Eyre Peninsula Whalers Way South Australia

A Comprehensive Guide to the Eyre Peninsula

Published
21 Apr 2022
Image credit
Jon Aspin
Eyre Peninsula Whalers Way South Australia

Known for its rugged coastlines, stunning beaches, and the freshest seafood, South Australia’s remote Eyre Peninsula is not to be missed. 

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Whether you’re an SA local or arriving from interstate, South Australia boasts a number of destinations you shouldn’t skip.  

The Eyre Peninsula is an area of unspoiled natural beauty that more and more Australians are visiting for camping, caravanning and cabin holidays. Think fishing, boating, high-quality eating and a real sense of being away from it all. 

Because the Eyre Peninsula is so large, use this guide to sort the must-do’s from the ‘save for next time.’ You’ll thank yourself for not rushing this trip.

Things to Do on the Eyre Peninsula

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Swim with seals! Credit: @4boysandacaravan

Hang on, you’re not there yet! 

Here’s how to arrive safely in Port Lincoln, the Eyre Peninsula’s comercial capital on Boston Bay. 

Port Lincoln

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The entrance to Port Lincoln Marina. Credit: @port_lincoln

Known for its tuna fishing and seafood industry, Port Lincoln is often referred to as the Seafood Capital of Australia.

As the largest natural harbour in the country (3.5 times the size of Sydney Harbour), it is easily the most important grain and fishing port on the peninsula.

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Port Lincoln Tourist Park enjoys stunning views.

Experiencing what many have called mediterranean conditions, (cool winters and dry, warm summers) the port city is home to Australia’s largest commercial fishing fleet. 

As a result, it also has some of the country’s biggest fish farms, where tuna, kingfish, mussels, abalone, and oysters have been the backbone of the region’s wealth.

NEED A PLACE TO STAY?

Port Lincoln Tourist Park

Getting To the eyre peninsula

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The ferry takes 2.5 hours and cuts your drive time. Credit: @jonnoir

Adelaide to Port Lincoln is a 650km drive.

There is a ferry you can catch from Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula that takes you over the Spencer Gulf to Lucky Bay in just over 2 hours. 

From Lucky Bay it is a 176km drive to Port Lincoln, with lunch stops at Arno Bay, Port Neill and Tumby Bay worth considering!

Tumby Bay Jetty

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The Tumby Bay Jetty. Credit: @jonnoir

The Jetty at Tumby Bay is one of South Australia’s oldest and most iconic jetty’s. Erected in 1909 to replace the original, which from 1874 serviced the old Burrawing Copper Mine, it was shortened in 1950 and sectioned off for community use.

At its trading peak it was the busiest jetty on the Eyre Peninsula, shipping 100,000 bags of grain in 1912. Today it's a much-loved feature of the town, and a great spot to fish, spot sea dragons or enter the clear blue water below!

STAYING LONGER?

Tumby Bay Caravan Park

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Although it cuts out the ‘Iron Triangle’ of Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla, the Spencer Gulf Searoad reduces your driving time and allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the picturesque blue waters of the Spencer Gulf. If you’re lucky you might get a visit from a friendly pod of dolphins!  

CHECK OUT THESE AWESOME PARKS 

Whyalla Caravan & Tourist Park

Discovery Parks - Whyalla Foreshore

Discovery Parks - Port Augusta

Shoreline Caravan Park

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Whyalla has a large population of friendly dolphins. Credit: @4boysandacaravan

The 2.5 hour ferry trip to Lucky Bay is itself a pleasant adventure. Park up onboard, grab a coffee and leave the driving to someone else for a while. 

CHECK OUT THE TIMETABLE HERE

Snacks and drinks are available from the lower deck, as are seats and large screen TVs that play kids' movies. If you prefer staying above board, the upper deck affords you a windy view of the Spencer Gulf’s emerald blue water. Look out for those dolphins!

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Things To Do On the eyre peninsula

Let's go over some of the best things to do once you’re on the Eyre Peninsula. 

Remember, don’t try to do everything! This is your holiday, so slow down, soak in the fresh air, incredible scenery and observe the natural environment around you. 

Whale Watching Tours

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Credit: @eyrepeninsula

Southern Right Whale season in South Australia is May to October, and is best observed at the Head of the Great Australian Bight near Fowler’s Bay

This is a full day's drive from Port Lincoln, but every year from here there is an outstanding opportunity to witness Southern Right Whales before they migrate south, back toward the cold feeding waters of the Antarctic. 

