The ultimate pocket guide to camping along the Eyre Peninsula
Looking to get away from the comfort of four walls and the hustle and bustle of the Adelaide CBD? Then pocket this guide as you trek west along the Eyre Peninsula. From free campsites with some of the best views you could wake up to in Australia, to a hidden oasis that rivals the postcard perfect Maldives - the Eyre Peninsula is dotted with dozens of dunes, parks and beaches to make camp. But the peninsula's vastness can make it difficult to find those hidden gems you have spied on social media, plus some GPS services can lead campers astray in the Australian outback. We have taken the leg work out of it for you with all you need to know about the best camp spots along the Eyre Peninsula, including how to get there.
1. Port Gibbon
Watch the red dirt of the outback melt away into pristine white sands that blend into every shade of blue water. Welcome to Port Gibbon. While this stretch of sand can be a little exposed to the elements, campers are spoilt for choice with a bunch of little spots to park up at with absolute oceanfront views. If you are visiting the Eyre Peninsula during the shoulder seasons or in winter, you are likely to have the whole place to yourself.
How to get there: Port Gibbon is a short 20 minute drive from the nearby town of Cowell. If travelling south from Cowell, take the Lincoln highway out of town before turning left onto Port Gibbon road. You will pass the small townsite of Port Gibbon before following the road to the right along the coast. From here, there are a bunch of great spots to make camp.
Cost: Port Gibbon is $15 per night with a max 14 day stay.
Driving conditions: Travellers have reported that most sites are accessible by a 2WD vehicle, but the access road and camping area is unsealed.
Type of camping: Off-grid. The only service at this campsite is a coin operated shower, so bring everything you need and leave no trace.
2. Engine Point Campground, Lincoln National Park
Meet Australia’s answer to the Maldives. With translucent calm waters, a variety of fish darting and diving in the shallows and a camping hideaway tucked at one end of a long cove – what’s not to love? While there is no beach access for vehicles, you can get in your daily exercise by strolling along the shoreline, or one of the nearby walking trails. If you are lucky you might spot majestic whales migrating past Boston Bay, which is the largest natural harbour in Australia. If you are looking to get away from camp for the day, you can hop in the car and check out the nearby Sleaford-Wanna sand dunes that look straight from the set of Star Wars or support local with a tasting at Boston Bay Wines.
How to get here: Engine Point Campground can be accessed via Donnington, inside the Lincoln National Park. From Donnington Road, you can turn onto the 4WD track called Engine Point road and head toward the unallocated camping sites.
Cost: It is $13.50 per night to camp in the Lincoln National Park and bookings can be made via the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Driving conditions: Some 2WD vehicles have managed to access the campground, but it is meant to be for 4WD vehicles. The campground is suitable for off-road campers.
Type of camping: Off-grid. There are four sites overlooking the waters of Boston Bay, with little shade on offer and no amenities. There are toilets at nearby September Beach and Fisherman Point.
3. Sheringa Beach
Sheringa is one of many beautiful stretches of desolate sand in the Elliston area. Situated an hour and a half from Port Lincoln and seven and a half hours drive from Adelaide, you could easily unpack your camper and spend a week making this blissful summer surfing mecca your home. The tiny town of Sheringa has become a tourist stop off thanks to the unique road sign pointing travellers to "nowhere else" - the name of an old pastoral property that used to operate in the area.
How to get there: From Elliston it is a 34 minute drive along the Flinders Highway. When you reach the small townsite of Sheringa, turn right onto Sheringa Beach Road and follow it down to the coast and campsites.
Cost: It costs $20 per vehicle, per night to camp at Sheringa beach and you can purchase a permit from the Elliston community and visitor information centre, council office or they are available on-site at the campground.
Driving conditions: The road is in good condition and can usually be accessed by all vehicles.
Type of camping: Basic. There is a flushing toilet, an outdoor shower and rubbish bins available at the campsite.
