NOW: EYRE PENINSULA – COFFIN BAY TO KIMBA
After making our online booking for a campsite at Morgans Landing in Coffin Bay National Park we realised the access was by driving up the beach. A check of the tides showed perfect timing with low tide at 11.30am which couldn’t have been better if we’d planned it! The track in was sandy with exposed granite, rocky sections just as it was described on the website. There was just one short sharp hill where we held our breath for a moment. It must have looked a bit interesting because the two cars following us stopped and turned back.
At one point we truly were on the emu track as we startled a strolling emu which started sprinting ahead of us down the sandy track for several kilometres. Some of the salt pans along the track can be inundated on very high tides but as we timed our trip so carefully we arrived at Morgans Landing without mishap and in time for lunch. The less adventurous campers stay in the campground at the end of the sealed road but the beach isn’t as pretty.
From our camp at Morgans Landing we headed north to Cape Sir Issac, a good friend of Matthew Flinders who charted the area in 1802. Sir Issac Coffin also has Coffin Bay named in his honour. At The Pool some keen fishermen had driven their car down a steep bank to launch their boat and become bogged in the deep, soft sand. They declined our help so I hope they got to go fishing.
Our fishing was more relaxed. Sitting in our chairs under the beach umbrella we reeled in half a dozen small salmon trout which were really fun to catch. Most of them became dinner to some Pacific Gulls and a pod of circling dolphins soon after we released them.
Over the other side of the peninsula at Sensation Beach the sand was white and the water the clearest blue. Emus were everywhere in the bush with a few kangaroos for company. The water at The Reef was just as clear and rushed out over the rock shelf at one end.
On our way out of the National Park we towed the Tvan easily up that one tricky hill only to get stuck in the soft sand at the bottom. Down went all four car wheels just when we thought “we’re out” of the tricky bit! The Treds did the trick but the impatient man coming towards us wouldn’t wait a few minutes and got bogged by detouring down onto the beach. He was very stuck and needed our help to get back up onto the track.
Once we hit the tar we dropped into Almonta Beach and Point Avoid. Back in Coffin Bay you can use the Oyster Walk to visit Kellidie Bay where oysters were first harvested at Oystertown back in the 1800’s. Of course the must do in Coffin Bay is the local oysters.
All along this coast there are small fishing villages, jetties and amazing coastal scenery. At Elliston the clifftop drive includes a series of sculptures and natural rock formations including The Tub and The Cave (truly descriptive names) which are sign posted and have information boards.
Once three different Streaky Bay locals had asked us if we were going to the annual Race Day we decided we had to. So we unfolded our shirt and dress and hung them on a hanger overnight so the creases fell out and went to the Streaky Bay Races with all the locals and most of the tourists. This was THE local event so we included the after races dinner at the hotel!
The Cape Bauer Loop takes you from Streaky Bay to a boardwalk where you can hear the Whistling Rocks, see the ocean spray rising into the air and on the right swell, see the ocean at The Blowholes rising into the air. We looked down on the sea lion colony at Point Labatt as males postured and mothers lazed in the sun with their pups. The sea lions cohabit with a colony of New Zealand fur seals which were lying on the rounded rocks nearby.
On our way back to Streaky Bay we stopped at Murphy’s Haystacks. As we wandered around these inselbergs we learnt they are a 500 million year old geological wonder.
Westall Way is another loop drive from Streaky Bay. Matthew Flinders sighted and named Point Westall in 1802 after a landscape painter aboard his ship The Investigator. The landscape is certainly a stunning feature of the Westall Loop – The Highcliffs and sea stacks sitting in the Southern Ocean, rock pools at Granites, rock pools and fishing at Smooth Pool and the white sand hills at Yanerkie.
We ended our visit to Eyre Peninsula on the lookout above Kimba with a statue of Edward John Eyre and his Aboriginal guide looking out across this interesting country.
NEXT – THE FLINDERS RANGES
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David