The Hills Encounter

The Hills Encounter provides a day’s journey from Victor Harbor, travelling the famous Cockle Train route along the picturesque Fleurieu Coast to the heritage river port of Goolwa. Departing Goolwa the journey continues over the most historic section of the 82km of railway track, including bridges, small rail sidings, natural scrublands and rich farmlands to Strathalbyn.

The Hills Encounter passing through Currency Creek

 A 20-minute stop at Strathalbyn allows time to stretch the legs. The journey then winds its way over the southern slopes of the Mt Lofty Ranges to the destination of Mt Barker (the 'home' of the SteamRanger Heritage Railway). Spend some leisurely time visiting the myriad of shops and eateries – or, alternatively, enjoy a mid-day meal in the restaurant at the historic 1800s Auchendarroch House.

On the return journey, relax and relive the history of part of the 120-year-old line from Adelaide that once upon a time served the farming communities of the southern Mt Lofty Ranges and the seaside holiday resorts of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Passengers are welcome to travel as far as Strathalbyn, enjoy a meal at a local eatery, and perhaps partake in a little antiquing before catching the return train back to Goolwa or Victor Harbor.

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September Steam Trip

Passengers head for the hills with the only steam trip this year from Victor Harbor to Mount Barker and return. Sitting back and relaxing along the South Coast in the best possible way. By train! Stopping at Port Elliot and Goolwa for passengers it’s onward and up to the hills we go. A short stop at Strathalbyn, then off to the largest town in the hills, Mount Barker! At Mount Barker, the streets are for you to explore. Hahndorf is a short public bus ride from the station but don’t miss the train to come home! While at Mount Barker the loco is turned, refuelled and watered ready for the journey back home. After a few hours in the hills passengers head back on the train and watch the world go by till we are back at Victor Harbor. Book by phone for Special Fares!

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Train Operating Dates for 2021

Duration: 10:00am to 5:25pm BOOKING ESSENTIAL 

Departs: Victor Harbour Railway Station

SEPTEMBER: 25th (Steam hauled)

NOVEMBER: 20th (Railcar)


Return Fares One-Way Fares
Victor Harbor to (or v.v) Adult Child Senior Family Adult Child
Mt Barker $76.00 $40.00 $67.00 $188.00 $50.00 $26.00

Bookings are Essential

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
Group discount fares are available if you prebook for a group of 10 or more.



Location Time
Victor Harbor dep. 10:00am
Port Elliot dep. 10:10am
Goolwa dep. 10:30am
Strathalbyn dep. 11:30am
Mt Barker arr. 12:40pm -- dep. 3:00pm
Strathalbyn dep. 4:05pm
Goolwa dep. 4:45pm
Port Elliot dep. 5:05pm
Victor Harbor arr. 5:15pm