- 1. The surreal beauty of Lake Gairdner
- 2. Learning about the mining history and Cornish heritage of the 'Copper Triangle' towns on the Yorke Peninsula
- 3. Seeing Australian wildlife in the Gawler Ranges
- 4. Port Lincoln, Australia's largest natural harbour
|06 July 2022 |
Ends 20 July 2022 • 15 days
|15 August 2022 |
Ends 29 August 2022 • 15 days
|04 September 2022 |
Ends 18 September 2022 • 15 days
|15 January 2023 |
Ends 29 January 2023 • 15 days
|05 February 2023 |
Ends 19 February 2023 • 15 days
|05 March 2023 |
Ends 19 March 2023 • 15 days
|16 April 2023 |
Ends 30 April 2023 • 15 days
|07 May 2023 |
Ends 21 May 2023 • 15 days
|02 July 2023 |
Ends 16 July 2023 • 15 days
|13 August 2023 |
Ends 27 August 2023 • 15 days
|03 September 2023 |
Ends 17 September 2023 • 15 days
Two Peninsulas and a Mountain Range: Eyre, Yorke Peninsula's and the Gawler Ranges
This Outback Australian tour is limited to 15 travellers. A small group tour to the Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, and the Gawler Ranges is designed for mature and senior travellers, travelling as a couple or single traveller, to discover the hidden gems of South Australia. You're likely (rightly) familiar with the wine regions of the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale, the pristine scenery of Kangaroo Island, and the outback adventures offered on the stunning Flinders Ranges. Yet, the lesser-known western half of South Australia is a worthy rival for an Australia vacation, offering the pristine coasts of the Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula - often strikingly under developed compared to the East Coast of Australia - and the rugged landscapes of the Gawler Ranges. Delve deeper, and the visitor will find a fascinating journey and often unexpected South Australian history as they travel to this unique destination.
This, like all Odyssey Traveller small group tours is limited to 15 people.
Odyssey Traveller's Australian tours are small group outback tours for seniors, designed for mature travellers who want an in-depth and authentic experience of their chosen destination. Since 1983, we have specialised in bringing Australian travellers to the world: now, our goal is to let you again rediscover your own country. We don't just go from tourist stop to tourist stop, but aim to get off the beaten path, bringing to life some of the less-explored regions on your chosen Outback Australia tour. We want you to see Australia through new eyes as you travel, learning about geology, Aboriginal culture, native wildlife and local history as you pass through the 'Wild West' landscapes of Southern Australia .
Beginning and ending in Adelaide, this tour of South Australia takes us on a roughly circular route to the west of the city. We first head north to Port Augusta, before exploring the Gawler Ranges, which protect the Eyre Peninsula from the arid heat of the desert to the north. This Australian tour then explores the Eyre Peninsula, a broad triangle shaped peninsula on the western side of the Spencer Gulf, protruding into the Southern Ocean. Finally, the last few days of our Australia tour explores South Australia's Yorke Peninsula, a boot-shaped peninsula surrounded by the Spencer Gulf to the west and the Gulf St Vincent to the east.
South Australia is well-known as the driest Australian state. On our Australian outback tour, we will pass through arid landscapes, with no rivers and only ephemeral creeks and drainage lines. Much of the water supply for the two peninsulas is piped from Morgan, on the Murray River. These regions nonetheless successfully support agriculture. To the north of the Princess Highway and the Eyre Peninsula, sheep grazing is the main form of farming; while cropping becomes increasingly important on the Eyre and Yorke peninsulas.
Having met the tour leader and your fellow travellers in Adelaide city on the first day of our guided outback Australia tour, on the second day we head to the city of Whyalla on the west of the Spencer Gulf, stopping for lunch in Port Augusta, the 'crossroads of Australia '. Australia 's 'steel city', Whyalla juxtaposes the industrial landscapes with the striking coastline of the Spencer Gulf. The town - previously known as Hummock Hill - was established in 1901 by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) as the terminus of a tramway transporting iron ore from the Middleback Ranges (nearby on the Eyre Peninsula ) for use as a flux in the lead smelters at Port Pirie. Whyalla became a major centre of industry after World War II, home to the biggest shipyards in Australia until their closure in 1979.
