The South Australian road trip every Aussie should drive
Why south Australia's stunning Eyre Peninsula is one of the great Australian drives.
From my balcony at the Port Lincoln Hotel, Boston Bay shimmers like quicksilver in the dusky light. The breeze from the Southern Ocean smells like oysters – salty, briny, delicious. It’s so good to be back on the Eyre Peninsula.
A decade ago I came here to camp beside the Gawler Ranges National Park. Few people venture out this way – national park figures suggest only around 10,000 a year – but its red earth and endless blue sky are more impressive for their quiet isolation. With kangaroos and emus dashing across saltbush fields, abandoned settlers' huts and sprawling sheep stations, thorny devils and Sturt’s desert peas, this land is more Australian than almost anywhere else I’ve been on the continent.
This time around I’m doing a road trip in two parts. I’ll drive myself around the southern peninsula over a weekend, eating and drinking in the region’s flourishing food scene. I’ve arranged to borrow a gleaming Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed for the food odyssey and to visit some of the southern beauty spots. Then I’ll head to the outback with Gawler Ranges Safaris, letting their skilled drivers handle the rugged dry river beds and ancient sand dunes. The Pajero is a fine 4WD, but I have zero experience so it’s best to outsource that part of the trip to experts.
The peninsula, a seven-hour (650-kilometre) drive or 45-minute flight from Adelaide, is probably most famous as Australia’s richest commercial fishery. The Southern Ocean brims with lobster, prawns, abalone, oysters and the southern bluefin tuna that’s made many a Port Lincoln millionaire.