As we navigated around The Eyre Peninsula a few years back, we stayed at Coffin Bay and Port Lincoln – next time we’ll linger longer. According to local, Helen Helen de la Perrelle from Mikkira Station – the area is a wildlife haven, with beaches and food to die for.
The little-known Mikkira Station Koala Country (SA site 557 in Camps 10) is 25 km south west of Port Lincoln, in the Southernmost tip of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
Pronounced ‘Mikkra’ the station opened for camping this year on May first. In South Australia, camping currently isn’t allowed in the National Parks due to the COVID-19 but as a private campground, the station has been able to accommodate campers.
Manager Helen said, “Public recreational spaces, parks, playgrounds in the state are open again and we’ve opened as well. I only open Mikkira up to campers and unsupervised visitors in the winter, due to bushfire risk.”
“We are very isolated here. Tour operators include us on their itinerary and often bring people to see koalas in the wild.”
“It is very easy to see our koalas because they are so concentrated. They were brought here from King Island in the early 1970s – the leaves of the old Manna Gum Trees are their most favourite food.”
In fact, it is a popular destination for tours from cruise ships – even more reason to camp and help out tourism operators like Helen who have been impacted by the travel lockdowns.
The 600-acre station has no set campsites. Visitors can choose where they roam or camp. It is $30 per vehicle for 24 hours. If you stay longer than five nights, contact the manager or agent for rates.
Helen says, “There is plenty of water here. Mobile reception is quite good. There is a hot shower and flush toilet, but you’ll have to clean it after yourselves. It is a dirt road, large buses do come in but you need to watch overhanging trees.”
Remember to BYO firewood, but it is only for fires in containers up off the ground. There are strictly no domestic animals. Glamping tents are also available for hire from another company.
You will need to get an entrance gate key, only available from Visit Port Lincoln Accommodation, only on the day of your visit. Closes again October 1st, unless you are with a guide.
“We have a shelter shed, with a picnic table. See the old sheep yards with historic rock walls and the restored historic cottage, built in 1850. You can go in a light a fire in the fireplace. You can stay overnight. None have stayed past midnight, including me, because there is a ghost!” laughed Helen.
Where else can you camp, and what to see and do?
Whaling Station is really interesting, edge of a limestone cliff with surf breaks off the corner. If people camp there, access is blocked for others. There is a no camping sign, and it is marked as a day use area in the Camps Australia Wide App. Definitely stop in for the history!
Fishery Bay (SA site 558 in Camps 10) is a council owned camp area, with waterless toilets and where you can walk to the beach. Private property surrounds, so stay in the carpark – do watch tides if you decide to camp on the beach, don’t encroach on the dunes.
Sleaford Bay is a great spot to see Southern Right Whales. They come here in winter to have their calves, and stay in this “nursery” until they are big enough. There is also a good surf break and dune drive.
Whalers Way (SA site 559 in Camps 10, in the area of Cape Wiles) is a private camp area – wild and rugged with dangerous cliffs, blowholes, crevasses, fur seals and a record of deaths and drownings. View Cathedral Rocks where there is a wind farm.
You also need to buy a permit to enter this area from port Lincoln Information Centre 1300 788 378. This primitive campsite does have toilet facilities and water may be available, but Helen suggests you bring your own. There is a self-contained vehicle area, but you can park anywhere – avoid those cliffs!
Dive with Great White Sharks – there are only two cage dives with these scary sharks in the world – the other is in Africa. Helen suggests, “Try the glass cage, that was the best view, better than the cage. Sit in it in normal clothes and watch people in the shark cage get terrified – whilst you are at a table with wine and something to eat!” She recommends Adventure Bay Charters – and said, “they play ACDC in
underwater speakers – the sharks are attracted to the music.”
Port Lincoln is home to the Australia’s largest fishing fleet, a must-see, our kids were amazed.
Swim with the Sea Lions – This tour sounds more up my alley, compared to the Great Whites!
Local produce and wine “It is hard not to have really good food here as we have the best ingredients,” boasted Helen. But she is right, we sampled fish in Port Lincoln and years back, the community run Sailing Club was very friendly.
“A vineyard restaurant has opened and it is winning awards, called “Line and Label”, it is just to die for. Check out the Golf Club in Coffin Bay food is also amazing there.”
Lincoln National Park also hold loads to explore and more camping grounds and hopefully they will all be open again soon post-COVID!