Letho's Blog

The Eyre Peninsula

Point Labatt and Streaky Bay

by on Apr.11, 2011, under The Eyre Peninsula

April 11, 2011

We left Sceale Bay early to get to the Point Labatt Conservation Park.

Here you can find the only permanent colony of Australian Sealions on Australian mainland. The other permanent colony is on Kangaroo Island at Seal Bay – we were there, read up on it in that article. 😉

We continued towards Sceale Bay where we wanted to drive two scenic drives. We started with the Westall Way Loop which starts at Tractor Beach and High Cliffs:

Next stop – The Granites:

Further along the way we strolled down to the Smooth Pools which looked similar to The Granites. They offered a variety of rock pools near the sea for easy and safe swimming or snorkeling. We didn’t do any of that, however .. too cold! Still they provided for a nice view. And we saved a crab struggling in the muscles! 😉

A quick stop at Speed Point ..

Contrasting rocks at Speed Point

Contrasting rocks at Speed Point

We missed out on Yanerbie Sandhills .. no more experiments with deep, soft sand after our previous experiences. 😉

The second scenic drive on that day was the Cape Bauer Loop. We probably started on the wrong end at Hally’s Beach – but hey, it’s a loop, does it really matter?

*grrr* Hally's Beach

*grrr* Hally's Beach

Much more interesting were The Whistling Rocks and The Blowholes. The whistling rocks are tube-like holes leading to a cave through the rocks to the surf. When the surf presses water and air into the caves or the pipes, the air is driven at high speed through the tubes resulting in a sound similar to a giant whistling. The blowholes were a bit lazy when we visited – no spray, fume etc. But we found some impressive holes in the ground. If anyone accidentally falls into one of those … it might be your very last step.

Finally we stopped at Cape Bauer which we found a bit disappointing.

This was our last day on the Eyre Peninsula. In the upcoming dark we rushed to Ceduna to prepare for crossing „a lot of nothing“ – the Nullarbor Plains on our way to Western Australia.

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From Coffin Bay to Sceale Bay

by on Apr.10, 2011, under The Eyre Peninsula

April 10, 2011

We left Little Yangie Bay and therefore Coffin Bay NP in the morning and headed north to Elliston. On the way we found endless coastlines and countless bays, thus we stopped here and there to take a look. You can take one, too:

Near Elliston we did the Elliston Clifftop Drive along the coast and found a few interesting sculptures on the way.

In the Anxious Bay we sighted two interesting sites: The Woolshed and The Tub, both of which we explored in greater detail. First the Woolshed, a cave driven into the limestone by erosion:

The waves here were genuinely huge and beautiful:

Afterwards we were adventurous enough to climb into the Tub as well, a big hole in the ground with an arch that is connected to the Pacific surf:

The „ladder“ into the Tub consists of nothing more but an old tree stump with a few steps chopped into it. It does the job! 🙂

Looking for a campspot near Sceale Bay we came across Murphys Haystacks, an interesting rock formation made of granite as a leftover after the surrounding soil and rock had fully been eroded:

We found a bush-camping site in time to set up our tent in daylight at Sceale Bay and had a fine campfire .. another good day spent on the Eyre Peninsula. 😉

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Coffin Bay

by on Apr.09, 2011, under The Eyre Peninsula

April 09, 2011

At 10am we entered the 4WD track to the northern parts of Coffin Bay. Well – we tried, at least. Waiting for a good point in time with low tide to circumvent flooded areas we almost failed miserably at one of the first and relatively minor sandhills. After our experiences in the Sleaford-Wanna-Dunes we didn’t hesitate this time and lowered the tyre pressure – a lot! And it helped enourmously:

First obstacle - vanquished!

First obstacle - vanquished!

After that most of the sandy sections did not cause too much trouble anymore .. if only we had done that way earlier. 🙁

A part of the access route to the end of the peninsula goes along the Seven Mile Beach. This means: the ocean to the right, a tiny sandbed (10-15 meters at most) to drive on and the shoreline to the left. It actually lasts about 10-11 kilometers as the name implies, and as well is only accessable during low tide. We had planned before to enter shortly after low tide, wait for high tide to pass and return 3-4 hours into low tide. What do you reckon – does it work out? 🙂

See what Seven Mile Beach looks like:

It was a bit of a struggle here and there, but manageable. After returning to the main track we drove to Morgans Landing, had a breakfast and continued to Point Sir Isaac on the northernmost part of the peninsula:

Here we noticed a drastic change in the characteristics of the surf. Instead of calm and low waves like in the more protected, southern beaches of Coffin Bay here the Pacific pounded strong against the rocks:

Although a lot of sandy sections existed along the track, quite a fair bit of it was made up of rocks in varying sizes. That meant a lot of shaking and rattling driving us increasingly crazy ..

Rocky tracks in Coffin Bay

Rocky tracks in Coffin Bay

Our next stop was Mullalong Beach:

Mullalong Beach

Mullalong Beach

On the track itself we gathered a lot of impressions what kind of barren wasteland we just crossed:

Wastelands

Wastelands

We passed Reef Point ..

.. and Sensation Beach.

Whoever got bogged down there, it was not much left of him. Poor fellow. 😉

We encountered a lot of birdlife, of course. Not all of them as nifty arranged as this group of pelicans, though:

Pelican Parade

Pelican Parade

It was finally time to go back to Yangie Bay, so we thought. Therefore we drove back to the Seven Mile Beach, only to discover the following scenery:

We started to fear the worst and found our assumptions confirmed: low tide or not, the return path was simply not yet accessable. The flood had cut off our way back! We met a few locals fishing nearby who advised us to simply go over the sand dunes where necessary. Sand dunes? Oh no, not again!

