Eyre Peninsula: A Complete Travel Guide
The Eyre Peninsula is up there as one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in Australia.
What I love about this remote part of South Australia is that it has a bit of everything. For a start there are loads of sensational beaches. You know, those ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming’ kind of idyllic paradises that you dream of escaping to when work is piling up at the office. Or think about during that private, blissful, childless moment, when it’s just you and your daily coffee.
There are also plenty of quaint, beach side towns to check out too that offer some incredible marine activities. And while you might think it’s all sand and ocean, there are loads of other things to see and do as well.
I’m talking about the arid landscapes of the outback, jaw-dropping rock formations, seafood that will make your taste buds dance with delight, and places that show off some of the clearest views of the stars at night you will ever see.
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Well, let me tell you more about it!
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We acknowledge the Barngarla and Wirangu people, the traditional owners of the Eyre Peninsula. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded and pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging.
Where is the Eyre Peninsula?
The Eyre Peninsula is located in South Australia. It is a triangular expanse of land that begins at the sleepy town of Port Augusta and finishes at the start of the iconic Nullarbor Plain, with Whyalla being one of the first main towns you reach when travelling west.
Meandering its way down the coast, the region is bound to the east by the Spencer Gulf, and the Great Australian Bight to its west. It is also flanked by the Gawler Ranges to its north.
To drive from Adelaide to Port Augusta will take you about 3 and a half hours along the National Highway A1 (Augusta Highway). However, to get to Port Lincoln, along the southern tip of the peninsula, it will take you closer to 7 hours overall. To do this, continue on the A1 (Augusta Highway) to Whylalla, then take the B100 (Lincoln Highway) along the coast to Port Lincoln.
Should you be coming from Perth, it will take you about 20 hours of pure driving time to get to Whyalla. To do this, you’ll cross the famous Nullarbor Plain via National Highway 94 (Great Eastern Highway) and National Highway 1 (Eyre Highway). This journey will take you a couple of days.
Main Towns to Visit in Eyre Peninsula
If you’re planning to explore the whole of the Eyre Peninsula, you’ll need to stop off to eat, stretch your legs, refuel, and powder your nose.
Four of the main townships in the area include Ceduna, which is situated on its northwest side. Port Lincoln is all the way down on its southern tip. While Whyalla and Port Augusta, both reside around its north eastern part.
All of these towns are great to visit. Not only will you get to eat some delicious local foods (which I will discuss later), you will also be able to do plenty of sightseeing, stay in a range of overnight accommodation and enjoy a great selection of recreational activities too.
All four of these towns are worth visiting for different reasons. Ceduna is famous for its delicious oysters. Port Lincoln not only boasts the largest natural harbour in Australia, but has also been called ‘the seafood capital of the world’. Whyalla is known for its marine animal encounters and Port Augusta has been called the ‘Crossroads of Australia’.
In between them are several small seaside towns that ooze character and charm. As well as the kind of laid back pace of life, that is so often missing in our own lives. I’ll mention some of these shortly.
The best time to visit the Eyre Peninsula
The Eyre Peninsula boasts a Mediterranean climate, which means that it is pretty dry and pleasant for most of the year.
For the best Eyre Peninsula weather, you should go between December and February when you’ll be blessed with lots of sunshine, hardly any rain, and pretty clear skies.
However, this does coincide with the busy time of the year in terms of tourism and peak rates for hotels. So you might prefer to go between March and April, or in November, when the temperatures are perfectly lovely and there are far less people about.
You’ll find June and July tend to be the rainiest months of the year, although it is still fairly warm in comparison to other parts of South Australia. At this time of year, prices are cheaper though, and there will be even less people about. So that is something you might want to consider. Also, some activities, such as shark cage diving and whale watching, are best done in the winter months (brrrr).
Things to do on Eyre Peninsula
There is such a wide range of things to see and do in the Eyre Peninsula that it can be difficult to know where to start! But I’d recommend you do some of the following.
Hit the Beaches!
The whole Eyre Peninsula coastline is incredible and you could spend all your time visiting the beaches without doing anything else (Which wouldn’t be a bad thing!).
