Streaky Bay is exactly what you would expect from an idyllic beachside town, laidback and friendly. The ocean laps gently at the shore in the protected bay, perfect for a lazy beach day before mingling with the locals over dinner at the pub. If you can drag yourself away, here are some other things to do in Streaky Bay and surrounds to prove to you just how great this small part of Eyre Peninsula is.
Featured image photo credit: South Australian Tourism Commission, Beach Cricket, Streaky Bay, Eyre Peninsula
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- 1 About Streaky Bay
- 2 Getting to Streaky Bay
- 3 Things to do in Streaky Bay
- 3.1 Learn about the History of Streaky Bay at the Museums
- 3.2 Explore the Cemetery with a Heritage Tour
- 3.3 Enjoy the Streaky Bay Beaches
- 3.4 Go Fishing
- 3.5 Take an EP Cruise
- 3.6 Stroll Around Town with the Streaky Bay Historic Walk
- 3.7 See the Great White Shark Replica
- 3.8 Learn to Surf or Stand Up Paddle Board
- 3.9 Join in with a Community Event
- 3.10 Join in with the Local Sports
- 4 Things to do Around Streaky Bay
- 4.1 Take a Scenic Drive
- 4.2 Drive the Seafood Frontier Road Trip
- 4.3 Murphy’s Haystacks
- 4.4 Visit some Nearby Beaches & Towns
- 4.5 Explore the Coastline at Talia Caves
- 4.6 See a Pink Lake at Lake MacDonnell
- 4.7 Swim with Sea Lions at Baird Bay
- 4.8 Take a Scenic Flight over the Great Australian Bight
- 4.9 Sand Boarding or 4WDing at Yanerbie Sand Dunes
- 5 Streaky Bay Accommodation
About Streaky Bay
Streaky Bay SA is located on the traditional lands of the Wirunga people. It was first visited by Europeans in the 1600s, then was officially named by Matthew Flinders in 1802, but not settled until the 1870s. It has a population of around 1300 people and is mostly a regional base for the surrounding pastoral and commercial fishing industries.
The town sits on the relatively protected banks of Streaky Bay, named because of the streaks in the water when Matthew Flinders visited, probably from seaweed. Outside the bay the area is known for its dramatic coastline with cliffs, rock formations, rock pools and pounding waves. Inland the area is dotted with granite rocks amounts the farmland.
As a hub to the surrounding area, most services can be found in town, including a supermarket, petrol station, hospital, post office and other specialty stores. There is mobile phone coverage in Streaky Bay itself, but it does become limited in the surrounding areas.
With great weather Streaky Bay has summer averages just under 30 celcius and winter averages around 16 celcius. There’s not a lot of rainfall, so you are almost guaranteed to have dry days during your visit. Summer is the most popular time of years to visit, particularly over the school holidays, so I recommend booking well in advance for this time frame.
Streaky Bay also happens to be close to my heart. While I didn’t grow up in the town itself, I was in the district, so have many fond memories of playing sport, shopping and visiting friends and relatives in Streaky on a regular basis. Today I really enjoy visiting for its familiar relaxed atmosphere, dramatic coastal scenery and some of the best beaches anywhere!
Visitor information can be found at the Streaky Bay Visitor Centre on Bay Road, and there is a small amount of information at the Shell Service Station on Alfred Terrace.
Getting to Streaky Bay
From Adelaide to Streaky Bay is a 700km drive. While it can be done all in one day – there are good highways the whole way – it is certainly a long drive. I recommend staying overnight in Port Augusta along the way to break up the trip and explore another part of South Australia
Car is by far the best method of getting to Streaky Bay. You will almost certainly need a car to get around during your visit, unless you plan to stay only within the town itself. In my opinion, you would miss much of what the area has to offer if you did this.
Public transport is very limited, with Stateliner currently running one coach per week between Adelaide and Streaky Bay (this may change as Covid eases).
Another option could be to fly from Adelaide to Ceduna then rent a car to drive the 100km from Ceduna to Streaky Bay. See the Rex website for flight information.
Need to rent a car? I use and recommend RentalCars.com
Things to do in Streaky Bay
Here are the Streaky Bay attractions and activities that you can do right in the town. Most of these could be combined into a single day of sightseeing, or you could spread them out over a few days for a more relaxed visit.
Learn about the History of Streaky Bay at the Museums
Streaky Bay has two museums, the Streaky Bay National Trust Museum (where you will find a tribute to my own family in the grounds) and the Powerhouse Museum. Both are located close to the centre of town and are easy to get to.
The National Trust Museum is located in the original school building from 1901 and is open all day on Tuesday and Friday, and also Saturday mornings. Here you can find all sorts of historical artefacts from the region prior to 1940; the pioneer families, the shipping industry, local fauna and flora, even an old iron lung from the original doctor’s surgery.
