Should you visit the Eyre Peninsula?

Many people that we met along the Nullarbor were planning on driving right past the Eyre peninsula and making a bee line for Adelaide. One couple that we met informed us that there was less to do on the peninsula than there was on the Nullarbor. We decided we would go experience it and make that judgement for ourselves.

We had an awesome time there and here’s why….

Crazy coastline

Í don’t know if we’ve ever been somewhere that has a sculpture park along the Cliffside, but it was a pretty cool experience! It’s just one example of the diverse coastline you’ll find here on the Eyre peninsula.

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Cliffside sculptures in Elliston

 

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Wild waves in Coffin bay

National parks

There are two beautiful national parks on the Eyre peninsula- Coffin Bay, and Lincoln national park. They both contain beachside camping, awesome fishing, hiking, wildlife, and picturesque vistas. Coffin bay also has plenty of tracks for four wheel drive enthusiasts!

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Skipping rocks in Lincoln national park

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Sunset at Yangie bay lookout, Coffin bay

 

food

Coffin bay is known for its oyster so its certainly worth visiting if you’re a seafood lover. Port Lincoln is home to our favourite bakery of the trip (and we have tried a fair few)- Hage’s bakery. Try their donut of the week.

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First breakfast out of the trip at The Rogue and Rascal cafe,Port Lincoln. Did not disappoint!

wildlife

We saw so many emus and kangaroos in the national parks in the Eyre peninsula. We woke up one night to a kangaroo digging through our bin. Emus roamed freely throughout the campsite. If you’re feeling particularly eager  for a unique wildlife encounter you can go shark cage diving in Port Lincoln.

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Emus in Coffin bay

history

We were surprised to find that there is a wealth of history throughout the Eyre peninsula. There are many memorials for the “founder of south Australia”, Matthew Flinders. The tale of his explorations are woven through the peninsula, in the names of features (such as Point Avoid) and in the landscape itself (such as the areas of land he cleared to try to farm).

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A memorial to Matthew Flinders atop Stamford Hill

 

hiking

There are great hiking networks throughout the  peninsula, including the investigator trail which is an 89 kilometre trail following Matthew Flinders’ original exploration. Lincoln national park contains one of Australia’s top 40 great walks- the Stamford Hill hike. It’s a relatively easy walk with stunning views at the summit.

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The view from the top

community

One of the most awesome things in the Eyre peninsula was the amount of volunteers who gave up their time for their community. From the volunteer run book store in Port Lincoln to the blacksmith museum in Tumby Bay whose volunteers couldn’t have been more accommodating. It’s amazing that there are so many people willing to invest their time to preserve the history of their communities. It certainly made the Eyre peninsula somewhere that we will always remember.

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Fitzgerald Bay campsite

 

 

 

Guide to Australia’s Great Southern Region

Experience the great southern on a budget

Our first week of travel has been filled with adventure, hiking, and, unfortunately, a lot of rain. It’s currently the height of summer in Australia but as I write this I’m hiding in the car from the rain and wind. We’ve been trying to make the best of our time in the Great Southern region because, despite the weather, this really is a beautiful part of Western Australia. With a stunning coastline, hikes of all assortment and dozens of four wheel drive tracks, this region truly caters towards the adventurous spirit. We’ve kept this article as a list of free attractions in the Great Southern-perfect for the budget backpacker- but some of the national parks do have entry fees. I thought I’d include them anyway because so many travelers buy national park passes.

 

Walpole

Our first stop on our big adventure was D’entrecastreux national park near the town of Walpole. The majority of this park is accessible by four wheel drive only, and the few two wheel drive roads are unsealed, which may be something to consider when driving a rental car! However, when you do get into the park you’ll be greeted by a seriously beautiful and almost untouched coastline. The park is actually quite big and has several entrances. We saw a small portion of it, but we loved it all.

Mandalay beach was a highlight of our time here. From the soft white sand to the visible remains of a shipwreck it definitely scores highly on our list of favourite beaches. There are some cool rock formations here and an island off the shore. We even found a small animal skull! The beach is two wheel drive accessible but it is a gravel road, and quite a corrugated one. We were surprised to find that our beer hadn’t shattered.

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Beautiful Mandalay Beach

We also took a four wheel track drive to long point. This was actually a much longer track than we had anticipated, but it did offer great views of the surrounding beaches. There also seemed to be some hiking trails, and there were some other driving tracks branching off from the main “road.”

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Enjoying the view

I think our favourite spot in the walpole area was the Conspicuous Cliffs. They might sound like something from a Lemony Snickett novel, but these cliffs are a spectacular coastal feature. There are multiple look out points as well as beach access. It was incredibly windy at the look out points! You can also hike part of the bibbulmun track here, so it’s a really good spot for a day trip.

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A blustery day at the cliffs!

