Summer Cockle Trains | Goolwa to Victor Harbor | Dec & Jan

Summer Cockle Trains – Goolwa – Port Elliot – Victor Harbor

The Summer Cockle Train season will start from 27 December 2023 with 6 trains running daily until 3 January 2024, plus 26 January, when they will then continue to operate their usual 3 train schedule for the remainder of the holidays.

The Cockle Train travels between Goolwa and Victor Harbor along the oldest steel railed railway in Australia.  Dating back to 1887, it was constructed to provide a link between the River Murray and the ocean wharfs at Pt Elliot and later at Victor Harbor.

All three of Steamrangers operational steam locomotives will be in operation over the holidays, with all three operating at once on the 27 and 28 December. Their New Years Eve special will be operating on the 31st, featuring their heritage Red Hen Railcar set. Victor Harbor is hosting a New Year’s Eve event at Warland Reserve – read more here.

A fabulous activity for the whole family, the view from the Cockle Train takes in the beautiful coastline and you can choose a one way journey or buy a return trip. Tickets are available on the day of travel with no need to book.


cockle train

About The Cockle Trains:

Why is this icon journey called the “Cockle Train”? In early days of settlement the local residents would take a horse drawn train to Goolwa to collect Cockles from the sandy beaches near the Murray mouth. It was a great day’s outing and thus gained its name.

The Cockle Train is based at the Goolwa Depot and commences its run each day at Goolwa station, in the historic Wharf Precinct alongside the River Murray. After crossing the main Goolwa to Victor road the line heads off across the plains to Middleton, picking up or dropping off passengers on request, and then to Port Elliot where it reaches the Encounter Bay coast. The station here is operated by the local National Trust and features a small historical museum.

After leaving Port Elliot the train climbs to the top of the coastal cliffs and passengers then experiemce some of the most picturesque coastal scenery on the Fleurieu Peninsula, with nothing separating you from the beach below and a perfect view of the Southern Ocean – in winter the home of Southern Right Whale

After a 30 minute journey the train edges into Victor Harbor station, right in the centre of the town and surrounded with its iconic pine trees. Here, the locomotive is detached from the carriages and turned on a specially retained 30m long electric turntable before rejoining the carriages for the return journey to Goolwa.

The number of trains operated varies through the year.


The Cockle train does not have reserved seats.  Passengers can buy their Cockle Train tickets from Victor Harbor, Pt Elliot or Goolwa station ticket offices on their day of travel. Station offices open at least 30 minutes before the first train departure of the day.

Passengers can buy tickets at any of the stations for one-way journeys in either direction along the line or a round trip. Trains wait for about 30 minutes at both Goolwa and Victor and roundtrip passengers can extend this period by returning on a later train.

Return Round Trip Prices (as at Dec 2023):

  • Adults | $38
  • Children | $19
  • Seniors | $34
  • Family | $97

*steam haulage is subject to loco availability and CFS imposed fire restrictions.


Discover the many things to do on the Fleurieu Peninsula

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For more information and all enquiries please visit the SteamRanger Heritage Railway website.

What:   Summer Cockle Trains

When:    See timetable here

Where:   Goolwa, Middleton, Port Elliot and Victor Harbor | South Australia

Who:   Everyone

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: SteamRanger Heritage Railway


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