I would recommend visiting as many of them as you can. But if you are pressed for time, there are two I love most.
If you find yourself spending more time on the east coast, make sure you at least get to Memory Cove. This is one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to and features some of the whitest sand and bluest waters I’ve ever seen. You’ll find it at the tip of Lincoln National Park, which in itself is a lovely spot to visit. Budding photographers may also like this Lincoln National Park Sand Dune Photography tour.
On the other hand, if your itinerary focuses more on the West Coast, aside from Coffin Bay National Park, Greenly Beach should be top of your list. This beautiful beach features incredible rock pools and the sunset here is divine.
Other beaches you should try and get to are Almonta Beach, Dolphin Bay, and Perlubie Beach which all have some amazing sunsets!
Go wine tasting
Those who know me will tell you I love my wine!
So, if, like me, you love to check out new cellar doors whenever you can, you will be pleased to discover that the Eyre Peninsula has some top notch wineries and vineyards.
If you can, be sure to visit Boston Bay Wines. It’s just off the Lincoln Highway, and gives you the opportunity to spot dolphins, who reside in the nearby waters, whilst you enjoy a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc.
Lincoln Estate Wines is another great option because not only will you get to taste some great wines, you’ll also get to feed kangaroos by hand, walk through a bird aviary, and generally stroll through the vineyard.
Similarly, I’d recommend a day out at Peter Teakle Wines too. Because what could be better than enjoying a couple of new wines and a delicious charcuterie and cheese board, whilst looking out towards Port Lincoln and Boston Bay?
Visit Coffin Bay National Park
Coffin Bay is an absolute must if you love oysters, and the Coffin Bay National Park is absolutely stunning.
You can spend some time there learning how to farm these famous delicacies and of course get to eat plenty too. The whole of the Eyre Peninsula is known as the Seafood Frontier and this is one of the best places to try it. Book a Coffin Bay Oyster Farm and Tasting Tour here.
Even if you don’t like Coffin Bay oysters, the scenery here is pretty spectacular. So you should enjoy exploring the surroundings.
Fans of camping and four-wheel-driving will particularly like Coffin Bay National Park. There are some great 4WD-only tracks and if you can get through them, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and complete solitude.
This is actually the first trip Mr. Winter and I took as a couple – waking up to crystal clear seas and friendly kangaroos was a delightfully romantic experience, but families will love it too.
Yarnbala is a wonderful mix of conservation park and foodie destination, easily accessible from Coffin Bay.
At Yarnbala, you can take your time getting to know the local wildlife, such as goannas, emus, and the delightful pygmy possum (which are notoriously hard to spot in the wild, so a real highlight to see at Yarnbala!)
After exploring nature, sit down to a gourmet degustation meal cooked over coals, made from produce grown at Yarnbala or sourced locally on the Eyre Peninsula. Then, enjoy listening to local musical artists playing live.
Guided tours depart from the Coffin Bay Yacht Club.
Check out the Talia Caves
If you head to the small seaside town of Elliston you will not only get to see some truly incredible sunsets, you will be able to visit the Talia Caves, too.
Located on the sparkling shoreline of Waterloo Bay, the caves are a big attraction on Talia Beach.
You’ll want to check out ‘The Woolshed’, which is a huge cavern that has been carved into the granite cliffs by millions of years of wind and waves. Be sure to take the walkway, which leads you onto rocks that will allow you to take in fabulous views of the cave’s honeycombed ceiling and powerful blowholes.
Not far from there, be sure to check out ‘The Tub’ as well.
Go on a Shark Cage Dive (or swim with sea lions)
The Eyre Peninsula provides some incredible opportunities to engage with its marine life. Some of the best of them include swimming with sea lions or dolphins, and taking part in a heart-racing shark cage dive.
The area around the Neptune Islands, Blyth Island and Baird Bay are great places to do this. Several tour companies, such as Calypso Star and Adventure Bay Charters, operate tours and excursions which you can book.
Be prepared – it’s a long day and you’ll have the best luck during the winter months. When we did it, it was bloody freezing – but 10000% worth it!
If sharks are too scary, why not try swimming with sea lions instead?
