Adelaide to the Eyre Peninsula in 11 Days
Go to town on Adelaide’s great food, bars and festivals before heading to the Eyre Peninsula - Oz’s seafood capital - to find and eat all the Nemos your heart desires.
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Get your culture on: visit Adelaide from January to March to catch one of the great arts festivals or sporting events.
- Get wet: swim with sea lions, known as ‘the puppies of the sea’. ‘Cause who doesn’t like puppies?
- Dive deep: get up close and very personal with great white sharks with a cage dive offshore from Port Lincoln.
Time: 11 Days
From one food-lover’s dream to another, Adelaide will surprise and delight with its hip bars, progressive food scene and never-dull events calendar. But head out of the city and discover the Eyre Peninsula where you’ll make friends with some sea creatures and eat others. It’s less of a betrayal than it sounds.
Day 1: Soak up Adelaide’s party vibe
Welcome to foodie heaven. Prepare to let that top button loose as you spend the day making very special friends with Adelaide. This is the city with a name for top notch food and drink, shopping that can’t be skipped and plenty of bars for you to lean against.
In January, South Australia hosts the Tour Down Under, Australia’s largest cycling event, and sees Adelaide come alive with street parties and events. There’s never been a better reason to wear lycra.
Need another? The city’s flat roads make it perfect for cycling. Take a scenic spin across Adelaide's city with a free loan bike from one of a number of locations across the city, and enjoy a bit of sunshine and exercise on the many bicycle trails in and around the city. The Linear Park trail is popular with locals and visitors alike, taking cyclist from the city to the beach, travelling alongside the River Torrens.
But if a party is more your vibe, from mid-February to mid-March, the must-see Adelaide Fringe Festival turns the city into a non-stop party with street parties, performances and outdoor festival hubs popping up all over South Australia in the warm summer climate.
Day 2: Eat and Drink Adelaide
This morning head to the Adelaide Central Market to eat your fill (and some). This bad boy is the largest fully undercover, fresh food market in the southern hemisphere. Talk about a challenge.
To quench your ever-present thirst, explore some of the microbreweries that call Adelaide home. Big Shed Brewing and Pirate Life are just two of the craft breweries located right in the city, or head to the nearby Adelaide Hills or Fleurieu Peninsula for a wealth of other options.
And when night falls, it’s time to hit some of Adelaide’s many small bars (note the plurals). Our tips? The small laneway quarter around Leigh St, Peel St and Gilbert Place.
Day 3: Rooftop Climbing and River Floating
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi! You know you want to shout it … A visit to Adelaide would not be the same without taking on its sports icon – the Adelaide Oval. The Oval is home to Adelaide’s biggest Aussie Rules and cricket matches and now you can (legally and safely!) climb the roof. To get high, the guided climb runs for about two hours and covers 1.2 kilometres (three-quarters of a mile) in total, taking in 360 degree views of Adelaide city across the scalloped roofline.
In the afternoon, head to the River Torrens and rent a donut-shaped boat with a barbecue on board where you can grill your own lunch as you float down the river. You’re welcome.
Day 4: Leave the City for the Seafood
Hit the road and head for the Eyre Peninsula. Your first stop is Whyalla on the western side of the Spencer Gulf.
Whyalla is known for the annual migration of giant cuttlefish, which gather in the shallow waters of the gulf between May and August. Head for the ramp at Stony Point where you can wade out to watch the show. Barefeet essential.
If Flipper is your jam, keep an eye out for the pod of resident dolphins playing and feeding off the coast of Whyalla Marina. The pod have gained a rep as some of the friendliest dolphins in Australia. What they did to earn that rep - well, we’ll leave that to your imagination...
Day 5: Whyalla to Port Lincoln
Pump the tunes and drive a little shy of three hours south from Whyalla to Port Lincoln. Stop on the way at Cowell, Arno Bay and Tumby Bay. Drop a net from the town jetty to catch succulent big blue crabs or hire a kayak or boat to catch and sample an array of the bay’s best seafood.
When you land in Port Lincoln, check into Adventure Backpackers or pull up to the caravan park on the foreshore of sparkling Boston Bay.
