Tour Description

Eyre Peninsula and Whales at the Bight

(Combined Departure)
Seven Days: 23 – 29 June 2021

Twin Share: $2495 per person. Sole Use: $2895 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

The landscapes of the Eyre Peninsula are vast and contrasting, from the wild cliffs of the coastline to the plains of the Nullarbor. There is an abundance of natural beauty to explore and marine life to spot, particularly the magnificent Southern Right Whales that congregate in the waters at the Head of the Bight during their annual breeding migration. Known as the Seafood Frontier, we will taste the local produce, cruise the waters surrounding Port Lincoln, be fascinated by the intriguing rock formations and take in the breathtaking coastal views. Join us as we explore this stunning region of South Australia.

 

Day One – WEDNESDAY 23 JUNE 2021

(includes light lunch and two course dinner)

We depart this morning after completing home pick-ups (limited areas) heading up through the northern suburbs.  We pause for our morning tea along the way, before continuing through the Clare Valley.

The famous Clare vineyards roll out toward the horizon as we pass through the pretty towns of Auburn and Clare. We reach the southern end of the Flinders Ranges around lunchtime, as we pass through the villages of Gladstone and Laura, stopping along the way for refreshments.

We journey to Wirrabara, a town known for its forestry heritage being the home of the first Government Forest nursery in Australia in the 1870’s. While here, we will stop to admire the stunning artwork which adorns the town’s silos. Completed in late 2018, the painting celebrates Wirrabara’s connection to the forestry industry, as well as the local flora and fauna and was the work of artist Sam Bates, better known as ‘Smug’.

We travel through Melrose and Wilmington enjoying the southern Flinders landscapes, before detouring  through the historic Horrocks Pass stopping along the way at Hancocks Lookout to marvel at the panoramic views of the Spencers Gulf and southern Flinders.

Continuing alongside the Gulf we reach our destination of Port Augusta in the late afternoon. Colonised in 1852, it was a thriving commercial centre and port that served the needs of the northern hinterland pastoralists. When the Indian Pacific Railway was completed in 1917 the town started to become the pivotal transport hub we are more familiar with today. Its geographical position has seen it become a major service centre for trucks crossing the Nullarbor or heading into the Northern Territory.

Our accommodation for tonight is at the Standpipe Golf Motor Inn (Ph. 08 8642 4033).

Day Two – THURSDAY 24 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After breakfast this morning we farewell our hosts in Port Augusta and head south along the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula.

It’s not long before we detour off the main highway to Point Lowly, named by Matthew Flinders in 1802.  Situated on a small peninsula just north of Whyalla, a lighthouse and cottages were built here in 1883, to guide the maritime traffic around the Point. The original lighthouse tower was only 15 metres tall, but in 1909 it was extended a further 8 metres. The lighthouse was manned for 90 years before becoming an automated beacon and then eventually being delisted in 1993. These buildings at Point Lowly are the oldest in the Whyalla district.

After calling into Whyalla for morning tea we continue our journey south along the Lincoln Highway. At lunchtime we arrive at the seaside town of Cowell on Franklin Harbour, well known for its fishing, and home to one of the oldest and largest jade deposits in the world. While here, we will also take a moment to appreciate the town’s silo art. Completed in 2019, it features local celebrity Lionel Deer and his camel, who have featured in the Cowell Christmas Pageant for over 30 years!

This afternoon we set off down the coast once more and there is no escaping the beauty of this peninsula as we drive through farming land, coastal scrub and into some of the many tranquil bays. We travel through Port Neill a picturesque holiday town that offers protected beaches, before continuing on to Tumby Bay.

As its name suggests, the town is situated on a sheltered bay and boasts stunning beaches, making it a popular holiday destination. It is also home to the Colour Tumby Street Art Festival which occurs in April each year, attracting artists from across the globe. As we explore along the foreshore and around the town, you will see various works from the festivals. The largest work is the Tumby Bay silos, inspired by a photo of two local boys jumping off the Tumby Bay Jetty. This impressive piece was completed in April 2018 by Argentian street artist Martin Ron, after 400 hours work and 430 litres of paint!

We arrive in Port Lincoln late afternoon and head straight to our accommodation for the next two nights  at the Port Lincoln Hotel (Ph. 08 8621 2000). This property is ideally located on the foreshore of Boston Bay, one of the world’s largest protected natural harbours covering an area more than three and a half times the size of Sydney Harbour!

Day Three – FRIDAY 25 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

The Eyre Peninsula is renowned for being Australia’s Seafood Frontier and much of the commercial fishing industry is centred around Port Lincoln. This morning we join Adventure Bay Charters for their ’Seafood Water to Wharf’ experience. A guide comes aboard and takes us on a tour of the wharf, explaining the workings of this massive export industry for South Australia. We then board the boat for a relaxing cruise on Boston Bay, journeying through the canals of the Lincoln Cove Marina, around Porter Bay, Port Lincoln National Park and Boston Island. Weather permitting, we may also see the local Sea Lion colony. We enjoy seafood tastings and morning tea on board.

Following the cruise, we visit The Fresh Fish Place, Port Lincoln’s leading fish processing factory. After hearing all about the local seafood industry, it seems most appropriate that we sample the local produce for lunch and there is no better place to find fresh fish and chips!