After a while – you guessed right – the unspeakable happened: when going reverse for a few meters on a steep sand dune I failed to check what was behind us. Well, there was just a really steep abyss. The back tyres were already sliding downhill, so was the back of the car and then the rest followed sideways on its right side, simply due to its own massive weight. The angle was getting more and more inconvenient. It felt like an overturn of the car was no longer avoidable .. when it suddenly stopped to slide.

There we sat in the car leaning to its right side in an unhealthy position, finally bogged down and not sure how and in what possible direction to move the car to get out of this misery… 🙁

When I opened the door to get out I almost rolled down the sand hill below us… looks like Coffin Bay didn’t get its name for being a peaceful and friendly place. 😉 Let me assure you that judging from the pictures you will not be able to properly estimate how sloped the car was sitting there at first. It looks like it should be totally easy to simply drive the car down the hill, but then we had already stabilized the left side somewhat.

Luckily we had a shovel on board, but had never used it so far. Now was the time! We cleared the area below the tyres carefully, restarted the engine and moved a few centimeters backwards and forward again and again and again .. those were some very unpleasant moments until we finally could move the car forward down the hill. We found a way through the dunes back to the safer parts of the Seven Mile Beach, hurried back to our camp and recovered from the shock with a very cold beer.

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The Lincoln National Park Pt. II

by on Apr.08, 2011, under The Eyre Peninsula

April 08, 2011

This day we prepared to leave the Lincoln NP and planned to enter Coffin Bay NP. We packed up our camp at Fishermans Point ..

.. and drove to Stamford Hill. We hiked up to the Flinders Monument where we enjoyed a very good view over Proper Bay, Port Lincoln and a lot of the places we had just visited:

It was a short, but steep hike, and still pretty warm in April. Imagine the great explorer Matthew Flinders marching up here in February 1802, through a dense scrub in the summer heat, not only surveying and mapping the land but desperately searching for freshwater for himself and his expedition crew in an unchartered territory. Phew .. we were happy to return to our LandCruiser, however. 😉

In Port Lincoln we refueled and re-upped our supplies. On our way out of Port Lincoln we ascended to the Winter Hill Lookout, presenting a nice view over Port Lincoln and Proper Bay again:

Port Lincoln from Winter Hill Lookout

Port Lincoln from Winter Hill Lookout

We entered the Coffin Bay National Park and headed to Yangie Bay. From there a 4WD track leads to the northern parts of the national park. Well .. when we arrived, it looked like this:

High tide at Yangie Bay - how to get to Coffin Bay NP?

High tide at Yangie Bay - how to get to Coffin Bay NP?

This was a result of high tide, so nothing unusual around here. We checked the tide tables to determine a time window to enter and leave via the track on the next day – sounds professional, huh? But wait until you read about that dark chapter of our 4WD undertakings .. 😉

That was about it. The day ended with a nice campfire and Inka cooking a really delicious Chili con carne – on our cartridge-driven gas stove! Who says traveling and good food don’t go together well? 🙂

Campsite at Yangie Bay, Coffin Bay NP

Campsite at Yangie Bay, Coffin Bay NP

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Whalers Way

by on Apr.07, 2011, under The Eyre Peninsula

April 07, 2011

Before packing up and leaving Fishery Bay we undertook an expedition to the Whalers Way, just a stone’s throw away.

View of Fishery Bay from Whalers Way

View of Fishery Bay from Whalers Way

We walked up there to get some well-needed exercise. Our first stop was at the „Swimming Hole“:

We did not go for a swim, although it looked inviting. Next stop was the „Whale Chaser Crevasse“:

After that we passed „Galsons Cove“:

Noticing a pattern here? Right, the ocean and the cliffs are amazingly beautiful, and there is a lookout every couple of meters, it seems.

We continued straight to Cape Wiles after some 4-5 kilometers altogether:

Surprisingly we found this fellow on moderately steep cliffs:

And the „Fur Seals Walk“ kept its promise as we found some furry fellows on the rocky islands on the opposite side of Cape Wiles:

At this point we could have walked down to Cape Carnot. This would have implied 6 kilometers of straight walking up there and the same distance back. Add that to the 8 kilometers that we already did (or had to go to get back) and you get 20 kilometers – under the gleaming sun? Naaaah. 😉 We couldn’t find anyone viable giving us a lift there. So we turned around:

Whalers Way

Whalers Way

That was an exquisite decision. What we encountered next, nearly blew us away:

We sat there and watched the dolphins swimming in the bay, hunting for fish and recognized how cleverly they organized themselves in multiple rows to drive their prey to each other. What an amazing outlook – if only we could have been closer!

We later found out that the whole „Whalers Way“, including all sites, is private property. How can such a beautiful place belong to someone? The entry would have cost us 30$. So we had entered without permission. Sorry for that! 😉

On returning to base camp we packed up and tried to find a secret entry to the „Whalers Way“ to reach Cape Carnot, but following the old, overgrown tracks for a while without success we left Fishery Bay at last and entered the Lincoln NP again. Curious as we are, we reached out for Wanna, this time via the alternate route, not via the 4WD track that had beaten us so badly two days ago…

We desperately wanted to know how close we actually had been to the Wanna exit, therefore we parked (yes, that’s right: PARKED) the LandCruiser right before the track start and entered the sandy desert on our feet.

Although we walked a fair bit, we could not find our personal point of failure. Still frustrated, we returned, joking about doing the track again from the Wanna entry. We didn’t do it, if that soothes you somehow. 😉

We set up camp at Fishermans Point and prepared for the night.

Another dolphin at Fishermans Point

Another dolphin at Fishermans Point

And under the settling sun we again encountered a dolphin ..  a loner this time.

 

 

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