4. Coodlie Park Farm Retreat
This unique retreat is nestled away on 3000 acres of farmland in the middle of the Eyre Peninsula. Just a 15 minute drive from Venus Bay and conveniently wedged between Mount Camel Beach and the Talia Caves, this eco bush camp is prime real estate for adventurous campers, who can enjoy watching the sunset over Coodlie’s private beach. The Talia Caves, one of the most photographed natural wonders in South Australia, is just seven kilometres away if you are wanting a day trip away from camp. The property offers a variety of camping facilities, including swag huts – an elevated mini wooden shelter - for those that want the traditional camping experience with a few creature comforts. If you have been roughing it for most of your road trip and are looking for a night’s luxury, you can opt for one of their self-contained cottages or the slightly larger Pioneer Bungalow (that includes Wi-Fi and a private kitchen). Wash off your beach day like a true outback explorer by trying out their eco-friendly, hot water tin bucket showers. This is a great camping alternative to some of the nearby national parks as it is pet friendly, you only need to keep your fury friend on a leash if other campers are around.
How to get there: Coodlie Park Farm Retreat is easily accessed using GPS or smartphone mapping services. From Venus Bay, follow the Venus Bay Road out of town before turning right onto Flinders Highway. From there, it is the first major turn off on your right after Mount Camel Road. From Elliston it is a 35 minute drive and you can take the Flinders Highway north west out of town. Just beyond the turn off for Talia Caves Road is another road on the left that will give you access to the property. Once you arrive you will need to check-in at their homestead, reception opening hours is 9am to 7pm daily.
Cost: It is $25 per vehicle to camp, while the self-contained cottages start from $120 per night and the Pioneer Bungalow $300.
Driving conditions: Suitable for 2WD, 4WD and camper trailers.
Type of camping: Comfortable. Coodlie Park Campground has a communal fire pit, camp kitchen, running water, hot showers, toilets and gas barbecues that will make you feel right at home. This is an eco-friendly property and as such, there is no mains electricity - only solar power - so be water and power wise as they run out regularly due to misuse.
5. Scotts Beach Campground, Fowlers Bay Conservation Park
Scotts Beach campground is our ultimate pick if you are wanting to explore the Fowlers Bay Conservation Park. Located at the southern end of the conservation area, Scotts Beach offers stunning views of a crystal clear blue lagoon that has been known to host an array of wildlife, including seals and sea lions. Fowlers Bay is also one of the best places to see whales on their annual migration. Those wanting to try their hand at becoming fully self-sufficient can get the rod out and drop a line either from the shoreline or along the nearby rocks, with a good chance of snagging salmon, mulloway, whiting or garfish. Bird watchers love the park as it has become a sanctuary for a variety of seabirds, including osprey, sea eagles, the hooded plover and fairy tern. The park and town-site of Fowlers Bay are surrounded by expansive sand dunes that rival even those found in Egypt - once you traverse into the heart of them, you would be forgiven for believing you had been transported to Mars. The campsite offers twenty unallocated vehicle sites but it is truly off the beaten track – so no shade or shelter, running water or toilets. When fire restrictions permit, campers can enjoy cosying up around the campfire.
How to get there: Travellers have reported it taking roughly fifteen minutes from Fowlers Bay to traverse down a bumpy and unsealed track before reaching the beach. If you are coming from Fowlers Bay, take Coorabie road out of the town-site for about seven kilometres, where you will be met with a sharp left hand turn onto a dirt track that takes you into the park. If you have passed Tallala Well Road on your right, you have gone too far. Stay on that road and follow it down until you reach the magnificent sand dunes and your campsite. For the adventurous, you can follow your nose through the well traversed sand dunes before arriving at the beach.
Cost: It costs $13.50 a night to camp in the Fowlers Bay Conservation Park and bookings can be made via the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Driving Conditions: This drive is best attempted by those with access to a 4WD vehicle, with the local parks authority saying it is suitable for a caravan, camper trailer or tent. The beach is cocooned by sweeping sand dunes that you will need to ascend before reaching your final camping spot. You will also want a 4WD if you want to explore any of the other areas within the park, including the nearby camp Mexican Hat Bay.