Whyalla today is the fourth-largest city in South Australia (after Adelaide city, Gawler and Mount Gambier ) with a population of around 21, 000. The town continues to export iron ore and steel, and manufactures industrial chemicals. The steel and shipping history of Whyalla can be explored in a number of museums, including the HMAS Whyalla, the first ship built at the Whyalla shipyard in 1941.
From Whyalla we head west to Mt Ive Station in the Gawler Ranges, stopping at the Middlebank Ranges and Iron Nob iron ore areas on the way. The Gawler Ranges and Lake Gairdner are a small southern part of the Gawler Craton, a remarkably stable landmass that has not been subject to tectonic activity for over 1000 million years. It was initially formed by volcanism over 1100 million years ago, which formed the Gawler Ranges, on the southern edge of the craton.
The traditional owners of the area are the Gawler Ranges people, a distinct group of families made up from some (but not all) of the Barngarla, Kokatha, and Wirangu people. After European settlement, the area was used by pastoralists. In 2002, it was preserved as the Gawler Ranges National Park . The park was recognised for its striking geological features - particularly the Organ Pipes, an organ-like natural amphitheatre created by volcanic eruptions in the area 1500 million years ago - and abundant unique wildlife, particularly the endangered yellow-footed rock-wallaby and southern hairy-nosed wombat.
From the station, the tour makes a day trip to Lake Gairdner , a salt lake just to the north of the Gawler Ranges. The lake - along with a number of surrounding depressions - is a remnant from millions of years ago, when central Australia was covered by a vast inland sea, stretching five hundred kilometres from the Southern Ocean to Menindee, near Broken Hill . Lake Gairdner (160 km by 48 km) is Australia 's fourth-largest salt lake. Like Lake Eyre , Lake Gairdner is a dry salt pan, intermittently filled with water . With a glistening white surface, surrounded by red dirt hills, it has a mesmerising and surreal beauty.
With a salt layer that reaches up to one metre thick, Lake Gairdner is regarded as one of the best places in the world for land speed records. The lake plays host to the annual Dry Lake Racers event, held in the reliably-dry March, which attracts speed racers who make this journey from all around Australia .
Eyre Peninsula tour:
After the Gawler Ranges, this outback tour for seniors heads south, taking the visitor through the striking natural landscapes and pristine beaches and waters of South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. Extending from Whyalla in the east, down to Port Lincoln, and through to Streaky Bay and Ceduna to the west (after which begins the Nullarbor Plain and the great Australian outback) the Eyre Peninsula region offers a range of landscapes, from the calm waters and white sands of the Spencer Gulf to rugged surf beaches on the western side of the peninsula, open to the heavy oceanic swells and waves of the Southern Ocean in the Great Australian bight. The landforms on the western side are defined by rugged cliffs and steep inclines to the sea. For this reason, most of the ports we encounter on our small group tour are on the eastern side of the peninsula.
The rolling hills observed on the Eyre Peninsula tour are part of mallee country . ‘Mallee woodlands’ have been listed by the Australian Department of Environment and Energy as one of the 32 ‘Major Vegetation Groups’ of Australia. Mallee country is defined by the predominance of the mallee eucalyptus, a stocky eucalyptus with several stems, which grows on semi-arid soil. Mallee lands have a Mediterranean climate - hot, hot summers, and cool winters - and are often defined by the absence of on-ground freshwater (including on the Eyre Peninsula ). Australia 's mallee spreads in a belt across the south of Australia, centring around the Murray River in western Victoria and eastern South Australia, the Eyre Peninsula west of Adelaide, and the 'wheat belt' of Western Australia .
Dismissed by European explorers as 'dreary' and 'desolate', the Mallee lands of the Eyre Peninsula supported the Naou Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years before European settlement. In order to deal with the absence of fresh water, they exploited underground soaks, wells, and rock waterholes. Despite this, the Naou had access to sufficient, even abundant food , using fire-stick farming to create plains of silky grass that attracted native wildlife.
