Coffin Bay and Eyre Peninsula: crowd-free beaches, sand dunes, sea-life and wildlife galore and, of course, shark diving – number 54 on Australian Traveller’s ‘100 amazing places you haven’t been to yet‘. Nominated by: Andrew Fox, Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions.
Being the son of famous shark diver Rodney Fox brings boatloads of adventure, but Andrew Fox still loves the quiet, unspoiled beaches of the lower Eyre Peninsula best.
“Of course Coffin Bay is famous for oysters, which I love, but growing up, Dad was an abalone diver,” Fox remembers, “so we got to know all the coastal areas to get our own lobster and crayfish, and to catch fish and dive for scallops.”
The waters around Perforated Island are still abalone- and scallop-diving territory for the game, but with great white sharks ever-present in these waters, you may as well go all the way and dive with them instead (rodneyfox.com.au).
Surfers need to get themselves a few kilometres offshore to experience a famous right-hander off eastern Golden Island, surfed for years by local cray fishermen, while anglers are in a paradise of kingfish, swarming tuna and snapper around Perforated, Golden and Greenly Islands.
On-shore, beaches such as the long stretch of Almonta Beach – becoming Gunyah Beach further along – are still just as unpolluted and crowd-free as they were back then. The lower peninsula within Coffin Bay National Park is largely sand dunes but offers bush camping, local fishing, diving and plenty of wildlife.
“You’re surrounded by birds, dolphins, sea eagles, goannas, and there are Australian sea lions in clusters all along the shore,” Fox says. “Often when we’re snorkelling in the more secluded bays, they seem to want to engage with you. I mean, you must remember they are wild animals, but they swim around you and are really curious.”
If you want to reach the northern beaches of the national park, you’ll need a high-clearance 4WD, but Fox unsurprisingly prefers to go by boat. They’re available for hire from Reel Action in Port Lincoln (0428 892 257), or jump aboard one of the many fishing charters available in the area.
“The coastal scenery is stunning,” Fox says, “plus there are some little islands closer to shore that give you a really complicated harbour to navigate around. It makes boating through here feel like a real adventure.”
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