The Gawler National Park was just a 2 hrs drive from Streaky Bay, 1/2 of that time on dirt road. The National Park is part of the Gawler Ranges NE of Streaky Bay & is 166,000 hectares in size.
Entering the park can be done by 2WD, but the majority of the tracks within the park are recommended for high clearance 4WD vehicles only.
Due to the lateness of our visit (Nov) we were the only visitors to the camp ground we stayed at. We had just the birds to keep us company. We saw just 2 other cars driving in the area during our short stay.
The scenic Gawler Ranges consists of volcanic rock hills over 1,500 million yrs old. The external exposure of volcanic rhyloite to form columns known as organ pipes, is one of the largest in the world. Many of the hills in the park are over 400 metres above.
The mean annual rainfall for the area is 295 mm, thus there is little water found in the Nat Pk.
The flora & fauna have adapted amazingly well to this very dry climate.
After visiting Gawler Ranges, we went back to the western coast of the Eyre Peninsula.
Most of the country through the centre of Eyre Peninsula is farmed for grain growing.
We reached the coast @ Elliston approx midway down the peninsula. The west coast of the Eyre Peninsula is still part of The Great Australian Bight. Elliston has some very spectacular coastal cliffs.
We went on a 10 km cliff top Drive. There were several stopping bays to take in the beautiful views. We were blessed with mostly sunny weather, but the wind coming off the Southern Ocean was trying to blow us off over.
We didn't go inside as shearing sheds are in my childhood background & I didn't need to see another shearing shed :) (I'm a graziers daughter who once worked the boards 'rous-about- ing' a few shearing seasons. )
Further down the coast is Coffin Bay. This small community of 600 that swells to over 3,000 during the summer months, is world famous for its oyster. The area is really pretty with dozens of protected bays & estuaries.
Coffin Bay National Park is a few kms from the centre of Coffin Bay. The National Park features a long peninsula with a sheltered bay, coastal dunes, swamps and a spectacular coastline of islands, reefs, limestone cliffs and white surf beaches.
Port Lincoln is < 1 hr drive from Coffin Bay & on the southern end of Eyre Peninsula.
The town has the usual gloriously beautiful white sandy beach with a beautiful grassed picnic area.
The big boats here are dominated by fishing boats...... BIG fishing boats.
Port Lincoln is the seafood & aquaculture capital of Australia, home to the country's largest commercial fishing fleet and renowned for its Southern Bluefin Tuna, King George Whiting, Western King Prawns & Southern Rock Lobster.
Lincoln National Park is 20 kms south of Port Lincoln. The 26,000 hectare park is a rugged peninsula with spectacular ocean views, sandy beaches & sheltered camping sites. Matthew Flinders discovered much of the southern regions of Australia during his circumnavigation in 1802.
As we approached Port Augusta - a few hundred kms north on Port Lincoln & sitting on the most extreme inlet of Spencer Gulf - we were amazed by the mountain range stretching in front of us. The Flinders Ranges stretch for 430 kms from Port Pirie (88 kms south- east of Port Augusta) northwards towards Lake Callabonna - not far from The Menindee Lakes systems.
After 30 mins we decided to take a chance & look at a couple of things near town any way.
Spencer Gulf with a bridge over it & splits the town were looking a little worse for wear.
This was a bonus stop as we'd not known it was there, so we only spent a day / night there with just 1x 3 hr walk. The southern regions of the Mt ranges are still looking 'dusted' in the distance as we drove south towards our turn off :(
A magnificent view of Adelaide from Mt Lofty
We didn't take much time in exploring the rest of SA as our holiday time was running out.
We were to visit newly acquainted friends from the trip that night so we went for a day trip to Hahndorf.
Hahndorf was established by a tight-knit group of Prussian settlers in 1839 & is just 25 mins from Adelaide. Hahndorf's famous main street is filled with old Germanic character. Many of the buildings still have that old charm dating back to the 1840's. The hotel & many of the food outlets serve up German style food & beer.
The next day we started our journey home via the magnificent Murray River.
We have decided that SA will have to be visited again to see all the regions that haven't been seen on this trip. We only got to see a small part of SA. Adelaide will be on the list for next time as well.
The next blog covers our journey home past the mighty Murray & through central NSW.