The Eyre Peninsula is one of the most amazing regions of South Australia to visit, with its hundreds of kilometres of coastline and stunning beaches, not to mention its world-class seafood. But what about if you are visiting the Eyre Peninsula with a dog? Find out about what to do with your dog, plus some fabulous dining and accommodation options.
Dog-Friendly Beaches on the Eyre Peninsula
It would be a major disappointment if you visited the Eyre Peninsula and didn’t visit any of its beautiful beaches, and the same applies to your dog. So are there dog-friendly beaches on the Eyre Peninsula?
Rules for dogs on Eyre Peninsula beaches differ from area to area, depending on the local council regulations. While a few areas only allow dogs on-leash, many other areas allow dogs off-leash, whether all day long or during limited hours in the morning and evening.
Based on my observations, it seemed rare that dogs are outright prohibited from beaches, except for the beaches in the Lincoln National Park, Coffin Bay National Park and some other conservation areas, where dogs are completely prohibited.
Some examples of beach rules for dogs include:
Arno Bay: Dogs must be on-leash on the beach
Tumby Bay: Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach before 9am and after 7pm, then on-leash during the day. But dogs are prohibited from the foreshore reserve just behind.
Port Lincoln: Dogs are allowed off-leash on the foreshore beach before 8:30am and after sunset, although still must be under effective control. During the rest of the day they must remain on-leash.
Coffin Bay: Dogs are allowed off-leash on Long Beach all day long, but are still required to be under effective control, including being in your view.
Elliston: Dogs are allowed off-leash at the beach just north of the jetty all day long.
Sceale Bay: Dogs are allow off-leash on the beach all day long.
It’s also important to note that even if dogs are allowed off-leash, you should keep out an eye for nesting seabirds, in which case you should still put your dog on a leash. Also keep an eye out for signs about 1080 baiting, which may occur in some reserves on the peninsula.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing on the Eyre Peninsula
When visiting the Eyre Peninsula with a dog, keep in mind that dogs are not allowed in both Lincoln National Park and Coffin Bay National Park. However, there’s still plenty of dog-friendly sightseeing options.
1. Follow the Oyster Walk at Coffin Bay
One of the prettiest spots on the Eyre Peninsula is Coffin Bay, with its calm waters home to some of the best oyster farms in Australia.
While I doubt you’re going to share any oysters with your pup, your pup would love to share a walk along the Oyster Walk with you. This walking path wraps around the waterfront, clocking up an impressive 12km, although it’s possible to just walk a short section. Dogs are allowed on a leash, except for the eastern section in Kellidie Bay Conservation Park.
Along the way, stop and enjoy some of the local oysters at the waterfront Oyster HQ. Dogs are allowed on the large outdoor deck area – a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset.
2. Check out the Murals in Tumby Bay
In recent years the town of Tumby Bay on the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula has been running the Colour Tumby Street Art Festival. The festival has left the town with many impressive murals dotting its walls, some painted by internationally renown artists.
One of my favourite works is the mural by Adnate and Vera Richards at the Yacht Club, exploring the indigenous heritage of the area. Leash up your dog and head for a walk through the streets, with most artworks painted around North Terrace.
While in Tumby Bay, also stop off at the grain silos just off the highway, and view the beautiful mural created by Ron, celebrating the joy of swimming off the local jetty. Other impressive murals on the Eyre Peninsula can be seen at Kimba and Cowell, although the latter is viewed from the sports grounds where dogs are not permitted.
3. Walk Along the Mangrove Boardwalk at Arno Bay
There’s a number of sections of mangroves along the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula, but they’re best viewed at Arno Bay, where local volunteers have constructed an award-winning Mangrove Boardwalk.
Head to the southern side of town, or walk along the walking path past the caravan park, then choose whether to walk the Creek Mouth Boardwalk or Crab Flat Loop first. The former is 600m one-way to the creek mouth and beach, while the latter is a 640m loop. Leashed dogs are permitted along the boardwalk, plus on the beach.
There’s also another shorter mangrove boardwalk in Cowell, to the north, that also allows dogs, while the mangrove walk in Tumby Bay doesn’t permit dogs.
4. Camp at the Beach
There’s countless dog-friendly beach campsite dotted all along the Eyre Peninsula, many of them run by the local councils. Spend a night or an entire week, based on the rules, at the campsite of your choice.
Most of the beach campsites only have basic facilities, with either a small fee charged per vehicle or no charge at all. While some are accessible by 2WD, other campsite require 4WD access or a toleration for rough roads, so double check the access in advance.
We spent the night at Walkers Rocks Campground, about 12km north of Elliston on the western side of the Peninsula, accessed by a good condition 3km unsealed road. There’s a beautiful beach that has great fishing behind the campground, with clean toilets and a cold shower for $10 per vehicle per night.
We also stayed at Fitzgerald Bay, north along the coast from Whyalla, which was a completely free campsite with flushing toilet facilities. It’s accessed by a mainly sealed road, except for the final few hundred metres, and is also beachfront.
Another option I’ve heard lots of praise for is Perlubie Beach, located on the western side of the Peninsula. However, it’s strictly 4WD access only.
5. Check out Murphy’s Haystacks
One of the most interesting natural formations on the Eyre Peninsula are Murphy’s Haystacks. These distinctive pinkish rock outcrops are actually granite inselbergs, formed when the dune sand above was eroded over thousands of years. They are rumoured to have gotten their name by a visiting Scotsman who mistook them for haystacks.
The Haystacks are located on private land, not far off the highway 40km south of Streaky Bay. Public access is provided in return for a small fee, with no prohibition against dogs. There’s a short walking track wandering in between the Haystacks.
