Swap the crowds for pristine landscapes, rich wildlife and great seafood on the Eyre Peninsula.
By Kris Madden
The Eyre Peninsula is Australia's major seafood hub. More than 65 per cent of the nation's seafood comes from these waters, including green-lipped abalone, scallops, prawns, oysters and tuna, which you can enjoy at the region's many seafood restaurants. It's also a place of extreme natural beauty, with a multitude of landscapes and outdoor adventure on offer. Swim with dolphins and sea lions, cage dive with great white sharks or take an intimate whale watching tour.
HOW TO GET THERE
Roughly the size of Switzerland, the Eyre Peninsula covers five regions, stretching from the city of Port Lincoln on the Lower Eyre Peninsula, to the city of Whyalla in the Eastern Eyre Peninsula, to the Gawler Ranges in the north, to Streaky Bay and Ceduna on the west coast and the edge of the Nullarbor Plain (find a useful map outlining the different regions here). Whyalla is 328 kilometres (203 miles) or about a 4 1/2 hour drive from Adelaide. It's six hours or 648 kilometres (402 miles) from Adelaide to Port Lincoln. Regional Express and QantasLink have regular flights from Adelaide to Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Ceduna. Several tour companies offer tours of the region from Adelaide.
- Taste incredible seafood
- Cage dive with great white sharks
- Swim with wild dolphins and sea lions
Eyre Peninsula highlights
TOP THINGS TO DO IN EYRE PENINSULA
Follow the Seafood Trail
Surfers love the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula for its excellent waves, but the east coast – home to protected bays such as Coffin Bay, Venus Bay and Streaky Bay – is one of the best places in the world to grow oysters. Follow the Seafood Frontier Touring Route from Whyalla for more than 380 kilometres (236 miles) to Streaky Bay. It's a self-drive trail on which you can sample oysters, abalone, prawns, tuna, rock lobster and countless cold water fish: shuck your own oysters at Pure Coffin Bay Oysters or taste the flavours at 1802 Oyster Bar, where the menu includes oysters served with a soy and wasabi dressing topped with pickled ginger. In Port Lincoln, the Fresh Fish Place, Sarins Restaurant and Bar at the Port Lincoln Hotel, and Del Giorno's will all serve you up a fresh seafood feast.
Cage dive with great white sharks
Port Lincoln, on the Eyre Peninsula's east coast, is home to some of the world's largest great white sharks, and local cage diving operators Calypso Star Charters, Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions and Adventure Bay Charters offer the chance to meet them face-to-face. If the thought of diving doesn't appeal, you can also simply go along for the ride – you'll still see sharks up close from the comfort of the boat.
Swim with dolphins and sea lions
In the calm waters of Baird Bay, 284 kilometres (176 miles) from Port Lincoln towards Streaky Bay, Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience will take you swimming with resident pods of bottlenose dolphins and inquisitive sea lions in their natural environment. Swimming with the sea lions takes place in a safe shallow area, while the dolphins swim in deeper ocean. Both are suitable for all levels of swimmer.
Go wild for whales
Between June and October each year, whales journey from Antarctica to a sheltered bay at the Eyre Peninsula, Head of Bight, to meet and calve. Here you'll find a small coastal town called Fowlers Bay. Once the site of a whaling station, it's now a hub for whale watching, with operators such as EP Cruises running tours.
Stay at a luxury eco retreat
Near Port Lincoln, Tanonga has two luxury eco lodges on a 100 hectare (247 acre) historic property. One is on top of a hill, with 360-degree panoramic views over the sea, and the other is nestled in the valley, surrounded by bush views. Enjoy walking trails, rare wildlife, gourmet food and wine, and privacy in this beautifully removed part of the world.
Explore an ancient landscape
About 140 kilometres (90 miles) north of Streaky Bay, or 370 kilometres (230 miles) from Port Lincoln, you'll find Gawler Ranges National Park, an Outback landscape dating back 1.5 billion years. It has incredible volcanic rock formations, giant salt lakes and a vast array of native wildlife including wombats and wallabies (the smaller cousins of kangaroos). Arguably the best way to experience this striking landscape is on a 4WD day tour with Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris.
Drive the Nullarbor
Crossing the Nullarbor Plain is one of Australia's greatest road journeys. This vast, flat, seemingly endless stretch of land, free from visual obstructions (Nullarbor is from the Latin, nullus, "no", and arbor, "tree") begins at the edge of the Eyre Peninsula, at the seaside town of Ceduna. You can drive the plain in its entirety, on the way to West Australian holiday hubs such as Esperance or cities such as Perth. Alternatively join a drive-and-fly tour with Chinta Air, which will take you on a road trip to the quirky Outback icon, the Nullarbor Roadhouse followed by a scenic flight over the dramatic, cliff-edged coastline.
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