The Powerhouse Museum is all about things with engines – and apparently it is one of the best in Australia (I am not any kind of judge ofnengine museums!). It is open from 2-5pm on Tuesday and Friday. They will also open by appointment if you give them a call.
Explore the Cemetery with a Heritage Tour
Cemeteries have a reputation as being creepy, but they can also be endlessly interesting if you choose to learn some of the stories behind the gravestones. In Streaky you can do a tour with an accredited guide and learn about some of the colourful pioneering characters that came to rest here.
The tours can be organised to suit your required times from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 4pm, and virtual tours can also be organised. I found the flyer about this tour at the Shell Service station. To book, call Sandy on 0458707137
Enjoy the Streaky Bay Beaches
The main Streaky Bay beach right in town is a fantastic option for some fun in the sun. There is plenty of room for everyone to play beach cricket, cool off, or stroll along the shore. The shallows here are safe for paddling, but if you would like to swim in deeper water, make your way to the jetty and swim in the shark cage – just to be safe.
The Streaky Bay jetty is also a great place to start fishing. This is the perfect place to take the kids so they can experience fishing for themselves, actually get some nibbles and perhaps even catch a fish or two. It’s also great for those who don’t have a boat or just want an easy place to fish.
I mentioned fishing from the jetty above, but the best fishing in these parts is done by boat. Take home big hauls of the prized King George Whiting, or any one of the dozens of other fish here in abundance.
If you don’t have your own boat, so long as you have a boat licence you can hire one from Killa’s Streaky Bay. You can also hire kayaks and stand up paddle boards too, and pick up all your fishing, surfing and paddling needs while you are in town.
Fishing from the surrounding surf beaches is also popular with good catches in many areas around town. Ask the locals during your visit to find out which areas are the best at the time.
Take an EP Cruise
EP Cruises offer a range of boat tours in multiple locations on Eyre Peninsula. From Streaky Bay in summer you can do half-day catch and cook seafood tours, including some time for stand up paddle boarding and snorkelling to catch your own razor fish and oysters. The crew then cook up your catch to eat on the boat with a glass of bubbly.
For the ultimate cruise, take a look at the 4day/3night trip EP Cruises offer to the remote islands of the Nuyts Archipelago. This is one of those true off-the-beaten-path trips that not many people get the opportunity to do and would be a fantastic way to experience the ruggedness of these isolated coastal regions.
In winter EP Cruises run whale watching cruises out of Fowlers Bay. It’s probably a little too far from Streaky Bay for a day trip, but it would be very doable as an overnight trip, staying in Fowlers Bay for the night. This could be combined with visiting Lake MacDonnell and Ceduna over two days.
Stroll Around Town with the Streaky Bay Historic Walk
Curious about some of the buildings you have seen around town? Call into the Streaky Bay Visitor Centre and pick up a map and information about the Streaky Bay Heritage Walk (or download it here). The walk meanders around 2.6km around the centre of Streaky and stops at 28 different locations.
See the Great White Shark Replica
If you call into the Shell Service Station, make your way into the back room and take a look at the full size replica of a record-breaking great white shark caught in the waters outside Streaky Bay in 1990. It was caught on a rod and reel, and took more than five hours to land and another three hours to bring it into Streaky Bay. It was weighed at the grain silos, the only place in town with scales that large.
At over 5 metres long, this adult female is an impressive reminder of how big great white sharks can become and why we need to respect their habitat.
The shark is not the only large fish to have come from this part of the world. In 1918, a huge blue whale washed up on the beach at nearby Gibson’s Peninsula. It can now be seen in the front foyer of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.
Learn to Surf or Stand Up Paddle Board
The sheltered waters around Streaky Bay and the waves just outside it provide the perfect conditions to learn to either surf or stand-up paddle board with Streaky Bay Surf School. There are a variety of lessons available, from one-on-one and private lessons to larger group lessons, and all age groups are catered for. Boards and wetsuits can also be hired if required too.
While I’ve included this as an activity to do in Streaky Bay, the location of the lessons could be slightly outside the town depending on the weather conditions on the day.
Join in with a Community Event
Throughout the year there are a variety of local events that happen. A great place to find out what is on during your stay is to visit the Streaky Bay Visitor Centre. Here are some of the main events
- Seafood Festival
- Rodeo by the Sea
- Streaky Bay Cup Races
- Family Fish Day
Join in with the Local Sports
As is common in country towns, Streaky Bay has a wide variety of sporting facilities, and they are more than willing to share them with visitors. In fact, just by showing interest you will probably receive an invitation to become an honorary local and participate in the up coming competitions! Even if you don’t want to join in, go along to the weekend competitions, often the biggest thing happening in the district that week.