The Eyre Peninsula was first charted by the English Matthew Flinders and the French Charles Baudin, who were both circumnavigating the Australian coast in 1801-2. The two explorers met on the Fleurieu Peninsula , near Adelaide, and as men of science, put their political rivalries aside (Britain and France were then at war) to exchange information and work together to chart the last stretch of the Australian coastline. The landmass and rugged coastline was subsequently explored by Edward John Eyre from 1839-41, whom the peninsula was named after by George Gawler, the second Governor of South Australia.
Today, Eyre Peninsula tours discover that this is Australia's seafood frontier, the hub of Australia 's seafood industry, producing 65% of the nation's seafood, including tuna, prawns, scallops, oyster and abalone. Fresh seafood can be enjoyed at a range of restaurants on the peninsula, from classic fish and chip shops to fine-dining establishments. But the lower Eyre Peninsula provides whale watching, to watch the passage of Southern right whales, often joined by bottlenose dolphins.
On the way to the Eyre Peninsula , our tour first stops at the wheat belt town of Wudinna, where we see the striking monument to the Australian farmer, designed by Croatian artist Marijan Bekic out of local pink granite. From Wudinna, we make the trip to the coastal town of Streaky Bay, where we spend two nights. On our way to Streaky Bay we pass through granite country , stopping off at the remarkable rocks formations of Turtle Rock, Mount Wudinna, and Ucontitchie Hill.
Streaky Bay was first sighted by the Dutch explorer Pieter Nuyts in 1627, and was named by Matthew Flinders after a 'streaky' discolouration he saw in the water , likely seaweed. On our first day, we explore this attractive seaside resort in the morning and then make a day tour of Point Labatt Conservation Park, home to mainland Australia 's only breeding ground for Australian sea lions, one of our most endangered mammals. Protected from mainland predators, the baby sea lion learns to swim, play, and rest on the beach. After our trip to the Conservation Park, we visit 'Murphy's Haystacks', a number of strikingly-weathered granite outcrops, which got their name because a local settler mistook them for haystacks! It is believed that the pink granite sculptures were weathered around 100, 000 years ago. If we have time we may stop in at Baird Bay, a charming village 50 km to the south of Streaky Bay.
From Streaky Bay, the guided tour heads to Port Lincoln , the only city on the Eyre Peninsula , where our small group spends another two nights. On the way we stop in at Coffin Bay, a charming seaside town that produces some of Australia's best oysters, and Elliston, with panoramic views of some of the peninsula's most striking scenery.
Port Lincoln is located on Boston Bay, a natural harbour three and a half times the size of Sydney Harbour, and as such, the largest harbour in Australia . Once a simple shipping port, exporting grain and canning sandwich tuna, Port Lincoln became hugely wealthy in the 1980s thanks to Japanese demand for premium southern bluefin tuna for sashimi. Local fishermen became 'tuna millionaires' overnight, with the city having the most millionaires per capita in Australia . Their palatial mansions - nicknamed 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' by observers in the 1990s - can be seen to the north-east of the city and on the harbour. The 'tuna millionaire' Tony Santic was the owner of the three-time Melbourne cup winner Makybe Diva, who is honoured with a statue on the town's foreshore. Here, we enjoy a walking tour of the city with a local guide.
On the other side of Boston Bay sits Lincoln National Park, a 29, 000 hectare wilderness of secluded beaches, granite headlands, and offshore islands marks the southern-most point of the lower Eyre Peninsula . Many of the headlands and natural features bear the tragic names given to them by Matthew Flinders - 'Cape Catastrophe' and 'Memory Cove' - after an incident in which eight crewmen died. The southern side of the National Park, on the Southern Ocean, are the massive sand dunes of the Sleaford-Wanna sand dune system, shaped by the winds around 6000 years ago.
Yorke Peninsula tour:
After leaving Port Lincoln and the Eyre peninsula tour section, our tour group slowly winds back around the Spencer Gulf, stopping in Port Augusta for the night, before heading to Wallaroo, for a Yorke peninsula tour for this small group. South Australia's Yorke Peninsula offers 700 kilometres of spectacular coastal scenery, pristine white beaches and azure seas, starkly contrasting with the mallee landscape behind.
