Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Eyre Peninsula’s West Coast

Early December 2012

We thought we’d get from Coffin Bay to Streaky Bay in a day as it’s only 300km.  But setting off late (leaving at midday never helps) and doing justice to this stretch of coastline meant we found a placed to camp midway between the two. 

The Flinders Highway is a lovely stretch of road with beautiful farm land and an amazing coastline usually just off past where you can see. The other drivers are really friendly, absolutely everyone waves as you pass them by, not just fellow travellers. Along the roadside we picked up some fresh eggs and loaves of bread cooked in a wood-fired oven (plus fruit buns).  Not your usual fare that you get from the honesty box system! 

We skipped most of the early beaches but from Sheringa onwards stopped in at every turnoff we came across.  It really is quite something to see a wheat or a sheep farm and then see a big sand dune rising up behind it!  Sheringa had an amazing sand dune heading southwards, a nice campsite, and then some great cliffs you could drive all over. Tracks were literally everywhere!  None of this ‘keep to the road’ business, or putting up fences of ‘danger’ signs.  We think it’s a symptom of being so far from the capital city.

We saw a giant wombat burrow but not the resident. We saw some sea caves and while at one saw a peregrine falcon catching the breezes and could hear some squawking.  We looked closer and across the other side of the cave (or giant hole in the ground) not far from the upper ledge we saw a few peregrine falcon chicks.  They were still quite fluffy and couldn’t yet fly so we felt pretty lucky to have seen them.

We stopped at Elliston for a while for the kids to stretch their legs.  We’ve noticed that all the playgrounds at all these little towns have been new and great care has been taken to keep them looking great.  This one was particularly great as they had collected driftwood and used that as part of the fence along with an old bicycle, some old farming equipment…it told a story of the local town.

The local visitors centre is also the Internet Resource Centre, op shop, book exchange, council library and centrelink office.  I love this blending of local, state and federal government agencies plus community services all into one seamless service/building.  And they also sold homemade biscuits! 
The staff told me about the clifftop drive just north of town so we drove around it late in the afternoon and it was breathtaking.  Big swells were coming in, there were some beautiful little protected bays we were not expecting and some great seascapes with cliffs dropping straight down. The quirky touches of the some sculptures strategically placed around the drive really topped off our afternoon! 

We camped at a Council campground that was on the edge of the Lake Newland Conservation Park but it was also right on a beautiful beach. We were the only ones there and the bees kept to themselves in the toilet and didn’t come over to pester us at our campsite. For tea, we had fish that Hugo caught with some pilchards the commercial fisherman had given us when we’d set off from Coffin Bay.  Perfect.

Around Streaky Bay there are more stunning cliffs with amazing sand dunes in between and it makes this coastline just so special. And there’s hardly anyone there! I really could rave about the southern and western coastline Eyre Peninsula for hours, we just had an absolutely wonderful time exploring this beautiful part of Australia. 

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