The Streaky Bay Community Complex is home to football, netball, tennis, lawn bowls, cricket and basketball. You will also find a golf course in town, and a yoga & pilates studio.
Things to do Around Streaky Bay
Streaky Bay is the perfect hub to explore further afield on Eyre Peninsula. Here are a range of things to do right outside the town and one of two with a little more driving that would be best done as a full day trip.
Take a Scenic Drive
Driving the coast of Eyre Peninsula is stunning no matter where you choose to do it, but there are three drives around Streaky Bay that will keep you busy for a full day and provide you with absolutely stunning scenery.
The Point Labatt Scenic Drive is the furthest south and will take you to the Point Labatt sea lion colony view point. This clifftop overlooks rocks where the sea lions like to rest. During our visit in wet and windy weather there were about 15 sea lions on the shore, but it’s not unusual to see more that fifty of them here. Along the way out to Point Labatt Conservation Park you will see some stunning scenery and have the opportunity to see local wildlife.
From Streaky Bay the round trip is about 130km, mostly on dirt roads, and can take up to half a day depending on how often you stop to explore. Can be combined with a visit to Murphy’s Haystacks and/or swimming with sea lions at Baird Bay (see below).
The Westall Way Loop Drive takes you to one of my favourite places along the whole coastline, Smooth Pools. This beach is covered with granite rocks, with many small pools making for perfect little private areas to take a dip on a hot day. They are protected from the strong waves of the ocean along this part of the coast. Also perfect for exploring on days when the weather is not so great. Of course that’s not the only spot along this drive, which takes visitors to half a dozen or so more interesting viewpoints and great surf spots too.
From Streaky Bay the drive is about 55km and will take two to three hours to complete. Can be combined with sand boarding or 4WDing the Yanerbie sand dunes (see below)
The Cape Bauer Loop Coastal Scenic Drive has more of that spectacular Eyre Peninsula scenery. My favourite stop along this loop was the Whistling Rocks and the Blowholes. The sound the whistling rocks make is incredible. Hallys Beach is another great stop with a pristine beach just perfect for a stroll in the middle of your drive. The whole loop is around.40km and will take 1.5 to 2 hours for the drive.
A map showing all three drives can be downloaded here
Drive the Seafood Frontier Road Trip
This is probably a drive you will want to do on the way to or from Streaky Bay as the entire road trip runs from Whyalla, following the coast through Port Lincoln and Streaky and continuing on all the way to Head of the Bight. Of course you can choose to only do a portion of the drive if you do not have time for it in its entirety. The Seafood Frontier is one of South Australia’s six iconic road trip routes, and the map and details can be downloaded here.
Of all the granite rocks in the area, these are the most well known. They are located just off the highway between Streaky Bay and Port Kenny and are well signposted. These are some of the oldest rocks in Australia at about 3 billion years old. Murphy’s Haystacks sit dotted over an area of private farmland. Entry is clearly marked and uses an honour system, with entry just $2 per person or $5 for a family.
On arrival the most photographed group of rocks is easily seen right in the middle of the field, but ensure you continue to follow the path and also take a look at the other rocks in the scrub. There are a lot more here and some are particularly interesting or beautiful. A visit at sunset can be especially impressive.
There are picnic and toilet facilities here, and camping is allowed for a small fee. Make sure you also grab a jar of Haystacks honey if there is any available – it’s some of the most delicious we’ve found.
Visit some Nearby Beaches & Towns
There are so many little towns and beaches around Streaky Bay that are worth visiting. My favourite is Smoky Bay, about 65km towards Ceduna. There are plenty of things to do in Smoky bay. Start with some time on the great beach here or perhaps a swim in the protected pool.
The Smoky Bay jetty is always good for fishing, and best of all, it’s home to the best oysters in Australia. Take a tour with SA Premium Oysters out to see the oyster beds and learn how they are farmed in these pristine waters before tasting some of the oysters right from the racks. Absolutely delicious!
Another of my favourites is Perlubie Beach. This long, white pristine beach used to be an isolated place for us to swim as kids, and once a year (New Year’s Day) it would be the location of an annual picnic, including races and games and the Perlubie Cup horse race right along the sand.
Today Perlubie is a little more developed with a handful of holiday homes now along the cliffs. it has also become one of the most popular low cost campsites on Eyre Peninsula with caravans and campers able to set up for a few days right on the beach.
To the south, Venus Bay is another great little town to call into. Again on a protected bay, this could be another place to try your hand at fishing. Small boats can be hired from the Venus Bay Caravan Park to go out in the bay. Take a walk along the South Head Walking Trail and check out the views from the Needle Eye lookout.
