Lincoln National Park & Memory Cove Wilderness Area – beautiful places on the Eyre Peninsula

Memory Cove - a little piece of perfection

We left Buckaringa sanctuary, with a couple of weeks to spare before our next commitment to assist as volunteers at the first wildlife survey at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s Dakalanta sanctuary on the Eyre Peninsula.  For us, the choice was obvious; we’d head to the southern tip of the peninsula to re-visit the Lincoln National Park and a special region within it called the Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area.  We’d visited those areas early in 2008 and loved them.

From Buckaringa, we travelled through Port Augusta, down the western coast of Eyre, staying overnight at a small town called Cowell.  This proved to be a haven for anglers and retirees; actually, mostly a combination of both.  The caravan park was crowded – we got the last spot – but the oldies were very friendly.  Good on them for leading lives they love!  Being our first coastal stay in well over a year, we treated ourselves to some local oysters and prawns, washed down with a bottle of South Australian white.  ‘Twas lovely.


Continuing south, we restocked in Port Lincoln then made a bee-line across to Lincoln National Park, setting up camp at Surfleet Cove.  Much work had been done to improve the facilities since our previous stay, and the park itself was looking glorious, trees covered in new growth.  The birdlife, good last visit, was astounding this time.

The bushland was full of birds – scrubwrens, paradalotes, robins, parrots and galahs, but the ocean itself was even more alive with birds; sea-birds.  The cove was obviously teeming with small fish, because each day the gulls, terns and pelicans would fly in for a feeding frenzy.  It was a sight to behold.

And we thoroughly enjoyed our first swim in the ocean in ages.  It was a joy to experience sand and salt water again.

We fell victim at Surfleet Cove to some campsite robbers, though we have come to forgive them.  The robbers were a small family of Western Grey Kangaroos, who ventured in while we were off bush-walking and relieved us of our bunch of bananas, some $10 worth given current prices. We returned to catch the adult female roo swallowing the last banana, skin and all, with her joey looking on from her pouch.  Apart from being mildy annoyed at losing our fruit, we were a little concerned for mum roo who appeared to experience quite a stomach-ache as punishment for her actions.  Luckily, she was back to full health an hour or so later.  We are careful never to feed wildlife, because feeding wild animals can be unhealthy for them and can lead to aggressive behaviour in the animals as they approach people for food. Unfortunately, in this circumstance, we had no say in the matter as the roos opted for self service.  The bananas had been quite high up in our kitchen area, where we believed they would be safe.  Silly us!

Silver Gulls line the shore of Surfleet Cove

A school of fish spells mayhem

A school of fish spells mayhem 2

Click on the following link to see some footage of this feeding frenzy:


A White Bellied Sea Eagle flies overhead

Pied Cormorant above Surfleet Cove

A Silver Gull in flight

Black Swans pass Surfleet Cove

Red Wattlebird

Spotted Pardalote at Surfleet Cove 2

Butterfly at Surfleet Cove

Caught in the act.  Mother Western Grey Kangaroo had just relieved us of $10 worth of bananas while we were out walking

A campsite visitor - Western Grey Kangaroo joey - looks out from the safety of mother's pouch.


Next stop, Memory Cove Wilderness area.  Visitor numbers are limited to the area to help protect it, resulting in a large area of pristine beauty.  We drove in to Memory Cove along a magnificent boulevard of melaleucas in full bloom, then along clifftops offering majestic views of the Southern Ocean, before descending to the sheltered Memory Cove and its lovely bush campground.  There are five sites only at Memory Cove, so you almost feel that the area is your private piece of wilderness.

Stunning coastline near Memory Cove

Last light at Memory Cove 2

Rocky shore near Memory Cove

Our bush campsite

We called this formation 'the Sphinx'

There was a constant stream of colourful birds around the cove, the water was cool and crystal clear, and the coastal heath-lands green and healthy.  We saw dolphins and sea-lions as we looked on from the rocky headland, and basically soaked up the atmosphere.

Three nights – the maximum time you can camp there – was nowhere near enough, but we left Memory Cove again thrilled to have stayed at such a beautiful place.  It is a place that gives us a hint of what Australia’s coastline must have been like before ‘development’ took away its innocence.

Pacific Gull

Pacific Gull

A Tern lands under the watchful eye of gulls and terns

Black-Faced Cormorant

Male Blue Breasted Fairy Wren

Spotted Padalote

A tiny Silvereye near our campsite.  These beautiful little birds were everywhere

Western Yellow Robin

Brown-headed Honeyeater

New Holland Honeyeater

Yet another White-Browed Scrub Wren

Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo

Grey Shrike Thrush

From there, we headed up the west coast of Eyre Peninsula to charming village of Elliston, then inland to Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary, the subject of the next post.

18 March 2011

Random images from Memory Cove:

Seaweed in cove

A study in lichen

Shore memories

Smoothed by time

Detail of shore


Heath flowers

  • Rovaye:

    Once again, great text & beautiful photos…thanks

  • Archana:

    Thank you for taking the time to write down in such detail the atmosphere of your stay. the pictures are beautiful and I could feel your joy from Memory Cove through your writing. It is so wonderful to see all the beautiful places of Australia and this blog will be a treasured gift for many of us. Happy Travels, Love Archana

    • admin:

      Thank you Archana. We’re glad you liked the post. Hope you get to visit there one day! See you in Canberra. Love Peter & Nirbeeja