Located in South Australia, the iconic Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram has been thrilling tourists traveling between Granite Island and Victor Harbor since 1894. It is the only all year round public transport horse-drawn operation of its kind in the world.
This famous tram’s history dates back more than 160 years. Work on the railway commenced in 1851 and in 1864 the line reached Victor Harbor. Three years later this pier was extended to reach Granite Island, the resulting link becoming known as “The Causeway”.
By the 1950s, the causeway was in need of repair, but a dispute between the operators and the local council meant that in 1954 the causeway was reconstructed without rail tracks. When the cars were disposed of, the service continued to operate on Granite Island until 1956 and a rubber-tired train provided service across the causeway.
Although railway goods vehicles were routinely horse hauled on this line, no passenger service was offered until 1894 when the South Australian Railways decided to utilize one of their unused horse-drawn passenger trams to offer a service to the island.
1986 marked the 150th Jubilee of South Australia and a fund was established for special projects to mark the occasion. Reinstatement of the horse tram was nominated as such a project. Replica tram cars were built and tracks were relaid.
The historic tram takes passengers on the 600m wooden causeway across to Granite Island. Over 150,000 passengers climb aboard and enjoy the authentic journey every year. The island is uninhabited and has several walking trails and allows visitors extensive views of the shoreline. A team of 14 Clydesdale horses pulls the carriages, and each horse usually works only two shifts per week.