THE OYSTER TRAIL AND PORT LINCOLN

Ceduna is the first major town at the end of the Nullarbor and its pristine waters produce excellent oysters and other quality seafood. It is also the start of the Oyster Drive which goes south to Port Lincoln and up the coast to Cowell.  We endeavoured to taste the oysters – which all taste very different – at each place!

First stop was Thevenard -four kilometres from Ceduna – where we found a little shack shucking fresh oysters for $12 dozen – so with a couple of dozen in the car we headed for a spot by the ocean to indulge.  They were good – very good!

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Next it was off to Smoky Bay, a small settlement where the oysters are also excellent but of a different taste altogether.

Streaky Bay was our overnight stop and here we witnessed one of the most beautiful, calm sunsets we have seen yet.  We walked along the jetty whee the locals were trying their luck fishing and the pelicans were ever hopeful!

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As the sun set and the shadows deepened the reflections became more dramatic.

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Of course, more oysters were on the menu along with King George Whiting and Blue Swimmer Crab.

Next morning more beautiful coastal scenery awaited us at Sceale Bay which is a tiny community and is known for fishing and holiday recreations. The permanent population is 40 and that can triple in holiday periods;

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Coffin Bay is renowned for oysters and on the drive to our favourite restaurant there – 1802 Restaurant – we came across Murphy’s Haystacks which just appears out of nowhere on the landscape.  This 1500 million year old geological wonder is one of the most visited locations on the Eyre Peninsula and is actually on private property.  The unique form of pillars and boulders dates back 100,000 years and are ancient wind worn inselbergs.

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They were buried by calcareous dunes about 30,000 years ago and subsequent erosion has revealed the pink granite forms standing on the hilltop today.

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The local legend is that coach driver Charlie Mudge named Murphy’s Haystacks following a remark by a Scottish agricultural advisor who saw the landmark in the distance whilst travelling on the mail coach.  Shimmering like haystacks in the hot afternoon sun, he was very impressed with the sight and remarked “that man must harrow, look at all the hay he has saved!”

At Venus Bay we went to the Needle Eye Lookout for amazing views of towering rugged cliffs and beautiful beaches as well as pounding, rolling surf.

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Here we spotted a pod of dolphins frolicking and playing in the surf.  An artist has carved his work on the granite rocks at the top of the cliff reminding everyone that this is tuna fishing territory.

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More oysters awaited at Coffin Bay – and I have to admit that these are my favourite.  Not too large and salty, they are delicious and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

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Followed by raw tuna Asian style

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This place is an absolute must for anyone travelling along the Eyre Peninsula.  The town is sleepy but swells in holiday periods.  Lots of pelicans keep you company!

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Port Lincoln was our final stop for the day.  This is a seafood lovers paradise with, it is said, the cleanest, freshest and most sought after seafood in the world.  Prized for its superb quality in sushi and sashimi, the majority of the southern bluefin tuna is exported to Japan with some available locally.  We decided to take a boat trip in Boston Bay to view the tuna and kingfish farms – now a multi million dollar business for the town.  The Marina is busy with fishing boats coming and going, some to catch sardines to feed the tuna in the farms, others to catch prawns and other fish.

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The farms are situated in the bay and the tuna are grown there before being caught and exported once they reach the required size.

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Seabirds know when it is feeding time!

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Mussels are also grown out here and are serviced daily by the fishermen.

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We took a little detour to an island where there is an enormous number of seabirds living alongside seals lots of seals many of which were having a roll about in the water.

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Finally we got to taste different sashimi – and shown the correct way to eat it!

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Lunch consisted of…..you guessed it – Sashimi!

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Our oyster experience was not yet finished – more was to come tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

COFFIN BAY, THEAKSTONE’S CREVASSE AND WHALERS WAY – SOUTH AUSTRALIA

No visit to Port Lincoln is complete without a trip to Coffin Bay and a tasting of the famous oysters.  We set off for lunch at a newly opened restaurant but first we took a detour to the beautiful Whaler’s Way and Theakstone’s Crevasse which is some 32 km from Port Lincoln.

Located on private property – owned by the same family since 1860 and old friends of the Ferry family – we obtained the key from Bob Theakstone and navigated the sandy, winding road first to Cape Wiles which was named after the botanist James Wiles who sailed with Flinders in 1802.  This is part of an area known as Whaler’s Way and an old whaling station can still be seen at Fishery Bay.  The Whalers made a living off Southern Right Whale blubber and  today these massive whales once again pass through the waters annually during the winter months.

