Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
The west of South Australia stretches 1000km, from Whyalla to the Eyre Peninsula and onwards across the vast, arid Nullarbor Plain to the Western Australian border. Its latitudes reach from Port Lincoln at the tip of the peninsula to the volcanic Gawler Ranges, 400km to the north. The peninsula and the Great Australian Bight - the world’s longest line of sea cliffs - add up to more than 2000km of coastline.
This is one of the greatest fishing areas in Australia. Not only is fishing a major industry, including aquaculture and oyster farming, it’s also a lure for visitors. The Spencer Gulf and Bight waters teem with snapper, King George whiting and other catch and you can charter a boat out of any coastal town.
Whyalla’s Maritime Museum sets the scene. Among its prize holdings: the 1914 edition of explorer Matthew Flinders’ journals, a thought-provoking collection of artifacts from Spencer Gulf shipwrecks and HMAS Whyalla, the first modern warship built in South Australia. Whyalla’s claim to fame in the diving world is the annual giant cuttlefish spawning: hundreds of thousands converge in a small rocky area.
Port Lincoln perches on magnificent Boston Bay, one of the world’s largest protected harbours. Well worth a visit is the Seahorse Farm, which breeds these delicate members of the Hippocampus genus. Also worth a browse is the Axel Stenross Museum, a tribute to the clipper ships of the grain trade between Australia and Europe in the 1800s, and the resting place for many historic vessels.
At the very tip of Eyre Peninsula is Lincoln National Park, a rugged wilderness habitat for a huge array of birdlife and native animals: parrots, sea eagles, emus, brush-tail bettongs and kangaroos. Activities here include fishing, scuba-diving, boating, swimming - and camping out under the stars. For endless photo opportunities, follow the Whalers Way scenic drive.
Coffin Bay, one of the most beautiful estuaries in the country, is thankfully preserved as a national park. Famous for oysters, it’s also a popular holiday choice, with sailing and other water activities. On the far west coast of Eyre Peninsula is Baird Bay, where you can swim with the dolphins and sea lions, an unforgettable experience. Further west, the Bunda Cliffs on the Head of Bight, 300km west of Ceduna, is one of the best places in the world for watching Southern Right Whales. From June to October, you will see as many as 40 whales at a time in the seas below, often mothers at play with their calves.
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