6. Swim with the Cuttlefish at Whyalla
Each winter at Whyalla, thousands of Giant Australian Cuttlefish congregate in the cold waters off Point Lowly. The cuttlefish generally arrive in May, once the water reaches 16C or below, and are present until around August.
The main cuttlefish dive site is next to the gas plant fence line, signposted from the main road down a short unsealed road. There’s toilets onsite and a path down to the water’s edge. If you don’t have your own wetsuit and snorkelling gear, wetsuits and snorkelling or diving gear can be hired in Whyalla, as well as the option to join a guided trip.
Okay, now I’m not suggesting that this is something that your dog joins in, but dogs are allowed on the shore. So if you’re with someone who isn’t happy to brave the cold, your dog can watch and wonder why you’re swimming in such chilly water.
7. Drive along the Great Ocean Scenic Drive in Elliston
There’s more than one Great Ocean Drive in Australia, and on the Eyre Peninsula, Elliston has a claim to a Great Ocean Scenic Drive, circling the spectacular cliffs just to the north of the town.
The drive is quite short, only 12km long, along an excellent condition dirt road, which is suitable for 2WD. There’s also the option of walking all or part of the loop. Along the way, stop at the lookout points, some of which still have sculptures from when Elliston was running a regular sculpture festival, although sadly they are weathering away.
Dogs are welcome to join you on the drive or walk, including at the lookout stops. There’s also an off-leash beach close to the start of the drive, near the jetty.
8. Taste the Local Beer
There’s at least one local brewery on the Eyre Peninsula, Beer Garden Brewing in Port Lincoln. As you’d expect from the name, the venue has an impressive beer garden, and is very dog-friendly (as well as child-friendly).
We really wanted to drop in and taste a paddle, but unfortunately at the time of our visit it was only open Thursday to Sunday (although hours may be longer during the busy summer months – double check!) However, I’ve heard nothing but praise for this brewery.
9. Head to Talia Caves
If you’ve seen Instagram photos from the Eyre Peninsula, you’re likely to have seen photos of the gorgeous Talia Caves, including The Woolshed and The Tub. These beautiful natural spots are located on the western side of the Peninsula, not far south of Venus Bay, and there’s no restrictions on dogs.
Unfortunately, I had to skip visiting, as the unsealed access road was too rough for my vehicle. While not strictly 4WD only, you have to be happy to travel along what can be a corrugated road. The best time of year to visit is during the warmer months, when you can also have a dip in the gorgeous rock pools.
10. Visit the Circular Jetty at Whyalla
While there’s many historic jetties located all over the Eyre Peninsula, one of the region’s newest attractions is the innovative circular jetty built at Whyalla. Located next to the Whyalla Foreshore, dogs are welcome to join you heading out for a walk on the jetty.
(Note that while many other jetties in the region also permit dogs, some don’t, so always check the signage.)
Dog-Friendly Walks on the Eyre Peninsula
No matter where you are located on the Eyre Peninsula, there’s some excellent local walks around, many of which are dog-friendly. For instance, see above for details about the Oyster Walk in Coffin Bay, the Mangrove Boardwalk at Arno Bay and the Great Ocean Scenic Drive (or walk) in Ellison.
Another great option is the Parnkalla Trail in Port Lincoln. The full trail following the edge of Boston Bay is an incredible 35km one way. The central section from the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum to Billy Lights Point (11.2km in length) is a paved path, while the extensions to the north and south are natural bush walks. Dogs on a leash are allowed along the trail.
Dog-Friendly Dining on the Eyre Peninsula
Plenty of the cafes and restaurants on the Eyre Peninsula have outdoor dining tables, and are happy for well-behaved, leashed dogs to join you. In particular, I recommend sampling some of the fine seafood that the Peninsula is renown for, and is featured heavily in many of the cafes and restaurants.
In Coffin Bay, Oyster HQ is situated beautifully right upon the water, with views out to the oyster farms. While dogs may not be able to join you on an oyster farm tour, they can join you on the large outdoor deck. Enjoy some of the local oysters au naturale with a glass of wine, or sample the innovative seafood dishes on their menu.
In Port Lincoln, one of the best spots to head is The Fresh Fish Place, which has an extensive menu of locally caught seafood available for both dine-in and takeaway, as well as frozen products and grocery items. There’s one or two outdoor tables that are dog-friendly, but it might be best to get take-away like we did, then head to the foreshore to dine on fish ‘n’ chips far above your usual fare.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation on the Eyre Peninsula
No matter what your accomodation preference, there’s some dog-friendly options available for you on the Eyre Peninsula. For starters, if you’re happy to rough it, check out the tips above for beach camping, including at the dog-friendly locations of Fitzgerald Bay, Walkers Rocks Campground and Perlubie Beach.
One of my favourite caravan parks in the region is the Coffin Bay Caravan Park. This relaxed park is located just metres from the waterfront, with prices that are quite reasonable. The park is also regular visited by the local kangaroos and emus. Note that dogs are only allowed on sites and be sure to keep them leashed.
Another extra dog-friendly caravan park in the region is Shelly Beach Caravan Park in Ceduna. As well as permitting dogs on sites, there are also a handful of pet-friendly cottages. Make sure you book in advance.
There’s no shortage of dog walking options at Shelly Beach. Either head over the dunes to the beach or else follow the scenic dune walk track created by the caravan park, which starts near the camp kitchen.
If you’re after pet-friendly apartments and holiday homes on the Eyre Peninsula, I recommend either contacting Visit Port Lincoln Accommodation, who can provide you with a listing, or searching on Airbnb or Stayz.
Also driving across the Nullarbor? Check out my guide to driving across the Nullarbor with a dog