Victor Harbor, South Australia
Victor Harbor is a seaside town (officially a city) about 90 minutes drive south of Adelaide's CBD (Central Business District). It uses the American spelling for "Harbor" (not Australian "Harbour") because American maps and navigation charts were purchased by SA during early settlement.
Victor, as it is known locally, is considered a retirement and lifestyle destination, which for the potential expats means it should be classed as 'quiet'.
Victor is located on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Work in Victor is limited. There are no major companies in the area and no manufacturing. The largest employers are probably the councils. With a large retired community there will always be demand in the area for carers.
The Victor Harbor area offers a seachange type of lifestyle. The climate and weather make outdoor activities an all year round proposition. There are various sporting clubs and teams as well as various water based activities. There are swimming beaches and surfing beaches. Fishing in the sea, river (Murray) and saltwater lagoons of the Coorong. Boat ownership is high.
The Fleurieu Peninsular offers a semi-rural landscape for those who want to be outside of the suburbs.
As with many rural and semi-rural places in Australia, volunteering is a significant contributor to services in the area. There are dozens of opportunities to volunteer your time to help the community, and this is a good way for newcomers to make new friends.
In the cooler months of May to September, Southern Right Whales visit the waters of Encounter Bay and can be seen at various locations around Victor Harbor, Pt. Elliot and Middleton. In recent years there have been excellent sightings at Middleton's Basham's Beach. The whales give birth, nurse and mate here before returning to the Antarctic summer. An adult Southern Right Whale is the size of a railway carriage and they often come within 200 metres of the shoreline.
Victor has 2 supermarkets, Woolworths being larger than Coles. There are private and public schools as well as a regional hospital. Victor and the surrounding towns can be self-sufficient in terms of shopping requirements, but for more choice and value, a 40 minute drive to Noarlunga can plug all the gaps.
An old fashioned cinema is located in the main street. A new multiplex and retail park is on the cards for the future.
There is no public swimming pool yet, but plans are being investigated all the time.
Being a tourist destination there is a variety of restaurants to visit. Independent coffee shops are everywhere.
There are plenty of different types and valued houses in the area. Prices can be anywhere from $200k to mulit-million dollar mansions. There are a few old stone cottages and homes in the area. Much of the housing in Victor is in old established suburbs, however there are now numerous small generic housing estates sprouting up that look like every other estate around Adelaide. A huge freshwater marina is still under construction on Hindmarsh Island, adjacent to Goolwa, offering suburbia with canal water frontages.
Most of the new housing estates suffer from houses being built to fill the maximum width of the block. This results in neighbours having roofs that almost touch at their boundaries.
For those wanting more space, there are a number of house blocks, especially around Goolwa, that are on 2-5 acres.
Crime / Safety
There is petty crime in the area, but no significant crime problems. There are no 'no-go' areas and walking the streets at nights your main concern will be an attack by a mosquitto.
One type of crime that seems to be everywhere is Australia, with Victor not being spared, is hoon driving - youngsters speeding in cars and burning rubber doing donuts.
Road access to Adelaide is good but not suited to daily commutes. The road to Adelaide is South Australia's most deadly with commuters often falling asleep or losing concentration on the undulating surfaces. A two lane highway plan is often reconsidered typically around election times. In March 2007, the Victor to Adelaide Road was given a safety rating of 4.5/10.
Some of the regular annual events held in Victor or which pass through Victor include; The Tour Down Under (cycle race, February), The Adelaide Classic (classic car race, November), Schoolies (school leavers party/festival 2-3 days in November), Victor Harbor Triathlons (March), Christmas Pagent (December). Nearby there's the Port Elliot Show (country show, October), South Australian Wooden Boat Festival (Goolwa, March every odd numbered year).
Weather & Climate
Victor's weather and climate is heavily influenced by its location on the coast. The prevailing wind is South-Westerly with cooling breezes (and occasionally gales) coming in from the Southern Ocean. This makes Victor cooler than Adelaide by 5 centigrade for most of the time, however when the hot northerly winds hit Adelaide, they will often continue south to Victor and take the temperatures there up into the 40s.
Summers are long, filled with blue skies and dry air. Being costal, Victor is less arid that Adelaide but humidity is not a concern. Typical humidity levels are below 50% with temperatures of 20-25c. On the hot days the humidity drops to 5-15%. Nighttime temperatures are comfortable for sleeping, typically 14-18c. However on extreme heat days the nighttime temperature can stay in the mid 30s all night.
Spring and Autumn can be variable but tend to be dominated by blue skies and comfortable temperatures, and occasional cold snap during these seasons can bring the temperatures down to about 14c during the day.
Winter in this part of the world is the wet season. However, this is relative and Victor's winter rainfall is still below that of most UK regions during the UK summer. Winter days are typically cool and there is more cloud than during the summer. Temperatures tend to stay around 13-16c during the day, and 5-10c at night. A frosty night can be expected on about half a dozen nights of the year. A top of 10c on a winter's day would be considered a cold snap.
At the extremes of winter and summer, Victor can feel too cold or too hot, mainly due to inadequate insulation in most homes. Compared to UK building insulation standards, most South Australian homes are hopeless at retaining heat or cool.
The towns of Port Elliot, Middleton and Goolwa offer similar characteristics and all 4 share services and amenities. Goolwa is about 15km from Victor with Port Elliot and Middleton on the road between the two, hence if you're interested in settling in Victor you're likely to want to investigate the other towns too.
Goolwa was in March 2007 awarded the status of Cittaslow - the first non-European town to gain such status. Cittaslow (Slow City) status indicates that the town enjoys a laid back atmosphere and lifestyle.
Victor Harbor Times (Victor's newspaper)