Granite Island Recreation Park

  • Picnic Areas
  • Toilets
  • Guided Tours
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Scuba / Snorkelling
  • Fishing
  • Walking Trails
  • Boating
PDF Park Brochure
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Granite Island - SA location map

Home to the magical little penguins and the majestic southern right whale, this island is characterised by huge granite boulders tinged with orange lichen.

Granite Island - SA location map

Home to the magical little penguins and the majestic southern right whale, this island is characterised by huge granite boulders tinged with orange lichen.

About

Take a short stroll or horse tram ride over the wooden causeway that connects the mainland at Victor Harbor to Granite Island Recreation Park.

The island is characterised by huge granite boulders tinged with orange lichen, with the sound of waves crashing against rocky shores a stirring soundtrack to your visit.

Enjoy the coastal scenery and discover the island's interesting history along the Kaiki Walk or go fishing from the jetty, or causeway (no fishing from breakwater). You may even spot a southern right whale between June and October.

Opening hours

This park is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset (except Christmas Day).

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Contact details

Natural Resource Centre - Victor Harbor

Phone: (+61 8) 8552 0300

Regional Duty Officer: 0427 556 676

When to visit

June to October is the perfect time to visit for whale watching activities. Southern Right whales visit Encounter Bay each winter, when they find the local waters to be warmer than their summering grounds in the sub-Antarctic.

Warmer months are the best time for walking, swimming and fishing.

Getting there

Granite Island Recreation Park is located off the coast of Victor Harbor, approximately 100km south of Adelaide.

Pets in parks

Pets are not permitted within this park. There are however, a number of South Australian National Parks where you can take your dog on a lead. 

Facilities

This park contains picnic areas, toilets (disabled available) and penguin and wildlife guided tours which are conducted most evenings around dusk.

Bookings

Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway

Phone: (+61 8) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094
Email: booking@victor.sa.gov.au
Bookings close at 4pm for tours that evening

Useful information

  • Mobile phone coverage is good in most areas of the park.

Penguin and wildlife tours are conducted most evenings around dusk.

Bookings

Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway

Phone: (+61 8) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094
Email: booking@victor.sa.gov.au
Bookings close at 4pm for tours that evening

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Pests and diseases

Phytophthora (fy-TOFF-thora), otherwise known as root-rot fungus, is killing our native plants and threatens the survival of animals depending on plants for food and shelter.

This introduced fungus can be found in plant roots, soil and water. Help stop the spread by using hygiene stations, staying on tracks and trails and by complying with all Phytophthora management signs.

Traditional owners

Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.

History

Granite Island was once connected to the mainland. It has survived the force of the ocean while the land surrounding it has eroded away. Interpretive signs along the way reveal the origin of these rocks were formed 10km below the earth's surface some 480 million years ago.

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • Join a evening tour to learn about the history and wildlife of the island.
  • Enjoy a whimsical trip back in time and catch the unique horse drawn tram across the causeway to the island.
  • Enjoy the views of the wild southern ocean at it  crashes into the boulders surrounding the island on a southerly wind.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

Penguin tours

Take a guided tour at dusk and observe the little penguins as they return to shore after several days feeding at sea. Only those on the Granite Island Guided Penguin Tour can access the island after dusk. So if you want the opportunity to spot a little penguin, book your tour today.

Although penguins are not nocturnal, they are more likely to be seen at night as they spend most of the day at sea. The penguins usually feed on fish within 15km of the island, however they have been known to venture up to 200km away.

As the penguins do not like to be disturbed, access to the nightly penguin parade is by a guided penguin tour only to ensure they can move freely between their burrow and the sea.

Bookings

Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway

Phone: (+61 8) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094
Email: booking@victor.sa.gov.au
Bookings close at 4pm for tours that evening

Whale watching

Take your binoculars, cast your eyes out to sea and you may be lucky enough to spot a southern right whale between June and October.

The southern right whales’ unique affinity for coastal inshore waters makes them the perfect species for land-based whale watching, you can easily spend many hours viewing their playful antics. Sometimes the whales approach as close as 100m from shore, providing a bird’s eye view of their immense size and rotund, 18m body.

Fauna

The little penguin

(Also known as fairy penguin, blue penguin or little blue penguin)

The little penguin is the world’s smallest penguin species and is well known to most visitors to Australia’s southern coastline. It stands about 35 cm tall and weighs about 1.2kg. By comparison the emperor penguin, which is the largest penguin in the world, stands over 110 cm and can weigh 30kg. The little penguin is the only penguin to breed in Australia.

The little penguin is found only in Australia and New Zealand. Large numbers occur only where suitable conditions are present. Little penguins favour rocky shorelines, just like Granite Island, which provide suitable breeding sites. The availability of feeding grounds also determines the size and success of a colony.

Little penguins are vulnerable to attacks by dogs, and they can get stressed due to disturbance from unknowing people. Please adhere to the following guidelines, so others may continue to enjoy the same experience.

  • Three metres is as close as you should approach, to limit the disturbance that you cause
  • Camera flashes are very disturbing to penguins. A camera flash will blind a penguin for up to five minutes making them vulnerable to predation
  • Use torches indirectly - shine the bright spot past the penguin. It is preferable that you place your hand over the torch or use a red filter
  • Many penguin deaths have been caused by dog attacks, so keep dogs away at all times. Even the smell of dogs within the colony will disturb penguins and may stop them from breeding
  • The penguins always have the 'right of way'. They are usually returning to their burrow or chicks. Don’t get between chicks and adult penguins or obstruct a penguin from getting to its burrow
  • Moulting penguins may be easy to see in their burrows but they are most vulnerable at this time. Their new feathers are not yet waterproof so they cannot leave the burrow if disturbed
  • Do not touch any penguin, chick, eggs or burrow as human scent may cause the penguins to abandon their breeding activities
  • During summer penguin watching becomes challenging as most of the adults are out at sea feeding for the next breeding season in autumn. Consequently there may be nights when no penguins can be found in summer.
  • Little penguins fact sheet

Volunteering

The Friends of Granite Island

The Friends of Granite Island work in collaboration with, and under the guidance of the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources (AMLR) to progressively and incrementally revegetate Granite Island Recreation Park.

If you think you might be interested in volunteering opportunities within this park please contact our Volunteer Support Unit.

 

Safety

Bushwalking

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Fire

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Fire restrictions

  • Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Gas fires are permitted, other than on days of total fire ban.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Water

Strong currents and rips can make swimming dangerous in this area.

Do not climb on, or fish from slippery rocks. 

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Maps

Fees

Entry fees

Come and enjoy this park for free. 

Park pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

Camping and accommodation

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park. 

Other fees and permits

Fees apply for guided penguin and wildlife tours.

Bookings

Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway

Phone: (+61 8) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094
Email: booking@victor.sa.gov.au
Bookings close at 4pm for tours that evening