More Eyre Peninsula

Feeding frenzy near tuna farms
Feeding frenzy near tuna farms

We are still travelling along the South Australian Lower Eyre Peninsula and after buying fuel from the Beachcomber Café (yes for the car) we left Coffin Bay and travelled the 48 kilometres to the fishing port of Pt Lincoln. This town is renowned for cage diving with sharks and everywhere around this seaside town you are regaled with signs inviting you to enjoy this experience. We managed to resist the joy of confronting a Great White but those who have done it rave about this white knuckle adventure. Apparently you can also swim with giant tuna or frolic with sea lions. One of these could be for you – if you are an adrenaline junkie or enjoy swimming with a gentler species!

We booked into the Tourist Park and they situated our van atop a hill overlooking Porters Bay, part of the vast natural harbour called Boston Bay. What a view over one of the largest protected harbours in the world, three times the size of Sydney Harbour!

This is a fabulous tiered park with just under 200 (but not really large) sites. They were repairing washaway sections from the recent storms but this didn’t spoil our enjoyment of lovely walks along harbour foreshore, especially now the weather had improved. The Parnkalla Walking Trail, named after the Aboriginal tribe whose dreaming was about the beauty of Port Lincoln area, passes through the Tourist Park. We did a couple of short sections of the 14km trail. This is my sort of walk with benches where you can rest and view the many points of interest. We first walked to Snook’s Landing around the back of the government slipway. Snook (1890-1969) was a nickname for Roy Stanley Lucas Owen – really?! He was a fisherman/ boatie who lived alone on Taylor’s Island (way around the ocean side of Jussieu Peninsula). He grazed Merino and Suffolk sheep and offloaded his sheep and wool onto this landing. His remodeled ship Margaret is still moored off Snook’s Landing. From there we watched a spear fisherman catch a “strongy?” and saw thousands of birds feeding in a frenzy around a tuna farm.

Speaking of Southern Bluefin Tuna , SAFCOL opened a tuna cannery in 1953 (same year we were born – like you really wanted to know that) and the industry boomed until the late 1980s. Needless to say the industry went nuts and soon overfished. So in the 1990’s live fish were brought into Boston Bay and introduced to netted rings to fatten and export to Japan, with the sashimi market having added value to the industry. A system of towing large farms of tuna into the bays was then developed and the industry exploded into the multi-million dollar industry it is today. Fascinating to learn about Australia’s largest fishing port. Here our earliest inhabitants fished with an extensive network of traps and from this has evolved to the present industry of abalone, mussels, oysters, prawns, scalefish such as snapper, garfish & whiting and the Southern Rock Lobster. Even pilchards are coming to the fore as tuna feed – poor things!

Back to our walks; we did another even shorter walk to Snapper Rock where there is a boat ramp, one of the many for boating enthusiasts to set off to enjoy this fabulous harbour and surrounds. We passed lovely old homes, many of which are used for holiday accommodation. The Investigator Trail extends from North Shields 12k N of Pt Lincoln city through the Parnkalla Trail and then 90km around the Lincoln National Park. BUT it says ‘for very active people’ so we opted to drive!

Our drive south of Port Lincoln took us through Port Lincoln Proper, yes it is named that, along Proper Bay Road past Tulka and stopped off at Sleaford Bay. A walk over a couple of large sand dunes took us to gorgeous beaches with white sands and blue, blue water. We so loved the colours now that the sun is out in all its brilliance.

Next port of call was Fishery Bay 32km S, now a popular swimming beach but formerly a whaling site. There are signposts pointing out the archeological site but it is difficult to see the remnants of a whaling station and tryworks where they extracted the blubber. There was also a protective seawall built. Most of the site has been excavated and reburied because of the illegals removal of artefacts (in other words, stolen) so that explains is why the site is difficult to find. Another claim to fame is that Captain Flinders sailed the Investigator across Fishery Bay in 1802. The area has farm lands surrounding the beaches and fishing for abalone and crayfish has replaced whales and seals.

An apparent gem of a spot to camp (limited facilities) is Whalers Way but you need a key and a permit from the Info Centre in town so if you want to see ancient lava flows and great scenic spots like Cape Wiles and Black’s Lookout, pay your $25 in town before you go driving.

Back towards Port we visited the Marina where the tuna boats are moored. Nice little shopping precinct there too.

You can visit the life–sized statue of the famous racehorse Makybe Diva on the foreshore the city of her owner, Tony Santic, a Croatian born fisherman. We lunched – on seafood of course and walked along the town jetty. The jetty is popular for walks, lots of kids swimming, fishing and even jellyfish viewing. We then drove up 5km to Winter Hill Lookout for 360 degree views of the city, farmland, Boston Bay, Lincoln National Park and all the islands, surveying all the places we had visited and then some… There are lots of other things to do and this is another “we’ve gotta come back” spot. Maybe we will dive with the sharks next time?

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More Eyre Peninsula
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More Eyre Peninsula
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We are still travelling along the South Australian Lower Eyre Peninsula and after buying fuel from the Beachcomber Café
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