Our first stop was at Smokey Bay where e thought it would be a great place to spend a night however the park was full due to a country & western weekend gathering. On we moved to Haslam where we found a great little free camp right next to the beach and the jetty. Haslam was no more than a small fishing village with about six houses. These mostly housed oyster farmers whose beds were located a few hundred metres off shore.
|Sleepy fishing village of Haslem|
The camp area had been set aside by the township. There were toilets nearby and a water tank across the road for drinking water. In return they had an honesty box with a five dollar charge. We love these places. The camp population almost outnumbered the locals.
Next day we moved on further south visiting a number of small beaches along the way. We had thought that Coffin Bay would be a great destination but as the day went on we learned that a cold weather front with strong westerly winds was about to hit the peninsula. So we chose to set sail for Port Lincoln which we thought would be a bit more sheltered. It turned out to be more sheltered but it was still a strong blow even there.
|Avery neat Streaky Bay township|
|Streaky Bay itself|
|Every beach has a jetty.|
|The heads at Venus Bay|
|What sails out the heads at Venus Bay|
|Typical grazing farms on west coast.|
|And surrounding countryside|
Port Lincoln was quite a large town as compared to the country towns we have visited in this holiday. It is a port for grain amongst other things but also houses a big fishing industry with fish farming and oyster beds. The town had a real fresh appearance to it and seemed quite prosperous. The weather being wet we did not get to see much of it except through wet car windows. We did however take an opportunity to drive back to Coffin Bay to see what we had missed when we had rushed by. It again is a fishing village but with a much more holiday atmosphere. This whole area is quite pretty and the surrounding agricultural area was very green and beautiful.
|Coffin Bay harbour.|
|Dad, can I have a fishing boat please?|
When we left Port Lincoln and travelled north up the east coast we found a very flat country, mostly grazing land. The road runs close to the coast but just far enough away to restrict sea views.
First stop was Tumby Bay. This is a really great little spot with a real retirement appearance. There is a great beach front park and lots of facilities. Consequently there were lots of caravans camped out enjoying a holiday there. For us it was a short morning tea stop.
|Tumby Bay from north end|
Next was Arno Bay, very much smaller but the local council is obviously setting out to achieve the same environment. Arno has a small population of only a few hundred. It is surrounded by low water flats and they have built some boardwalks to enjoy these.
|Waiting for full tide, a high one at that|
|Arno Bay - a family place|
Then onto Cowell and again we found a prospering fish and oyster farming industry. Here again there were a lot of caravans set up for the long term and a very busy shopping / business area. We really enjoyed lunch here and the oyster boats passed us being towed up the main street behind tractors. It is fascinating to see as the tractors back down the ramp, the boats are loaded on crew and all and they immediately drive off to deliver their catch.
|Cowell - a busy little town.|
Finally for that day we drove on to Whyalla. What a contrast as we entered this very industrial city based on steel manufacture, ship building, and mineral processing. Not really being a tourist town we chose to spend the night just north of here at Point Lowly.
Point Lowly was also not what we expected. Situated at the top of Spencer Gulf its lighthouse warns of the rocky coast ahead. Santos have a bulk oil & gas loading facility with a long pier jutting well out into the bay. Ships up to 110,000 tonnes load crude oil here and approx 50 ships per year visit here. The view at night over the oil plant and it’s lights, the lighthouse, and the distant street lights of Whyalla was a very special sight.
|Point Lowly Lighthouse|
|The lighthouse keepers cottages - now holiday accom for Uniting Church.|
|The Kerr accomodation|
|The view by night from our back window|
The area of Spencer Gulf above Point Lowly is known as the Cuttlefish capital of the world. I needed to be enlightened that cuttlefish are actually a squid / octopus. Because of the shape of the top of Spencer Gulf and the fact that no streams enter the waters of this area do not replenish themselves with fresh sea water over the short term. This results in high salinity levels which hinder the life of most fish but aids the breeding activities of the cuttlefish.
Overnight a strong northerly wind started up and buffeted our van. It was still blowing in the morning but we decided to move on anyhow. This meant a drive into these fierce winds as far as Port Augusta. Not much fun but we did it anyway.
Our visit to Eyre Peninsula had been brief but interesting. It gave us a good picture for planning our next visit to South Australia but it also showed us that any planned visit needed to consider the seasonal influences that so often buffet this beautiful coastline.
Well we are heading home. It will still take us a couple of weeks but our adventure is all but over. This is the last entry in our Blog. We certainly hope you have enjoyed the story of our travels and the pictures that represent it. As for us we are just so looking forward to getting home to see family and friends.
Our love to all of you.