WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
Between the pretty seaside towns of the Eyre Peninsula are untamed regions ripe for adventure.
PEERING OVER THE edge of a giant cliff of sheer sand, it occurs to me that fourwheel driving through 80m high dunes is not for the novice driver – or the faint hearted. Luckily, I’m with an expert so I’m perfectly relaxed about plummeting nose-first down the other side. Well, almost. It’s a bit like riding a rollercoaster; you know you’re safe but when you reach that point of no return it’s difficult to tell the difference between thrilling and terrifying. Either way, it’s a lot of fun.
“Now this is real four-wheel driving,” says my guide, Phil Porter, as he races his Nissan Patrol up another impossible incline. Extreme four-wheel driving, more like it. It takes four attempts but we eventually make it to the top before flying down the other side.
Others aren’t always so lucky. Phil, who with wife Amanda runs the 4WD tour business Wilderness Wanders out of Port Lincoln, is regularly called upon to pull other vehicles, driven by amateurs and seasoned drivers alike, out of the soft sand. As we pass a heavily-laden ute struggling up another dune, it looks for a moment like Phil might be pressed into service again. But the ute’s driver is lucky, and so are we. It’s a gorgeous spring day, with hardly a breath of wind and the turquoise waters of Sleaford Bay are, I’m told, unusually calm.
“I brought a couple to be married here on the beach a few weeks back,” says Phil as we stop to enjoy a spectacular view over the pristine sandy shore. On the way back we pass the guys from the ute, now on foot, loaded up with rods and eskies. It might be a perfect spot for romantic nuptials but apparently the fishing’s not bad either.
The Wanna Dunes drive, which follows the southwest coast at the tip of Eyre Peninsula, is the last feature on our tour today, which we’ve done in reverse due to the late arrival in Port Lincoln of my 40-minute flight from Adelaide. Unfazed, Phil had been waiting outside the airport, along with Wander, the nine-month old orphaned joey, who accompanies the tours, happily
Lincoln National Park. Below: the massive Wanna Dunes