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Credit: @epcruises

July-September are the best months to see these giants of the ocean frolic in open water, with mothers hugging the cliffs with their calves until they are ready to make the journey south. 

There are whale-watching boats and multiple tour companies that will get you closer to the action, but if you’d like to save a few bucks, there are loads of vantage points dotted all along the mainland, too!

DISCOVER STREAKY & VENUS BAY

Discovery Parks - Streaky Bay Foreshore

Venus Bay Beachfront Tourist Park

Whale Watching in Open Water

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Credit: @epcruises

Chinta Tours and EP Cruises both provide unforgettable whale watching experiences. 

Once on their chartered vessels, sit back, relax and start watching for Humpback and Southern Right whales!

Swim with Marine Life

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Credit: @isabellareed

You can find some of the most amazing marine life just off the coast of Port Lincoln. 

If you’ve ever wanted to swim with dolphins, seals or sea lions, you can do it in the waters around Blyth Island with Calypso Star Charters.

The season starts in September or October, and the warmer more predictable months of November to March are the most suitable for children under 15, weather permitting. 

Cage Diving with Great White Sharks

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If you're feeling bold, you can get some one-on-one time with a Great White Shark.

The waters along this entire stretch are a happy hunting ground for smaller prey, so there’s a long history of shark sightings (and shark attacks) in the area.

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Shark attack survivor Rodney Fox introduced cage diving to the Eyre Peninsula in 1976, after his story made him an international star.

Famously working as a consultant to Steven Spielberg during the shooting of Jaws, he continues to be a luminary in the world of shark education and is still a sought-after voice at international conversation and diving events.

Eat Fresh Oysters

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From the city of Port Lincoln you are only an hour’s drive away from Coffin Bay, where you can eat Australia’s best oysters and take a tour of the oyster industry.

Step onto an oyster boat and learn how the area’s world-famous oysters are grown, then see them harvested from some of the area’s biggest farms.

STAY LONGER

Coffin Bay Caravan Park

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Credit: @port_lincoln

Oyster HQ in Coffin Bay is worth checking out at any time of the day, and runs daily tours where you can get up close and personal with the region's most famous export.

View the Majestic Cummings Monument

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Credit: @southaustralia

No trip to the Eyre Peninsula can be considered complete without a visit to the Cummings Monument.

An hour's drive from Port Lincoln towards Elliston, this majestic limestone stack is always Instagram-worthy. 

Also popular with experienced surfers, this isolated location serves up some powerful but unforgiving waves. 

EASY TO BOOK!

Elliston Waterloo Bay Tourist Park

Visit eyre peninsula's National Parks

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Rock pools at Almonta Beach. Credit: @jonnoir

In addition to the Eyre Peninsula's deserted beaches, the region is also well known for its stunning national parks.

Each comes with its own set of highlights, and depending on what time of year you visit, some guidelines that are worth paying attention to.

Known for its remote coastal scenery, the bays and coastline around Coffin Bay National Park are ideal for boating, fishing, sailing, scuba diving and windsurfing.

At the southern end of the park is Yangie Bay, accessible by 2WD. It’s an ideal place to paddle your canoe, have a bush picnic or explore a coastal bush trail.

Point Avoid and Golden Island lookouts can also be reached by sealed roads and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular island views along the way.

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Credit: @jonnoir

Located right next to Coffin Bay National Park is Almonta Beach.

The perfect place to relax after a busy day exploring oyster farms, the beach here is home to world-class sand dunes and stunning rock-pools at the head of the point.

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September Beach.Credit: @jonnoir

Boating, fishing, beachcombing, swimming, bird watching, whale watching and nature walks are all popular activities in this par!. A variety of designated campgrounds in the park offer easy access to the beaches, bays and walking trails.

Lincoln National Park overlooks Boston Bay, the largest natural harbour in Australia, with granite headlands, sheltered bays and scenic offshore islands. On the southern side of the park are the massive, wind-sculpted sand dunes of the Sleaford-Wanna dune system and the pounding surf of the Southern Ocean.

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Credit: @saweekender

A favourite amongst locals, Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area is 50km from Port Lincoln, and includes magnificent scenery surrounding Memory Cove, a stunning refuge for the park's rare flora and fauna.

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Whalers Way is privately owned land on the tip of the Southern Eyre Peninsula. Approximately 32 km from Port Lincoln, it offers some of the most spectacular, accessible and dramatic coastal views in the state.

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Hello from Red Banks Beach. Credit: @jonnoir

Take a Dip With Massive Cuttlefish

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Credit: @southaustralia

Australia’s giant cuttlefish are the chameleons of the sea.

