Eyre do well on the penin­sula

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

From Page 3 Trethewey’s Oys­terbeds Restau­rant. Closed for the win­ter (but re­open­ing in early Septem­ber), this charm­ing bistro would no doubt have pleased Baudin and his crew, with menus built en­tirely around the catch of the day. The only in­gre­di­ents not sourced lo­cally are cheese and chicken, says Mar­ion, who re­lies on friends to grows herbs and limes and col­lect cock­les and crabs from the Cof­fin Bay chan­nels.

Among Mar­ion’s favourite seafood are baby oys­ters (six months old), al­most un­heard of out­side Ja­pan but avail­able at Oys­terbeds. They’re much sweeter than the larger variety and I of­ten cook them as I would mus­sels, tossed with gar­lic, olive oil and a lit­tle pars­ley,’’ Mar­ion tells me.

Our next meal of oys­ters lies al­most 300km away at Streaky Bay. It is an easy drive, how­ever, kalei­do­scopic in its em­brace, from soft dunes and stands of she-oak glint­ing with the ex­otic west­ern ring­neck par­rot to Mur­phy’s Haystacks, gran­ite pil­lars and boul­ders shaped like modernist sculp­tures. Nearer El­lis­ton, rock-strewn hills give way to a dra­matic cliffed coast­line. At Locks Well, a pre­cip­i­tous wooden stair­way winds down to a beach bat­tered by surf. Ei­ther side of El­lis­ton town­ship, un­fenced coastal drives pro­vide in­cred­i­ble views and ac­cess to an in­trigu­ing sculp­ture park, each piece set at the cliff’s edge.

Streaky lies still farther west, at the ap­par­ent end of the earth, tucked away on a pretty bay that is home to oys­ter and abalone farm­ers and pa­tient line fish­er­men.

Again oys­ters are avail­able ev­ery­where: at the seafront pub, Mo­cean Cafe Restau­rant, and at Tom Evans’s Oys­ter Shed on the out­skirts of town. Win­ter is the best time to en­joy oys­ters and Au­gust the op­ti­mum month,’’ says Evans as he ex­pertly shucks a plump and sweet justhar­vested mollusc.

Vis­i­tors are able to ob­serve the sort­ing process (and

Shell-shucked: Oys­ters fresh from the ocean en­joy a taste) be­fore Evans pops the oys­ters on a truck bound for Ade­laide. And shed prices are very tempt­ing, at a mere $6 to $7 a dozen.

At that price I can use them for bait,’’ says op­por­tunis­tic son No 2 as we back­track past Port Kenny, with a quick cuppa at im­pos­si­bly pretty Venus Bay, be­fore check­ing into our cabin at Coodlie Park. Craig (Hassie) Haslam, for­mer foot­baller and erst­while eco tour leader — his small van makes reg­u­lar for­ays across the Nullar­bor — pro­vides an al­ter­na­tive glimpse of the penin­sula and a fab­u­lous ad­ven­ture for young­sters in­ured to ac­tion by a vir­tual life.

Be­fore din­ner we head out in Hassie’s bat­tered four­wheel-drive, across the Sa­hara-like dune land­scape, ex­plor­ing plains of curious light­ning sand (small tubes, like tree roots, are formed by light­ning strikes) and a busy wom­bat colony. This wild coast­line of­fers am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for a spot of Fa­mousFive -style ad­ven­ture. Hassie has us clam­ber­ing down a tree trunk into a rather fright­en­ing sea cave dubbed the Tub to watch the fu­ri­ous surf shoot through a broad blow­hole, and later to daub our faces with rose-coloured ochre from the cliff walls.

While we are out, a huge camp­fire has been built back at the home­stead and Dan from Birm­ing­ham, res­i­dent WOOFer (Will­ing Work­ers on Or­ganic Farms), has whipped up a de­li­cious kan­ga­roo ro­gan josh.

Af­ter din­ner there’s time for a brief spot­light­ing sa­fari (wom­bats are most ac­tive at night) be­fore cof­fee around the camp­fire and a stir­ring ren­di­tion of How Much is that Doggy in the Win­dow by Hassie and Molly the singing col­lie.

What a day. We sleep snug as wom­bats in a hole while a wild wind blows in from the South­ern Ocean. My sons are dream­ing of the one that got away while their mother cal­cu­lates the very real pos­si­bil­ity of a sea change. Chris­tine McCabe was a guest of the South Aus­tralian Tourism Com­mis­sion.

Check­list

The car ferry op­er­ates daily be­tween Wal­la­roo on the Yorke Penin­sula and Lucky Bay on the Eyre. More: www.seasa.com.au. The Port Lin­coln Ho­tel has 111 rooms, in­clud­ing 22 suites, restau­rant, lounge, sports bar, gam­ing room and swim­ming pool. www.portlin­colnho­tel.com.au. The Oys­terbeds Restau­rant re­opens in Septem­ber. 61 Es­planade, Cof­fin Bay. (08) 8685 4000; theoys­terbeds@big­pond.com. Coodlie Park of­fers cabin and camp­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion to­gether with tour­ing ad­ven­tures be­tween Ade­laide and Perth. More: (08) 8687 0455; www.thetrav­eller.net.au. www.southaus­tralia.com www.eyrepenin­sula.info www.coffin­bay­ex­plorer.com Re­view of Mo­cean Cafe Restau­rant — Ta­bles, Page 8

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