The Bluff in Victor Harbor is a well-known landmark at the headland of Encounter Bay and was once the site of a whaling station. These days it’s still a favourite location to spot whales but thankfully now it’s just to enjoy seeing these giant creatures who come to these waters to rear their young during winter. To get the best vantage point, a walking trail to the summit will get your heart pumping but if you take a break here and there to stop and admire the view it’s worth the uphill effort. This point of land is named Rosetta Head or Kungkingguwar by the local Ramindjeri -Ngarrindjeri people.
From the carpark on the Petrel Cove side of The Bluff, it’s a reasonably steep 60 metre walk to the summit on a compacted dirt track with some gravel step ups along the way. At the peak you will get spectacular views over Encounter Bay on one side and Petrel Cove (Longkuwar) on the other which is a popular spot for mullet and salmon fishing. In the distance are the spectacular Waitpinga cliffs and West Island is directly ahead.
West Island was used as a granite quarry in the 1880s with the granite found on the island harder than the granite found on the mainland. Granite from West Island was used to make the foundations of Parliament House in Adelaide. There are two buildings on the island that were used when it was a quarry but the ten hectare island is now a conservation park and breeding site for sea birds.
From Petrel Cove you can follow a walking track to Kings Beach about 1.7 kilometres further along the coast or take a short drive where there is another car park and a newly built whale viewing platform. The platform is made from a reclaimed wood and recycled plastic material which is weather and sea water resistant. The spot has been named Nakurami kondoli which is a local aboriginal word for whale lookout and includes interpretive signs on West Island, information on the whale species that pass through the area and the aboriginal history of fishing at Kings Beach using stone weir traps that are still visible at low tide.
The viewing platform is ready to use at just the right time with Southern Right Whales being spotted at Kings Beach and along the coast from Cape Jervis to Middleton, so keep your eyes on the ocean if you’re visiting the area anytime soon.
Happy whale watching