Type of camping: Off-grid. There are no facilities at Scotts Beach so be prepared and travel with enough water and fuel to last your holiday, keeping in mind that you are likely going to burn a bit more fuel than usual getting up and over the numerous sand dunes. The closest fuel station is a 30 minute drive away in Nundroo and there is a well stocked supermarket 90 minutes away in Ceduna. If bush ablution isn’t your style, there are slightly more formal toilet facilities at the nearby Mexican Hat campground and public toilets in Fowlers Bay, as well as a laundromat, small cafe and a great fish burger in town.
6. Yalata Indigenous Protected Area
It is a privilege for locals and visitors alike to be granted access to camp in the Yalata Indigenous Protected Area – but with great privilege comes exclusivity. Situated along one of the most remote stretches of coastline in Australia, the Nullarbor’s Yalata campground offers only 15 campsites spread across a 40 kilometre private coastline. The campsite options vary, with some set back in the bush and others closer to the beach. Yalata is famed for its sensational surf fishing conditions. Fisherman from across Australia dream of casting out at Yalata, but the custodians of the land encourage a catch and release philosophy. Expect uninterrupted, desolate coastal scenery, imposing dunes and a vibrant underwater playground – out here, there’s little to no trace of the human race. It is worth noting that alcohol and firearms are not permitted on the lands and pets must remain either in the car or on a leash.
How to get there: The Yalata Aboriginal Lands are situated on the eastern end of the Nullarbor Plain alongside the Head of the Bight and are accessible from the Eyre Highway – specific directions on how to access the lands are provided once a permit is granted by the governing group.
Cost: It is a $30 per person, per night flat rate fee and bookings need to be made in advance through their website, as they no longer accept cash on arrival. The permit system was introduced due to the pressure visitors were placing on the natural environment, with the funds collected from campers going towards land management as well as paying for a ranger to monitor the area.
Driving conditions: There are no locals to offer a hand and no phone reception to call for help, so be prepared that if your vehicle does become bogged, you will need to pull yourself out. It could take over a day for the local ranger to find you. This is definitely a 4WD only experience.
Type of camping: Off-grid. Yalata is extremely remote, with no phone reception and the closest landline is 70 kilometres away from camp. It is recommended that you bring at least four litres of water per day, per person and your own pop-up shade or canopy. Unlike some of the other off-grid camping options mentioned in this guide, Yalata is truly in the middle of nowhere - with no major towns for over 100 kilometres in either direction and travellers will need access to a UHF radio or satellite phone in case of emergency. If you are really desperate for supplies, the famous Nullarbor Roadhouse is only 25 kilometres away.
7. Mount Ive station
If you are wanting a taste of country living then you can't go past this family owned sheep station. Mount Ive is located 200 kilometres west of Port Augusta in the heart of the Gawler Ranges. Enjoy traversing their many 4x4 tracks, check out historic old buildings long forgotten, get your salt lake snap at Lake Gairdner or climb to the top of Mount Ive for a panoramic view of the South Australian outback.
How to get there: Mount Ive is 500 kilometres from Adelaide and a three hour drive from Port Augusta. From Port Augusta, follow the Eyre Highway out of town and through Lincoln Gap until you get to Iron Knob. Here you will turn right onto Nonning Road and follow it until you reach the Mount Ive road on your right.
Cost: A powered site costs $28 per night for two adults, while bush camping is just $10 per night, per adult. If you are wanting to do away with the tent for a night, you can opt to stay in their shearers quarters for $65, one of the three stone rooms for $110 a night or they have a little stone hut with a queen bed at a rate of $160 per night.
Driving conditions: You will want a 4WD car to explore the station but all vehicles can camp there.
Type of camping: Comfortable. There are barbecue facilities, fire pits and shaded areas available around the camping area.