Eyre Peninsula, South Australia – From the outback to the ocean

AT A GLANCE

Dates6-14 December 2021
28 January – 5 February 2022

4–12 March 2022
2230 April 2022
917 September 2022
715 October 2022
412 November 2022

We can tailor dates to your needs, including private tours. Email travel@australiangeographic.com or call 0413 560 210 to check available dates.
Activity LevelModerate
Duration9 days, 8 nights
PricesFrom $6545 twin share per person
From $890 single supplement
Group sizeMinimum 4, maximum 6 guests
Featuring RegionPort Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula, Gawler Ranges, South Australia

WHAT TO EXPECT

Experience the untouched and remote beauty of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. From the wildly beautiful outback to the spectacular coastal landscapes, and the wildlife that call them home, you’ll revel in the diversity of this genuine outback-to-ocean tour.

Unsurpassed in its beauty, this region also teems with another truly special quality – genuine hospitality from its colourful characters. You’ll meet a host of locals during your visit to Port Lincoln, the seafood capital of Australia, and the stunning, ancient and geologically fuelled Gawler Ranges.

Each day you’ll enjoy memorable and unique wildlife, geological, culinary, photographic and educational experiences, including a 4WD safari through massive sand dunes, swimming with Australian sea lions and dolphins at the same time (the only place in Australia where you can do this),
visiting arguably Australia’s best native koala experience, seeing landscapes that only a few ever see from the raw, rugged and natural coastline to the extraordinary colours of the red sands, blue skies and glistening white salt lakes of the Gawler Ranges.

Accommodation is in the outback at Kangaluna Luxury Bush Camp and then at Port Lincoln’s foreshore looking over Boston Bay.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Port Lincoln to Kangaluna Camp

Fly from Adelaide Airport with Qantas Airlines arriving at Port Lincoln at 08:45am to be met by your local guide (domestic flights are not included).

Travel through the Kopio Hills and wheat farming lands, taking a coffee break before arriving at Corrobinnie Rocks east of Wudinna. Walk through the stunning formations overlooking the canopy of virgin bush land.  We will pass Wudinna Rock while returning to Wudinna for a lunch stop before continuing into the outback to Kangaluna Camp. After a rest at Kangaluna there is an afternoon tour to begin our wildlife experience – outback animals thrive in this environment. We expect to see three species of kangaroos as well as emus and many birds, returning to Kangaluna after sunset drinks at Kolay Mirica Rocks (organ pipe formations). 

Accommodation: Overnight at Kangaluna Camp with dinner (L,D)

DAY 2: Lake Gairdner

Breakfast at camp. The area has an extraordinary range of wildly beautiful outback country boasting contrasting colours of red sands and rocky gorges, blue skies and the glistening white of massive Lake Gairdner. It is one of few places that three large species of kangaroos can be seen together, and in amazing numbers.

Today you’ll visit spectacular Lake Gairdner with its glistening white salt pan set in a red landscape. The dunes along the lake yield many animal tracks, flowers in spring, interesting vegetation and birds with endless photographic opportunities. You may see emus and red, western grey and euro kangaroos as we drive through the ancient outback range.

The night sky is an absolute treat. You can enjoy the stars with a computerised telescope after dinner with some astronomy lessons!

Accommodation: Overnight at Kangaluna Camp. (BLD)

Day 3: Gawler Ranges National Park

Breakfast at camp. This morning is leisurely and allows plenty of time to walk through the bush near the camp. Later on you will walk on Lake Sturt in the Corrobinnie Depression and see the array of colours and patterns in the bed of the old lake. This is a geological marvel, with many interesting subjects. Continuing around the lake to Mt Sturt, taking short walks in the nature, you observe a diversity of plants and trees. Visit amazing Pildappa wave rock en-route to an early arrival back to Kangaluna which gives the extra chance to spot some of the 110 species of birds we have observed here and the visiting animals, or relax in the stunning surrounds. Sunset drinks will finish the day at Sturt’s Lake.

