Give me a caravan park on a foreshore, where you can walk a few steps from your van and be on the sand, and you’ve won me. Smoky Bay on Eyre Peninsula is one such place where you and your dog are welcome to stay and enjoy this charming town.
Smoky Bay is known for its farmed oyster industry and if you’re a fan of the plump ocean delicacies, you can see the process up close and personal if you go on an oyster farm tour.
You can also buy oysters from one of the 24 oyster farming companies that operate from Aquaculture Park on the edge of the town.
Spend time in Smoky Bay and you’ll find more to this casual and relaxed town. An eye catching feature on the foreshore is the jetty with its three winged looking shelters that grab your attention, towards the end of the structure. This jetty was originally completed in 1912 and was used commercially until the end of the 1950s, when road transport became an easier option to move grain grown in the region.
In 1969, 88 metres of the jetty were removed and it was intended for the whole structure to be removed but locals protested its removal, and it remained. Over time the jetty became unusable until a fund was set up in 2000 to restore this focal point of the town. Fundraising and plans stalled for a while but in 2009 the ‘Friends of the Jetty’ was established and a renewed energy saw progress begin again.
The eye catching fishing shelters were designed by Murray Edwards, the design of which he drew inspiration from the shape of cormorant’s wings as they dried themselves while perched on the old jetty. By 2012 and with the assistance of State Government, Local Government, fundraising and volunteer work, the restored jetty was opened in April of that year, the 100th anniversary of it first being established.
As you walk along the jetty you will see some of the planks engraved with the names of people and businesses whose sponsorship money provides for its ongoing maintenance. The jetty restoration was a brilliant community project and is now a popular spot with locals and visitors to go fishing and swimming, with a safe fenced swimming enclosure to one side. While we were visiting though the pool had been taken over by fur seals and the fish were also hard to come by, probably because of them too.
If you’re not lucky enough to catch your dinner, there is always the welcoming Smoky Bay & Districts Community Club for a great meal. The club is open 5 days a week from 5pm and on Friday and Sunday nights they serve meals. You can walk to the club from the caravan park and enjoy a really tasty, well priced meal and drinks and even with Covid rules in place, the club ran like a well oiled machine with service being really quick, friendly and efficient.
The general store also does takeaways for those nights that you’d rather be enjoying the sunset, than cooking and the store is close enough to the park to wander to for your daily newspapers or other supplies you may need.
Smoky Bay is a great town for walking around, with everything not too far from your base at the caravan park, but if you are looking to go for a scenic drive, head to Point Brown, around 26 kilometres south of the town.
The drive is on an unsealed but mostly good road, and at the end of the drive you will find some spectacular coastal scenery, beaches, bays and rock pools that in warmer weather would be an ideal spot for a cooling dip.