While on the road, call into the Port Kenny Hotel for lunch. These folks are a genuine country pub but do lovely meals – with one of the biggest chicken schnitzels I’ve ever seen.
Explore the Coastline at Talia Caves
The Talia Caves area includes three individual sites to stop and admire the natural landscape. Stop at Monument Lookout for incredible views, then at the Tub to learn about some of the geology of the area, and lastly, the most well known and spectacular site, the Woolshed Cave.
The Woolshed Cave is one of those instagram-famous sites that makes for a perfect photo opportunity. Just as interesting though is a walk over the rocks, poking around in all the rock pools, looking at the crabs and small fish. Some of them are big enough for a brief swim if the weather is good too. The small beach around the headland is a shelly delight that kids especially will love.
See a Pink Lake at Lake MacDonnell
Lake MacDonnell is possibly the best known pink lake in South Australia. It used to be used as a salt mine, and now the area is home to the largest gypsum mine in Australia. A combination of the mining activity has made one half of the lake saltier, and therefore a much better food source for the algae that lives in the salt lakes all over Australia, turning it pink when the conditions are just right. So as you drive over the road that passes through the sale lake, if conditions are just right, you will see a pink lake on one side of you, and a blue lake to the other!
If you want to see how pink it gets, take a look at the photo here – the people involved say the pink is not edited, it really was like that!
It’s a bit of a drive to get to Lake MacDonnell (just under 200km), but there are some things to see along the way that can turn it into a nice day trip. Stop into Ceduna for a brief look, and visit the Windmill Museum in Penong too. You can also continue on a little past Lake MacDonnell and see the famous Cactus Beach, renowned for its perfect surf break.
Swim with Sea Lions at Baird Bay
Sea lions are often referred to as the puppies of the ocean for their playful, inquisitive nature. At the tiny, remote town of Baird’s Bay, (about 50km from Streaky Bay) there’s a tour that will take you out to play with the sea lions. Operating from September to May, this tour takes you out to the waters of Baird Bay to swim with the sea lions, and then to some deeper water to swim with the local dolphins.
This family run business has been operating for close to thirty years now and it’s success in such a remote place speaks volumes for just how incredible this experience is.
For more information and to book this experience, see their website here
Take a Scenic Flight over the Great Australian Bight
Chinta Air runs scenic flights from the airport in Ceduna, about 110km from Streaky Bay. The flights range from quick 20 minute scenic flights over the surrounding area to pink lanes flights and full day scenic flights over the Bunda Cliffs and the Great Australian Bight or the controversial Maralinga site. This is a great way to see more of the area, and to get a completely different perspective.
Sand Boarding or 4WDing at Yanerbie Sand Dunes
Not too far from Baird Bay, and twenty minutes from Streaky Bay, are the Yanerbie Sand Dunes. These stunning white dunes are the perfect location for hours of fun. Grab a board and slide down the dunes, or enjoy some 4WDing along the marked tracks.
Streaky Bay Accommodation
Streaky Bay is a fantastic camping and caravanning location. When it comes to free camping Streaky Bay has lots of locations out of town – particularly along the coast – where you can set up if you are completely self contained. For cheap Streaky Bay camping, my top pick is Perlubie Beach, where it is $10 (Feb 2022) per night. There are toilets, showers and water here, but you will need to bring everything else.
If you prefer a caravan park, there are two in Streaky Bay. Discovery Parks – Streaky Bay caravan park is right on the beach in the middle of town. This park has been around forever (I remember staying there as a kid!) and has a solid reputation. In the last few years though there’s been a new kid on the block, Streaky Bay Islands Caravan Park. I’ve not personally stayed at the second park, but my parents and other family and friends have and they were all really happy with is. It’s all new and shiny, but the downside is that it’s a little further out of town, so you will need to jump in the car to go to the shops, the pub or the jetty.
For hotel or motel style accommodation in Streaky Bay I recommend the Streaky Bay Hotel Motel or the Streaky Bay Motel & Villas. Both are perfectly located right in the middle of town. For a self contained apartment, you cannot go past the Streaky Bay Beachside & Jetty View Apartments, which as the name suggests, are right on the beach overlooking the jetty.
If you are looking for a self contained holiday home for a family or group, The Shack, right on the beach in the centre of town sleeps 8. For Four people, take a look at the distinctive doi’s Ocean Front Apartments – no cookie-cutter accommodation here!
For a luxurious retreat you will have to leave town and head just up the road to Perlubie and stay at the lovely Perlubie Sea bed and breakfast.
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Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred. She has lived in the state for almost her whole life, just one short stint away as a teenager with her family. Travelling all over the world has shown her exactly how amazing South Australia is to live and travel in and she uses her passion to show it to you the way a local sees it.