Accommodation: Overnight at Kangaluna Camp (BLD)

Day 4: Swim with Australian sea lions and dolphins, Baird Bay to Port Lincoln

An early morning drive to Baird Bay we will board the boat for an unforgettable wildlife experience. On the 5 kilometre journey to a lagoon at Jones Island near Cape Radstock (at 160 metres, it is one of the highest sheer points on the southern coast of Australia) you can watch Bottlenose dolphins ride the bow wave of the boat, and join these magnificent mammals in shallow water. Cross the bay to visit a resident colony of rare Australian sea lions and experience playing face to face with these agile and friendly mammals as we wade in protected shallow lagoons. You may very well be smooched by these animals. After lunch on the beach we leave Baird Bay and visit Venus Bay, Elliston and enjoy magnificent coastal scenery on the journey to Port Lincoln.

Accommodation: Overnight at Port Lincoln Hotel (BL)

Day 5: Hiking and wildlife

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning meet your Port Lincoln local guide who will greet you at the Port Lincoln Hotel before viewing the small coastal hamlet of Tulka where waders, swans and sea birds can be seen from the bird hide. This is another known location for southern emu-wrens near a historical well, first dug by Captain Matthew Flinders when he explored the area in 1802, which saved his expedition. From here, we take you to Lincoln National Park and the Spalding Cove area, where we follow Matthew Flinders Journey and his hike (although we now have hiking tracks) up Stamford Hill to see spectacular views of Boston Bay, Port Lincoln and the National Park. In this area, there are 130 species of birds listed in the National Park as well as many western grey kangaroos, emus and lizards.

Lunch is picnic style in amongst nature & from here, we take you out to beautiful Mikkira Station, arguably one of Australia’s very best habitats where koalas can be found in the wild. Visit the restored original homestead and go for a stroll under the beautiful old eucalypt trees and come face to face with the cuddly icon of Australia as they laze in the manna gums where you’ll see koalas at eye level. Wild but placid kangaroos casually hop around in this historical setting, where in 1842 Scotsman Adam Borthwick and his family made their home as one of the very first settlers of the region.

Part of today’s activities is to join local organisation, Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s (EPLB) citizen science programs. These programs aim to record rare species of animals, birds and reptiles such as the Rosenberg’s goanna, echidnas, malleefowl and iconic birds like the white bellied sea eagle, osprey, bush stoned curlew & the Australian bustard.

Emus roam around amongst mobs of sheep and there is astounding native birdlife, some of which are rare including Port Lincoln (Australian ringneck) parrots, black-faced cuckoo-shrikes, pallid cuckoos, golden whistlers and an occasional scarlet robin. As the sun settles for the evening, we will relax with a platter of local produce, wine and listen to the sounds of nature. It’s beautiful!

Accommodation: Overnight at Port Lincoln Hotel (BL)

Day 6: Marron, oysters and fossils

Breakfast at hotel before our first stop at Big Swamp Wetland, a highly valuable ecosystem that helps with water purification, ground water replenishment, and water storage and flood control. The wetland is actually three, seasonal freshwater lakes with a large and ancient red gum forest, creating a unique habitat for rare wildlife, bird species, threatened plant species, freshwater tortoise, native fish and invertebrates.

From here we head further up the coast to the beautiful region of Coffin, Kellidie and Dutton bays, which are known for their world-famous oysters, highly prized marron (closely related to the crayfish) and yabbies, as well as a variety of important species of flora and fauna. There are no other com- parable systems of bays and inlets in such compact form anywhere on the coast, which is why this area is classified as a maritime wilderness area.

After lunch, take a local oyster-farming cruise out to The Brothers to watch the many ocean birds, Australian sea lions, long-nosed furl seals and common southern dolphins that surround this area. You’ll have the chance to shuck your own oysters and of course taste them. The farmers love explaining how and what they are doing to keep their industry sustainable and how they are lessening their impact on the environment. The larger island of The Brothers, in the Mount Dutton Bay Conservation Park, is of paleontological significance – it has sub-fossil bones of six species, including an extinct kangaroo and a giant flightless bird. Please note cruise is weather dependent.

From here visit a small hobby farm growing the freshwater product of marron & yabbies, that is popping up on menus across the region. Ben Underdown and his partner Astyn Reid have re-invigorated the marron farming in Coffin Bay and are excited to share their story and marron with you. Learn about this cousin of the crayfish, their lifespan from spawning to plate.

