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It’s no secret that Eyre Peninsula is remote, just a little too far away for a quick weekend trip, and it sometimes seems to be a forgotten part of South Australia. But this distance means dramatic coastlines and pristine beaches, friendly folk and their country hospitality, and that getting-away-from-it-all feeling that can only be achieved when you are truely “away”! This ten day Eyre Peninsula road trip itinerary will show you the best of Eyre Peninsula attractions.


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Eyre Peninsula Road Trip Itinerary

By now you all probably know I am a little bit partial to Eyre Peninsula. It’s where I grew up and will always hold a special place in my heart. This road trip itinerary will take you on a lap of the perimeter of Eyre Peninsula and show you all the popular towns and attractions – with a few of my own personal favourites thrown in.

Most people doing this road trip will be starting from Adelaide, but it’s also possible to pick it up right from the start at Port Augusta if you are coming down into South Australia from the Northern Territory. From Western Australia it’s a little more difficult unless you are immediately returning to Western Australia, but most is possible by going around the coast of Eyre Peninsula.

While I have written up the Eyre Peninsula itinerary as a ten day road trip, this is doing it at quite a slow pace to allow time to relax and enjoy the slower pace of life here. To turn this into a 7 day itinerary I recommend making day one a big driving day finishing in Tumby Bay, and take out the nights spent at Elliston and Ceduna. You will still see all the best places, but will travel more on some days with a little less time to admire the stunning beach views at the end of the day.

If you would like to extend this trip, there are many opportunities to do so, particularly in Port Lincoln. I spent five days there alone during a recent visit. You could also combine this with other road trips to make it one mega South Australian road trip, taking you from Mount Gambier, to Kangaroo Island, Yorke Peninsula, the Flinders Ranges and through the Outback.

This road trip can be done to suit your accommodation requirements. Stay at hotels along the way, take your caravan, or even do it as a camping trip, the option is yours.

Day One – Adelaide to Port Augusta

Driving Distance – 310km

The first day of your road trip to the Eyre Peninsula is an easy one. It’s just over 300km of driving today, straight up the highway to Port Augusta. I find this to be a relatively uninteresting drive because I have been doing it all my life, but if you haven’t done it before then you may find these stops of interest:

  • Dublin sculptures – admire these political sculptures, including a rat, a cockroach and a space ship, as you drive past
  • Lake Bumbunga – the pink lake at Lochiel. Look out for the Lochiel monster. He appears in two locations.
  • Snowtown – to see the water tower art, the Big Blade, and speculate over which building is “that” bank!
  • Port Germein – to walk on the second longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.

This same section of the highway is used if going to the Flinders Ranges or the Outback.

Once in Port Augusta, spend the rest of the day exploring the city. I recommend a visit to the Wadlata Outback Centre, or the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. For something special during your visit to Port Augusta, take a scenic flight with Arid Air over the incredible Wilpena Pound. For more ideas of what to do in Port Augusta, read the full post here.

Where to stay – For something self-contained try the Majestic Oasis Apartments. For motel-style accommodation give the Crossroads Ecomotel a go, and for a caravan park I recommend Discovery Parks – Port Augusta.

One thing not to miss – Visit the Matthew Flinders Red Cliff Lookout at either sunset or sunrise (or both!) and admire the colours of the cliffs as the light changes.

Day Two – Port Augusta to Tumby Bay

Driving distance – 295km

Today you will meander along the coast, exploring the towns along the way. Either choose one to spend the whole day exploring, or pop into them all for a quick look.

The first – and easily the biggest – town you will come to is Whyalla. It’s an industrial town, best known for the steelworks, and you cannot miss them as you drive in on the highway. Whyalla does have some other drawcards though. If you are visiting in early winter (usually May and June), nearby Point Lowly is the only place in the world you can brave the cold and swim with cuttlefish. You can also check out the unique circular fishing jetty, learn about Whyalla’s Rolle in WWII or see a local Elvis collection. Read more about things to do in Whyalla here.

Cowell is next. Stop here to check out the Cowell silo art. It is one of three sets of painted silos you will see on this trip. If it’s time for lunch, the Franklin Harbour Hotel, right on the foreshore, does great pub meals. For a lighter meal or even just a coffee and snack, Nel’s Cafe is the place to go.