The traditional owners of the Yorke Peninsula are the Narungga, a nomadic people who practiced fire-stick farming, and were admired by European settlers for their facility for fishing and aquaculture. Like the Eyre Peninsula , the Yorke was first charted by Flinders and Baudin as they navigated the South Australian coast. The charts created by the two explorers were so accurate that navigators were using them well into the 20th century!
Wallaroo - along with nearby Kadina and Moonta - form the 'copper triangle' on the copper coast. Copper was discovered in the area in 1859, with over 100 tons per week being produced by 1868. Copper production ceased in 1923, but the industry continues to shape the culture of the area , which is still known as 'Little Cornwall' ( or copper coast) thanks to the number of Cornish immigrants who worked in the copper industry. Since 1973, Wallaroo has hosted the Kernewek Lowender (Cornish for 'Cornish Happiness'), the world's largest Cornish festival, featuring Cornish song, dance, craft, and a pasty-making competition.
Our tour spends two nights in Wallaroo, learning about the town's history as a port at the Heritage and Nautical Museum , and visiting the other two Little Cornwall/Copper Triangle towns of Kadina and Moonta, as well as nearby Port Hughes, home to one of the prettiest beaches on the northern part of the Yorke Peninsula.
From Wallaroo, we head further down into the Southern Yorke peninsula to the town of Yorketown. On the way we visit Innes National Park , on the tip of the Yorke Peninsula . The park is home to Inneston, an abandoned township surrounded by bushland, which once had a population of 200 people, including a bakery, post office, school, and tennis court.
The tip of the Southern Yorke Peninsula is one of the most treacherous coasts, with spectacular scenery in Australia , and - given the fact that shipping was the main means of transporting goods well into the 20th century - it is not surprising that the coastline here saw over 80 shipwrecks , 40 off Innes National Park. An interactive walk tells the stories of the bravery of the many sailors who saw their boats go down at sea, while Innes National Park is also home to the Ethel, a rare on- land shipwreck. The National Park is home to two operating lighthouses, at Cape Spencer and West Cape, which continue to provide guidance to vessels passing the peninsula today.
Yorketown marks the second last night of the tour. On our last day, we visit the cliff-top town of Edithburgh, and enjoy the coastal walk to Coobowie, stopping to spot birds along the way. From here, we return to Adelaide city where we have a goodbye dinner at a local restaurant , enjoying South Australia's celebrated gourmet food and wine. The organised tour ends the following morning.
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link .
Articles about Australia published by Odyssey Traveller:
- Australia's Ocean Frontier: Exploring the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
- The Kimberley: A Definitive Guide
- Uncovering the Ancient History of Aboriginal Australia
- Aboriginal Land Use in the Mallee
- Understanding Aboriginal Aquaculture
- Mallee and Mulga: Two Iconic and Typically Inland Australian Plant Communities (By Dr. Sandy Scott).
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Australia:
- Top five things to see in Gawler Ranges National Park
- Eyre Peninsula
- Tourism Australia: Guide to the Eyre Peninsula
- South Australia's Adventures of a Lifetime: Swim With the Wildlife
- The South Australia guide: Eyre Peninsula
- Get swept away by the Eyre Peninsula
- Yorke Peninsula
- Yorke Peninsula: Head north of Adelaide for the perfect round of Gulf
- SA History Hub: Yorke Peninsula
Day 1 : Adelaide
Accommodation: Ibis Adelaide or similar
Meet at the designated hotel in Adelaide for an introduction to our Australian outback tours program, ready for an early departure the next day.
Day 2: Whyalla
Accommodation: Sundowner Motel Hotel or similar
Today the this Australian outback tour makes the journey to Whyalla (390) kilometres away, stopping off at the ‘crossroads’ town of Port Augusta for lunch.
Once in Whyalla, we explore the history of the town, an important shipping port for the iron ore extracted from the Middleback Ranges on the Eyre Peninsula.
Day 3: Mt Ive Station
Accommodation: Mt Ive Station or similar
Today we leave Whyalla, driving 200km to Mt Ive Station in the Gawler Ranges. On the way we visit the Middleback Ranges and Iron Nob, centres of the iron ore industry in South Australia. On arrival at our destination we spend the afternoon settling into our accommodation and having a look around the station.
Day 4: Mt Ive Station
Accommodation: Mt Ive Station or similar
Today we make a day tour to Lake Gairdner. On the way, our tour stops off to see the incredible native wildlife of Gawler Ranges National Park on the way, including the hairy-nosed wombat, the yellow-footed rock wallaby, and an array of birds; and views many of the striking natural formations of the area, including Mount Scott and Peter’s Pillar.
Day 5 : Wudinna
Accommodation: Gawler Ranges Motel or similar
Today, we head to Wudinna on the Eyre Peninsula, via the Gawler Ranges National Park. On the road, we stop to see features including the Stone Dam. In Wudinna, we visit the Australian Farmer Monument.
Day 6: Streaky Bay
Accommodation: Streaky Bay Motel & Villas
Today, we head from Wudinna to Streaky Bay, on the west coast of the lower Eyre Peninsula, visiting several landforms in Granite Country along the way, including Turtle Rock, Wudinna Recreation Area, and Ucontitchie Hill.
Day 7: Streaky Bay
Accommodation: Streaky Bay Motel & Villas
In the morning, we explore the charming seaside town of Streaky Bay, before making a day trip to Point Lebatt Conservation Area, where we see Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals. On the way back we visit the granite outcrops known as ‘Murphy’s Haystacks’.
Day 8: Port Lincoln
Accommodation: Port Lincoln Hotel or similar
Today we head from Streaky Bay to the Eyre Peninsula’s only city, Port Lincoln, stopping off at the seaside towns of Coffin Bay and if time Coffin bay national park and Elliston along the way.
Day 9 : Port Lincoln
Accommodation: Port Lincoln Hotel or similar
Today we enjoy a full day tour of the town and port with a local guide. We will also make a visit to Lincoln National Park.
Day 10: Port Augusta
Accommodation: Majestic Oasis apartments or similar
After the Eyre Peninsula tours of the last few days we head to begin our Yorke Peninsula tour, heading up the Spencer Gulf to the town of Port Augusta. On the way we see silo art at Cowell, part of the Australian Silo Art Trail, in which street artists and local communities team up to revitalise rural areas. In Port Augusta, we spend the afternoon at the Wadlata Outback Centre.
Day 11: Kadina
Accommodation: Kadina Gateway Motor Inn or similar
Today we head to the town of Wallaroo, part of the ‘Copper Triangle’ of the Yorke Peninsula. In the late morning, we enjoy a guided tour of Wallaroo and in the afternoon visit the Wallaroo Heritage and Nautical Museum. In the late afternoon, we drive to the nearby town of Kadina, where we will stay for two nights.
Day 12: Kadina
Accommodation: Kadina Gateway Motor Inn or similar
Today we make a day trip to the other ‘Copper Triangle’ towns of Kadina and Moonta, learning about the Cornish history of this region. We also visit the nearby town of Port Hughes before returning to Wallaroo in the evening.
Day 13: Edithburgh
Accommodation: Troubridge Hotel or similar
Today we head to Innes National Park, on the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula, a combination of spectacular coastal scenery dominated by rugged cliffs. After the visit to the National park, the tour returns to the town of Edithburgh, where we spend the night.
Day 14: Adelaide
Accommodation: Ibis Adelaide or similar
Today we head from Edithburgh to Adelaide. On the way, we walk the coastal track to Coobowie, stopping off for bird-watching along our trek. On our return to Adelaide, we enjoy a final program dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 15: Adelaide
Program ends after breakfast.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 14 nights accommodation.
- 14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 9 dinners.
- Transport by modern and comfortable vehicle suitable for the highway conditions.
- Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
- Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- Detailed Preparatory Information.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return Domestic airfares.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.