Go Whale Watching
From June to September, Fowler’s Bay – on the Westernmost edge of the Eyre Peninsula – transforms into one of South Australia’s largest Southern Right Whale nurseries.
EP Cruises offers up close and personal sailing and kayaking tours to watch whales in their natural habitat (from a safe distance, of course). This s one of the most breathtaking experiences on the Eyre Peninsula.
Take in the majesty of the Cummings Monument
Victoria might have the 12 Apostles, but along the Eyre Peninsula South Australia has its very own version of the Great Ocean Road.
Just an hour’s drive from Port Lincoln you’ll find a coastline of limestone stacks that are just as impressive as the one in the Garden State.
Known as the Cummings Monument this is an incredible site to take in, and you’ll definitely go snap happy with the old Insta shots.
If you are into fishing, you can also snare some absolute whoppers here, too. Though the waters can be a bit on the dangerous side.
Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris
You can be forgiven for thinking that the Eyre Peninsula is all about the beach. But the outback here is spectacularly beautiful, too.
If you can, it’s well worth exploring this area. A great way to do that is via Gawler Ranges Safaris.
These guys offer a range of experiences that showcase the outstanding natural beauty of the area, which include a visit to beautiful Lake Gairdner — an area well known for its jagged gorges and red sands.
It’s also one of the few places in the country where three different species of kangaroo reside in the same habitat.
Where to eat on Eyre Peninsula
If you love seafood then you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven when you enjoy a meal at the Eyre Peninsula.
Best known for its world class seafood, you can treat yourself to oysters, prawns, and fresh fish straight from the ocean — more often than not at venues that showcase magnificent coastal views, too!
If you can, try and visit the 1802 Oyster Bar which directly overlooks Coffin Bay. There you can have oysters dished up in seven different ways, including with smoked butter. Which, take it from me, is sensational!
Likewise the Ceduna Oyster Bar is also well known for its fresh catch. While over at Boston Bay, you simply must try the vongole linguine at the Sarin Bar and Foreshore (You can thank me later!)
I could go on all day about the gastronomic experiences you can get in the Eyre Peninsula. But other restaurants that are well worth visiting include L’anse French Cafe in Port Lincoln (their coffee and pastries are AMAZING!) and the Streaky Bay Fish Fix. A foodie truck that serves up the best fish and chips in the whole of the Eyre Peninsula.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Dolores Divine Gourmet Food Store too, which is a terrific foodies cafe!
Eyre Peninsula Accommodation
When it comes to places to stay in the Eyre Peninsula you really are spoilt for choice.
Whether you are looking to treat yourself to a luxury hotel or exclusive ocean-front apartment, or are after something a bit more budget friendly, like a motel or caravan park, you’ll find plenty of suitable options.
In Port Lincoln, I love the Marina Hotel or Port Lincoln Hotel. The Bay 10 Suites and Apartments offer great options to accommodate a family.
For something really special, I’d recommend staying at the Almonta Park Lodge in Coffin Bay. It’s a gorgeous four bedroom house that offers fantastic views. The house also features a divine spa bath, which you’ll definitely want to spend a lot of time in. The lovely fireplace is perfect for snuggling up with your beau during the chillier nights of winter.
Eco Eyre in Port Gibbon (near Cowell on the east coast) offers delightful eco pods which a perfect for a romantic getaway. Similarly, Eyre.Way has some delightfully Insta-worthy tiny homes in the Port Lincoln area.
Those looking at camping on Eyre Peninsula will be happy with the range of options – from the bare bones Coffin Bay National Park, to caravan parks with more amenities . Venus Bay Tourist Park, Tumby Bay Caravan Park, Discovery Park Streaky Bay, Coffin Bay Caravan Park and Arno Bay Caravan Park are all favourites of mine.
For something a bit different, the Kangaluna Camp at the Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safari, which I mentioned earlier, has a really good glamping option.
Alternatively, the Camel Beach House in Venus Bay is perfect should you want some serious off-the-grid couple time. Not least because it sits on a pristine 250-acre wilderness property that provides access to its own private beach!
(Feature image of Wedge Island dolphin pod courtesy of Kane Overall)
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