Pristine beaches, world class seafood and one-of-a-kind wildlife encounters – what more could you ask from a 10-day getaway? South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is the oyster capital of Australia, and one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Pack your polaroid or make some space on your mobile phone memory, because this expansive region that stretches over the traditional lands of the Nauo, Barngarla, Wirangu, Mirning, and Kokatha people, is incredibly photogenic. Here’s your guide to the region, complete with secrets from the locals…
The unofficial capital of the EP, Port Lincoln is a small city on the lower point of the peninsula and a great starting point for your trip. It’s a short 50-minute flight from Adelaide (recommended, so you can spend more time exploring the rest of the coast) or a seven-hour drive. Base yourself here for about four days, and be sure to hire a car – you’ll need it to make the most of this region.
Searching for some solitude? Point Boston Beach House is a stunning AirBnb 23km out of town with uninterrupted ocean views – keep an eye out for whales if you’re staying between June and September.
FOOD & WINE
Stop by Peter Teakle Wines for a wine-tasting, or a long lunch at The Line & Label restaurant. Boston Bay Wines is another essential for the budding sommeliers among us. Book a driver ahead of time through Des’s Lincoln Taxis and make a day of cellar-hopping.
For breakfast, The Rogue and Rascal cafe is your go-to. The coffee is good (like, really good), the food is sublime and the location is prime – right on the foreshore. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, you’ll find sister-venue and cocktail bar And The Rebel opens up on Friday and Saturday evenings.
When you’re visiting a region renowned for its seafood, fish and chips are a non-negotiable. Plan for a picnic by the jetty (weather permitting) and pick up takeaway from The Fresh Fish Place. Prefer to dine in? Make a booking at Fumo 28 Oyster Bar.
Pack your activewear because there are plenty of picturesque hikes and trails worth exploring. For the dedicated, the Parnkalla Walking Trail stretches 35km around the coastline of Boston Bay in its entirety. If you’re looking for a shorter route to explore the town on foot, begin at the foreshore and stroll around the point to Mundy’s Mooring where you’ll find the Port Lincoln Marina. It’s a stunning place to watch the sunrise.
The sand dunes of Sleaford Bay are a sight to behold, so make sure you get out to Lincoln National Park. There’s a fab photo op at the Sleaford Bay lookout, and once you’ve turned into the park, follow the road to Marry Ellis Wreck Beach to see where the dunes meet the water. Keep an eye out for the local pod of dolphins which frequent the bay.
A little further out of town you’ll find Fishery Bay, one of the regions most loved beaches for both swimmers and surfers. Once a whaling station, the expansive beach is slightly curved with headlands at each end, so there are reef breaks plus a beach break perfect for surging learners, if you feel like embracing the local lifestyle.
While you’re out that way, take the coastal drive through Whaler’s Way Sanctuary. It’s privately owned land so you’ll need to pay a permit fee ($40 per car) and pick up a key at the Port Lincoln Visitors Information Centre ahead of time.
Swimming with sea lions is quite possibly the cutest encounter with wildlife you’ll ever experience, so you’re going to want to book in at least a half-day tour of Seal Cove with Adventure Bay Charters. There’s a reason these gorgeous creatures are known as the puppies of the sea, so don’t pass up the chance to get up close and personal.
Shark cage diving on the bucket list? Adventure Bay Charters also runs white shark tours of different degrees (aqua sub, surface cage or bottom cage dive) if you dare. The company prides itself on prioritising the environment, so no bait or burley is used in any of its shark tours.
(Day trip from Port Lincoln)
If the name Coffin Bay sounds familiar and you’re not sure why, it’s probably from the menu of your favourite seafood restaurant – Coffin Bay pacific oysters are world-renowned. The charming seaside town is about a 30-minute drive out of Port Lincoln, so it’s a perfect day trip.
Learn all there is to know about oysters and oyster farming at the Coffin Bay Oyster Farm – they offer tours and tastings, with transport to and from your Port Lincoln Accommodation to take the hassle out of planning (and giving you a chance to indulge with a wine or two). You’ll learn to shuck your own oyster and enjoy it straight out of the water – the freshest seafood you’ll ever eat. The tours also give you an hour-and-a-half of free time before heading back into Port Lincoln, so you’ll have a chance to visit Coffin Bay National Park. If you do drive yourself, make sure you get to Golden Island lookout for the most exquisite views, and if you feel like staying for dinner check out 1802 Oyster Bar.
After a few days in Port Lincoln, make your way towards Streaky Bay. It’s a three-and-a-half-hour drive (with plenty to see along the way).
(Stop over en route to Streaky Bay)
Keep an eye out for Sunny Side Coffee Van, a vintage roadside van promising to get you caffeinated for the rest of your drive. For a lunch break, there’s nothing like a country pub and the Elliston Hotel is a great one. While you’re in town, take a short drive along the Elliston Coastal Trail to take in the views, or stretch your legs and talk a walk along the Little Bay trail.
If you’re travelling with family or in a larger group, book in at Sage at Streaky – a beautiful and homely holiday house.
Want something more luxe? Camel Beach House, an architecturally designed holiday haven (below), is for you. It’s about 45 minutes out of Streaky Bay, but close enough that you can comfortably base yourself here for a few nights to explore the area.
There’s a good chance you’ve spotted the ridiculously photogenic The Woolshed at Talia Caves on Instagram – it’s one of those rare places that looks just as good in real life as it does online. Stop here to get your own ‘gram-worthy snaps of the natural wonder, carved out by waves crashing onto the granite cliffs over time.
Closer to Streaky, spend a day beach hopping around the Westall Way Loop – Granites and Smooth Pool are highlights (as is Tractor Beach, but unfortunately it’s temporarily closed for updates).
Take a trip out to Baird Bay, about 50km south of Streaky Bay, where you’ll spot sea lions and dolphins.
The Fine Print
How to get there
We suggest flying to Port Lincoln, a small regional airport about 50 minutes from Adelaide. Alternatively, it’s a seven-hour drive from the South Australian capital.
When to go
This is a year-round destination! Beat the potentially blistering heat (and crowds) in March-April.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My life in travel
Favourite childhood holiday memory
“Growing up in a small country town, every family holiday involved a lot of driving… but one year we drove from our hometown of Lameroo, SA, to Batemans Bay, NSW (that’s 1000+km) in a minivan with family friends. They had three boys, and between them and my sister and I, there was a lot of fighting over the back seat! Fifteen years later, I’m still banned from playing “Jessie’s Girl” after blasting it on repeat across the Hay plains.”
My spirit destination
“Is it wrong to say my spirit destination is somewhere I’ve never actually been? My diet staples are pasta, pecorino and red wine… so it’s got to be Tuscany, Italy. I feel a calling! I have wanted to go for as long as I can remember, and finally had a trip planned in 2020, but clearly that never happened. I’ll get there eventually.”
On my Australian bucket list…
“Hands down, it’s The Kimberly, WA. I feel like I could spend a good six months just exploring the top half of Western Australia, because swimming with whale sharks in Exmouth is a close second place.”