The Southern Encounter
The Southern Encounter operates on the first and third Sundays from June until the end of November.
The journey commences from Mount Barker station - a pleasant 20 minute drive from Adelaide along the South Eastern Freeway.
Leaving Mt Barker mid-morning, the train first climbs up to the crest of the line and then winds down the eastern escarpment of the southern Mt Lofty Ranges, passing through several long abandoned station sites which bear testimony to the importance of this branch line of yesteryear.
Crossing the Angas River you then enter the historic township of Strathalbyn where many Scottish migrants settled in the early 1800s, influencing the early architecture which is still evident today. The town is well worth a visit to explore its well-stocked antique shops and cafes.
The journey then continues southwards across the plains and well away from the main road. Native bushland unfolds from your carriage window and kangaroos and other animals might be seen trying to keep pace with the locomotive! Then it's across the towering Currency Creek viaduct and on to Goolwa.
At Goolwa, the train draws alongside the river wharf. The passengers whose destination is Goolwa have just over four hours to explore local attractions, before the train returns to carry them back to Mount Barker. Some local attractions include Signal Point or The Fleurieu Distillery and Steam Exchange Brewery. Perhaps lunch at one of the cafes or hotels.
After a brief stop at Goolwa, the Southern Encounter resumes its journey, with passengers who are heading to Victor Harbor.
From Goolwa the train then meanders westwards to the picturesque holiday settlement of Port Elliot before cresting the cliffs where passengers can experience some of the most picturesque coastal scenery in the State, with nothing separating you from the beach below and a perfect view of the Southern Ocean - in winter the home of Southern Right Whale.
The Southern Encounter arrives in Victor Harbor for a three hour stopover.
On the return to Mount Barker, there is a brief stop in Goolwa to pick up passengers returning to Mount Barker.
The Southern Encounter Experience
As well as proving an opportunity to sample the stunning Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu scenery, the Southern Encounter journey is full of excitement and surprises along the way.
The two and a half hour journey is a great experience for everyone, particularly on a misty winter’s day. And your ticket entitles you to valuable extras! Everyone receives our popular Southern Pack filled with discount vouchers for meals and activities in Victor Harbor and Port Elliot.
Duration: 10:00am to 6:30pm BOOKING ESSENTIAL
Departs: Mount Barker Railway Station
MAY: 2nd*, 16th & 30th
JUNE: 6th* & 20th
JULY: 4th* & 18th
AUGUST: 1st*, 15th & 29th
SEPTEMBER: 5th & 19th
OCTOBER: 3rd & 17th^
NOVEMBER** 7th & 21st (Santa Special)
*First Class carriage attached inc. morning tea, $85 per person (Child $55)
^First Class Experience Carriage includes cruise on Paddle steamer Oscar W and lunch. $150 per person (SOLD OUT)
**Trains in November are scheduled to be diesel-hauled due to fire risk
|Return Fares||One-Way Fares|
|Mt Barker to (or v.v)||Adult||Child||Senior||Family||Adult||Child|
Children and Seniors
Children under 4 years travel FREE but are not issued a seat Children 4 to 16 years travel at CHILD fares.
Seniors fares apply to holders of State Government issued Seniors Card
Family fares apply to groups of 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children
Limited seats only available from Strathalbyn
Group discount fares are available if you prebook for a group of 10 or more.