Denmark

 

Denmark is only about an hour South of Walpole and it’s a really awesome town. There are tonnes of great attractions around here, including a meadery, “chocolate lounge”, and wineries. I have to admit, one of the highlights of Denmark for us was the bakery. It has a whole host of awards to its name and some very interesting options. Alex had a curried kangaroo pie- dubbed the “vindaroo”. It’s a great spot for a budget lunch!

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Fishing in Parry beach

The other great thing about Denmark is Parry’s beach campground. For $15 per site per night this place offers showers, flush toilets, huge sites, and you can have camp fires even in Summer! Best of all it’s right by the beach and it’s part of the bibulmun track. We spent a few days here and we really enjoyed it. One day we walked all the way to Elephant rocks from here. It was about an 18 kilometre round trip and took us a little under three hours each way, but it was such a cool hike. We had miles of beach entirely to ourselves, saw some wildlife, and we felt pretty accomplished when we reached the pristine beach of Green’s pool and Elephant rocks. We also accidentally fell asleep on the beach on the way home, but that’s not important 😉

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Elephant rocks-worth the walk!

Denmark itself is larger than I expected and is situated very prettily on the Denmark river. It seems to be quite geared towards tourists and has lots of interesting shops worth wandering around. My favourites were the Australian Alpaca Centre- a alpaca wool clothing store- and Third Stone Traders, a fair trade and local craft store. The town is definitely worth exploring even if you’re just window shopping.

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Street Art in Denmark

Albany

 

If you’re like me you probably had no idea that Albany was once destined to become the capital of Western Australia. It’s the oldest city is the state and has the rich history to prove it. There’s quite a few museums here but I’ll just focus on the free things for now.

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Albany was beautiful once the sun came out!

First of all there’s cosy corner campground- a totally free campground with drop toilets and beach access. It’s about fifteen minutes outside of Albany and, while basic, it’s pretty awesome for a free spot! We stayed there for a few nights and while the weather wasn’t good enough to really enjoy its proximity to the beach, it was still great to have somewhere free to spend some time.

 

Albany itself has a free museum which offers a pretty comprehensive overview of Albany’s history. I have to admit I had no idea there was so much learn about the city’s past. We really only visited the museum because we both wanted to use the public toilets there, but it has great colourful exhibits and the friendly staff gave us great ideas for how to spend the rest of our time.

 

One of the coolest attractions in Albany is The Gap. This is area of rugged coastline where a viewing platform has been built over a gap in the cliffs. From here you can watch the waves wooshing beneath you. It’s pretty wild and might be one to avoid if you’re afraid of heights! The view is great though and the water is a gorgeous colour as it splashes against the rocks. It’s also right by the natural bridge and the blowholes- we brought a picnic and made an afternoon of seeing the sights!

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The Wild Waters of The Gap

About an hour outside Albany you’ll find the Stirling Ranges which contain the biggest mountain in the Southern half of WA- Bluff Knoll. We climbed the mountain one blustery day and it was a great experience. It was definitely tough, especially with the wild weather near the summit, but we got some great views, got some good fresh air and exercise, and enjoyed our first real physical challenge of the trip!

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Bluff Knoll-doesn’t it look like something from a fantasy film?

As a result of the crazy rain we’ve had over the past week some sections of the trail were pretty water logged. It was cool to be able to fill our water bottles at the waterfalls though!

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The freshest water imaginable!

So that’s our guide to the free attractions of the Great Southern! Our plan was to move on to Esperance after a few days in Albany, but due to some crazy flooding and road closures we’re not sure when we’ll make it there. For now we’re hanging out at Shelley’s beach campground, just down the road from Cosy Corner. This site isn’t free-it’s 7.50 per person per night- but we love the crystal clear water here and it’s quite sheltered from the wind. We’re not quite sure what we’ll do next, so be sure to follow us on facebook, instagram and twitter to keep up to date. You can also sign up to our newsletter in the sidebar. Happy travelling!

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Meelup Reserve Trail 

Recently we walked part of the Meelup reserve trail from Meelup beach in Dunsborough to Eagle bay. This is a beautiful coastal trail leading through bush and beach. The full trail goes from Dunsborough beach to Eagle bay and is 7.4 km one way, but we chose to bite off a 3 km portion. The trail is rugged in parts and occasionally we lost the trail signs, but as long as you follow the coastline you’re bound to end up in Eagle bay eventually! This walk would be wonderful in Summer as there are lots of secluded beaches along the way where you could stop for a swim and a picnic! There are toilets at Meelup and just before you reach eagle bay. Here are some photos from our hike!

Here the trail started to ascend into the bushy cliffs overlooking the ocean. The path was rocky at times but the views were beautiful!


We had this little beach all to ourselves! I never get tired of secluded south west beaches. We definitely recommend hiking the Meelup Reserve Trail!