Fitzgerald Bay; spectacular Whyalla Camping
If you can’t get enough of the South Australian coastline and love free camping, Fitzgerald Bay is for you! With more stunning camp sites scattered along the coast than you can poke a stick at, there’s a spot for everyone!
Where is Fitzgerald Bay?
Fitzgerald Bay is located not far from Point Lowly, or Port Bonython, in between Port Augusta and Whyalla. It’s roughly 25 minutes from Whyalla by car, and is a huge bay with a number of houses and camp sites.
Do you need a 4WD?
You can easily get to Fitzgerald Bay without a 4WD, and in actual fact the road in is entirely bitumen. However, once you come down the hill, it soon changes to gravel in one direction immediately, and gravel in the other direction after a decent drive.
We saw a number of 2WD vehicles camped at different spots, and there are plenty at the houses, so its easily done.
However, if you intend on driving on any gravel, be very careful of the rain, as the tracks become incredibly slippery and difficult to navigate. In a 4WD you’ll be OK, but we did find ourselves slipping around a bit, and much more when we had the Reconn R2 on the back!
There is an ‘Emergency track’ which runs from Fitzgerald Bay to Point Lowly, which is doable in a 2WD with some clearance, but has some really slippery sections after rain, and a large amount of rocks in the track towards Point Lowly.
Some of the camp sites absolutely need a 4WD, but there are many that do not.
Camping at Fitzgerald Bay
I was shocked at the number of camp sites at Fitzgerald Bay. They are littered all the way from Point Lowly (and you can camp there too, for $10, right ‘in town’) to the far end of Fitzgerald Bay. Many are signed as designated camping areas, and others are just small pull offs from the main track.
My recommendation is to have a close look at the weather and particularly wind forecast for camping around Fitzgerald Bay. We did prior to arriving, and decided to camp on the protected side, and it paid huge dividends.
Whilst we did have a decent amount of wind, the water was almost always calm and it was pleasant enough. On the other side of the bay, and on the Whyalla side, where the cuttlefish are, the wind was howling in with huge swell, and it was almost impossible to open our car door!
If its blowing from the west, the emergency track camp sites are magic, and you can get really close to the water.
Camping is 100% free in these areas, with exception of Point Lowly ($10 per night), and that’s pretty incredible, so leave no trace, and spend some money in the local areas to show your support. I did hear rumours that there was talk of closing these camp sites because people were leaving them in a sad state, which would be a big loss.
The site that we stayed at was fairly clean, with only a few hard to find pieces of rubbish that we picked up, and a fair bit of dried up dog poo, from owners who clearly don’t have much respect for others.
Some of the camp sites are right on the waters edge, and others are set back in the scrub. We did get to a section near the end of the bay (on Port Augusta end) that had water from the ocean well over the track, so we turned around and headed back.
Diving with the giant cuttlefish
A huge attraction in this area is the cuttlefish that you can dive with, between May and August. This is right near Port Bonython, and they have dedicated change rooms, and two spots where you can enter the water and swim with them.
We visited well out of season, but it would be amazing to dive with them if they were around!
Fishing at Fitzgerald Bay
Asides from the sanctuary zones related to the cuttlefish (which are outside of Fitzgerald Bay), you can fish off the shore. We landed 3 king George whiting and a smaller salmon in the first 30 minutes of fishing, and then didn’t get much after that. If you are fishing where its rocky, expect to get snagged and possibly lose a bit of gear!
When you come down the hill to Fitzgerald Bay, you’ll see some big floating objects out in the distance, which we were intrigued by. These are fish farms, and have only recently been started back up again, and house a heap of kingfish. We watched them being worked on a number of times, and found it quite interesting.
Is Fitzgerald Bay worth a visit?
We were really impressed with Fitzgerald Bay, and snagged an amazing camp site on the rocks where the kids could run around and we had good access to the water. We intentionally headed here when it was pretty average weather rather than go to a caravan park, or stay in a fairly average gravel pit and wait for the rain to pass.
As it turned out, asides from the on and off rain, and a very cool wind, we had an amazing stay and would rate it as one of the better camp sites in good weather. Since doing a heap of other Eyre Peninsula camping, we’d rate Fitzgerald Bay as one of the better spots.
If you are chasing great free camping on the coast of South Australia, we’d highly recommend Fitzgerald Bay. Do everyone a favour though, and support the locals with some business, and leave it pristine so everyone can continue to enjoy it.
We removed any rubbish that we found, and spent a fortune on groceries and other bits and pieces while staying at Whyalla Caravan and Tourist Park to keep us exploring more of the Eyre Peninsula.