If you still have plenty of time and enjoy great coastal scenery, take a detour off the bitumen to Point Gibbon. It can’t really be called a town, it’s just a few shacks and camping areas, but the cliffs and beaches are beautiful.

Both Arno Bay and Port Neill are typical coastal fishing towns. Drive inland take a look, stroll along the foreshore or jetty and see what the locals are catching. There’s also a mangrove boardwalk in Arno Bay to stretch your legs on.

Your destination for the day is Tumby Bay. Once you arrive into town, spend some time enjoying the incredible street art on dozens of buildings throughout the town. Tumby Bay holds an annual “Colour Tumby” festival where more murals are done. The silos in Tumby Bay are also painted, so don’t miss them while you are here.

After exploring the town, make your way to the Tumby Bay Hotel for a meal and enjoy the country pub atmosphere.

Where to stay – I recommend the Tumby Villas for a comfortable overnight stay. There is also the Tumby Bay Caravan Park for caravans, camping and cabin accommodation.

(You may consider also continuing on to Port Lincoln and extending your stay there by one night as it’s only half an hour away.)

One thing not to miss – the Tumby Bay Street Art

Day Three – Tumby Bay to Port Lincoln

Driving distance – 50km

Today is your first day exploring Port Lincoln. Plan to spend today in and around the town and in Lincoln National Park. For nature-lovers, there are plenty of hiking opportunities to see birds and wildlife, go to Mikkira Station to see the koalas, or if you have kids, Glen Forest Tourist Park will let them get up close to all sorts of native and farm animals.

Foodies will love the Fresh Fish place for some of the best fish and chips anywhere. Wash it down at a local winery, craft brewery or coffee roaster. History buffs can visit one of the four museums in town. For all the details of these activities and more, see this post.

For places to eat, Del Giornos are widely recommended. I had a great smashed avo there for breakfast. They also do a range of Italian and general food for meals throughout the day. The Marina Hotel was also quite decent for dinner.

Where to stay – I stayed in, and recommend the Shark Apartments. They are located right on the Port Lincoln Marina and are great if you are doing an early morning activity from there. If you prefer to stay closer to the centre of town, The Port Lincoln Hotel is very popular. For a budget Port Lincoln option, take a look at the Port Lincoln YHA (yes they have private rooms) or for mid range, try the Hilton Motel. There is also the Port Lincoln Caravan Park or Port Lincoln Tourist Park for caravans and camping. For more places to stay in Port Lincoln, click here

One thing not to miss – if you are visiting during the cooler months, do not miss the Mikkira Station koalas.

 

Day Four – Port Lincoln

Driving distance – just around town

Since life in Port Lincoln is all about the ocean with a huge fishing industry here, today I recommend spending some time out on the water. Port Lincoln is the only place in Australia, (one of only three places in the world) where it is possible to go cage diving with great white sharks, so this is a great opportunity to give it a go! I can feel you shaking your head, but hear me out! There is a way to go and see the great white sharks underwater without getting in that cage or getting wet! Adventure Bay Charters have a glass underwater sub which is perfect for those who still want to see the sharks but don’t want to get quite so close! Have a read of all the details here.

If shark cage diving is really a step too far, then how about swimming with the puppies of the sea? Adventure Bay Charters also offer cruises out to swim with the sea lions. I haven’t done this yet, but it’s on my list for this summer.

(Note: In July 2021, Adventure Bay Charters was purchased by Calypso Star, a second Port Lincoln based company. As I write this the transition is still happening. Contact Calypso Star to find out the current process for booking cruises)

Calypso Star also offers seafood cruises around Port Lincoln to learn about the aquaculture industry and the local fishing harbour. perhaps though, rather than just learning about the fishing industry you wold like to have a go at catching your own fish for dinner. There are a wide variety of fishing charters available. Stay close to shore and catch the popular favourites, or plan a longer trip and go after the big one! You could also take advantage of one of the many jetty, wharf or beach locations perfect for fishing around the town.

There are still more options to get out on the water in Port Lincoln. Boston Island was recently reopened for visitors. Take a short twenty minute ferry ride across and spend a day enjoying the island. See the website for more details.

