South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula has to be one of the most popular areas in Australia to explore and experience whilst at the same time enjoying some of the best budget campsites Oz has to offer. Perhaps not all campsites are your typical ‘holiday hotspots’, but if you’re a traveller, nomad or on an extended holiday, taking your time to explore- then your are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking some budget friendly spots to base yourself.
We have just completed our 3rd trip around the Eyre Peninsula (sticking mainly to the coast)- there are a few reasons we love it on the EP. Firstly the people are so friendly, secondly the coastal beaches and rugged coastlines provide great scenery and subjects for photos- the third reason is the SEAFOOD and fishing. Below, we will show you our favourite places to stay that wont break the bank.
Our first stop (although it’s not technically on the Eyre Peninsula) is Mount Remarkable National Park. The Mambray Creek Camping Ground (40kms NW of Port Augusta). This spot scores a lot of points for its fantastic facilities but the scenery and wildlife are just as special.
National Park fee’s do apply but we reckon that if you are going to spend some time exploring the Eyre Peninsula and its National Parks then buying a SA National Parks ‘Holiday Pass’ is a smart idea. The Mambray Creek Camping Area costs $10 for vehicle entry and the camping fees are $18 per night. If you look at that and think “thats not cheap”, well, I agree but a SA Parks Holiday Pass will cost around $80 and includes ALL fee’s for most National Parks in SA (not all). Vehicle AND camping fee’s for 2 months, (max 5 night consecutive stay per park). The pass will have paid for itself after the first 4 nights!!
There are 54 designated sites, some with water close by. There are toilets and HOT showers too. TV and phone (optus & telstra) signal. Lots of bushwalks and its close to places like Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Port Germein (long wooden jetty) for day trips. No Dogs.
Our second stop is Point Lowly, around 30kms NE of Whyalla. As you drive towards the camping area you may feel like its a bit ‘industrial’ due to the Petrochemical plant that’s a little in your face- but don’t let that put you off. As you get closer to the boat ramp you will see a toilet block to your left and a small playground for the kids. There are 3 areas to camp. A small area near the toilet block, an area close to the water down on the gravel and another up near the boat ramp itself, shared with boat trailer parking (bitumen and suits big rigs). Fee’s are only $6 per camp per night (honesty box so please make sure you pay). For this you get great views over the water, flushing toilets, rubbish bins, drinking water, cold showers, dump point and great fishing (if you have a boat) but squidding is popular from the boat ramp too. TV and phone signal is available. A nice spot to base yourself for a few days and perhaps explore the Whyalla township. Free HOT showers can be had at the Whyalla Yacht Club toilet block. A great reason to spend some time and money in the town as they really do welcome travellers. Our only warning about Point Lowly is it can get quite windy at times. Dogs OK.
The Discovery Holiday Park near the foreshore in Whyalla is a top spot if you want to be closer to the town- ‘raking’ for crabs is popular right out the from of the park.
3rd Stop is Port Gibbon, a short drive south of Cowell. There are several camping areas here – some close to the beach and some in a ‘bush camp’ style area. The area we stayed was just inside the small village of a few houses. A small, level area at the top of the dunes (a short walk to the beach and the ruins of the old jetty). An area suited for all types of campers (including big rigs). Drop toilets, drinking water, rubbish bins and a dump point are all onsite. The camp area is sheltered however the beach is prone to a build up of seaweed and if the wind blows off the water it can be a little on the nose. Camping here only costs $5 per camp per night and is collected by a council representative.
A nice place to base yourself to explore the towns of Cowell, Cleve and Arno Bay. Stop by the old war bunkers and take a photo too- look for the info signs and read about their history. A basic camp but serves a great purpose for travellers looking for a budget spot to spend a few nights. Dogs OK.
Moving only a short distance south is our next stop. Cowleys Beach (Cape Hardy), access via the highway or from the town of Port Neil. This site is offered as a free camp for travellers and I am lead to believe it’s on private property (which im happy to be corrected). An amazing spot with GREAT views over the water and coastline. There are NO facilities here so ‘leave no trace’ rules apply. The camping area is basically a large, open gravel/dirt area where you simply park up and enjoy the views. Unfortunately there is no shelter so be prepared for the coastal winds that often visit late evening. For free, you really can’t complain about this one. Dogs OK.
Our last stop along the EASTERN side of the Eyre Peninsula is Louth Bay, around 30kms SW of Tumby Bay. A rather basic parking area suitable for medium to large sized rigs. Toilets, drinking water and nice outlook over the jetty. Located in a quiet and friendly town with no shops, this camp is a perfect spot for a night or 2 to do some fishing or simply enjoy the quiet ambience of a typical coastal camp. Fee’s are $10 per night per camp, for this price it’s almost a perfect spot to visit Tumby Bay and even Port Lincoln, both of which are within an easy drive.
This article is Part 1 of 2. These are our Top 5 budget camps along the EAST side of the Eyre Peninsula. Part 2 will cover our Top 5 Budget Camps along the WEST coast.