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Coastal Way: Top 10 things to do

The Coastal Way offers plenty for everyone, through rich cultural history, museums and other activities that will leave you marveling at the region's beauty.

Roadtrip through South Australia

  1. Walk the Yorke

    With 500 kilometres of trails criss-crossing the Yorke Peninsula’s spectacular coastline, there’s ample opportunity for trekkers of all abilities to become intimately acquainted with its hidden treasures.

    Cliffs, secluded bays and ocean vistas unfold, seabirds soar past, and charming coastal towns tempt you to linger and potter, or refuel with the region’s famous seafood.

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    Yorke Peninsula

  2. Time travel at Farm Shed Museum

    The twin pillars of mining and agriculture sustained this region after European settlement and this series of spacious buildings in Kadina immerses you in both.

    Each doorway transports you to a different time or place; wander through the original Victoriana-filled home of 19th century mine manager Edward Austin Horn, take a seat in a 1950s schoolroom, check out an early telephone exchange, a printing museum and the country’s most comprehensive collection of dryland farming equipment. All build a vivid picture of how hardworking locals wrested a living from the soil.

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    Farm Shed Museum

  3. Be a farmer for a day

    Once you’ve been up close to the magnificent sires at Orrie Cowie Merino Stud, you’ll understand why they have names like Prince and Titan, and why the robust Australian merino is regarded as the king of sheep.

    Visitors are invited to join in the farm’s daily, seasonal tasks including shearing, lamb feeding, working with the sheepdogs and throwing a fleece – plus the traditional “smoko” break of hearty country fare.

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    Orrie Cowie

  4. Ship to shore at Ardrossan Museum

    The Peninsula’s dependence on both land and sea is elucidated in absorbing detail within the former factory of Clarence H. Smith, who patented and manufactured the stump jump plough, a workhorse of South Australian agriculture.

    Ardrossan was the shipping point for this region’s crucial grain export and the museum is filled with tales of the vessels who plied their trade here, including the Zanoni, sunk on her maiden voyage just off the nearby coast, and still a popular diving site.

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    Ardrossan Museum

  5. Shuck and slurp

    There’s no better way to enjoy an oyster than plucked fresh from its ocean bed, and you won’t get closer to the source than Steve and Gerri Bowley’s “deckie for a day” tours to their three Pacific Estate Oysters beds just off the coast of Stansbury, where South Australia’s oyster industry first began.

    Learn how terroir influences taste and how to shuck like a pro. If you prefer to do your feasting on land, look for PEO’s farm gate sign. If it’s out, you can pop in and buy a dozen.

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    Pacific Estate Oysters

  6. Be an island castaway

    An island that’s all yours, with no billionaire’s price tag? Meet Troubridge Island. This sandy little conservation sanctuary is part of the infamous Troubridge Shoals, where many a ship met an untimely end – hence the lighthouse, decommissioned since 1980 and now providing the island’s sole accommodation in its original lighthouse keeper’s cottages.

    Wrecks are hard to imagine on this fragile birdlife sanctuary, where your only companions are a colony of little penguins, around 60 further species of birdlife, passing dolphins and the occasional sea lion. You’ll need a permit and boat transport (both from Troubridge Island Hideaway and Charter in Edithburgh) to enable this singularly serene experience.

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    Troubridge Island Conservation Park

  7. Walk with the first people

    Spending time with the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land provides insights far beyond a history lesson. When you explore Adjahdura country with Aboriginal Cultural Tours director Quenten Agius, he and his team aim to help you feel the heartbeat of their ancestral home.

    Tours take you to the Aboriginal township at Point Pearce and into the Innes National Park, with cultural ceremonies and Dreaming stories adding a spiritual dimension to these ancient sites.

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    Aboriginal Cultural Tours

  8. Discover the Cornwall connection

    You’ll hear Moonta referred to as little Cornwall, and it’s all because of copper. This old mining town was once one of the southern hemisphere’s richest sources of the red metal and as the industry boomed in the 19th century, miners were recruited direct from Cornwall.

    Their legacy survives in tasty Cornish pasties still baked prolifically here today, and various carefully preserved heritage buildings and sites. Beside the informative Moonta Mining Museum you can hop aboard the Tourist Railway, a narrow gauge train which trundles for an hour through the rust-coloured Moonta Mines State Heritage area.

    Clued-up and entertaining drivers share nuggets such as how the first copper was found in a wombat hole by a local shepherd.

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    Moonta Tourism

  9. Sleep under the stars

    The night sky above the Yorke Peninsula is breathtaking and you’ll be all the closer to it if you heed the call of the wild and camp along the Coastal Way. Whether you opt for canvas, a caravan or motorhome or the ultimate freedom of a swag, this is the way to really immerse yourself in the outdoors.

    Your choices are seemingly endless, but special mention must be made of the campgrounds in the Innes National Park, where concentrations of rare flora and fauna amp up the wilderness experience. If nature’s in a good mood, you might spot a shy Tammar wallaby or see an osprey dive into the ocean for its next meal.

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    Permits are required, so check Yorke Peninsula Innes National Park and Yorke Peninsula Bush Camping.

  10. Meet George the giant squid

    Amid the extensive maritime artefacts at the Wallaroo Heritage and Nautical Museum dwells a real sea monster. George, an 8.5 metre long giant squid, was found in the body of a whale 30 years ago and is now preserved in formalin.

    He’s an impressive sight, and so too are the museum’s other exhibits from the area’s rich nautical history, including a Cutty Sark model and the old Tipara Reef lighthouse in the grounds. There’s more copper mining history to be discovered here, too, and ghost tours by arrangement – if you dare.

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    Wallaroo Heritage and Nautical Museum

  11. TRIP NOTES

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    South Australia 

    GETTING THERE

    Virgin Australia flies to Adelaide from all major Australian cities. Most major hire car companies are at Adelaide Airport.

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