales usually stay in South Australian waters for 5 months of the year from May to October after their long journey from Antarctica.
They are often seen where whaling stations were once located. The cows and calves tend to spend most of their time in water depths of around 5 metres and often are seen 100 metres off shore. They usually move further offshore in rough weather to avoid being blown onto the rocky shoreline.
Bashams Beach is an ideal breeding ground for the Southern Right Whales
Best thing too, is you can view them for FREE!
Encounter Bay, between Granite Island and the Bluff, is a beaut place to rent a holiday unit or just enjoy a day by the Beach.
There are lots of Units available, and even if you don't get one with sea views, most are only a short walk to the Beach. For cheaper accommodation, like tents, caravans or self-contained cabins, the Beachfront Victor Harbour Caravan Park is a good option.
I love this long stretch of Bay. You can be active by either walking or cycling along the paths, or just relax. The views of "The Bluff" are excellent, and the Southern Right Whales come here to bask in season.
The poor Whales were hunted excessively from 1837. Perhaps all the old Whales with good memories have died now, as it has only been since 1990, the Whales have returned to the Bay.
One thing you will probably notice at Victor Harbour, would be the very tall Norfolk Island Pine Trees located by the seaside.
These Pines were planted in 1917, to commemorate those who served and lost their lives in WWI.
The park is very popular in summer with families, and no wonder, as there is lots of lawn, paths, gardens, beach, playground and toilets.
If you want to get a car park close by, then you need to be early!
Victor Harbour has quite a few heritage buildings, and these can be found by picking up the brochure from the Information centre on the Heritage Trail.
The trail starts in Flinders Parade, at the old Custom's House, and then is walked over a fairly compact area.
As usual, the Hotel's in the town are quite old and big!
One building that I thought was very impressive, was the Newland Memorial church. It looks more like a government building than a Church.
The Church was built in 1839, and was named the Newland Memorial Church in honour of the founder who died in an accident in 1864. This building is now part of the Church Hall. The building today, is another that was built in 1927, as the congregation had outgrown the other Church.
Like all Australian Churches, you can't see the inside unless you are there for a Church Service.
The Encounter Coast Discovery Centre, is located close to the Whale Centre.
This centre covers the historical side of Victor Harbour, where you learn about the historic Australian meeting between English and French explorers, Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in 1802, about the Aboriginal people, the struggles of the early settlers and about the early whaling industry.
The old Custom's house & Station Master's house, built in 1866, is open. You can see what it was like in the 1800's, as it is furnished in the style of the era.
ADMISSION...Adult - $5.00....Child - $3.00
OPEN ...7 days a week..... 1-4pm
The SA Whale Centre is located in a 150 year old heritage listed building which was first used as a railway goods shed in the late 1800s.
At one stage, it housed the famous horse trams that run along the causeway to Granite Island.
Inside, is a 3D mural, one of a kind depiction of the local marine life located off the shore of Victor Harbor. It was designed and painted by a local artist. It's a chance to see many skeleton's collected from the local region and much more.
In Warland park, next to the Centre, is the ‘Whale Tail Fountain’, sculpted in silica bronze by Sylvio Apponyi in 1993 to celebrate the returning of the Whales each year.
GOOD NEWS......On the website, you can check on where Whales have been sighted at Victor Harbour.
Every winter, Southern Right whales arrive in Encounter Bay around mid-May, and can be seen from cliff tops, headlands and the coastlines.
Only an hour's drive from Adelaide, the southern Fleurieu Peninsula is a whale watcher's paradise.
OPEN: Daily 10:30-5pm (excluding Christmas Day)
ADMISSION IN 2012...Adult $8.00 Concession $6.50
Child $4.00 (4 - 15 years) Family $20.00 (2 Adults & up to 3 Children)
If you happen to be unlucky like us, and find the Horse Drawn Tram isn't working, don't dispair, as if you follow the railway tracks, you will find the Trams in their shed. They can be viewed from behind glass windows.
There is a good view of the heritage double story Tram, which has glass windows on the bottom, and the top is open air seating. The Trams are old ones that have been lovingly restored and painted in the original colours.
Beside the seaside, we sure are at Victor Harbour, problem is, the beach is covered in a colossal amount of seaweed. Even some Birds, like the Lapwing Plover nest in it!