Then make your way - with haste - to The Fresh Fish Place, the Eyre Peninsula’s largest seafood supplier. As well as seeing food and eating it (sorry, had to be done), there are behind the scenes tours that run most mornings where you can sample a range of fresh, and in-house pickled and smoked products. Or fancy yourself as a bit of a Nigella? The Fresh Fish Place also runs popular cooking classes once a month. Tops way to impress that hot date of yours.
Day 6: Swim with Sea Lions
How could you say no to the puppies of the sea? They. Are. Puppies. Well technically, they’re South Australia’s rare and endangered sea lions. But still, CUTE.
Set off on a half-day tour to the crystal clear waters of Seal Cove, where the sea lions welcome your arrival as they bound toward the boat. These kids got all the moves: check out their somersaults and swirls.
On return to land, chill out on the beach with some takeaway seafood from King Neptunes. Once you’ve got your strength back, trek to the top of Winters Hill for a heart-stopping view. You’ll be staring bug-eyed for a while, don’t worry.
Day 7: Up Close with Great Whites
Because who doesn’t want to be underwater in a cage surrounded by sharks? Yes, it’s time to live your dream of being a badass and step it up a notch in the stakes with shark cage diving today.
Take a boat journey up to three hours to prime spots off the coast, often accompanied by a pod of dolphins or sometimes a whale.
Spend up to 45 minutes suspended in a cage while great whites circle. Be sure to get a photo for Mum. Even if you’re not in the water, the action from above is nearly as enthralling.
If you’re not too keen on jumping in for a swim with Jaws, Adventure Bay Charters also offers the Shark “Aqua Sub”, where you can spy on great white sharks from a glass viewing area with 360 degree views underwater.
Tours provide breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Make sure you take water, sunscreen, swimwear, warm clothing and maybe a spare pair of undies for the return journey.
Day 8: More Seafood from Coffin to Streaky Bay
Oysters are an aphrodisiac, sooo… enough said. Leave Port Lincoln behind to drive up the coast to Streaky Bay. En route stop off at the idyllic holiday town of Coffin Bay to see where those oysters are sourced. Ooh-la-la.
While you’re in the area and in the mood for something, ahem, alfresco, Coffin Bay National Park is also worth a visit, with some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in South Australia, ranging from ancient cliffs to long beaches bordered by white sand dunes.
Day 9: Dolphins and Sea Lions
And, because you can never have too many dolphins / sea lions in your life, wake up to drive on back to Baird Bay to swim with both bottlenose dolphins and sea lions.
Here in this little pocket of the Eyre Peninsula on an unsealed road, during a four hour tour you can not only swim with bottlenose dolphins, but also with the local sea lions who call these waters home. The owners of Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience have been gradually building a relationship with these playful creatures, who delight swimmers with their curiosity and interactions, over the past 20 years.
Re live it all over a few cold ones when you get back to your Streaky Bay campground.
Day 10: Streaky Bay to Ceduna
Say “see ya later” to Streaky Bay and head further west to Ceduna. On the way, keep an eye out for Murphy's Haystacks, ancient wind-worn pink granite boulders, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) out of Streaky Bay. (Instagram that business for sure.)
Stop at Smoky Bay and devour oysters (again) straight from the sea before arrival in Ceduna.
If you’re craving affection (hey, don’t worry, we all do sometimes), when you get to Ceduna, take a tour at the Wombat Rescue Homestead. Cuddle baby wombats, kangaroos, emus, galahs and any other animals that they have at the time, and two very rare White Hairy Nose Southern Wombats named Icey and Polar. Best names ever.
As the sun begins to set take the easy four kilometre (2.5 mile) walking trail along the Ceduna Foreshore to Pinky Point. Get out that iPhone once again.
Day 11: Whale Watching in Fowlers Bay
Goodbyes are hard, but they’re a hell of a lot easier if you get to see whales on your way out. So, head on out on a whale-watching tour from Fowlers Bay with EP Cruises. Southern right and humpback whales stop in at Fowlers Bay during their annual migration, often remaining within the bay for several weeks to calve and nurse their young. Yes, that’s right: you might see baby whales too. Just like normal whales, only smaller.
But wait, there’s more: you’ll also often see common and bottlenose dolphins, endangered Australian sea lions, New Zealand fur seals, white bellied sea eagles, little penguins and some rare species of albatross.
The cliffs of Point Fowler, and the endless sand dune border creates the perfect backdrop for the cruise / your shots and the closing chapter to your visit to this region of South Australia. Way to do the westside, amirite?