Or you could hire a stand up paddle board or kayak from Xtreme Kites & Paddle and enjoy the calm waters of Boston Bay that way.

Where to stay – the same place as last night

One thing not to miss – Do the Shark Cage Diving, it really is an awesome, unique thing to do in Port Lincoln!

Day Five – Port Lincoln to Coffin Bay

Driving Distance – 45km

Today you’re off to Coffin Bay. This town is best known for some of the best oysters in the world. Almost anywhere in Australia it’s possible to find Coffin Bay Oysters on the menu at prestigious restaurants. Learn about the industry and try the oysters right out of the ocean on a Coffin Bay Oyster Farm Tour. Make sure you book in advance and don’t miss out like we did on our recent visit. If you can’t do the tour, instead make a booking at the popular 1802 Oyster Bar to try the delicious oysters there.

After tasting the oysters, spend the rest of the day enjoying the spectacular nature around Coffin Bay. Go into the Coffin Bay National Park for some hiking or a scenic drive. Hire kayaks in Coffin Bay and explore the bay from the water, or perhaps a boat would suit better. You could even do a spot of fishing.

Where to stay – I suggest either the Longbeach Apartments or the Coffin Bay Caravan Park. Alternatively, Coffin Bay is so close to Port Lincoln you could also do this as a day trip and return to your accommodation there if you prefer.

One thing not to miss – Absolutely try the fresh oysters, even if you don’t think you like them, give them a go. You might be surprised.

Day Six – Tumby Bay to Elliston

Driving Distance – 140km

Today you will start the drive north along the western coast of Eyre Peninsula. Along this stretch you can stop and explore some of South Australia’s most spectacular beaches. If I had to pick just two, I would say Greenly Beach and Locks Well are the ones you should definitely see, but there are many more that are just as stunning.

Time it so that you arrive in Elliston in time for lunch. We picked up a delicious light lunch at Elliston Bakery to fuel us for the rest of the day. If you want a more substantial meal give the Elliston Hotel a go.

After lunch, spend the afternoon walking along the Elliston Coastal Trail. Follow the whole 13km trail, or just walk a section of two of it. If walking is not your thing, then most of the trail is near the road so it’s possible to drive along it, stopping at the viewpoints, sculptures and other points of interest.

While moving around town, look out for the Elliston Community Hall and take a look of the mural painted on the building. It represents the history of Elliston, both from an agricultural and marine aspect.

Where to Stay – Elliston Waterloo Bay Caravan Park is right in town and a good place to stay. Other options include holiday houses, such as this one.

One things not to miss –  the sculpture of the thongs on the cliff! Is there anything more Australian?

Day Seven – Elliston to Streaky Bay

Driving Distance – 125km

While it might seem like only a short distance to drive today, I recommend taking all day the drive between Elliston and Streaky Bay. There are dozens of places to stop off at to admire the incredible coastline in this part of the world. There are three scenic drives along the way too that show off the main attractions. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Walkers Rock Beach – one of the longest beaches on Eyre Peninsula
  • Talia Caves
  • Venus Bay
  • Baird Bay – one of the best places in SA to swim with sea lions
  • Point Labatt sea lion colony
  • Yanerbie sand dunes
  • Murphy’s Haystacks – incredible granite rock formations

For such I recommend getting a takeaway sandwich from Elliston to eat along the way, or stop into Venus Bay for lunch. Other than that, there are not a long of other options until you reach Streaky Bay. For dinner I suggest doing what the locals do and heading to the pub. The Streaky Bay Hotel has a pretty good pub menu available, catering to all sorts of dietary requirements. Like everywhere in these Covid times, check the current opening times because they are likely to change.

Where to stay – the Streaky Bay Hotel Motel is a solid option, or stay at the Discovery Parks – Streaky Bay Foreshore for cabins, caravans or camping..

One thing not to miss – Murphy’s Haystacks. They are even more spectacular at sunrise and sunset.

Day Eight – Streaky Bay to Ceduna

Driving Distance – 110km

Spend the morning taking a look around Streaky Bay. Depending on the day of the week (and Covid) there are a couple of small museums in town worth a look. If it’s warm, take a swim in the calm waters of the bay, or throw out a line to catch a fish or two. Grab lunch at the Bayfunktion Cafe before hitting the road.

