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Granite Island Recreation Park

Alerts 1

Full park closure

This park will be closed nightly from 10:30pm until 5:30am from Friday 23 November 2018 until Wednesday 28 November 2018. Some exemptions apply.
Details >

  • Picnic Areas
  • Toilets
  • Guided Tours
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Scuba / Snorkelling
  • Fishing
  • Walking Trails
  • Boating


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


Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

As per the dogs in parks and reserves policy, if the dog is not an accredited assistance dog, they must be trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate that disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a dog in a public place. However, refusal may be given if the person with the disability is unable to produce evidence the dog is an assistance dog with the appropriate training.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park that does not normally allow dogs, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or call the information line on (+61 8) 8204 1910.

Dogs not allowed

Dogs are not permitted in this park.

Discover which parks you can walk your dog in on our find a park tool or read 12 dog-friendly walks in Adelaide Parks by Good Living for inspiration.


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


Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway

Phone: (+61 8) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094
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.


Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway

Phone: (+61 8) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094
Bookings close at 4pm for tours that evening

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

Plants and animals

Flora and fauna species lists

To download flora (plants) and fauna (animals) species lists for this park, use the 'Create Simple Species List' tab under 'Flora Tools' or 'Fauna Tools'  in NatureMaps

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 peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, 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. 

There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations.  At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia. 


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.


Parks are for all to enjoy, we would love to hear from you about your experience in nature. You can share your comments, pictures and videos with us and others by tagging @NationalParksSA on Facebook,  Instagram or email us.



There is council owned accessible parking located at the end of the Granite Island causeway in victor harbour. The privately run horse drawn tram can accommodate a manual wheelchair or book a peninsula taxi to cross to Granite Island.


There is an accessible (right hand) toilet located on the island.

See and do


Check out Push Adventures - Views for miles from Granite Island blog for accessible trail descriptions and photos.

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.
  • Explore the Granite Island sculpture trail and check out Your guide to Granite Island’s new sculpture trail on Good Living.

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.


Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway

Phone: (+61 8) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094
Bookings close at 4pm for tours that evening

Sculpture encounters

As if the view of the giant granite boulders against an ocean backdrop wasn't artistic enough, there are now 10 sculptures dotted around Granite Island for you to enjoy.

Because some of the sculptures are temporary with new ones will be added every six months, this is the sort of exhibition that you can visit regularly and keep finding something new to enjoy.

If you see one that really takes you fancy, you can even buy it!

Check out the Sculpture Encounters Granite Island brochure for more information.

Whale watching

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

There has been 29 different types of whales recorded in South Australia. The most common are the southern right whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, blue whale and orca whale (killer whale).  Of these you are most likely to spot a southern right whale along the South Australian coast. The vast majority of southern right whales are black in colour with distinctive white patterns on their heads that are calluses formed by small crustaceans known as 'whale lice'.  The patterns are visible at birth and are unique to each whale allowing researchers to identify individual whales.

Little penguins

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

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 


Fishing is actively managed in South Australia by the Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA.
Check out these useful links before embarking on your fishing adventure:


Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

  • Use Find a Park to discover which parks you can camp in.


Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges – Volunteering.

Want to join others and become a Park Friend?

To find out more about Friends of Parks groups please visit Friends of Parks South Australia.

You could join others to help look after a park. You can take part in working bees, training and other events.



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?


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.

Whale watching

Maintaining the legal distance from marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and seals is important, both for our safety and that of the animals.

The animals may be seriously injured if they are struck by a vessel or frightened young may become separated from their mothers. Even if there is no contact, coming too close can disrupt feeding, breeding and migratory behaviours.

Regular water users should make themselves familiar with all the rules for interacting with marine mammals by viewing the National Parks and Wildlife (Protected Animals – Marine Mammals) Regulations 2010.

In the Water

  • Prescribed vessels (high-powered craft such as jet-skis, hydrofoils and boats used for water skiing or paragliding): Never closer than 300m.
  • Other vessels (for example, cabin cruisers, yachts, ‘tinnies’, inflatables, kayaks, wind surfers and kite surfers): No closer than 100m.
  • Other vessels within 300m of a whale: No anchoring; maximum speed 4 knots; maximum time 60 minutes.
  • Swimmers (including surfers and boogie boarders): No closer than 30m.

On Land

  • No closer than 30m (or 50m if the whale is distressed, stranded or entangled)

In the air

  • Planes and remotely piloted aircrafts (drones) must be at least 300m from any whale or other marine mammal (additional Civil Aviation Safety Authority restrictions apply).
  • Helicopters and gyrocopters must be at least 500m from any whale or other marine mammal.

 Special rules exist for:

  • the Encounter Bay Restricted Area: All vessels  – no closer than 300m to a whale
  • whale calves: all vessels and swimmers – no closer than 300m
  • distressed, stranded or entangled whales: all vessels and swimmers – no closer than 300m


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.



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.


Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway

Phone: (+61 8) 8551 0777 or 1800 557 094
Bookings close at 4pm for tours that evening

PDF Park Brochure
Alerts 1

Full park closure

This park will be closed nightly from 10:30pm until 5:30am from Friday 23 November 2018 until Wednesday 28 November 2018. Some exemptions apply.
Details >