Accommodation: Overnight at Port Lincoln Hotel (BL)

Day 7: Seafood and art

Breakfast at the hotel and then get to know Port Lincoln. First up is an introduction to the city from one of the best vantage points in South Australia – Winters Hill. From here you’ll enjoy vistas over Boston Island, Boston Bay and all the way out to stunning Port Lincoln National Park.

Next you’ll visit the MFV Tacoma, the first purpose-built purse seine fishing boat and tuna clipper, which ultimately changed the course of pelagic fishing in Australia. After that you’ll tour the Fresh Fish Place, where you’ll see the full process a fish goes through, from ocean to plate. Meet local fisherman as they drop off the catch of the day from all over the Eyre Peninsula. At the end of the tour, you’ll sample a tantalising selection of in-house smoked fish and pickled seafood. Next we take you on a guided walk with a former local fisherman, through the Marina Wharf to learn about the largest professional fishing region in the Southern Hemisphere.

Meet Ken Martin, a master sculptor in bronze and wood. His artwork comes in the forms of busts, full figures, animals, humans and abstract. He’s most famous for his Makybe Diva statue in Port Lincoln and the newly revealed The Tuna Poler on the town’s foreshore.

Accommodation: Overnight at Port Lincoln Hotel (BL)

Day 8: Coastal Geology

After breakfast at the hotel we 4WD through Lincoln National Park to learn about the caves, rockpools, ancient rock formations, crevasses and more.
A major highlight are the massive wind-sculpted sand dunes, pounding surf and spectacular limestone cliffs along the 14km Sleaford-Wanna 4WD-only track.

Visit Sleaford Mere Conservation Park, a shallow permanent saline lake that is notable as a bird habitat and a large land-locked population of skates. Species of conservation significance include the fairy tern and southern emu-wren. Our expert guide explains the historical, geological and hydrological significance of the lake and the remarkable stromatolites that line the lake’s edge.

Next we head to Whalers Way, an ancient rocky coastline with a series of natural bays and headlands. Each stop along the dusty track is another superb photo opportunity, as the coastline and native wildlife inhabiting the area are truly spectacular. Further along is Cape Wiles, named after the botanist James Wiles who sailed with Flinders in 1802. Dozens of fur seals splash around the base of the two golden sandstone islands just off the point, protected on one side from the harshness of the Southern Ocean.
Next we stop at Cape Carnot. The south-westerly tip of the Eyre Peninsula, it was named in 1802 by French explorer Nicholas Baudin. Theakstone’s Crevasse is the final stop along Whaler’s Way before the journey back into Port Lincoln. The crevasse is a deceptively deep fissure along a fault line, formed over millions of years. For the record, the gully is 13m deep with 9m high walls and extends 30m underground!

Make sure you bring your bathers as we might find some hidden picturesque rock- pools to explore.

Accommodation: Overnight at Port Lincoln Hotel (BL)

Day 9: Departure from Port Lincoln

Breakfast at the hotel. Tour ends after breakfast, transfer to Port Lincoln airport or stay longer and have some time to explore, ask our friendly team for suggestions.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Private professional, local and experienced guides
  • Fully guided in luxury Toyota Landcruiser 4WD vehicle/s
  • 8 nights accommodation at Kangaluna Camp and Port Lincoln Hotel
  • Meals as outlined in the itinerary
  • Selected beverages, water, morning or afternoon tea/snacks
  • All daily activities, permit and entry fees

COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE

  • Domestic or international airfares
  • Pre-registration, late check-out or day use at hotels other than specified above
  • Guide services other than specified
  • Meals/beverages other than specified, alcohol
  • Tips and gratuities Optional tours/services.

COVID-19

  • Accommodation and meals: Strict hygiene conditions apply to the way accommodation is prepared for your stay and in the serving of meals.
  • Vehicles, hygiene & social distancing: All activities will involve careful adherence to cleanliness. Hand sanitiser will be available in many locations and in all land-based vehicles and water-based vessels. Social distancing will always be an issue on board vehicles and vessels; it would be sensible for you to bring your own face masks and hand sanitiser. We may not fill all seats in a vehicle to allow for social distancing.
  • The government approved COVID-19 Safety Plan is in place and all suppliers are Covid Clean accredited.

CONTACT US

Want to know more or register your interest?

Send us an email to travel@australiangeographic.com or call 0413 560 210. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

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