Melbourne to Port Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula

So here we are, on the road again. I have to keep pinching myself that it’s actually happening. For those of you new to our blog, it was 2013 when we decided to travel around Australia in a caravan. 

Two years of preparation later (first had to buy a van having never owned one before) we headed up the east coast along the ‘great Aussie long paddock’ on Boxing Day 2015. 

In Port Douglas, far North Queensland, my retina decided to detach itself for no good reason at all. Thus our trip was abandoned. 

18 months and 6 lots of eye surgery later (I now have two extremely well attached retinas) and we were ready to complete the circumnavigation after Christmas 2016. This time toward the west coast. We bought a new car, a Ranger, for better towing, and were ready to head off after Christmas 2016. Christmas Eve our house burnt down.

Two years and a lot of stress and heart ache later our house is complete and we are on the road again. 

We could not have got here with out our amazing support team (family, friends and the best neighbours in the world ). Thank you all for helping us get back on our feet and back on the road, we are so lucky to have you in our lives.

Having explored much of Victoria and eastern South Australia over the years, we decided to head directly to the Eyre Peninsula, and left Friday 8th Feb.

Our first stop out of Melbourne was the Bendigo Art Gallery to see the Frida Kahlo and Daughters of the Sun exhibitions, both were fabulous. 

Lake Tyrrell rest area was our first over night stop. A quiet bush area, far enough from the highway  that road noise wasn’t a problem. The lake is a dry salt lake most of the year, quite a spectacular sight as it’s big and it stretches out in all directions. 

Day two, travelling through The Sunraysia district around Mildura was a little tricky due to the dust storm, although we were told by a local that this is nothing compared to the dust storms that come off the desert. Apparently the sky goes black when they roll in.

We crossed into South Australia.

Crossing the mighty Murray River. Could they have made the bridge any narrower?

And here’s a picture of where we were on Google Maps.

Murray River near Renmark

The second night we stopped at Burra Showgrounds. Country Showgrounds are great for over night stops, cheap, safe, and wide spaces so the van can stay hitched, and you can take dogs (not that we have one). This one has toilets and showers, very basic but clean. Also a dump point and power but no water, although there is town water available to fill up from beside one of the sheds.

Burra Showgrounds

They also had the most magnificent chestnut mares. Just stunning.

Horse at Burra Showgrounds

We had stopped earlier and bought some locally grown T-bone steaks. The biggest T-bones I have ever seen!

The Miner’s Dugouts in Burra.  Burra was the site of the famous ‘Monster Mine’ (copper) from 1845-1877, the largest metal mine in Australia at the time. It was home to 4,400 people in 1851, 1,800 of whom were living in dugouts in the Burra Creek, the majority being Cornish, Scottish and Welsh. There were about 600 dugouts stretched over 3 miles along the nearby creek banks. The main line of dugouts was known as Creek Street. In 1851 a flood devastated Creek Street driving the inhabitants from their dugouts. By 1860 the dugouts were virtually deserted. Three dugouts survive today.

Silo artwork Tumby Bay, took 430 litres of paint and 400 hours of work.

Silo Artwork at Tumby Bay

Day three, Sunday, we arrived in Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula.

Stayed at the Port Lincoln Tourist Park, a beautiful place, right on the water.

Port Lincoln is …  “ home of Australia’s largest commercial fishing fleet,  and now has a thriving aquaculture industry that farms the following species: southern bluefin tuna, yellowtail kingfish, abalone, mussels, oysters, and experimentally, seahorses and spiny lobsters.”  We saw many of the aquafarms, they look like large round fences dotted through the bay. Ships carry feed out each day.

If you look at Google  Maps they look like this. Can you see the two boats beside the feeding pens?

Aquaculture at Port Lincoln

The Parnkalla Trail is a walking/cycling path that follows the coast line around Port Lincoln. It runs through our caravan park and we cycled the 7.2k round trip into town and back. It’s half dirt  half concrete, but quite good. Also cycled about the same distance in the other direction to the Marina. Not such a great track. Lots of rocks, and tight turns and a big cliff to fall off if you go too fast, but much more beautiful scenery.  

 ‘The Fresh Fish Place’ is a must stop shop for fresh seafood. And they have a small cafe/restaurant which is open until 6pm if you don’t want to cook your own.

Had breakfast at Coffin Bay, just down the road from a pork farm. This is what you get if you order one serve of bacon and eggs. 

Brunch at Coffin Bay

Went to Coffin Bay Oyster HQ for a lesson in shucking oysters. So much fun and very informative.

Minniribbie Pork Farm and Antique Shop is an interesting place. Don’t be put off by the look of the place. The food was amazing. Another couple were just finishing lunch, we got talking and had the same as them, pork burger and Elvis pancake (pancake, ice cream, maple syrup and crispy bacon). They were both delicious. We also bought some pork chops to cook back at the van. 

The Coffin Bay National Park is well worth a visit. Camping  is allowed at Yangie Bay which has very calm water, the ground looks fabulous, well set out sites and easy access, there are toilets but no water or power.

Gallipoli Beach is situated near Coffin Bay and is the site where the 1981 movie Gallipoli was filmed. Apparently it is same length and height as the original Gallipoli Beach in Turkey, but wasn’t named Gallipoli beach until after the move Gallipoli was filmed there. We saw a pod of 16 dolphins and one stingray casually feeding in the clear torquise water. Mesmerising.

Port Lincoln National Park is also worth a visit. There are several camping areas. Only one is accessible for caravans.

Swimming with sea lions off Hopkins Island was fantastic.

Stayed an extra night after learning that Tim’s brother David and his wife Kirsten were crewing a boat in the Adelaide to Port Lincoln race in ‘ROCKSALT’. Watched from our caravan park as  they sailed around Boston Island (yellow/green spinnaker) and overtake ‘MOJO’, which was very exciting. Then went to the Port to see them cross the finish line and caught up for a celebratory drink on board at the marina after.

We are heading west today, not sure where to.

Thanks for joining us.

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Cheers for now, Helen and Tim.