Feel it in the Eyre
Explore Australia’s natural beauty in the Eyre Peninsula.
While I must confess to being a devoted inner-city slicker, the opportunity to swap the bustling crowds for picture-perfect landscapes, pristine oceans, delightful wildlife and some of Australia’s best seafood got the better of me. We were off to explore the Eyre Peninsula.
Getting to South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is all part of the adventure. Bounded by The Great Australian Bite to the west, the Spencer Gulf on the east and the ancient Gawler Ranges to the north, this part of the country is a stunning reminder of Australia’s natural beauty.
Our first stop from Adelaide is Whyalla, considered to be the gateway to the Eyre Peninsula. The impressive HMS Whyalla Maritime Boat Museum is a reminder of the town’s nautical past. Heading to Whyalla’s foreshore marina for a well-deserved coffee and a bite to eat, some friendly locals let us know that a pod of local dolphins have just been sighted nearby. We rush to the water and marvel at the dolphins playing between the incoming boats. This particular pod has been delighting locals and tourists for a while now and the best time to see them is midday.
After a quick stroll along the beautiful beach to stretch our legs, it’s time to continue the journey. Our destination for the night is Port Lincoln, though we have the small townships of Cowell, Arno Bay and Tumby Bay to visit on the way.
Perched on the edge of the Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln has some of the region’s best restaurants (Port Lincoln Hotel and Del Giorno are two of our top picks). This evening though, we drop into Beer Garden Brewing. This tiny craft brewery is owned and operated by passionate beer-loving couple, Mark and Janie Butterworth. The Butterworth’s affection for the Eyre is so strong they only use local barley for their brews. The brewery and beer garden features an impressive 10 beers on tap, which you can pair with some locally-produced food. After a delicious glass of the Cage Diver IPA, it’s time for bed.
The next morning we wake up and head to the famous Arteyrea Market. Held every third Sunday in the former South Australian Railway building, the market features some of the Eyre’s best local designers, crafters and artists. Make sure you check out the leadlight windows on the front of the building, all crafted by local artists. After a leisurely drive up to Winter Hill Lookout for a spectacular view of the coastline, we can’t contain ourselves any longer – it’s time for some wine.
Lincoln Estate Wines
Lincoln Estate Wines was founded by The Turvey family, who built the vineyard from the ground up. Today, the family-owned, award-winning vineyard includes a cellar door and plenty of opportunities to hand-feed kangaroos or walk through a native bird aviary. Their most-awarded wine is the Sauvignon Blanc, so we purchase a bottle to take to our next destination. It’s lunchtime and we want to sample some famous Coffin Bay oysters.
Coffin Bay has some of the region’s best fresh seafood restaurants, though for an educational (and delicious) experience we opt for the one-hour oyster farm tour departing from 1802 Oyster Bar & Bistro. There’s nothing like wading out into the shallow waters, plucking fresh Pacific and native Angasi Oysters straight out of the water, then learning from our expert guide how to shuck like a pro.
Our journey further north to Baird Bay along a winding, coastal road leads past the bright reds of the outback on the right and deep blues of the Great Australian Bite on the left. Whatever you do, don’t miss the sunset over the ocean.
On the drive inland we stop off at Lake Gairdner. This mesmerising, white saltpan lake contrasts beautifully with the brick-red landscape. We’re lucky to catch sight of some grazing kangaroos silhouetted in the distance.
Gawler Ranges National Park is famous for the magnificent Organ Pipes, a rocky cliff formed over 1500 million years ago from volcanic activity. The park is full of Australian native animals including kangaroos, emus, wombats, goannas and the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby. We set out on foot on one of the many scenic hikes within the park.
Setting up camp in the stunning Mallee wilderness region of the Gawler Ranges is a perfect way to unwind after a long day of adventuring. It’s hard not to fall in love with the Eyre Peninsula as we sit at our campsite, under the bright star-studded night sky with a roaring campfire.