Cycling the Encounter Bikeway

Located on our front door, the Encounter Bikeway is an on-road and shared trail that links the coastal towns of Goolwa and Victor Harbor passing through the townships of Middleton and Port Elliot.

The total distance of the Bikeway is 30km oneway, however a range of riding distances is available, making it suitable for all ages and levels of fitness.  The Bikeway is suitable to be used by cyclists, walkers, skaters, rollerbladers and is wheelchair accessible.

Bike & helmet hire is available from Surf and Sun in Middleton just 2 min away, see reception staff for details.  Port Elliot is also home to a range of new hire EBikes from Water Melon, Main Rd Port Elliot.

First up - Dowload a copy of the Encounter Bikeway brochure here!

One of the best ways to explore the region is via the Encounter Bikeway, a combination of shared off-road paths and quiet back streets stretching from The Bluff at Encounter Bay, just out of Victor Harbor, to the Goolwa channel, just outside the Goolwa township.

The Encounter Bikeway stretches approximately 30km and makes for an easy and scenic ride. However, with so much to see and do along the way, it is best ridden in sections, and if you’re taking the whole family along, expect a slow ride; there are playgrounds every couple of kilometres.

Starting at the Encounter Bay end, there’s ample car parking at the base of The Bluff on the Petrel Cove side and also along the foreshore on the bay side. Before you get rolling, take the time to climb The Bluff; the 360° views over the bay and Petrel Cove are simply astounding. Catch your breath, enjoy a coffee and watch the boats launching at Whaler’s Inn and then you’re on your way.  

Follow the shared path along the waterfront and enjoy the shade of the towering Norfolk pines. After about 4km, you’ll arrive at Kent Reserve, the first of many playgrounds and toilet stops en route. Circle around the park via Kent Drive and take the bridge across the river and cruise around the caravan park back onto the beachfront.  After a further 3km you’ll find yourself in the bustling heart of Victor Harbor. Here you’ll want to park your bikes and take some time to explore. As well as cafes, pubs, ice-cream shops and picnic lawns at Warland Reserve, there’s mini golf, camel rides along the beach, a large playground, the South Australian Whale Centre and the Encounter Coast Discovery Centre. In summer there are also kids’ rides and stalls peddling coffee, cold drinks and hot cinnamon doughnuts. But the real must-see is Granite Island.  

Taking Flinders Parade out of the Victor Harbor town centre. This section of the bikeway isn’t particularly well signed. Follow the coast line until you reach the railway crossing, then a short section of off-road path will deliver you onto the footpath of Hindmarsh Road. Stay on the footpath until you’re about halfway up the hill and a small blue bike marker will direct you to turn right onto Hayward Street. From there, follow the signs through the backstreets of Port Elliot.

The bikeway bypasses the port Elliot township itself to sweep around Horseshoe Bay. If you’ve got little ones in tow, this is an ideal spot to stop for a swim and an ice-cream.  It’s also worth taking a detour up to North Terrace, Port Elliot’s bustling main street, to visit the Port Elliot Bakery. Here you’ll find some of the finest baked goods in the state, including their famous custard Berliner buns. However, it’s not unusual to find queues snaking down the street, so get there well before lunchtime or join the crowds.  Heading out of Port Elliot, Scrymgour Road leads into an off-road shared-use path through the grassy Ratalang/Basham Beach Conservation Park. At the end of the park, follow Ocean Parade along the beachfront to Middleton. This is one of the most spectacular parts of the ride, with the booming surf beach stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s also less crowded than the tourist hubs of Victor Harbor and Horseshoe Bay and the place to go to catch a few waves.

Take Waikiki Way off Surfers Parade onto Newell Avenue, then turn left onto the bikepath through Tokuremoar Reserve and into the backstreets of Goolwa. This section is windy, but well signed. Just keep an eye out for the little blue bike markers. Eventually you’ll come out onto Barrage Road to cruise along the waterfront of the Goolwa Channel. This road can be quite busy, so take the packed gravel path on the water side of the road.  

The Encounter Bikeway is mostly flat with a few small undulations. Its surface is mostly bitumen with a few small sections of packed gravel and is suitable for riders of all abilities.

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