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Cape Wiles is truly spectacular and dozens of fur seals are often seen splashing around the base of the golden sandstone islands just off the point.

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It was blustery but a beautiful day – so the clan gathered for a photo opportunity!  Then we drove on to Cape Carnot which is at the southwesterly tip of the Eyre Peninsula and named by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1802.  The waves are often freakish and have claimed lives.  The full force of the Southern Ocean meets some of the oldest rock formations on the planet and, well known to geologists, these rocks are some 2460 million years old.  We didn’t have time to climb down to them but the view was pretty spectacular.

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Finally we came to Theakstone’s Crevasse, which I first visited in 1969 and it hasn’t changed! It is a deep fissure along a fault line formed over millions of years and is 1-2m wide and 13m deep.  The walls are said to be 9m high.  The crevasse has been scoured by the sea and extends some 30m underground.

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Time was beating us so we made our way out of the property and on to Coffin Bay where we had booked lunch at 1802 – a new restaurant on the foreshore of the pretty village.

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Matthew Flinders named the bay in February 1802 in honour of his friend Sir Thomas Coffin who was Naval Commissioner at Sheerness where the “Investigator” was fitted out.  The waters are calm and ideal for oyster farming which has grown over the years.  Surrounded by National and Conservation Parks, this is an ideal family holiday location with lots of fishing, kayaking, walking, water sports and fabulous scenery.  We were there primarily for the oysters and they didn’t disappoint!

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Then it was back to Port Lincoln and a visit to the local winery – Boston Bay Wines which is located on the shores of Boston Bay.

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Love the name of the Sav Blanc – this is the home of The Great White after all!  We didn’t have the time nor the inclination to swim with the sharks but hundreds do!

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Makybe Diva – the famous racehorse, winner of the Melbourne Cup and owned by Port Lincoln identities.  The statue is on the foreshore and this was taken early in the morning on our walk to our breakfast spot.

Farewell to Port Lincoln – you have turned on the best weather and showcased the full beauty of the region which we have  managed to explore in just three days but we all vowed we will return.

PORT LINCOLN – SEAFOOD CAPITAL OF AUSTRALIA

The first part of our trip to South Australia and the River Murray was a quick visit to Richard’s home town of Port Lincoln.  A picturesque town on the Eyre Peninsula which has grown and developed over the years since I have been visiting.  From a relatively sleepy place in the early 70’s to a very dynamic and thriving community today, Port Lincoln is known as the “Seafood Capital of Australia” and is perhaps the nation’s biggest combined agricultural and fishing centre.  Tuna, prawns, lobster, abalone and scale fish are the major fishing and aquaculture industries and there is also major farming including sheep, beef and cereal crops.

We flew in by Qantas Link and checked into the Port Lincoln Hotel which is right on the bay in the centre of town.  The next morning we were greeted with the most magnificent sunrise……

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We devised a little “Port Lincoln Discovery Tour” for our group which consisted of Chel and Rob, Eva and Hark and Jeff – all of whom had not visited the area before and were keen to see the tuna farms and, most importantly, visit Coffin Bay, the home of our favourite oysters.

We set off early on a short boat tour of Boston Bay and the tuna farms with Peter from Triple Bay Charters who explained the whole tuna and fishing industry, showed us Fur seals and Sea lions and lastly gave us a tasting of fresh Blue Fin Sashimi tuna.  http://www.triplebaycharters.net.au

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The boat takes 8 passengers and Peter is a wonderful guide.  We set off from Port Lincoln Marina and Peter explained the different types of boats used for tuna, prawns and deep sea fishing.

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Then we headed out to the tuna farms which are situated off Boston island in the middle of Boston Bay.  The tuna are caught in the ocean and placed in the round netted cage where they are towed very slowly to the bay. They are  carefully tended each day and grow to an enormous size before they are sold and sent all over the world but primarily to Japan.

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After observing and feeding and maintenance of the nets, we cruised to a little bay off the island and had a wonderful time watching the beautiful Fur seals and several large sea lions – all sharing the rocks with hundreds of birds.

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Look at the whiskers!

Finally it was time to drop anchor and have the long anticipated sashimi tasting!

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Different grades of tuna all sliced ready for tasting.

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And here is the prepared plate with horseradish, pickled radish, wasabi and soy sauce.

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Chel, Rob and Richard intently listening to the correct method of serving and eating sashimi!

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And here is the group – fully informed about the aquaculture and fishing industries of Port Lincoln and well fed on sashimi!