After our crab-fest in Kadina, it was onto the seafood capital of Australia – Port Lincoln – home to the largest commercial fishing fleet in the Southern Hemisphere. There’s plenty of seafood on tap from any number of fish wholesalers or fine dining establishments, with everything from succulent oysters, abalone, prawns, tuna, rock lobster, to a variety of fish. And it’s all super fresh, unlike the rubbish you buy at your local supermarket which is kept in storage for months at a time. With a “when in Rome …” attitude, we picked up a dozen Coffin Bay oysters, King George Whiting fillets and some plump King prawns. The prawn industry here is the 3rd most valuable in Australia giving you an indication of the quality.
The best wilderness camping sites are located deep within the neighbouring Lincoln National Park, although still only an hour’s travel from the township via a mixture of sealed and unsealed roads. Speed limits are relatively low to minimise wildlife casualties; anything from 60-80km/h on the sealed sections to 35-40km/h on the unsealed surfaces, so keep that in mind when calculating travel times. Some of the 4×4 tracks are littered with lumpy rock outcrops making progress either incredibly slow or just plain uncomfortable; still the sights are nothing short of sensational so press on knowing the rewards will be worth the effort.
Fisherman’s Point and September Beach were our picks for the best campgrounds, the latter providing the most real estate per site. Fisherman’s Point is harder to access with limestone outcrops littering the access track but rewarding with magnificent sea vistas. Memory Cove is the best for seclusion, being part of the Wilderness Protection Area with restricted access through a locked gate, but the sites are small and have limited solar opportunities; then there’s the $8 premium over the national park per night.
The Sleaford-Wanna Dunes is the ultimate sightseeing activity for any self-respecting 4×4 nut, tracing the rugged coastline from Wanna to Sleaford on the far west boundary of the park. The landscape varies from super soft sand dunes, tight bush tracks through sandy verges and rough and lumpy tracks that scamper over the rocky headlands. If you’ve experienced the coastline track between Robe and Beachport along the Limestone Coast, SA the Sleaford-Wanna Dunes ups the ante even further.
The dunes demand a considerable reduction in pressures. While the local 4wd club suggest 18-23psi as indicative starting pressures, we eventually settled on 16psi all ’round, which allowed good flotation on the soft stuff and plenty of grip and a softer ride over the rugged, rocky headlands.
The other key attraction beyond the national park is Whalers Way on the southern verge of the Eyre Peninsula. The Visitors Information Centre manages access via a locked gate ($30 entry fee). The area has a number of historical and geographical references including the most southerly point on the Eyre Peninsula, the oldest rock and historic whaling locations. It may not appeal to everybody, particularly if you are more into the 4×4 scene and have already done the dunes drive, as many of the ocean vistas are similar. Still, pack a picnic lunch and for $30 it’s a relatively cheap day out.
After 5 days of soaking up the beauty of the Lincoln National Park we are heading north of the Eyre Peninsula to the spectacular Gawler Ranges. In addition to the national park we’ll be checking out the Mt Ive Station, a working sheep station on one of the largest salt lakes in Australia, plus we have an unexpected encounter with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS)!! Check back next week for the full story!
PRODUCTS ON TEST
We’ve got our hands on some of the coolest recreational kit going around at the moment to put to work over the next few months in real-world testing. Redarc has supplied a number of their new solar panels to play around with, from a 120w portable folding mono-crystalline panel kit, a folding 108w amorphous panel, an 80w super slim folding mono-crystalline panel, a 20A solar regulator and an LCD remote monitor to see how many amps the panels are pulling. Other products include a DeLorme inReach 2-way Personal Satellite Tracker; a GTrek II GPS Trip recorder; a Selk’bag (sleeping bag with arms and legs), a Sensatyre MkII Tyre Pressure Monitoring System with internal transmitters; a set of TRW brake pads (softer compound than standard Patrol fare); and a Piranha Offroad isolator and vehicle wiring upgrade. We’ll also be monitoring how well our new Cooper ST Maxx tyres fare after changing from the STTs which safely transported us around Australia. Keep an eye out for our updates.