Located on the southern tip of Eyre Peninsula you’ll find Coffin Bay National Park, one of South Australia’s best-kept secrets.
This vast coastal wilderness with its rugged limestone cliffs, large coastal sand dunes, abundant wildlife, pristine sandy beaches and sheltered tranquil waters of Coffin Bay is a nature lover’s paradise.
With so much to see and do, we’ve enlisted the help of National Parks and Wildlife Service SA Ranger Elly Schultz.
Elly has worked in the park for several years, so she knows all the best spots to visit. Here are her tips for a perfect day out:
Entry to the park is through the small coastal township of Coffin Bay, located 50 km west of the regional city of Port Lincoln.
Only a few kilometres into the park, you’ll find Templetonia Lookout. Take the opportunity to stretch your legs and take in the 360-degree views of the park.
Interpretive signs at the lookout name the local islands and distant ranges, and if you’re lucky you might even spot an emu or a kangaroo.
Continue your journey into the park by following the signs to Point Avoid.
While it was named by European explorer Captain Matthew Flinders during his voyage in 1802 in reference to the coastline being hazardous for ships, there’s no need to avoid the spectacular coastline anymore.
Make sure you pull over at the roadside stops to admire the views, which are shaped by the large Southern Ocean swell that continuously smashes into the limestone cliffs.
The islands that you can see make up Whidbey Isles Conservation Park. The nearest is Price Island, then Perforated Island and on the horizon are the Four Hummocks.
A few kilometres south of Point Avoid is Golden Island. From the lookout you can see the island and the submerged remnants of an isthmus, a narrow strip of land that once connected the island to the mainland.
Continue to the lower lookout, which provides access to the stunning Almonta Beach. Enjoy a relaxing walk along the beach, or try your luck fishing the schools of salmon that frequent the coast.
By now you will have developed an appetite so make you way towards Yangie Bay, which is a perfect location to enjoy a picnic.
Take advantage of the sheltered picnic facilities and watch the seabirds feeding in the bay as you enjoy your own lunch.
Top tip: Coffin Bay oysters are world famous. Why not buy some in town at the start of your day to add to your picnic lunch.
After lunch it’s time to stretch your legs again. The Yangie Bay Loop Trail starts near the picnic shelter and takes about 45 minutes to complete.
It offers excellent views of the Yangie Bay Marine Sanctuary, an important breeding area for marine species.
On this trail you’ll walk through coastal mallee and open sheoak woodlands, and trek your way through saltmarsh and along low limestone cliffs.
Alternatively, if you have a kayak you might like to explore the calm sheltered waters of Yangie Bay. The shallow beach in front of the picnic shelter is the perfect place for beginners to launch a kayak.
Keep an eye out for dolphins that come into the bay to hunt for a feed of fish. You might even spot a kangaroo or emu swimming across the bay to graze on Yangie Island.
As the day draws to an end make sure you take some time to check out Long Beach on your way home.
Just outside of the national park, take a walk along the beach.
Long Beach is one of the best beaches to enjoy the sun setting over Coffin Bay and is a fitting way to end your day in Coffin Bay National Park.
If you are lucky enough to have more time than just a day, make a night of it and stay in one of the campgrounds.
If you’re looking for a more secluded campsite, there are a number of 4WD only campgrounds located north of Yangie Bay. Due to their remoteness there’s limited facilities, so you need to be well prepared and self-sufficient.
Know before you go
While much of the park requires a 4WD vehicle, there’s still plenty to see if you only have a conventional vehicle. Ranger Elly has put this itinerary together so everyone can enjoy this wonderful park, so all of the places mentioned are accessed by sealed roads.
If you are fortunate to have a 4WD and want to explore the northern area of the park, Elly suggests driving the Coffin Track, which begins at Yangie Bay.
The challenging and narrow track traverses 30 km of rocky limestone and soft sandy terrain to reach the northern areas of the park including Point Sir Isaac, The Pool, Reef Point and the very remote but spectacular Sensation Beach.
Mobile service in the park is limited, so it’s a good idea to download a park map to your smartphone before you set off on your adventure.
For easier navigation in the park, try using the Avenza Maps app, which provides interactive park maps that are free to download and use your device's built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges.
Also bear in mind that there are no shops in the park, so make sure you have adequate food, fuel and water before starting your day.
Top tip: Vehicle entry and camping fees apply in Coffin Bay National Park. Permits will need to be purchased before you arrival at the park, either online or through a National Parks and Wildlife Service SA booking agent.
Main image: Park rangers Elly and Sam at Coffin Bay National Park.