Fowlers Bay is a remote fishing village on the western edge of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. It is surrounded by Fowlers Bay Conservation Park and the Nuyts Archipelago Marine Park. Together, these parks include the waters of the Great Australian Bight, sand dunes, rocky cliff faces, 4WD tracks and flat scrubland.
With a range of scenery and unique landscape in the surrounding region, there are several interesting things to do during a visit to Fowlers Bay. However, because the area has few services and many of the activities require the proper equipment, you will get the most out of a visit to Fowlers Bay if you have a 4WD vehicle and a fishing rod.
There are plenty of places to fish at Fowlers Bay, with or without a boat. According to the SA Parks website, fish in the area include Mulloway, Whiting, Garfish and Tommy Ruff.
In Fowlers Bay Conservation Park, Scott’s Beach and Mexican Hat are popular spots for surf fishing. The waters are clear and there are protected bays that make it easy to wade out for an afternoon. You will need a 4WD vehicle to access the areas.
Anyone with a boat will find plenty of opportunities in the waters of Nuyts Archipelago Marine Park, the largest marine park in South Australian waters.
Alternatively, visitors can fish straight off the Fowlers Bay jetty. The 340-metre-long jetty was originally built in 1896 to support the area’s shipping and whaling and has been upgraded over the years and extended to its current length. It is illuminated at night by solar-powered lights and is a popular spot to fish. During our visit between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the squid were abundant. Our group caught several over the few days and as a novice fisherman, even I managed to catch one.
Sand dunes cover a large swath of land from coast to coast at the top of Fowlers Point. They butt up against the west of the town, with High Street and a few historic buildings lost beneath them. Because of this, part of the old High Street drives straight onto the dunes, making them easily accessible by car (providing it’s a good 4WD vehicle) or by simply walking up the sandy hills from the edge of town.
The dunes make an excellent playground and are perfect to clamber up and slide down. There are scattered bushes in a few low spots on the dunes but otherwise, there is nothing to run into when rolling or sliding downhill. One great way to get down is by sandboarding.
There is a sandboard available for free hire from the Fowlers Bay Caravan Park Kiosk for campers at the park. Alternatively, bring your own sandboard or an old snowboard. Some sort of wax for the board before each run is also recommended. The sand is a bit sticky and the friction keeps the board from going too fast, so even on a steeper dune, the boarding is fun and safe.
One of the main activities in Fowlers Bay Conservation Park is 4WDriving. There are designated 4WD tracks that run across the hills, through the scrubland and across the sand dunes. Driving on the beaches is also possible with a 4WD vehicle.
Driving on the dunes is a lot of fun for the driver and passengers, and there is some beautiful scenery that is only accessible via the 4WD tracks. However, bogging areas are present throughout the park. Anyone attempting to drive in the park should have a proper 4WD vehicle; some relevant 4WDriving experience and a recovery kit including a shovel, recovery boards, tyre gauge and air compressor.
4. Marine life
There is plenty of marine life to see while in Fowlers Bay. Once a thriving whale station, the area is now an excellent base for whale watching in the winter months. It is the second-largest southern right whale nursery in South Australia. Humpback whales and dolphins can also be in the area from June to October. EP Cruises operates whale watching cruises from July to September.
There is a colony of Australian Sea Lions on Fowlers Point. They can be seen year-round from the cliff tops, which are only accessible by 4WD. The view from the cliff tops is beautiful, but their height means the sea lions may be very far away; binoculars or a good camera lens will help you see them better.
5. See the Penong Windmill Museum and Lake MacDonnell
A good half-day trip while staying at Fowlers Bay is the 45-minute drive to the town of Penong, east along the Eyre Highway. The small town is home to Fowlers Bay’s nearest pub, as well as the Penong Windmill Museum and the insta-famous Lake MacDonnell.
The Penong Windmill Museum is home to 20 restored windmills including Bruce, Australia’s largest Comet windmill. Bruce was originally built in 1932; it was restored and added to the Penong collection in 2016. The free open-air museum is located 250 metres off the Eyre Peninsula along Penong’s West Terrace.
The surprising Lake MacDonnell is located 14km south of Penong on the largest gypsum deposit in Australia and the site of a former salt mine. On the way to Point Sinclair, the white unsealed Point Sinclair Road passes through Lake MacDonnell, with blue waters on one side and pink waters on the other.
The pink hue of the water is due to the high salt levels, algae and bacteria in the water. In some places the salt is so thick you can walk on the water like a layer of ice. It is a popular spot to stop and take photos and to marvel and the odd coloured water, but remember that it is a public road so take care.
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.