Not far from Elliston we discover and stay at another ‘free camp’, a council maintained camping area with defined bays for caravans and campers and a single flushing toilet and cold shower.
This is Sheringa Beach, known for great surf fishing, surfing and crisp, clean and white sand dunes. It cost $20 per night to stay, again a bit rich considering the basic facilities here.
We find a site we like, tucked in behind the dunes and only a short walk over to the beach. There is access for 4WDs to drive on as well. This camping area is very well laid out and apart from one other caravan tucked well away from ours, there is no one else staying here.
The dirt road leading in is easy to negotiate and a grader is working on it as we drove in, to keep it in good condition. After unhitching the van, we take a drive further along the road, as it winds its way around the coast and find a lookout with a wooden structure to take in the view and steps leading down to a beach. Staying on the coastal track, the road eventually ends at a turnaround area where more groups of people are camped behind the shelter of big dunes.
This area seems harder to get to the beach and there are no facilities at all, so we are happy with where we’ve chosen to stay.
Sheringa Beach is the last destination where you can catch salmon for the Elliston Salmon Fishing Competition so this is Harry’s last chance to catch something for entry if it’s going to happen. If a salmon is caught here it will mean taking it in to Elliston to where the official weigh ins and measures happen.
The surf here is quite big and a couple of surfers are out in the water enjoying the conditions and even an experienced paddle boarder takes on the waves.
A solid fishing effort is put in and the other campers drive onto the beach on a quad bike with surf rods on board, all set to give it a go too. They stop for a quick chat then head further along the beach.
It’s a good thing this is such a picturesque spot to stay as the fish were nonexistent unfortunately, but the weather is good, no wind and quite mild and an evening campfire is the perfect way to end the day. Storm clouds have been brewing around us for most of the day but seemed to be moving on.
Overnight it did rain quite a bit but it didn’t affect the road out as we packed up and left the next day for our next destination. Goodbye Elliston fishing competition, we missed our chances this year.
On our way to our next stop, we drop in to see a well known cliff top viewing area which is known as Cummings Monument. A memorial is there to mark where a fishing boat was wrecked in 1959, as it was retrieving crayfishing pots, resulting in the loss of life for one crew member, Leo Cummings. The coastline is so wild and rugged it’s not surprising that his body was never found.
This area is also infamous for another story too. As you drive along the Eyre Peninsula coast there are quite a few huge billboards, erected by SA Tourism, which advertise must see spots, and this area is one. It depicted an iconic surf photograph taken at this spot, of a massive rock formation and huge surf being ridden by a surfer. That sign though, as often as it has been erected, has been vandalized, attacked and removed by a local surfers, intent on keeping this particular site a secret.
Crazy but true! It actually got bad enough that the photographer who took the tourism photo received death threats over the shot he took that was used in the campaign. The whole episode made the news and you can read about it here.
When you take a look at the area though, it defies belief that anyone in their right mind would want to surf there. It’s obviously only for the serious thrill seeker or maniacs to tackle and hardly a place that you think would be inundated with rookies.
Having seen this newsworthy spot and lived to tell the tale, we hit the road again and onto another exciting destination.