This is the seaside village that time forgot. An enchanting place surrounded by pristine beaches, crystal clear water, captivating knolls and uncrowded spaces. It is a hamlet that boasts an astounding array of world-class street art in a region that abounds with sweet seafood, inquisitive native animals, birdlife galore, and oodles of charm. Welcome to Tumby Bay, epicentre of South Australia’s Lower Eyre Peninsula.
SMUG mural in Tumby Credit: Australian Street Art Awards
Tumby is nestled on the eastern side of the peninsula only 30 minutes from its bigger, bolder brother, Port Lincoln, and an easy hour from Coffin Bay and the west coast. The town’s location and the area’s diverse offerings makes ‘Tumby’, as the locals call it, the perfect place to spend a week - or a month. It is a quiet place where the 2,600 residents will warmly welcome you, and you will never run out of things to see and experience.
Base yourself in Tumby to explore the lower Eyre Peninsula. To help you make the most of your stay – or to motivate you to book immediately – here’s some of the best things to do in and around Tumby Bay.
Australia’s Best Street Art and Festival
And that’s official. The Colour Tumby Street Art Festival, which will make its return in 2021, is the winner of the Best Street Art Festival or Event in Australia. To date 20 epic murals have been created by internationally renowned street art masters and local South Australian artists. With a little help from a street art map, take yourself on a tour of Tumby streets to see stunning depictions of pelicans, sharks, leafy seadragons, flora, indigenous champions, fish, squid and many more icons of the area.
Mural by Elle Credit: Australian Street Art Awards
Tumby Silo Art
It is the perfect perspective on an Aussie summer holiday! The mega-mural that encases the silo which stands two kilometres out of town on the Lincoln Highway reflects how beach holidays used to carefree and playful, and they still can be in the safe, protected waters of Tumby Bay. Painted by Argentinian street artist Martin Ron, check out the detail on the boys’ feet and the wrinkles in their board shorts. Astonishing!
Sip and Be Seen at Boston Coffee Bean Company
Tumby started a street art revolution on the Eyre Peninsula and Boston Coffee Bean Company in Port Lincoln has followed suit. He you can sip leisurely on superb, expertly-made coffee while gazing at a mural of two big beautiful eyes gazing back at you. This place is so loved by locals that they would prefer you didn’t know about it, and no wonder. The chilled atmosphere and relaxed setting is in direct contrast to the speed at which the aroma of freshly roasted beans reaches you.
Boston Coffee Bean Company Credit: Robert Lang
Pure Coffin Bay Oysters
“The best seafood comes from the clearest waters.” Who could argue with Andrew Carnegie? Even though he died a century ago, one of the world’s wealthiest men knew his stuff when it came to the very best of everything. He would have been impressed with Pure Coffin Bay Oysters. They are produced in the remote, unspoilt and pure waters at the entrance of the bay. Grown in the wild, just as nature intended, these delicacies are the highlight of a farm and bay tour on a boat-come-bar. Imagine gliding over aqua-coloured ocean so clear that the bottom seems only inches away before indulging on oysters plucked straight from the water. Ahhh….
Pure Coffin Bay Oysters Credit South Australian Tourism Commission
Enjoy a Beach All to Yourself
Oysters are not the only thing that sparkles at Coffin Bay. The township is surrounded in part by the Coffin Bay National Park, a hidden gem that offers up deserted beaches, natural wonders and stunning views. Can you think of a more perfect place to spend a day on your terrific Tumby adventure?
Coffin Bay, Eyre Peninsula Credit Kane Overall
Ask a Furry Friend to Say Cheese
Coffin Bay National Park just keeps getting better. Just on its southern outskirts is the wondrous Yangie Bay, where the marsupials will work tirelessly to make you feel welcome. You will LOVE it! Accessible by 2WD, the bay is an ideal place to paddle your canoe, enjoy a bush picnic or explore the coastal bushwalking trails. Travel expert tip: Point Avoid and Golden Island lookout is often dismissed, yet both can be reached by sealed road so head out and be rewarded with spectacular views.
Yangie Bay Credit: Wandering Wilsons
Swim with Sweet Little Sealions
It is surely one of the most interactive, enjoyable and safest activities – and a once in a lifetime experience to swim with these “puppies of the sea” in their natural environment. Calypso Star Charters have been honoured with Australian Tourism Awards for this unique experience, which includes an island tour and swim in calm waters. You will simply float with an out-stretched hand and these magnificent marine mammals will come to you.
