Sorrel heads to the sleepy little town of Coffin Bay to explore its diverse National Park.
Just 450 people live in Coffin Bay, named by Matthew Flinders in honour of Sir Isaac Coffin, a British Lord of the Admiralty. He was not the first European to visit the lonely, isolated coastline. A decade earlier, French explorer d’Entrecasteaux sighted the coast, but the rugged coastline and dangerous seas gave him second thoughts about trying to anchor.
The large, triangular peninsula on the southern tip of Eyre Peninsula bursts at the seams in January. The beaches, calm waters of the bay, fishing, sailing and skindiving attract many people for a summer holiday.
The coastal landscape is diverse. High, windswept cliffs, enormous dunes and pounding surf are in steep contrast to the sheltered bays. Away from the coast are dunes and limestone pavements, patches of she-oak, dry land ti-trees and low-lying samphire swamps which are home to many birds.
Coffin Bay National Park is a remote area, accessible only to four-wheel-drive vehicles, boats or bushwalkers. Various types of seabird dotterels, sooty oystercatchers, fairy penguins, cormorants, crested and Caspian terns frequent the beaches and enjoy the safety of the area for breeding. You may even see osprey diving for fish and wedge tailed eagles floating above.
South Australian Tourism says this national park is South Australia’s best kept four-wheel-drive secret, but if you join Steve Pocock on one of his Great Australian Bight Safaris, you too will enjoy this gem. Chances are you will see mobs of emus and kangaroos and sturdy horses whose ancestors were introduced to the area in the 1840s.
Having spent around 16 years in the area, Steve can tell you about the success of healthy ecosystems against introduced pests, management of she-oak woodlands and other things of interest. He will even provide morning and afternoon tea and lunch!