There still is sand for the children to make their sand-castles, but all is not lost!
Not all of the Beaches are covered in seaweed, and you will find areas that are clear where you can safely swim.
I haven't been to the Peguin Centre, but I have seen Penguins in the wild, in the daytime on Granite Island.
I believe the Penguin population has been decreasing, so it is good the Penguin centre gives a home to sick and injured penguins, a safe haven to recuperate is there. I have seen people poking sticks into Burrows, so no wonder these little fellows are injured!
Living on Granite Island, it is the smallest Penguin [Fairy Penguin] that calls it home. Penguins make burrows under the granite boulders on the Island.
At the Penguin centre, there are 150 man made Burrows for their 150 Birds.
They do 2 hour nightly tours. The best season to see Penguins is during the breeding season, from July to December, the rest of the time you may not see many in the wild.
Check the website for more information.
PENGUIN CENTRE....Monday: Closed
OPEN.....Tuesday - Sunday: 11am - 3.30pm.
Feeding times are at 11.30am and 2.30pm
ADMISSION IN 2012....Adults - $6.....Children - $4 (Under 3's - FREE)
The Granite Island Bridge and causeway was built in the 19th century to link Victor Harbor with Granite Island. A railway along this jetty carried freight to and from sailing ships alongside deep-water wharves at Granite Island.
Now, the Horse-drawn Tram continues using the Causeway Bridge, and for the fit and energetic, they walk the 700 metre long Bridge. It is a nice walk, and you don't have to hurry! Children run ahead, looking into the sea for Fish on their way to the Island.
Be careful walking the Jetty. Ladies, best not to wear heels!
The walk around Granite Island is quite interesting. It is a 1.5km walk around the perimeter, walking past many giant boulders and seeing great views of the Ocean. I have done it many times and never tire of looking at the wild sea crashing onto the boulders below. There are several lookouts and seats along the way.
The Ramindjeri people’s name for the landform is "Kaiki."
The trail tells a "Dreamtime" story, in which Ngurunderi travels down the River Murray in search of his two wives, throwing his reed spear (his ‘Kaiki’) and creating the landscape that now surrounds Victor Harbor.
In season, you may see a Whale, or even a Penguin in a burrow!
The Horse-drawn Tram is a good way to reach Granite Island. We usually walk over and take transport the way back, this gives our legs a rest after walking around the Island.
This time here, the tramway was being repaired, so there weren't any Trams operating.
The first tram used on the Causeway was a six-windowed double ended, double deck car built in England. It ran from 1894 - 1931. More Trams ran, until a Tractor train took over the route in 1956.
Now, it is back to the original way of transport, only today, all I could do was look at the lovely Draught Horses in their stables at the start of the causeway!
The Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram uses 14 Clydesdale Horses on a rotational basis, with each horse only working two shifts a week. The trams can carry 50 passengers, and they run on roller bearings, to make it easy work for the Horses.
The Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram is situated at the start of the Causeway next to the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre opposite Warland Reserve.
It operates 7 days a week, departing the Victor Harbor terminal every 20 minutes.
Tickets for the Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram can be purchased at the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre or from the Tram conductors.
PRICES IN 2012....
• Adult $8.00
• Child $6.00 (4 to 15 years)
• Family $22.00 (2 adults, 2 children)
One Way Ticket
• Child $4.00
• Family $16
If you stopped at Kleinig's Lookout, you most probably would have noticed this big house that looks like something from Europe.
Driving down a little further down the hill, a road on the RH side leads to Adare House. Adare was originally known as "Mootaparinga Farm", meaning "murky water", being the Aboriginal name for that part of the river.
The Adare site was bought by Governor Hindmarsh's family in 1837. The original building was a cottage (now Adare offices) before the Cudmore family bought it in 1891 and made extensive additions making it a huge home of 19 rooms, a cellar, tower, balcony and three turrets. Materials were shipped from England for the building.
The house was completed in 1893, and named "Adare" after the Cudmore family's home in Ireland. Since 1954, Adare has been owned by The Uniting Church, being used for group camps, and recently adding weddings, conferences and other special occasions.
There is Lodge accommodation available and a Caravan park which also has cabins.