Victor Harbour is about half an hour from our cabins at McLaren Vale. Every corner brings an exclamation at the bare vines, green hills and fields of livestock. And then we reach the final descent into town and are awestruck by the view over the harbour, Granite Island and The Bluff. Even the grey skies don’t detract from the beauty.
We park near the causeway and walk to Granite Island. There is a horse-drawn tramway but it leaves just ahead of us and then we discover that it only travels at walking pace anyway. Our first top on the island is the penguin rescue centre where fairy penguins are cared for. The penguins all have names and the lady who fed them spoke to them as though they were family pets. These penguins will never live outside the rescue centre but they don’t seem to mind. They waddle and swim around all day long without the need to hunt for fish.
We walked the circuit path around the island. The waves crashed on the rocks far below us on the southern side of hte island while the northern side was calm. Lichen grew in bright orange, slowly eating away at the massive granite boulders until they left amazing formations. The colours were astonishing: orange lichen, grey granite, green grass and moss, blue water, white foam and grey clouds.
We visited the local museum where Victor Harbour’s history was proudly on display. The Aboriginal Peoples’ stories were told beside those of the whalers, sailers and government officials. A small heritage building behind the museum was set up to reeflect the way people lived in the early days of British settlement at Victor Harbour. It was interesting to see the old photos, dresses and room layouts.
We drove over to The Bluff Where we were walked a short way along the history trail taking in the views. We read the plaques on the chairs along the path, learning stories of the people who once sat here enjoying these same views. Later, we would stop at a local cemetery to read more about the people who once walked these beaches and hills. One of the graves we saw was from someone who must have been one of the early whalers because he died before South Australia was even declared a state and before settlers officially started to arrive here. There were many grave sites that contained stones for multiple generations of the same families, telling their stories. It was an interesting way to end the day.