They have the ability to change their colour in a matter of moments, right in front of you. Dive or snorkel in the protected waters off of Whyalla and experience this phenomenon for yourself. 

The Whyalla Visitor Information Centre has everything you need to know. You can also head into the water off of Black Point or Stony Point. 

swim in epic Rock Pools

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Credit: @ebonyyhewitt

There's nothing like exploring nature and swimming in rock pools.

On the Eyre Peninsula you're spoilt for choice, with myriad opportunities to swim in some incredible rock formations.

Always be mindful of your surroundings when heading down to any rock pools. We recommend visiting the area around sunset during high tide. 

Don't Skip Lincoln National Park

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As already mentioned, Lincoln National Park is a must-see on the Eyre Peninsula.

Take the 20 to 30-minute drive down Proper Bay Road and reach the entrance to the park which is surrounded by the southern ocean waters of the Great Australian Bight. 

For incredible views, head to Stamford Hill. You can also hop into your 4WD and take a drive up the Sleaford-Wanna dunes. Keep in mind that you can only access the majority of this park with a working 4WD vehicle. 

Spend a Few Days in Port Lincoln

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Coffin Bay is an hour from Port Lincoln. Credit: @jonnoir

Port Lincoln is the commercial capital of the Eyre Peninsula. It's the largest city on the peninsula and is well known as the "Seafood Capital of Australia." It’s also one of very few places in the world where you can go cage-diving with Great White Sharks. 

Everything else you need for a relaxing vacation is in Port Lincoln. Enjoy a choice of local pubs, cafes and shopping outlets, all along the main street. 

Don't MISS Whyalla

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Credit: @whyallatourism

Whyalla is a very special place in its own right. 

The jetty here has become a hot spot for visitors looking to play with rays, dolphins, and a wide variety of marine life. 

Whyalla is also famous for the annual Australian Giant Cuttlefish migration that happens from May to July. If you're in the area at this time of year, head down to Point Lowly in the Spencer Gulf for a birds eye view.

CHECK OUT SILO ART

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Credit: @jonnoir

The Australian Silo Art Trail is an important way of promoting regional Australia. Featuring the work of many local and indigenous artists, there are examples in Cowell and in Tumby Bay that are among the best in the country.

Beginning in Northam in Western Australia in 2015, there are currently 49 pieces of art of this scale around Australia!  

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An Off-Road Adventure

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To get the most out of the Eyre Peninsula, a 4WD vehicle is highly recommended.

National Parks like Coffin Bay and Lincoln National Park require you to drive several unsealed roads that can get rocky, unstable and at times, very sandy. 

There are also several beaches that you are allowed to drive on, meaning it’s not uncommon to see people bogged in soft sand!

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A well-maintained 4WD vehicle gives you the best opportunity to avoid disaster and not attempt something your vehicle is not equipped for. 

National Parks are for everyone

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Rangers patrol all National Parks, especially during peak summer periods.

All of the usual regulations that apply to National Parks apply here, and only a limited number of camping spots are made available to the public each year at these times.

No Rubbish can be dumped anywhere and should be taken with you when you leave. A complete and total fire ban is always in place.

Where Is the Eyre Peninsula?

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The Eyre Peninsula is a triangular peninsula of some 170,000 sq km that juts out into the southern Indian Ocean. Bound by the Spencer Gulf to the east and the Great Australian Bight to the west, it's generally rocky, sandy, and sits at high elevation. 

Home to the Barngarla people around Port Lincoln, the Nauo on the southern side and the Wirangu on the far west coast, when the first colonial settlers arrived with Matthew Flinders in 1802, it was these men and women who showed them how to source freshwater and saved them from perishing.

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Soon home to whaling and sealing industries which have long since disbanded, the northern part of the peninsula experiences some of Australia’s hottest summers. The southern part - where you’ll mostly be - enjoys a milder climate throughout the year. 

Named after English explorer Edward John Eyre, who was among the first colonials to traverse the Great Australian Bight, the region is home to countless fishing villages and sacred sights that have long Indigenous histories. Today it is still home to the Aboriginal people who have lived off the sea and land here for thousands of years.

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Credit: @jonnoir

Follow Our Guide to the Eyre Peninsula

No matter what your favourite activity is, there is something for every member of your family when you visit the Eyre Peninsula.

From gorgeous beaches to delicious seafood to awesome surfing opportunities, there's an activity for every day. Don't miss out on this amazing location!

Check out our SA accommodation deals when planning your Eyre Peninsula trip!

BROWSE SA PARKS NOW

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