Five surprisingly good locations across SA & NSW

Author: Mrs A

To conclude our top 20 locations on our lap of Australia, our final 5 leave Western Australia and take us in to SA and NSW. These locations were surprising in that we had reasonably low expectations and were delighted by what we found there.

Again, these are in order of visiting rather than ranked in any way:

1. Streaky Bay – Eyre Peninsula, South AustraliaReason: This was our first stop after having crossed the Nullabor, and our first taste of oysters since leaving Sydney back in May. It was spring when we reached Streaky Bay, and the weather was not quite settled. We had some fabulously warm mornings, but the afternoons often whipped up with quite a blustery wind. Nevertheless it was a great location to introduce us back into semi-civilisation, with a 10km coastal cycleway to explore, and some interesting road trips to natural landmarks. Quite a unique location.

2. Port Lincoln – Eyre Peninsula, South AustraliaReason: We visited this location purely so I could go cage diving with Great White Sharks (a bucket list item and well worth the trip – I chose the ethical option with Adventure Bay Cruises). We originally booked in at the caravan park there for two nights, but loved it so much we stopped longer. Port Lincoln as a town has some great little restaurants, fabulous seafood and plenty of services. A short drive away is Lincoln National Park, home sea eagles, osprey and fur seals you can snorkel with, and numerous picturesque beaches. A flat cycleway follows the coast around into town and along to the marina (and possibly beyond), great exploring with plenty of birdlife. We really enjoyed our time here.

3. Clare Valley, South AustraliaReason: Anyone who knows us well (and our love of fine wine) will probably question why this fits as a surprising visit. Well the fact is we almost left on the first night due to the cold damp weather, but we were pleased we stuck around. The rail trail is a great drawcard here, relatively flat and guiding you to some fabulous tastings. The visitor information centre is award winning, and if you are there on a Friday night they do a wine tasting with $5 glasses of wine and $25 bottles and a cheese and nibbles plate – a brilliant way to meet your fellow campers and taste some local fare.

4. Tanunda – Barossa Valley, South AustraliaReason: Of course the wine was fabulous – we had some great fun cycling around the area which is pretty flat with some off road cycleways, and great tastings. Highlights were Artisans of Barossa, Izway and the Taste of Eden. It was also our first opportunity to taste Vietnamese food in a long while at FermentAsian – a restaurant with a veritable bible of wine on offer – more than 1000 bottles. We settled for one!

5. Cowra – New South WalesReason: Cowra is just an hour from Orange which we have visited on many occasions, but remained a blip on the map for more than 18 years. This time we picked up some literature about it while visiting Forbes, and thought it sounded lovely. As usual we laughed about what the differences were likely to be from the marketing material (often towns read like quaint French villages but disappoint horribly!). Cowra actually exceeds expectations! Surrounded by rolling hills (making the cycling a bit more of an effort than we’d been used to!), lots of interesting history surrounding the Japanese POW camp and some stunning gardens, Cowra also boasts a wine bar with fabulous selection of local beers and wine, and some great places to eat out. We loved the Indian restaurant – we’d put it up there among the best we’ve been to in Australia! The campsite was delightful too, grassy and shady, hosted by a lovely couple who became friends. Definitely worth a visit.

And that concludes our top 20 locations around Australia so far! We’ll be setting off again in two weeks, first to the Sapphire Coast, before doing an about turn and heading north through to pastures new. We’re looking forward to more (hopefully positive) surprises on our horizon…

Where can you find these locations?

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