Credit: Calypso Star Charters
Take a Red Rock Lobster Tour
Landlubbers are also catered for in Port Lincoln. The Eyre Peninsula is known as Australia’s Seafood Frontier, and there’s more to it than just phenomenal oysters. The region is renowned for producing premium seafood and the bounty includes Southern Rock Lobster. The guided walking Seafood Tour & Taste experience with Adventure Bay Charters will have you immersed in the history and industry that underpins the Port Lincoln economy. Discover the region’s fish species, lobster tales (and tails!) and the preparation required to take this world-class seafood to dining tables across the world.
Port Lincoln Credit: Josh Geelen
Help Save the Leafy Seadragon
You can stay put in Tumby without missing out on unmatched marine encounters because amongst the pylons of the town’s long jetty and in weed beds thrives an abundance of life. Tumby is a diving mecca for scuba and snorkelling lovers, and in its clear waters you can observe the mysterious striped pyjama squid, wobbegong shark, common day octopus, southern rock lobster, giant cuttlefish, and short-headed sea horse. If you are lucky, and patient, then you may sight one of the small community of endangered and elusive leafy seadragons. Look carefully because they usually look as insignificant as a piece of floating vegetation and have a unparalleled ability to blend into their environment. There is information boards at the Tumby jetty and a whimsical “leafy” mural by LoLo.
Tumby Bay, Eyre Peninsula. Credit: Scott Portelli
Go Paddle Boarding on Tumby Bay
Get up early and not only will you enjoy stunning sunrises on Tumby Bay, but you’ll also be setting yourself up for a spot of calm water paddle boarding or kayaking. The water in the early mornings is often glassy still, providing stability and stunning reflections, and the unpolluted nature of sea around Tumby means that you’ll be able to see well below you as you glide across the sparkling surface.
Paddle Boarding Tumby Bay Credit Robert Lang
Seek Out Singing Birds on the Twitchers Trail
A special trip without going more than 30 kilometres from Tumby in any direction! Pack your binoculars before you head out through coastal plains, rich farmlands, hills and country towns while being immersed in vulnerable sheoak grassy and blue gum woodlands. Start by heading 12 kilometres north from Tumby to Lipson before turning west towards Ungarra. It is this stretch where you’ll find the Twitchers Trail - five large mosaic panels that showcase in vivid colour the birds found in that area. This is a gentle and highly informative exercise that will give you unrivalled insights into the birds of the Eyre Peninsula. From Ungarra begin heading south through the picturesque Koppio Hills to the tiny town of Koppio, where the museum is packed with fascinating insights into the district’s agricultural history. It is then just a gentle half-hour drive back to Tumby to conclude your wonderfully restful and interesting day.
Credit: SA Natural Resources
Picture-Perfect Sunsets, Boardwalks and Inquisitive Fauna
One thing that will stroke you about the whole Lower Eyre Peninsula is that there is really pretty scenery everywhere you look – from the incredible east coast views from each hill you crest and the impressive sand dunes of Lincoln National Park through to the mangrove boardwalk at Tumby. The Grey Mangrove is the only species found in South Australia and those at Tumby Bay are the southernmost occurrence of them on the Eyre Peninsula. The boardwalk over this important ecosystem raises walkers above the mangroves, which are flooded at high tide each day. It is currently undergoing a facelift, and when it re-opens again visitors will be able to enjoy an 800m, 1.4 km or 2.7km interpretive walk.
Lincoln National Park Credit: John White
Tumby offers up the very best places to eat and sleep. The French Café, L’Anse, might just be the best Parisian cafe outside Paris and is open for breakfast and lunch Thursday to Sunday. The incredible country bakery, fish and chip shop and the town’s two hotels all serve up deliciously hearty fare.
The breadth of accommodation offerings is impressive too, with a CWA-operated RV park and the Tumby Bay Caravan Park, as well as Tumby Villa’s holiday cabins, Tumby Bay Seafront Apartments, Modra’s Holiday Cabins and a swathe of private rentals. Beach House at Bolingbroke and 29 Gates Farm Stayz both enjoy absolute beach frontage just south of Tumby where the only footsteps you’ll see in the sand are your own.
LoLo's seadragon mural Credit: Australian Street Art Awards
And just when you thought Tumby had given up all her secrets, she has one more - a very special jewellery artist. Paul William Designs is a world-class bespoke designer right in the heart of terrific Tumby.
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