When I stop to consider the words I should string together in my attempt to inform and inspire, it’s always a task that seems near impossible. Every new place we visit, every smell, every sight, every person we meet. What we wouldn’t give to bring you with us – and the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia is one of those places where you stop, look around, close your eyes and whisper to yourself… I wish you were here to see this. It ignites that place in your mind where your friends, family and colleagues sit waiting to be thought of when you find ‘their’ place. We experienced a deep love for the region to the point where we wanted you to be standing with us – overlooking the ocean, the cliffs, the valleys, the hills, the bays…
All we knew of the Eyre Peninsula was contained within the four virtual walls of our Instagram feed. We’d been inspired by images of dazzling cliff faces captured by other travellers just like us and with a couple of weeks to kill before we had to be in Alice Springs – we embarked on a journey to South Australia’s southern lands to check it out.
We knew we wouldn’t make it to the far western side of the peninsula (we’ll save that for later) and instead focused our travel to the eastern and lower regions.
We chose to dip our toes into Whyalla first up – we hadn’t planned to stay, only explore over a lunch stop. Another coastal town where the contrast was breathtaking. A dusty, industrial hub for steel and metal works – a bustling working town that has a rich industrial heritage. Couple the image of dust and sweat with that of clear, blue ocean and serenity. Lucky for us, the weather was calm and vibrant and we made the most of the warmer temperatures and explored the beach and marina. If we’d have had more time, the fishing rods would have surfaced but instead we found ourselves preoccupied with a delightfully mesmerising sight…
We quickly discovered a pod of dolphins call this marina home and swirl around its waters chasing a lucky feed from the fishing boats heading back in to dock. We were within metres of these majestic animals and my heart leapt as a mother and baby studied us for some time as we edged our way down the rocks for a closer look.
Turns out dolphins are quite the locals all over the region and while it’s terrible news if you’re wetting a line, for someone who isn’t accustomed to seeing dolphins this close and this regularly – I was excited by every sighting.
Moving further down the coast and we arrive at Port Lincoln. The region’s major hub and a town with a thriving fishing and seafood industry that supplies much of the country. It’s also the launch pad for popular tourist experiences like the famous great white shark cage dive. Upon arrival, we treated ourselves to a seafood feast at ‘The Fresh Fish Place’ – which absolutely lived up to its name as leaders in fresh seafood – before setting up camp about half an hour south at a sneaky coastal spot called Fishery Bay. Here the sand was crystal white and the ocean, a clear blue – the sunrise and sunset were uninterrupted and as surfers waded out into the welcoming swells of the bay, we were graced by the beauty of another stunning South Australian coastal experience.
Moving now, in a westerly direction, we were eager to crack out the fishing rods and chose Coffin Bay as our next target.
Now for us, Coffin Bay was the shining jewel in our exploration of the region. We fell in love with the scenic bayside township which felt warm and homely. The locals welcomed us with open arms and we enjoyed getting lost in daydreams of renting a holiday home and wasting the days away in a hammock overlooking this gorgeous place. Most outstanding of all however, was the FISHING.
For three full days we hovered around the local boat ramp wetting our lines with scores of locals and travellers alike. We reeled in healthy stacks of King George Whiting which makes the most delicious eating, as well as some trevally and salmon trout. This was not only free amusement for Ben and myself (who don’t normally do too well fishing), it meant that we could catch a delicious feed without spending money to eat good, nutritious food. On the road, every cent counts and we were delighted to catch ourselves a meal everyday which meant our food supplies stretch much further and we’re able to enjoy deliciously-fresh seafood. Is there anything better?
Our western-most travels brought us to a place called Farm Beach. Now this sleepy seaside pocket was the epitome of its name with rolling hills and mountains peppered with sheep and cattle meeting with the rich, blue ocean of the Great Australian Bight. Nearby pockets including Mount Dutton Bay were equally stunning – particularly at sunset when dolphins trail through the glassy waters and under the piers. Boats are launched using tractors here, and there are sneaky 4wd tracks everywhere for the adventure hound.
We even stumbled upon the filming location for the 1981 Australian film ‘Gallipoli’ which not only provided a glimpse of Australian cinematography, but a reminder of our great land and those who fought and continue to fight for it.
Our final stop was the beautiful Tumby Bay – another seaside gem which sparkles in its own right. Here, the Council and local community have got it completely right. Clean, immaculate landscaping, abundant cafes, pubs and eateries, vibrant street art and modern facilities for all ages. Free Wi-Fi. Caravan and camper-friendly accommodation.
This town understands the value of tourism and is really stepping ahead in its push to energize economic development in the area which is not something we’ve seen done this well for some time. Plus, the FISHING! We tried our luck down by the marina and were thrilled by the chase put on by a school of bream – guess who’s got dinner again for the next few nights!
This trip gave us more than we could have ever expected. After days of dynamic fishing, the smell of the soft, salty air, the warm hospitality and the feeling of sheer peace – we had rediscovered our groove and have reignited our passion to uncover all we can in this great country.
We’ll get to the far western side later in our travels, but for now we leave the Eyre Peninsula with big smiles, full bellies, and a new sense of calm.
This is where the world stops and the goodness of humanity thrives. A place where those who love the country can delight in stellar scenery and quiet, and those who love the seaside lifestyle can feel absolutely complete. Any fisherman’s dream and a sensationally-electric region for young and old – the Eyre Peninsula is certainly embedded in our minds as a special haven to be revisited again and again.
A lover of the written word.
Journalist by trade, writer by hobby. Writing fuels my soul and I promised myself I’d string words together more often, so here I am.
A collection of pieces that describe the inner workings of my mind.