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Home > Travelogues > 2005 Travelogues Index > Western Eyre Peninsula South Australia
The cooler western coastline of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia
Short version only - full version with pictures yet to come

The Western Eyre Peninsula

Leaving Ceduna, we headed south on the Flinders Highway, visiting Smoky Bay.  In 1802, Captain Matthew Flinders mapped the area from Fowlers Bay and because of "the number of smokes rising from the shores of this wide open space" named Smoky Bay.  This small town is on a sheltered Bay, and is known for its oysters.  Once a whaling station was nearby at Point Collinson, and the Point Brown Conservation Park and Acraman Creek are on the same peninsula that forms the protective Smoky Bay.   

We then went to Haslam and stayed overnight.  This small fishing community has an honesty box camping area right by the jetty.  Showers and free electricity have been removed due to lack of honesty contributions, but there are toilets, barbecue and potable water.  This is away from the houses in the small town so an ideal overnight spot.  It was extremely windy during the night.

 

In the morning, a fisherman from a trailer home in a parking area further away from the beach kept coming to check to water levels.  When the tide was low enough, he towed the boat out through the shallows to launch it at the edge of the deeper water, then took the tractor back to shore before running out through the shallows to catch the boat.  

 

A little further to the south, Perlubie Bay has a popular camp spot on a bay looking across to Eba Island. 

 

travasmtc2005027004.jpg tn_bairdbaypelicans.jpg tn_murphyshaystacks1.jpg streakyboats.jpg

We followed the coastline south to Streaky Bay.   In 1802 Matthew Flinders named Streaky Bay. It is now known thought the streaks which gave rise to the name are caused by the release of oils by certain species of seaweed in the bay.  This bay is well protected by a peninsula which includes some rugged cliffs.  There are a number of scenic drives.  We did these during two visits to Streaky Bay.  

 

The Cape Bauer Drive follows the edge of the rugged peninsula to the north west of Streaky Bay. This sea stack is a symmetrical small circular island, cut away from the limestone cliffs by the action of the sea.

 

The Westall Way goes to the coast where the cliffs are taller.   We were high above the ocean looking across to High Cliff in the setting sun.  Nearby, Smooth Pool remains glassy while the surf beats onto the rock barrier.

 

A little further south is the fishing village of Sceale Bay.  Here all manner of tow vehicles were parked at the boat launching ramp. 

 

Don’t miss going to Point Labatt; the only full time mainland sea lion breeding colony, but take binoculars as you can only watch them from the top of the cliff.  Cows and calves were basking on the beach, with the bulls having the occasional fight.  Some sea lions went fishing out in the channel where huge shoals of salmon were swimming through. 

 

Cropped paddocks went to the water’s edge along a long narrow strip of turquoise water – the head of Baird Bay.  A small settlement is near the mouth of this long inlet and pelicans watched the moored boats.

 

Murphy’s Haystacks are a series of huge granite rocks, eroded over 1,500 million years. There name comes from a tale about someone mistaking them for huge stacks of sheaves of hay.  They resembled old fashioned baker’s loaves of bread. 

 

Port Kenny is to the northern end of Venus Bay and we met campers who had just caught a meal of small fish.  The town of Venus Bay is on the southern end of this lovely almost fully enclosed bay, with only a narrow channel for the fishing boats to negotiate to go out to sea.  Two large fishing boats remained moored at the jetty.

 

Talia sea caves are interesting rock formations.  Standing on hard red rocks at sea level, we looked across white rocks and into “The Woolshed”, a limestone sea cave.  Nearby “The Tub” is a collapsed cave, with an archway which the waves wash under and into the open tub. 

 

From Elliston we took the cliff top drives to the north and south of the town.  Cloud was building up and light showers developed while driving.

 

We stayed at the grassy and well appointed Elliston Caravan Park alongside the grain silos, and walked to the jetty to try and catch some fish, but the rain blew in on us and it became very cold.  The fish were smarter than to be out and about that night.

 

The town hall at Elliston is totally painted with murals, depicting the history and industries of the area.

 

Farmlands to the south and east of Elliston are just bare limestone.  I commend anyone for trying to farm this land. In particular, around Sheringa, fences were made out of limestone and many are still maintained.

 

We stopped at a cliff top lookout where cliffs were overhanging a rough ocean in cold, rainy and windy weather.

 

At the freshwater Lake Wangary we stopped on a farm at the edge of the lovely lake which has an abundance of water and shore birds of so many species.  I spent a lovely afternoon and evening bird watching and looking back to the Marble Ranges across the lake.  The devastating Port Lincoln fire had started not far from here and swept east. 

 

At Kelledie Bay we tried fishing again, while looking across the bay to oyster farms and the Marble Ranges in the distance.  We caught a couple of small “tommies”, but a bird stole one and the other jumped right out of the bucket and back into the water.  A few carpet sharks grazed near the landing from which we were fishing. 

 

At  Coffin Bay we watched yachts and boats while talking to a fisherman tending his boat at the wharf.  In 1802 Matthew Flinders named Coffin Bay in honour of his friend Sir Isaac Coffin. The Bay is almost fully enclosed by the peninsula which is now the Coffin Bay National Park.  We drove to Yangie Bay where there is a campground and to Point Avoid on a rocky coastline looking to Golden Island across a narrow channel.  The remainder of the tracks through the National Park are four wheel drive only, and not suitable for taking a caravan. 

 

During the night from where we stayed in the bush near Coffin Bay we could smell ash on a change of wind direction, and next morning we soon came to a smouldering blackened landscape which continued all the way to Port Lincoln. 

 

Chris and Valdis revisit the Eyre Peninsula in 2016

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