Located off grid and a long way from anywhere, the tiny fishing village of Fowlers Bay is overshadowed by the sand dunes encroaching on the northwest edge of town. Despite, or more likely because of, its remoteness Fowlers Bay gets nearly 8000 visitors per year.
Fowlers Bay is 12km from the nearest paved road, 20km from the nearest highway and 30km from the nearest petrol station. Officially part of the Eyre Peninsula, Fowlers Bay sits on the coast between the Eyre Peninsula and the Nullarbor Plain. It is a 10-hour drive north then west of Adelaide (going around the St Vincent and Spencer Gulfs) and is so remote the entire town runs on solar power and a combination of water from rain water tanks and a sand dune aquifer.
Once a thriving port and whaling station, it now has a population of just 51 (which is shared with the town of Coorabie, located 17km away). One of the town’s main features is it’s 340-metre-long jetty. Built in 1896 to support the shipping and whaling, it has been upgraded over the years and is now a popular spot to fish; squid is an easy catch. It’s also the best spot in town to get any mobile phone coverage.
The Fowlers Caravan Park Kiosk, near the jetty, is the other place to get mobile coverage. The Kiosk acts as the caravan park reception, local general store, tackle store, and café. (The café is a welcome option for those that forget to bring their own coffee but, be careful – it is handed over scalding hot.)
The caravan park, where the majority of visitors stay, is across the street from the jetty. The park takes up nearly a whole block of the tiny town, which is just 250 metres by 100 metres big.
The Fowlers Bay Caravan Park offers 34 camping and caravan sites and two Ocean View Cabins. The old courthouse has also been turned into a holiday rental. The town is also completely surrounded by the Fowlers Bay Conservation Park, which has three designated bush camping areas.
Fowlers Bay Conservation Park
The Fowlers Bay Conservation Park and the township of Fowlers Bay are located on the traditional lands of the Wirangu people (now called the Far West Coast people). The large park encompasses large areas scrubland, hilly coastland, beaches and the sand dunes that encompass Point Fowler, a 4 km-long bit of land that juts out between the waters of Fowlers Bay and the Great Australian Bight.
Camping, 4WDriving, fishing and whale watching are the main activities in the park. Entry to the park is free, but fees apply for camping. The only facilities in the park are public toilets at Mexican Hat. There are designated 4WD tracks that run across the hills, through the scrubland, and across the sand dunes, allowing those with proper 4WD vehicles and the requisite experience access to some excellent scenery. A 4WD is recommended to access anywhere in the park; in fact, without one there is very little to do at Fowlers Bay.
The 4WD tracks cut through the sometimes sandy, sometimes rocky (sometimes both) hills that make up the coastline of Point Fowler and the surrounding landscape. The coastline includes white-sand beaches that sweep along the curve of the coast and rocky cliffs that drop down into the water. In spots, the cliffs shelter beaches that only sea lions can reach; they can be seen from above while they warm themselves on the sand. The 4WD tracks also head inland on the narrow point, the end of which is rocky scrubland while the middle is covered in sand dunes.
A marked pathway cuts through the sand dunes in the Fowlers Bay Conservation Park, highlighting for drivers the safe way through the soft hills. It is also possible to walk to the top of the sand dunes from the town. At the top, hikers are treated to contrasting views: over the town, jetty and blue water to the east and the desert-like scenes of rolling sand dunes to the west.
The Sand Dunes are a blessing and a curse for the town of Fowlers Bay. They are a tourist attraction and a filter for the aquifer below, providing money and water for the residents. But the dunes are also slowly swallowing the town. Historic parts of the town have been covered by the sand with some buildings last seen in the 1970s, along with High Street. Over the past decade, the sands have continued to move about 75 metres closer to town and the new road that connects it to Coorabie.
The idea that the town is in danger of being cut off from its nearest neighbour by the slowly moving sands only adds to the sense of area’s remoteness.
Fowlers Bay is a 10-hour drive north west of Adelaide on the A1. It is on the Eyre Peninsula between Ceduna and Nullarbor.
Driving is the best way to get to Fowlers Bay.
From Adelaide, head north towards Port Wakefield via the Northern Connector (M2) and the Port Wakefield Highway (A1). Past Port Wakefield, stay on the A1 for another 790 km. The A1 is also called the Princes Highway until it takes a sharp left at Port Augusta. From there, it is called the Eyre Highway.
About one hour past Ceduna, or 120 km, take a left on Fowlers Bay Road for the final 22 km of the drive.
There are plenty of small towns and places to stop between Adelaide and Port Augusta. Once you pass Port Augusta the towns (and petrol stops) become fewer and farther between.
- Port Wakefield: A popular spot to stop, it gets very busy on a long weekend as it is the jumping off point for several destinations. Port Wakefield has several petrol stations and a few bakeries. Follow the long lines for the good ones.
- Port Pirie: Slightly off the main highway, but a sizeable town which has several food options, as well as petrol and grocery stores.
- Port Germein: There’s a long jetty at the end the road and one open hotel in town, which is the only place to get any food. There are public toilets at the end of High Street near the jetty.
- Port Augusta: A large country centre with several places to stay, eat or get petrol. The next petrol station is in Kimba 129 km down the road, so fill up here if you are getting close to empty.
- Kimba: Kimba is a small service town on the Eyre Highway. It is halfway across Australia and there is a big sign for photo opportunities on the edge of town that says as much. The Big Galah and the Kimba Silo Art also make interesting photo stops. Definitely stop here for petrol. The next guaranteed open station will be Ceduna (300 km away).
- Ceduna: Another country centre. Good for filling up the car with petrol and there is a large Foodland in town.
- Penong: A small town with a petrol station and the Penong Windmill Musuem. The famous pink Lake Macdonnell is also near here.
Ceduna has a small airport and flights are available on Regional Express Airlines from Adelaide to Ceduna twice a day Monday to Friday, and once a day on weekends. The drive from Ceduna to Fowlers Bay is one hour, 40 minutes.
Fowlers Bay Caravan Park
The Caravan Park has 34 camping and caravan sites and two Ocean View Cabins. The park facilities include power, water, free hot showers, a camp kitchen with BBQ facilities and a fridge, laundry, and a fish cleaning station. The cabins sleep up to four people and have a full bathroom, kitchen and air conditioning. All bedding and towels are supplied.
- Powered sites: $30 per night (2 people)
- Unpowered sites: $25 per night (2 people)
- Extra person: $8 (max. 6 people per site)
- Children under 5 are free
- Ocean View Cabin: $160 per night for two people. $25 per night for additional guests.
Fowlers Bay Conservation Park
Campsites start at $13.50 per night and should be pre-booked online.
Opening Hours and Fees
The Fowlers Bay Conservation Park is open daily and access is free. Fees apply for camping.
Food & Beverage
Bring what you need for your visit, including drinking water if you are tenting. There are very limited emergency basics available at the kiosk. The closest supermarket is in Ceduna. The closest pub is Penong.
Mobile coverage is very spotty. There is 4G available in front of the kiosk and on the jetty. Otherwise, enjoy being out of contact.