Saltpans and Sharks in South Australia

This itinerary is for the true-adventurers, taking you well out of your comfort zone into the raw and wild beauty of the Eyre Peninsula. Starting off with 3 nights in the 1500 million year old Gawler Ranges which sit on a significant ecological line that divides east and west Australia, your stay here is a complete assimilation with the distinct flora, fauna and birdlife to be found in the area. You then move back to Port Lincoln, seafood haven of the coast, for two nights before returning to Adelaide. It is also here that you will dive off into the deep end, coming face to face with the ocean’s most feared, and also probably the most mis-understood, predator – the Great White Shark. The Fox’s shark-cage diving operations here are world renowned, and have also contributed significantly to research about these chillingly graceful beasts.

Certainly not for the faint-hearted, nor children under 15, this itinerary operates at very specfic times of the year. Gawler Safaris depart on a Monday but does not operate in the winter months June, July and August. Shark swims are offered on most Fridays throughout the year as the government restricts the number of departures, but there are daily dives on Saturday which mean a third night in Port Lincoln.

Lightfoot can tailor your itinerary to best suit your dates and we recommend September to April over the summer as the best times for this itinerary, although January and February are the hottest months in the Gawler Ranges.

Day 1: Arrival into Adelaide

Arrive into Adelaide where you will be met at the departure gate and transferred to The Sebel Playford Adelaide. You then have the remainder of the day to explore the city at your own leisure.

Day 2: Adelaide - Port Lincoln - Gawler Ranges

You will be picked up at your accommodation and transferred to the airport in time for your early morning flight at 0815hours, operated by Regional Express (cost of flight included in price). Arriving at Port Lincoln to join your guide, the first stop is at Mikkira Station to view a colony of wild koalas before travelling through farming land to Wudinna, population 600, stopping for lunch along the way.

Pass by Wudinna Rock as you travel into the outback en route to Kangaluna Camp. The camp, on a private concession at the edge of the Gawler Ranges National Park, is built and run on ecological principles, using natural air flows for ventilation and capturing rainwater. Three large en suite safari tents have been designed in tune with the local environment and with comfort in mind. Designed by a well-known wildlife artist, the furnishings have been built from local mallee wood and feature native mammals and birds.

Outback animals thrive in the local environment and after a rest at Kangaluna there is an afternoon wildlife experience tour. Expect to see three species of kangaroos, as well as emus and many birds, before returning to Kangaluna after sunset drinks at Kolay Mirica Rocks (organ pipe formations). In the evening settle in to a BBQ dinner and a glass of wine with the sounds of the bush surrounding you and the stories of your guide for entertainment.

Day 3: Gawler Ranges

Visit an ochre pit on the morning drive to spectacular Lake Gairdner, which is like a piece of Antarctica with its glistening white salt pan set in the red landscape. Walk on the surface of the lake and look north to see the endless white plains and the striking red surrounds and islands. The red dunes along the lake yield many animal tracks, flowers in spring, interesting vegetation and birds. Photo opportunities are endless.

In the afternoon, drive through a changing landscape including cigar shaped volcanic rock formations 1,600 million years old.

Day 4: Gawler Ranges

Mornings are leisurely and allow plenty of time to walk through the bush near the camp. This morning there is a walk on Lake Sturt in the Corrobinnie Depression to see the array of colour and patterns in the bed of the old lake. This is a geological marvel, with many interesting rocks.

Continuing around the lake to Mt Sturt observe the diversity of plants and trees. Early arrival back to the camp gives the chance to spot some of the 110 species of birds observed at Kangaluna together with the visiting animals. Sunset drinks will finish the day at Sturt’s Lake.

Day 5: Gawler Ranges - Baird Bay - Port Lincoln

Early morning drive to Baird Bay to board the boat for an unforgettable wildlife experience.  On the 5 kilometre journey to a lagoon at Jones Island near Cape Radstock (at 160 metres, it is one of the highest sheer points on the southern coast of Australia) watch Bottlenose dolphins ride the bow wave of the boat and join these magnificent mammals in shallow water.  You may even be smooched by them!

After lunch on the beach leave Baird Bay and visit Venus Bay and Elliston and enjoy magnificent coastal scenery on the journey to Port Lincoln, where you will check into the Port Lincoln Hotel for your two night stay.

Day 6: Shark Cage Dive

Board at the Marina to the smell of hot coffee made fresh by the host/hostess from the machine on board. After an introduction and safety briefing from the Skipper depart for the Neptune Islands. Breakfast is served shortly after departure from the Marina. Enjoy the 2.5 -3 hour journey to the Neptune Islands which is often accompanied by pods of dolphins & even the odd whale in season. Along the scenic journey the crew will provide information about the fishing industries, the surrounding Islands and the marine life.

On arrival at the Islands the Skipper passes close to the Island to allow passengers to view and photograph the local Sea Lion colony. The dive location for the day is then selected and it is time to drop anchor. The bait hits the water and the action begins! At times Great Whites are around the boat before dropping the anchor. Fingers crossed “Big Mumma” may arrive, an 18′ plus monster. Groups enter the spacious cage up to six at a time leaving plenty of room for prime shark viewing! Once the sharks arrive each group will have the opportunity to experience approximately 45 minutes of cage viewing face to face with the amazing Great White Shark. Please note this time can vary and will depend on the shark activity and weather on the day.

While you aren’t in the water keep your camera on hand for prime photographic opportunities. Or watch the underwater action live streamed into the saloon from the cameras mounted on the cage. Morning tea, magnificent lunch, afternoon tea, cappuccino and cold soft drinks included. As a licensed vessel the bar opens on the way home – beer, red & white wine are available for purchase.

Day 7: Port Lincoln - Adelaide - Departure

You will be picked up at your accommodation and transferred to the airport in time for your morning flight back to Adelaide, which will be timed to make it just in time for your international departure.

* This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant.

Guide price: From AUD 3,625 per person based on two adults travelling (excluding flights).

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrival into Adelaide
Day 2: Adelaide - Port Lincoln - Gawler Ranges
Day 3: Gawler Ranges
Day 4: Gawler Ranges
Day 5: Gawler Ranges - Baird Bay - Port Lincoln
Day 6: Shark Cage Dive
Day 7: Port Lincoln - Adelaide - Departure

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Excursions
  • Transfers or car hire
  • Activities with guides
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visa if necessary
  • Personal expenses
  • Hotel early check in / Late check out
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (please note that this is required for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)

Map

Adelaide Port Lincoln Gawler Ranges Baird Bay Port Lincoln Neptune Islands

Price available upon request

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant