Monthly Archive for January, 2009
The lure of the sapphire is very real in Queensland’s Central Highlands. As Roderick Eime discovered, the fabled El Dorado may have streets lined with gold but Rubyvale’s dusty pavements are littered with gemstones.
“Here you go,” says Kym White with a cultured tone that seems incongruous in the Australian outback. Her finely manicured hands load a fat pile of ‘wash’ into my sieve with a rough, well-used shovel. My search for a sapphire thus begins with a pile of dirty gravel.
Queensland’s rugged Cape York Peninsula is a bush-driving destination of considerable repute.
En Route Issue 8 Spotlight Eyre Peninsula
Named for Edward John Eyre who nearly died several times on his crossing to Albany in 1841, he and his Aboriginal companion, Wylie, were the last of a party of five to make it alive. From these harsh and foreboding beginnings, the Eyre Peninsula has quietly flourished. Port Lincoln has grown exponentially since the Japanese caught on to the excellent tuna caught and farmed there. Whyalla has always been an iron ore, steel and shipbuilding city and is the third most populous in the state behind Adelaide and Mount Gambier, while Ceduna and Port Augusta form the “bookends” east and west.
Swim With the Locals
For a an ultra close-up of the Port Lincoln tuna, jump aboard with Matt Waller of Adventure Bay Charters and you can dive into his net full of baby (20kg) Southern Blue Fin tuna and even hand feed them if you’re game. Matt can also offer relaxing day cruises on Boston Bay to visit the local sealions.
Local Taste Temptations
You’ll be as surprised as I was at the culinary delights of Coffin Bay. Sit back and enjoy a feed of their famous oysters at The Oysterbeds Seafood Restaurant, grown in the ideal waters just across the road. Pour one of the excellent local wines to match. Ask for a Lincoln Estates Sauvignon Blanc or a Boston Bay Shiraz.
Adventure with Real Bite
If adrenalin experiences are your go, then you’d be hard-pressed to find anything more exciting than a quick dip with the wild Great White Sharks. Calypso Star Charters are in high demand for their shark cruises to Neptune Island, off Port Lincoln. When you’re done with the man-eaters, take a dip with the local sea lions that delight in a game of underwater tag.
For Cruise Lovers
Cruise lovers can take their pick from North Star Cruises’ annual Southern Safari, a luxury food, wine and fun cruise from Adelaide to Ceduna via Kangaroo Island or Classic International Cruises 3- or 4-night “sojourns at sea” aboard the Athena. North Star Cruises visit the remote and uninhabited Investigator Group off the west coast, where you can wander (carefully) among the stunning rock formations and see the rare endemic rock wallaby.
Surprise yourself, rediscover the pleasures and treasures of the Eyre Peninsula. I did.
Did You Know?
- The coastline of the Peninsula was first mapped by rival explorers Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in 1801-02.
- Coffin Bay was not named for a sea burial but after Flinders’ naval buddy, Sir Isaac Coffin.
Rest Your Head [Best Western]
Best Western Alexander Motel
99 Playford Avenue WHYALLA 5600
Telephone: 08 8645 9488
Best Western Ceduna Foreshore Hotel Motel
32 O’Loughlin Terrace CEDUNA 5690
Telephone: 08 8625 2008
Best Western Standpipe Golf Motor Inn
Corner Eyre & Stuart Highways PORT AUGUSTA 5700
Telephone: 08 8642 4033
Few Australians realise the vast extent of tangible WWII history still visible today. But as the dust settles from the release of Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia, with the bombing of Darwin forming its dramatic centrepiece, AT sets out to separate fact from fiction, while providing you with your own key to the living remnants of this global conflict on Australian soil. By Rod Eime