Most grey nomads doing the ‘Big One’ visit the Eyre Peninsula before heading west across the Nullarbor or on their way east having crossed the Nullarbor. And it’s well worth a stop. With national parks including Lincoln National Park, Coffin Bay National Park, Gawler Ranges National Park, and several conservation parks and reserves, there’s incredible scenery, superb camping … and did somebody say ‘fishing’? Put it this way, if you can’t use your rod to stock your freezer in this part of the world, it’s time to find a new hobby!
The area is surprisingly remote with its most sizeable town, Port Lincoln, being a good 300 kilometres south-east of Port Augusta. To the west, Perth is a very, very long way away. Besides Port Lincoln in the south, Whyalla and Port Augusta at the north east, and Ceduna at the northwest, are the most notable settlements. They are connected by the Eyre Highway across the inland edge, and the Flinders Highway and Lincoln Highway along the west and east coasts.
There are some nice free camping spots going down the east side of the peninsula with Lipson Cove being among the best. The beach is superb and the views from the hills simply awesome. The fishing isn’t bad either.
Tumby Bay is an extremely pleasant, well-kept seaside town with pubs and fish-and-chip shops and caravan parks. It’s a wonderful place to chill out for a few days but – be warned – it can get windy.
Grey nomads should also take special care while camping. This area is prone to bushfires. In January 2005, the Eyre Peninsula was the site of a huge blaze which killed nine people. In late 2012, another bushfire destroyed a campervan, a caravan and a dozen cabins as it swept into a caravan park.
Port Lincoln, with its population of 11,000, is situated on magnificent Boston Bay and is home to a massive tuna fleet and tuna farming industry. It’s an attractive and friendly city. Just down the road is the beautiful Lincoln National Park which is suitable for caravans, although there are 4WD only sections. Stunning white beaches, abundant birdlife and excellent fishing only tell part of the story. There are a number of camping spots situated throughout the park, offering excellent access to the water.
Coffin Bay, a little further west, is equally beautiful. The park offers some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in South Australia, ranging from ancient granite, limestone and sandstone cliffs to long beaches bordered by white sand dunes. While some sections of the park’s coastline can be reached by two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive tracks crossing sandy and limestone terrain open up more remote areas of the park to adventure seekers. Picturesque sections of the coastline can also be reached via bitumen road.
The western coast of the peninsula is characterised by sheer cliffs, wild seas, beautiful beaches and colonies of sea lions. If you are visiting between June and October, head up to the Head of Bight near Ceduna to see the magnificent Southern Right Wales on their migration to warmer waters.
Sea SA’s ferry service across the Spencer Gulf between Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula and Lucky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula re-opened in February, 2012 and can save 350 kilometres of driving. In the eight months following its re-opening, the ferry carried some 9,000 cars, 1,700 trailers and caravans, 220 trucks, 35 buses and 570 motorbikes.
The Eyre Peninsula is a great place to relax. You won’t want to hurry away, either.
You simply must
Swim with the tuna at fish farms near Port Lincoln; fill your freezer with a snapper, a tuna or King George whiting; take an inland adventure out to the rugged Gawler Ranges.
Where to camp
Numerous great caravan parks in towns all around the peninsular … including many, many waterfront ones. Also, excellent camping in the area’s national parks. Also, some superb free camping spots. You really are spoilt for choice.