The history of European exploration of the Streaky Bay area starts with the Dutch sailors who accompanied Pieter Nuyts on his 1627 voyage across the Great Australian Bight.
Nuyts reached the South Australian coast near Streaky Bay before turning westward and heading to the Dutch East Indies. His visit to the area is recalled on the Pieter Nuyts Monument in the median strip on Bay Road near the Streaky Bay Community Hotel.
Note: It is not Pieter Nuyts, but Matthew Flinders that named the bay because of the streaky discolouration he noticed in the water during his expediation inland Australia!
Streaky Bay's jetty provides a nice fishing spot; snapper can be caught from the Streaky Bay jetty between October and December and other seasonal fish as well.
Dotted along the coast are fine sandy swimming beaches, free beachside camping sites, rock pools, and many rock and surf fishing sites.
Boat Ramps are located near Streaky Bay to enable the angler to fish the middle of the Bay itself.
Visited Streaky during the winter months - well, it was in August so spring was just peeking around the corner ... the sun was shining, the waters were gentle - but yet, there was still a lil nip in the air!
So here I was - enjoying the sun, in my sweater and Levis ... what a combination.
For our initial foray we headed out for Cape Bauer, past the new housing estate and then through farming land. At last we were to get a look at the ocean and Cape Bauer serves as a dramatic introduction for what you can expect along the rest of the western side of Eyre Peninsula. The sparsely vegetated wind blown cliffs are impressive and eye catching. Their rugged beauty a sign of conglomerate being attacked constantly by the sea; their dangerously underscoured tops having collapsed here and there as if to indicate their true fragility. The swell below breaking on remnants of what were once cliffs but now are merely as speed humps to traffic.
We were impressed and spent about an hour walking around the dunes and cliff edges, soaking up the atmosphere and the warming autumn sun. With nowhere to fish we finished the loop road and headed back to the info centre.
.....and this is a place to love. An excerpt from a story I wrote:
' With nowhere to fish we finished the loop road and headed back to the info centre.
"If you only had half a day, what would you go and see around here?" was the question I put to the lady. Westall Way was her choice and Smooth Pool was one stop she recommended we take. Westall is another loop road, this time a little further south.
Her enthusiasm for the trail was well founded. Our first stop was at "High Cliffs", another scenic spot though the height wasn't as great as Cape Bauer. We bypassed the "Granites", a popular local surfing and fishing spot, and headed straight for Smooth Pool. If you were constructing a place for a picnic, you couldn't do much better than here. Red rocks, reflective pools, the sea beside you, cliffs in the background and you can drive right up to the shore. The only thing missing are facilities but, since we were in the motorhome, what did we care.
Fortunately, I had called in at the local pie shop at Streaky Bay for some proper food and this was the chosen site for the feast. Just sitting on the rocks with gull or two for company and watching the world go by. Definitely a place I will return to.'
Pieter Nuyts passed by on his 1627 voyage but it was really when Matthew Flinders was doing a thorough exploration of the area that the European influence began.
Nuyts' visit to the area is marked by the Pieter Nuyts Monument in the median strip on Bay Road near the Community Hotel.
Flinders named the bay because of the streaks he noticed in the water, probably only seaweed.
The other great explorer, after whom the entire peninsula is named, was Edward John Eyre who passed through the area in 1839. His journey is recalled in Eyre's Water Hole which is located about 3 km out of Streaky Bay on the road to Port Kenny. A sign at the rather neat and modern water hole points out that 'At this spot, Baxter, after crossing the peninsula from Port Augusta waited in dire anxiety to rejoin his leader, Edward John Eyre, who had ridden from Mount Arden via Port Lincoln.'
The area was slowly settled in the second half of the nineteenth century. Farmers came first, then the whalers and, the most successful industry, oyster farming, followed soon after.
Originally called Flinders, the official name became the even older area tag of Streaky Bay. Today there are definite signs of growth with a new housing estate, lots of tourists (for a village this size) and small industries growing up as a result.
The only eternal problem here is fresh water, or, more specifically, lack of same.
Once you get over the initial "ooh-aah" and wander over to the semi-obscured examples at the back, you'll find even more interesting shapes.
You can't help but look at them and try to imagine just how these weird and wonderful granite outcrops could be weathered into such extraordinary shapes by something as simple as wind and, occasionally, water.
There's a parking area, toilet and an honesty box when you first pull up as it's all on private land and the revenue collected goes solely to the maintenance of the site.
As a bonus to our journey we also spent some time doing boys stuff in the sandhills of Yanerbie, another semi-famous local site on the way out of the loop road. These shifting dunes of milk white are a joy to behold. I went a little beserk with my camera and then slid down a steep-sided dune, something I hadn't done for decades. It generates a sense of freedom. It's that sort of place......especially for silly old people like me.
