EYRE PENINSULA TOURISM BLOG
Wild West Coast
Wild West Coast
Now that the weather is getting colder I think we can all agree it’s getting harder and harder to leave the couch where it’s cosy and comfortable.
But when you’ve exhausted all decent Netflix options and you’re getting restless, here on the Eyre Peninsula we’ve got a great solution for your boredom– a road trip!
The Eyre Peninsula’s West Coast not only has beauty of its own but it leads into the vast and wondrous Nullarbor Plain. While experiencing the Nullarbor in its entirety requires a significant amount of time it is possible to see some of its highlights in a shorter road trip.
One of the more spectacular natural wonders on the South Australian side of the Nullarbor is Head of Bight, which serves as a whale nursery as well as a section of the longest stretch of cliffs in the world! With the promise of some spectacular views we packed up the car and hit the road.
Clocking in at just over 7 hours driving from Port Lincoln to Head of Bight, we broke up the trip by camping the night at the picturesque Tractor Beach Campground just outside of Streaky Bay.
If you’d like to visit and want to stay a bit closer to Head of Bight you can either set up base in the larger coastal town of Ceduna which is about a 3.5 hour drive away, or there are a number of smaller towns and camping spots closer in proximity.
After a few sightseeing stops along the way, we arrived at Head of Bight ready to take in the views.
The Tourist Centre at the bight charges $15 per adult during Whale Season for access to viewing platforms and boardwalks down to the cliffs edge where you get the best views. Whale Season starts on 1 June and ends on 30 October during which Southern Right Whales take up residence in the waters at Head of Bight to give birth. The sheer Bunda Cliffs provide a spectacular view not only in their own right but also as a great vantage point for whale watchers.
Rugged up against the wind, it was an amazing sight to take in, standing above the water and witnessing these colossal creatures dancing in the waves below. We were lucky enough to see about 6 different whales including a mum and her calf, and according to the Head of Bight website you are guaranteed to see a whale from June to September.
The next destination on our road trip wasn’t that much further down the road.
After stopping at the Nullarbor Roadhouse to make sure we were heading in the right direction, we turned inland on a mission to find the Murrawijinie Caves. The caves are roughly 10 kilometres inland from the Nullarbor roadhouse along a dirt road where a reliable vehicle is definitely recommended.
The name Nullarbor means “no trees”, and as we were heading inland I really noticed for the first time how vast the expanse of land stretching out in front of us was.
A small sign alerted us to the first of the three limestone caves, a crater on the face of the flat stretch of arid land. Though the opening was large, the cave itself it seemed quite shallow until we noticed the floor sloping off into darkness. While it was possible, I personally chose not to climb down the steep edges into the first cave out of fear of not being able to get back out!
There was no way I wasn’t going to explore the second cave though. Even from above it looked magical.
With a smaller opening but more footholds the second cave was much easier to access, though we still had to tread with caution. The further we descended into the cave the greener it got, until we were surrounded by an uncultivated sunken garden of the Nullarbor’s creation. The caves also serve as Swallow and Hawk nesting sites and we definitely heard, if not saw, a few birds whooshing over our heads.
Then it was onto the third cave which was different again with the smallest opening and darkest cavern - I think it goes without saying a bright torch is a necessity if you plan on exploring these caves. For each cave we also set up a safety rope tied to the bumper of the car just in case we got stuck, which definitely came in handy for the first cave.
Once we were content that we’d explored as much of the caves as we could we made our way back to the highway to find that night’s camping spot.
While there are many many more things to see when driving the Nullarbor, and we definitely made a few more stops on the way back to Port Lincoln, Head of Bight and the Murrawijinie Caves were some of my favourites, showcasing the beauty and diversity of the natural wonders in this wild part of the world.
Written by Nicole Ettridge