How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park

How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park

Want to make the most of your vis­it to this spec­tac­u­lar park? We’ve got you cov­ered with this one-day itinerary.

Locat­ed on the south­ern tip of Eyre Penin­su­la you’ll find Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park, one of South Australia’s best-kept secrets.

This vast coastal wilder­ness with its rugged lime­stone cliffs, large coastal sand dunes, abun­dant wildlife, pris­tine sandy beach­es and shel­tered tran­quil waters of Cof­fin Bay is a nature lover’s paradise.

With so much to see and do, we’ve enlist­ed the help of Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice SA Ranger Elly Schultz.

Elly has worked in the park for sev­er­al years, so she knows all the best spots to vis­it. Here are her tips for a per­fect day out: 

Park rangers Elly and Sam at Coffin Bay National Park.
Park rangers Elly and Sam at Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park.


Entry to the park is through the small coastal town­ship of Cof­fin Bay, locat­ed 50 km west of the region­al city of Port Lincoln.

Only a few kilo­me­tres into the park, you’ll find Tem­ple­to­nia Look­out. Take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to stretch your legs and take in the 360-degree views of the park.

Inter­pre­tive signs at the look­out name the local islands and dis­tant ranges, and if you’re lucky you might even spot an emu or a kangaroo.

How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park

Con­tin­ue your jour­ney into the park by fol­low­ing the signs to Point Avoid.

While it was named by Euro­pean explor­er Cap­tain Matthew Flinders dur­ing his voy­age in 1802 in ref­er­ence to the coast­line being haz­ardous for ships, there’s no need to avoid the spec­tac­u­lar coast­line anymore.

Make sure you pull over at the road­side stops to admire the views, which are shaped by the large South­ern Ocean swell that con­tin­u­ous­ly smash­es into the lime­stone cliffs.

The islands that you can see make up Whid­bey Isles Con­ser­va­tion Park. The near­est is Price Island, then Per­fo­rat­ed Island and on the hori­zon are the Four Hummocks.

How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park

A few kilo­me­tres south of Point Avoid is Gold­en Island. From the look­out you can see the island and the sub­merged rem­nants of an isth­mus, a nar­row strip of land that once con­nect­ed the island to the mainland.

Con­tin­ue to the low­er look­out, which pro­vides access to the stun­ning Almonta Beach. Enjoy a relax­ing walk along the beach, or try your luck fish­ing the schools of salmon that fre­quent the coast.

How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park


By now you will have devel­oped an appetite so make you way towards Yang­ie Bay, which is a per­fect loca­tion to enjoy a picnic.

Take advan­tage of the shel­tered pic­nic facil­i­ties and watch the seabirds feed­ing in the bay as you enjoy your own lunch.

Top tip: Cof­fin Bay oys­ters are world famous. Why not buy some in town at the start of your day to add to your pic­nic lunch.

How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park


After lunch it’s time to stretch your legs again. The Yang­ie Bay Loop Trail starts near the pic­nic shel­ter and takes about 45 min­utes to complete.

It offers excel­lent views of the Yang­ie Bay Marine Sanc­tu­ary, an impor­tant breed­ing area for marine species.

On this trail you’ll walk through coastal mallee and open sheoak wood­lands, and trek your way through salt­marsh and along low lime­stone cliffs.

Alter­na­tive­ly, if you have a kayak you might like to explore the calm shel­tered waters of Yang­ie Bay. The shal­low beach in front of the pic­nic shel­ter is the per­fect place for begin­ners to launch a kayak.

Keep an eye out for dol­phins that come into the bay to hunt for a feed of fish. You might even spot a kan­ga­roo or emu swim­ming across the bay to graze on Yang­ie Island. 

How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park


As the day draws to an end make sure you take some time to check out Long Beach on your way home.

Just out­side of the nation­al park, take a walk along the beach.

Long Beach is one of the best beach­es to enjoy the sun set­ting over Cof­fin Bay and is a fit­ting way to end your day in Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park.

How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park


If you are lucky enough to have more time than just a day, make a night of it and stay in one of the campgrounds.

Yang­ie Bay Camp­ground is acces­si­ble to all vehi­cles and is suit­able for all types of camp­ing, includ­ing car­a­vans.

If you’re look­ing for a more seclud­ed camp­site, there are a num­ber of 4WD only camp­grounds locat­ed north of Yang­ie Bay. Due to their remote­ness there’s lim­it­ed facil­i­ties, so you need to be well pre­pared and self-sufficient.

How to spend a day in Coffin Bay National Park

Know before you go

While much of the park requires a 4WD vehi­cle, there’s still plen­ty to see if you only have a con­ven­tion­al vehi­cle. Ranger Elly has put this itin­er­ary togeth­er so every­one can enjoy this won­der­ful park, so all of the places men­tioned are accessed by sealed roads.

If you are for­tu­nate to have a 4WD and want to explore the north­ern area of the park, Elly sug­gests dri­ving the Cof­fin Track, which begins at Yang­ie Bay.

The chal­leng­ing and nar­row track tra­vers­es 30 km of rocky lime­stone and soft sandy ter­rain to reach the north­ern areas of the park includ­ing Point Sir Isaac, The Pool, Reef Point and the very remote but spec­tac­u­lar Sen­sa­tion Beach.

Mobile ser­vice in the park is lim­it­ed, so it’s a good idea to down­load a park map to your smart­phone before you set off on your adventure.

For eas­i­er nav­i­ga­tion in the park, try using the Aven­za Maps app, which pro­vides inter­ac­tive park maps that are free to down­load and use your device’s built-in GPS to plot your real-time loca­tion with­in the park onto a map. The app can be used with­out a net­work con­nec­tion and with­out roam­ing charges.

Also bear in mind that there are no shops in the park, so make sure you have ade­quate food, fuel and water before start­ing your day.

Top tip: Vehi­cle entry and camp­ing fees apply in Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park. Per­mits will need to be pur­chased before you arrival at the park, either online or through a Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice SA book­ing agent.

Park of the Month

Through­out April, Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Aus­tralia are cel­e­brat­ing Low­er Eyre Penin­su­la Parks. A range of activ­i­ties are on offer, includ­ing snor­kel­ing tours, ranger-guid­ed kayak­ing and a free movie screening.

Vis­it parks​.sa​.gov​.au/​g​e​t​-​i​n​s​p​i​r​e​d​/​p​a​r​k​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​month for full details.

Main image cour­tesy of John White. 

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living