4WD Adventures in South Australia

Western Region of South Australia

 

Eyre Peninsula is the most westerly of South Australia's three major peninsula regions.  Some of the state's most spectacular beaches and rugged coastal cliffs are just part of the reason for making the trip to the region.  

The eastern coastline lies within the protected waters of Spencer Gulf.  There are some surprises to be found here, with Whyalla for example becoming known throughout the country as the cuttlefish capital.  Thousands of these amazing marine creatures gather in the waters near Whyalla to breed, to the delight of naturalists.  The western coastline is exposed to the mighty Southern Ocean where the beaches are clean and white and the tall cliffs and headlands are breathtaking.

For anyone seeking a bit of 4WD adventure there are a couple of major areas where the driving is challenging and the scenery is just stunning.

Coffin Bay National Park

Yangie Bay    

Point Avoid

Coffin Bay National Park is a huge coastal wilderness where there are sand dunes and beach driving, and rough tracks in plenty.  The scenic beauty of this park is astounding. There are pristine expanses of white beach, craggy headlands and sparkling blue water.  

The park is popular with fishermen and there are designated areas for camping.  A permit to camp is available from the visitors centre, where you can also obtain up-to-date information on the track conditions. 2WD camping is available at Yangie Bay, and there are other camping areas situated around the peninsula.  The Yangie Bay and Black Springs camping areas offer some shelter from the elements.  Please be aware that very limited facilities are provided in Coffin Bay NP and you should go prepared with your own water and food supplies.  Stick to the well defined tracks and reduce tyre pressure when you are on the sand.  On some beaches, you also need to be plan your trip taking into account the tide times.  It is obviously not desirable to have your vehicle stuck on the beach with an incoming tide.

This wilderness region is fragile and protects some of the area's unique flora and fauna.  Please avoid driving above the high water mark, or at the very least stay close to it.  Many sea birds nest on the fragile dunes in the park.  The endangered Hooded Plover for example lays its eggs unprotected on the sand, and careless driving could threaten the species' survival.

 

Lincoln National Park

Lincoln National Park lies to the west, just south of Port Lincoln.  There are a number of tracks suitable for 4WD vehicles, particularly in the southern section.  There are some wonderful quiet bays where you can camp and fish in the north, and the wilderness to the south is remote and rugged.  The tracks are generally more heavily vegetated than in Coffin Bay, so the driving is different.  If you are in the region, it would be enjoyable to spend some time exploring this park.

 

The Gawler Ranges

Gawler Ranges 

Pildappa Rocks, near Minnipa

 

The Gawler Ranges are spread across the top of Eyre Peninsula, starting just to the west of Port Augusta.  There are a number of routes through the ranges, but a recommended stop is at Mount Ives.  This station has a camping ground and basic facilities and is an ideal place to stay while you explore this unique area.  There are a number of interesting places to visit and a 4WD vehicle makes them easily accessible, although road conditions quickly deteriorate in the rain.  

Visit Peters Pillar where you will find an unusual rock formation.  Narrow red rectangular rocks sit abut each other to form an amazing sight, particularly in the late afternoon when the shadows enhance the colours. Other tracks cross creek beds and wind their way through these dry rolling ranges.  Wildlife is prolific and the ranges are particularly colourful in the spring, when the winter rains have coloured the landscape and wild flowers begin to emerge.

 

Googs Track

Ceduna township marks the beginning of this track, which heads north to meet the Trans Australia Railway.  This track was cut by 'Goog' Denton and his son 'Digger' more than 20 years ago.  See the special feature Googs Track for more information. 

 

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