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A Breath of Fresh Eyre

 

Let me take you to my special place but let’s not tell too many people. We don’t want it to get crowded!

 

Recently, I headed off in the Tardis (my little A Van) from Melton, Victoria to South Australia with an ACC tagalong group. Geoff Stewart from the Southern Cross Overlanders organised it and now I know one of Australia’s best kept secrets – the Eyre Peninsula.

 

We met up in Melrose, SA, with a weekend muster, then headed off on the Tag. Fourteen caravans

 

It was a struggle to survive with great company, happy hour (or two), BBQs and pub dinners but peace and solitude if I wanted it, when I wanted it. Going for day trips with others or walking to check out the sights. Lying around reading. Oh, the agony!

 

For those of you who love maps, here’s the overview. We travelled down the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula and stayed at Whyalla, Cowell (excellent oysters), Tumby Bay and Port Lincoln.  We then turned the corner from the calm of the eastern side of the peninsula and drove up the western side which is subject to the winds of the Roaring Forties hurling themselves straight across the Great Australian Bight. We visited Coffin Bay (did I mention excellent oysters?) and arrived in Elliston where we spent three days before heading up to Streaky Bay. From Streaky, we headed east again across the top of the peninsula. The group then headed up to the Flinders Ranges but I headed home.

 

Here’s a little sound and light show:

 

Flashes of silver – that’s the graceful glide of a pair of dolphins 10 metres from the shore where we stood in Dutton Bay.

 

Splash and crash – that’s the sound of surf breaking on black rock as the Great Southern Ocean rolls into Whalers Way.

 

Blue on blue – is the deep navy of the ocean suddenly reaching the clear aqua water of the shore line - rivalling the Mediterranean and the tropics easily. The sand is whiter than white beneath my feet.

 

Dark silhouette against brilliant blue sky – that’s the beautiful bronze statue of Makybe Diva in Port Lincoln.

 

Doo doo doo do, doo, doo,doo, do. That’s the theme from the twilight zone as we wandered round Murphy’s Haystacks. Like the girls who went for a picnic at Hanging Rock, I expected half our group to be missing at Happy Hour. But no – they were all accounted for. Spooky though.

 

Och aye! Now that’s the sound of me doing the Highland Fling with Geoff, our fearless leader, accompanied by the versatile Nell on her piano accordian.

 

Mmmm. Mmm. Oh, yes. Mmm. That’s the sound of me eating oysters. Yes. Yes. Orgasmic.

 

The whole peninsula was mapped by my hero Matthew Flinders in 1802, as well as the French explorers Boudin and Freycinet. What amazing explorers they all were.

 

I was really looking forward to getting to Coffin Bay because I had heard how good the oysters were but I was puzzled by the name. It turns out Coffin Bay is not as macabre as it sounds. Matthew Flinders named it after a friend of his, Sir Isaac Coffin. I bet young Isaac got a ribbing at school with a name like that.

 

By this stage, I reckoned we had reached that part of the map where the ancient map-makers wrote: “Here be dragons” and we’d probably fall off the edge any day now. But no, we did not. However, falling off something else is definitely possible according to some of the road signs

 

Streaky Bay was  …. Words are failing me, can you believe? I loved it. It was as placid as a lagoon and we were camped right on the shore. The sunrise was magnificent. The tranquillity was unbelievable. I slept better there than I have in years. 

 

The western side of the coast was wild and wonderful. Cliffs and rocks and crashing surf and blowholes and sea lions.  (Apparently, Point Labatt is the only place in Australia that the sea lions come to breed.) We had picnic lunches on the beach, morning tea on cliff tops, happy hour on the beach and BBQs by the sea.

 

And inland, the rock formations are unreal.  We wandered round and through “Murphy’s Haystacks”, huge rock formations of red and brown and black. I loved those rocks. Then Wuddina has the second largest monolith in Australia, not as large as Uluru but reminiscent of Wave Rock in W.A. and that area has several other remarkable rock formations as well.

 

I am definitely going back to the Eyre Peninsula. It is amazing.

 

Veronica Schwarz

Here be Dragons

Streaky Bay sunrise

Murphy's Haystacks