The Southern Encounter operates on the first and third Sundays from May 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 a century ago.
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 and passengers alighting here have over four hours to explore local attractions, have lunch on the riverside, visit the Steam Exchange Brewery in the old goods shed or take a short river cruise.
Beyond 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.
Then into Victor Harbor for a three hour stopover.
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. 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.
To book, call our booking office on 1300 655 991.
*Steam Haulage is subject to fire restrictions as well as locomotive availability. SteamRanger reserves the right to substitute steam power for diesel power.
Trains in May and November may be diesel hauled due to CFS imposed fire restrictions, we will update our passengers where possible of the motive power for each train.