I let Bob drive from here. Bob had trouble with the gears. By this time I had learned to look away and, when the crunch came, I had an instant mental picture of the engine and gearbox haemorraging. You get used to it after a while.
Out of the loop and back on the main road there's not a lot to see except straight roads until you come to something that isn't huge but has become a significant attraction in the local area.
It's called Murphy's Haystacks, a reddish outcrop of granite inselbergs listed as being up to 1,500 million years old and featured in many an item of promotional literature for this part of the world.
A little further on from Smooth Pool we came across some "civilization".
We passed the new "housing estate" called, can you believe it, "Fishermans Paradise". The estate consisted of about 4 houses, 3 of which were not yet finished. Where on earth they would get water from in this dry part of Australia's driest state was a mystery to me.
Still, what an address. It would certainly be a great conversation starter and give you some boasting rights at the bar.
One thing that continually attracted us was the diversity of plant life in seemingly hostile regions, especially around the almost barren cliff tops. It once again highlighted the wonder of nature to fill up every possible niche. The first two are from the cliffs at Cape Bauer and the third from the Yanerbie sand hills.
Just a word of caution, as the weather warms, the Lizards and Snakes come out.
We saw several "Stumpy Tailed" lizards crossing the road. They move very slowly, SO DO NOT RUN OVER THEM as they are not dangerous to humans and do no harm.
If you tease them, and they latch onto your fingers, expect pain!!
The Lizard has a short, wide stumpy tail that resembles its head, this is to confuse predators. The tail also contains fat reserves, which are drawn upon during hibernation in winter. It is known as a skink, and eats snails and plants and spends much of its time browsing through vegetation for food. It is often seen sunning itself on roadsides or other paved areas.
Another common name for this Lizard, is "Sleepy Lizard."
I wouldn't mind one in my garden as they do a good job cleaning the area of pests.
Driving along, it wasn't far when we found another Brown tourist sign, this was to "Smooth Pool"
As we drove down to the carpark, we had a marvellous view of the rocks and savage ocean, for me it was one of those "wow, this is beautiful" moments, it certainly was a favorite spot of mine.
Other than a couple sitting on the rocks eating lunch, we were the only other people here.
Large Boulders, worn smooth from the ocean, and covered in the brilliant orange Lichen. Smooth Pool itself is an eroding granite shelf that faces the full force of local westerly weather systems. The outcrop extends for several hundreds of meters and at low tide the area is studded with rock pools, some perhaps 2 metres deep. Magnificent blue water and breaking waves make the area a seascape photographer's paradise. I loved looking into the trapped water to see if I could find crabs, small fish, seaweeds or starfish, no luck this time!
Standing on the boulders and looking at the angry ocean with big waves breaking, it looked like I should be washed away, but I wasn't, just an illusion.
We spent quite a bit of time here wandering around, looking in the pools to see if I could find any sea life.
I wished we had brought lunch and sat and ate it here too, what a perfect spot to sit and enjoy, and let the time slide by!
A must see!
POINT LABATT IN THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BIGHT, IS ANOTHER MUST SEE!
We continued onto here after finishing the Westall loop. Still travelling on dirt road, this one became a little rough. Once there though, it was worth the drive, for from the cliff top we looked down upon dozens of Sea Lions basking in the sun. Perhaps it was the time of day, I don't know, but quite a few were waking and heading into the Ocean
They are Australia's only mainland sea-lion colony, found only in Australia and are one of the rarest seals and Australia's most endangered marine mammals.
Interpretive signs explain about the Sea Lions. The sea-lion colony at Point Labatt is the only permanent breeding colony on the mainland, with all other colonies on offshore islands.
BRING BINOCULARS FOR A BETTER VIEW!
On the same day we did the Westall Loop and Point Labatt, we finished the day be going to Murphy's Haystacks.
The name is misleading as Murphy's Haystacks are not haystacks at all but a clump of pink granite boulders that give the appearance of haystacks. Rising out of the hillside, these are known as granite inselbergs dating back 1,500 million years. [The name inselberg comes from German insel, meaning island and berg, mountain.]
It's believed the ones I saw only date 100,000 years and have been formed by the uneven weathering of crystalline rock as densely fractured compartments break down through weathering.
The haystacks were buried by calcareous dune sand about 30,000 years ago. Subsequent erosion of the surrounding land surface has gradually revealed the forms we see today.
They are located on a private farm, so entry is by DONATION. I was more than happy to donate after viewing the unusual shapes, their colours and sizes, WELL WORTH VISITING.