Location: Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Since our first trip to South Australia in 2013, Siu On and I have wanted to return to see more of this quiet achieving State. Previously, we had drunk our way through the Barossa Valley, slept under the stars in the Flinders Ranges, met the wildlife at Kangaroo Island and even cycled our way around Adelaide; what was there left for us to do?
This time around we wanted to spend some time in the other peninsula’s that we missed, and the Eyre Peninsula stood out the most to us. It seem like the last frontier of South Australia with it’s rough limestone coastline, green farming pastures, and rumors of the best fresh produce in Australia – this we had to experience for ourselves. And in true adventurer spirit, we decided to follow the Flinders Highway, a route that Commander Matthew Flinders undertook in the early 1800s as he mapped the coast of South Australia.
We started off in Ceduna after coming off the Nullarbor from Western Australia, and by this stage we were sick of the dusty outback and treeless plains that we wanted to see the ocean and some greenery. There didn’t seem to be much around Ceduna other than sheep runs and large granaries, so we pulled into a caravan park and set up for the night. We decided to move on the next day and only stopped in town to stock up on food and was instantly reminded of why South Australia’s food is my favorite in the country – even their local supermarket chain stocks a large selection of local produce at excellent prices!
Baird Bay was actually not our original choice for a night’s stay, as we decided to forgo a stay in Streaky Bay on account of there being no free camping in the area anymore; however, Baird Bay did have a $10 a night campsite on the outskirts of the tiny town, so we stayed for a night. The wild weather meant we mostly stayed in the car, but we did catch a break to walk down to the shore and saw seals and pelicans as the sun set. Once we left Baird Bay we stopped by Murphy’s Haystacks ($2 entry) and wandered around these old rock formations, and also stopped along the coast to see the Tub and Woolshed Caves (both free).
Coffin Bay is a sleepy holiday and fishing town that’s known for it’s abundant and tasty oysters. During the summer months the town’s population swells, and even in the winter you see evidence of this is everywhere, as it seemed every second house was a holiday home or rental.
Coffin Bay National Park isn’t far from town and once you pay the Park entrance fee ($10) and camping fee ($10 per night), you drive through narrow windy roads that give you sneak peaks to the area around the Bay. The hiking trail we did was a short loop that took you up to an observation point, and you could see out to the pastures in the distance. We passed a lot of Kangaroos, birds and even saw men fishing in the waters below.
We camped for a night in a small camping area that was equipped with fire pits, tables and the cleanest composting toilet I have ever seen! From our tent we could hear the wind and the waves, but unfortunately the heavy rain at night meant we didn’t extend our stay with worse weather forecast for the area. The next day we drove around in the rain and visited a lot of long stretches of beaches and rough cliffs. This place in the summer time would be amazing with so many beaches to visit and lots of hiking in the area.
Port Lincoln is the largest town in the Eyre Peninsula and is fast becoming the epicenter of South Australian seafood. Here we had our first taste of Port Lincoln oysters and tried an amazing seafood chowder at Del Giorno’s Cafe, using exclusively Eyre Peninsula grown ingredients. We wandered along the harbor and took in the cosmopolitan feel of the main street, and then made our way to Port Lincoln National Park, which is only a short 13km drive south west of town. After we paid our park entry ($11) and camping fee ($10 per night), we settled on a scenic camping spot overlooking the Bay at Fisherman’s Cove.
The next two days we spent hiking along a mixture of three different trails, so we could follow the coast line in a short loop and found a lot of quiet beaches including September and Donnington Beach, as well as an old cottage that you can hire out overlooking the beach. We felt like we had the entire park to ourselves and were the only people camped at Fisherman’s Cove for the two days we stayed.
Originally we had planned to stay in Whyalla, but changed our mind and drove on to Port Augusta so that we could do a shorter drive to Adelaide the next day. Like Ceduna, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot to see or do in Port Augusta so we drove through to our stop for the night at Spear Creek Caravan Park.
Nestled in the foot of the Flinders Ranges, the Caravan Park is set on a working Dorper Lamb farm and backs onto a creek. We set up for the night and had a stroll out to the creek amongst tall old gum trees and sheep grazing around the property. We were fortunate to have a clear night and watched millions of stars glistening above the Ranges, whilst we feasted on fresh Dorper Lamb that we bought from the Caravan Park’s Reception.
Our drive along the Eyre Peninsula, although short on account of the stormy weather, was still enjoyable. We ate well and sampled a lot of the Peninsula’s produce, and we also saw a lot of incredible landscapes along the way. Would I go back? Definitely! But I’ll bring an empty stomach with me next time.
Are you thinking of heading through South Australia? Check out my other posts on things to do in Adelaide, the Limestone Coast and the Fleurieu Peninsula; and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram (@thetravelleur) and LIKE us on Facebook!
Third photo by Auyeung Photography, other by Jelena Stipanicev.