Port Elliot Area

Pullen Island in Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot
Pullen Island in Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot

The Port Elliot Area is the jewel in the crown of the Fleurieu Peninsula region of South Australia.

Port Elliot is located toward the eastern end of the south coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula. It is situated on the sheltered Horseshoe Bay, a small bay off the much larger Encounter Bay.

Pullen Island is a 1 hectacre granite island about 500 metres offshore just outside the mouth of the bay.


History of the Port Elliot Area

Horseshoe Bay was proclaimed a port in 1851. The settlement above the bay was named Port Elliot in 1852 after Charles Elliot, the Governor of Bermuda who was a friend of the then Governor of South Australia, Sir Henry Young.

port elliot accommodation - holiday home
Port Elliot Beach

Port Elliot had been previously known as Freeman’s Knob.  The aboriginal name for the area may have been Witengangool.

Port Elliot was established to provide a safe seaport for the Murray River trade which terminated at Goolwa because the Murray Mouth was considered too treacherous and unpredictable for safe navigation.

Goods and passengers were carried between Goolwa and the Port Elliot area on the first public railway in Australia completed in 1854.

Today, Port Elliot is a quiet township with two hotels, three churches, abundance of cafe’s, no fast food chains, and is a popular holiday destination.

Activities the Port Elliot Area

  • Ride the Cockle Train – The Cockle Train travels along the oldest steel railed railway in Australia. It was built in 1887 to provide a link between the River Murray and the ocean wharves at Port Elliot and later at Victor Harbor.
  • Ride the Encounter Bikeway – The Encounter Bikeway  stretches approximately 30km. It makes for an easy and scenic ride from your base in Port Elliot. There are several bike hire facilities in the town.
  • Discover the Past – The old Port Elliot Railway Station houses the Historical Interpretative Display of the Sea Port and Railway.
  • Climb Freeman’s Knob – a Port Elliot landmark and guide to vessels entering the harbour.
  • Walk the Maritime Heritage Trail – The Port Elliot Maritime Heritage Trail is a self-guided walk. It highlights Port Elliot’s role as the first seaport for the River Murray trade.
  • Browse the Market – Port Elliot Market is a community market held at Lakala Reserve, Young Street.  The market offers fresh produce, home baked goods, honey, plants, books, hand crafted items, bric-a-brac. The market is open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month from 9am to 2pm.
  • Visit the Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum – 5 Wright Street, Port Elliot South Australia, 5212.

Food in the Port Elliot Area

  • Be Tempted at the Bakery – The Port Elliot Bakery bakes its products fresh daily at this premise only, exclusively in Port Elliot.
    The site has been a bakery, patisserie for over a hundred years with the original wood fired oven still in place.
  • Watch the Ocean from The Flying Fish Cafe -The Flying Fish is situated on the idyllic beach front at Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot. The café and restaurant is named after an old two masted schooner which was wrecked in the bay in 1860. It was one of a number of ships to meet this fate while Horseshoe Bay operated as a seaport.
  • Retro Cafe – For a nice coffee on a sunny day in Port Elliot, the verandah at the Retro Cafe is the place. The coffee is good and the staff are friendly and welcoming.
  • Cockles Cafe – Cockles Cafe menu selections are cooked fresh to order using fresh local produce.

Whale Watching

  • Watch the Whales – Southern right whales often cruise right next to the shore between May and October. The Port Elliot area is a popular viewing spot.
Port Elliot Area - holiday accommodation - self-contained cottage
Whale watching at Port Elliot


Learn to Surf -Check out the local surf schools available. Great activity for the kids and adults.

Fleurieu Aquatic Centre-Family friendly, Gym activity, personal training, Playground and splash park. Accessible to all.

Accommodation – Port Elliot