This afternoon we visit the Axel Stenross, a waterfront maritime museum celebrating the life of Finnish boat builders Axel Stenross and Frank Laakso, who came to Port Lincoln in 1927. The museum has a wealth of intriguing marine items and information on the history of Port Lincoln, with indoor and outdoor displays, including an operating slipway, historic vessels and a blacksmith shop. There is a large photographic collection, complete with touch screens that provide access to information on many vessels that came to Port Lincoln.

There will be some free time late afternoon where you can browse the main street or relax back at the accommodation before dinner tonight at the Port Lincoln Hotel.

Day Four – SATURDAY 26 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

We farewell Port Lincoln this morning and cross the base of the Eyre Peninsula to Coffin Bay, located on one of the most beautiful estuaries in Australia. This area offers unparalleled scenic views of vast expanses of meandering waterways with bays, channels and inlets. The village of Coffin Bay is near the entrance to the National Park, which surrounds the township and is well-known for its bird life and remote coastal scenery.

Today we journey up the western side of the peninsula known for its wild coastline, surf beaches and peaceful bays. As we travel north, we will take the opportunity to stop and view the spectacular clifftop scenery and visit the quaint townships that are dotted along the coastline.

Elliston is situated on the shores of Waterloo Bay and offers some of the most dramatic coastline on the peninsula. It was once the central port in the region for the transport of wool and wheat by ship, but after road transport took over in the 1960’s, now cereal growing, mixed farming, fishing and tourism are the main industries.

After stopping for lunch we will take the Anxious Bay Clifftop Drive. Not only are the views of the coastline stunning, but there are a number of unique sculptures dotted along the way, including Romy’s ‘Thongz’ and Siv Grava’s ‘Mara’, plus the opportunity to spot a dolphin or sealion in the waters below.

From here we continue to Venus Bay whose calm waters make it a popular spot for activities such as kayaking to the nearby islands, before heading north to Murphy’s Haystacks. Purported to be over 1500 million years old, these ancient wind-worn granite inselbergs occur in several places on the peninsula.  Murphy’s Haystacks are easily accessible and we have a guided tour around this unique outcrop of pink granite boulders.

We travel the short distance to Streaky Bay, commonly referred to as ‘Streaky’ by the locals. It was named by Matthew Flinders because of the streaks that can be seen through the water in the bay, caused by the reflection of light and seaweed. We check into our accommodation at the Streaky Bay Hotel Motel (Ph. 08 8626 1008), where we enjoy a relaxing evening before continuing our exploration of the Eyre Peninsula tomorrow.

 Day Five – SUNDAY 27 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After breakfast this morning we set off on a journey to make our way around the eastern side of the Great Australian Bight. Leaving Streaky Bay we travel close to the coast, at times catching glimpses of the ocean and coastline.

Mid-morning we arrive in the town of Ceduna, set on the shore of Murat Bay. The town’s name originated from an Aboriginal word ‘Chedoona’ meaning ‘resting place’, so appropriately we call in here for our morning tea stop and the opportunity to look around. Once an important fishing port and railway hub during settlement, Ceduna is now primarily known for its aquaculture and tourism industries.

From here we travel through Penong to Nundroo where we will stop to enjoy lunch.

Our afternoon drive takes us through Yalata to the Head of the Bight. This is where the white sand-dunes and beaches meet the Bunda Cliffs of the Nullarbor. Up to 100 whales, including calves, congregate in the seas adjacent to the cliffs between June and October on their annual breeding migration.

The cliff-top viewing areas in Nullarbor National Park provide the perfect location to watch these beautiful creatures and enjoy the spectacular vistas of the towering cliffs dropping sheer into the pounding Southern Ocean. To allow us more opportunities to see these majestic animals, we are staying just a short distance away at the Nullarbor Hotel Motel (Ph. 08 8625 6271).

Please note: As it can get quite windy and cold at the Head of the Bight, we strongly recommend bringing a warm coat, hat and gloves so you can enjoy this wonderful experience in comfort.

Day Six – MONDAY 28 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After a hearty cooked breakfast we make the short trip back to the Head of the Bight where we have another opportunity to see the whales. It is also the perfect location for our morning tea, allowing us to make the most of our time here.

We leave these awesome creatures and return to the Eyre Highway, turning east to travel through Nundroo and on to the small town of Penong where we stop for lunch. The town boasts a unique collection of windmills, including the biggest one ever made in Australia, the Comet!

After travelling back through Ceduna, we stay on the Eyre Highway, leaving the coast behind and heading inland. We arrive in Wudinna late afternoon and check in to our accommodation at the Gawler Ranges Motel (Ph. 08 8680 2090) for out last night on tour. 

Day Seven – TUESDAY 29 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)

This morning we turn east to travel back across the remainder of the Eyre Peninsula. We journey through Kyancutta to Kimba, where we stop for morning tea. While here, we will check out one of the biggest canvases in the world! The towns silo art measures over 60m wide and 25m high stretching across five and a half silos. The work was completed by Melbourne artist Cam Scale in 2017 and was inspired by the endless wheat farms that surround the district.

We journey past Iron Knob and continue to Port Augusta where we stop to enjoy a delicious two course lunch.

From here we follow the path of the coast towards Port Pirie, before continuing on Highway One to Port Wakefield. It’s not long before the scenery becomes familiar as we near Adelaide’s northern suburbs and make our way home. As we reflect on the week that has passed, we have wonderful memories of the stunning coastal views and magnificent marine life we have seen along the way.