It’s not a long drive to Ceduna and there are only a couple of places I recommend calling into, but one is my favourite all time little coastal town – Smoky Bay. Before you get there though, stop off and take a look at Perlubie Beach. You can drive down onto the sand here, and it’s a great location to enjoy a walk along the beach or another quick swim. Kids in particular will love in here as the water is shallow and calm.

And then it’s on to Smoky Bay! This is where I spent my summers as a kid and whenever I have visited as an adult it has been just as amazing. I admit a quick afternoon visit may not show you all this town has to offer, but I hope it will inspire you to return sometime, spend a week here and really soak up the serenity.

Again, Smoky Bay is a great place to swim or fish – we were catching King George Whiting from the jetty on my last visit. If you didn’t do an oyster tour at Coffin bay, or even if you did and you want to try even tastier oysters, then you can do an oyster tour here too. I recommend contacting them in advance as their tour times revolve around the tides so are unpredictable.

After Smoky Bay it’s onto Ceduna. While easily the biggest town in the region, Ceduna doesn’t offer a lot for the traveller. It’s a good place to take a quick look around town, then rest up before two much longer driving days coming up.

Where to stay – choose the Ceduna Foreshore Hotel Motel or the Big4 Ceduna Tourist Park for your accommodation tonight.

One thing not to miss – Great White Shark replica. Before leaving Streaky Bay, call into the Shell Service Station to see this replica of the largest shark ever caught by rod and reel – she was 5m long.

Day Nine – Ceduna to Kimba

Driving Distance – 310km

Today you start the drive back to Adelaide – but there is still plenty to see along the way. The first town you come to along the highway is Wirrulla. Call in here to see the only inland jetty in Australia! Okay, to be honest, that’s all there is to see in Wirrulla, but this is where I grew up and I always like to give them a shout out. It’s a tiny community relying on farming on marginal lands, so if you grab a snack from the shop it will always be much appreciated. (I would also suggest stopping into the pub, but since you will likely be passing through in the morning it’s probably a little too early)

The next place to stop and take a look is South Australia’s wave rock, just outside of Minnipa. Spend a little time exploring around Pildappa Rock and marvelling at the incredible shape nature has produced. While you could climb to the top of Pildappa Rock, I don’t recommend it this time, because the next stop you should make is Mount Wudinna – and you should climb to the top here for 360 degree views over the surrounding farmlands. The views are particularly beautiful in spring with the patchwork colours of the various crops.

If it’s time for lunch, the Golden Wattle Roadhouse in Wudinna does great food. While you are in town take a look at the huge “Australian Farmer” sculpture, made entirely from local granite, to tick off one of South Australia’s “big things”.

Then it’s on to Kimba. There’s plenty of things to do in Kimba to keep you busy for the rest of the afternoon. You won’t be able to miss the fantastic silo art, one of the biggest to be done in Australia. Also look out for the “Big Galah” too. Visit the White Knob scenic lookout above the town and learn about Edward John Eyre, the peninsula’s namesake. There are some walks around the town, a local museum, and some great little shops to browse through too.

It might sound a bit strange, but trust me, the best food in town is an Indian curry from the Roadhouse Restaurant. I’ve heard of people driving 100+km just to eat here.

Where to stay – for accommodation in town try the Kimba Gateway Hotel, or the Kimba Motel Roadhouse & Caravan Park (yes, the same place as the Indian food!)

One thing not to miss – Make sure you grab a photo with the iconic “Half Way across Australia” sign

Day Ten – Kimba to Adelaide

Driving Distance – 465km

Today is essentially your return drive to Adelaide. For much of the drive you will be backtracking over the same path as you took on day one. This gives you the opportunity ti perhaps calling some of the towns or attractions you did not have time to doin the way over. You are possibly just ready to be home, so you can drive straight through (with rest stops of course) to Adelaide.

 

Road tripping further in South Australia? These posts may help
Exploring the Far West Coast, South Australia
Driving from Adelaide to Flinders Ranges
Outback Road Trip Itinerary
Adelaide to Mount Gambier Road Trip

 


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