I recently had a day visit to Coffin Bay on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. It was a quick but very enjoyable trip and it's a place that's at the top of my "return to" list one day.
Coffin Bay (©paula mcmanus)
My visit to Coffin Bay was on a sunny but very windy spring day. Coffin Bay is a small fishing village which is surrounded by the sea and national parks. The small seaside village is approximately 50kms from its nearest city, Port Lincoln
and 700kms from Adelaide and has a permanent population of roughly 700 people. That number swells during the summer months to nearly 4000 - showing just how popular a summer holiday spot it is.
We were welcomed into town by a large mob of very friendly and curious emus. I found it an astonishing sight and quickly whipped out my camera and grabbed some photos. We soon realised that emus walking through town were a common occurrence - the locals were completely unfazed by their appearance. Coffin Bay is encompassed by thick scrub which is just teeming with emus and kangaroos
who have made the town and it's front lawns, reserves and gardens their home and they wander through the streets at their leisure.
Emu Crossing, Coffin Bay (©paula mcmanus)
Our plan was to visit the Coffin Bay National Park
- a rugged and wild place with spectacular views to the Southern Ocean. The National Park is well known for its stunning white sand dunes, its abundance of flora and fauna and the huge number of outdoor adventures that can be done while there - 4WDing, fishing, walking, camping, photography, surfing and swimming just to name a few.
Before heading into the National Park, we stopped for brunch and a coffee at the Beachcomber breakfast and brunch cafe
, right next to the caravan park. After spending quite a while trying to decide what to order, we both ordered the same meal - the prawn wrap with hot crunchy chips. The wrap was simply scrumptious - salad and the salty meat of freshly caught Spencer Gulf prawns wrapped in pita bread. Yum, it was a taste sensation. The solitary seagull nearby who was keen to nab our leftovers was sorely disappointed!
Prawn wrap (©paula mcmanus)
We headed into the National Park - just a few kilometres out of town. It's an easy drive into and around the park and is suitable for all types of vehicle. There are some dedicated 4WD only tracks, but they are well signposted at the entry to give you plenty of warning.
Park permits are required and need to be purchased before entering the park. I had very limited mobile phone reception on the Eyre Peninsula, so we thought it wise to buy our pass from the Beachcomber cafe while eating there. The day pass was only $10 ($8 for concession) per car. It's great value!
There are numerous campgrounds within the park too. Most are suitable for campers and caravans and some are only able to be accessed by 4WD. All of the information you need to know before you go can be found on the National Parks of SA
Coffin Bay National Park (©paula mcmanus)
We drove and saw as much as we could and we were rewarded with seeing a Southern Right whale playing in the surf at Almonta Beach
. It was an incredibly windy and blustery day - the wind was so strong I could barely open my eyes! But, to see the Park in a bit of a mood made it so much more alive and so very interesting.
Time was against us to do more sightseeing in Coffin Bay, particularly the Oyster Walk
- which looked to be a pleasant and very scenic walk that starts at the caravan park and follows the scrub and shoreline to Crinolin Point. It would have been great to visit the museum and learn more about the history of the town, which was named after Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin by Lieutenant Matthew Flinders who came by in the Investigator on the 16th of February 1802.
Juvenile Pacific Gull (©paula mcmanus)
We spent some time watching and photographing shore birds at the marina and walked on the jetty to check the catch of the local fishermen. A magnificent sunset was our goodbye to the bay as we made our start back to the east coast of the peninsula and to our accommodation.
One day in Coffin Bay is just not enough. There's so much to do and to see in and around the area - next time I hope our visit will be longer!
Oyster shucking (©paula mcmanus)