Ceduna is a large, rural, seaside town located on the Eyre Highway in South Australia. It’s the main town on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula and one of the last major towns you pass through as you head west across the Nullarbor Plain.
Its unique location makes Ceduna a great place to base yourself in or stop overnight as you explore more of the Nullarbor and the Far West Coast.
Here’s everything you need to know about this beautiful coastal town, including what to do and see in the area.
Table of Contents
- 1 Where is Ceduna
- 2 Travelling to Ceduna
- 3 History of Ceduna
- 4 What is Ceduna known for
- 5 Nearby locations and towns
- 6 What to do in Ceduna
- 7 Exploring the Nullarbor Plain
- 8 Where to stay in Ceduna
- 9 Where to eat in Ceduna
- 10 Shopping in Ceduna
- 11 While you’re on The Eyre Peninsula:
Ceduna is situated on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain on the Far West Coast of South Australia. It’s located on the stunning Murat Bay, which is just one of the many beautiful shorelines of the Great Australian Bight.
The town is right on the Eyre Highway, making it a popular place to stop for travellers either heading east or west on this major thoroughfare. The highway is the only main sealed road that runs across the Nullarbor Plain and through the Far West Coast, often skirting right along the dramatic coastline itself.
With approximately a quarter of a million vehicles passing through annually, Ceduna is a traveller’s hub for either beginning or ending the great Nullarbor road trip.
Visitors to the area usually travel from:
• Port Lincoln to Ceduna: 406 kms (approximately 4 hours via Flinders Highway / B100), or 425.3 kms (approximately 4 and a half hours via Tod Highway / B90 and National Highway A1).
• Adelaide to Ceduna: 777.1 kms (approximately 8 hours via National Highway A1) or flying into Ceduna from Adelaide on a 60 – 90-minute flight (approximately).
• Eucla to Ceduna: 492.5 kms (approximately 5 hours via National Highway A1), often making their way over the Nullarbor Plain from Perth.
If you prefer to travel by air, Ceduna is also accessible by plane direct from Adelaide daily, and returns Ceduna to Adelaide Airport on an immediate turnaround after disembarking in Ceduna and boarding passengers for Adelaide. Flight The regional airport in Ceduna has daily connections to Adelaide, with the flight time around 60-90 minutes.
History of Ceduna
Matthew Flinders was the first European to charter the entire shoreline of the Great Australian Bight in 1802. The Nullarbor Plain and Far West Coast was explored a few decades later by Edward John Eyre and his Aboriginal companion, Wylie.
Ceduna town was officially established in 1901 with optimistic hopes for agriculture in the area. It also became the site of a major satellite telecommunications facility which was built in 1969. At its peak, almost half of Australia’s international telecommunication traffic passed through Ceduna’s station.
Construction of the Eyre Highway began in 1941. The rough track was the only east to west connection across the Nullarbor and was eventually sealed and completed in 1976. It’s since become a major route for both trucks and travellers, with the road trip along the highway being considered one of the must-do drives in Australia.
What is Ceduna known for
Ceduna is the main township on the eastern side of the Great Australian Bight and the gateway to the Nullarbor. It’s a popular pitstop for those travelling by road on the Eyre Highway.
The town name is apparently a corruption of the local Aboriginal Wirangu word, Chedoona and is said to mean a place to sit down and rest. So, when in Rome? It’s a great place to allow a few days to rest, replenish supplies and take a good look around.
The surrounding landscape is characterised by rugged coastal bays, sandy beaches, natural bush, and agricultural farms. It is also considered the Oyster Capital of Australia and the home of King George Whiting, with some of the best seafood you can eat in South Australia.
This makes it an especially popular destination for surfers, all-round beach lovers, and foodies alike.
Nearby locations and towns
The smaller surrounding towns offer a delightful chance to kick back and enjoy some peace and quiet. It’s well worth a leisurely drive as you explore more of the area before heading further west.
More of an extension of the Ceduna Township, Thevenard has a few traveller amenities including, a hotel, supermarket and sporting complex. It also has some great sightseeing attractions such as Pinky Point, the shipping wharf, silos, and the train just to name a few.
Denial Bay is just over 15km from Ceduna and a nice place to have a picnic and a fish. You’ll find the Denial Bay jetty, large parking area, toilets, a playground, shelter and a free to use gas barbecue. You can also find a walking trail and historical places of interest.
Penong is often referred to as the town of windmills so it seems appropriate that you should find a museum there full of windmills – Penong Windmill Museum. It’s become a popular place to visit and even boasts the largest windmill in Australia, named ‘Bruce’.
Penong is also home to the world-famous surf breaks at Point Sinclair known as ‘Cactus’, along with the well-known surfboard manufacturer, ‘Gravelle’. Surfers flock to the town to have a chance to surf the big waves.
You’ll find the legendary little Aussie pub, the Penong Hotel, that the original Cactus surfers used to refer to as ‘The Fridge’. Penong also has a golf course, skate park, and a great little rest spot with toilets and shade with a table and seating.
Perhaps more of a location than a township, Laura Bay is a great sightseeing drive with beaches and sea views of the islands. You will also find some camping spots, and although there are no public buildings in the vicinity, it’s a nice, relaxed sightseeing drive.
Another 15 minutes along the highway you’ll come to Smoky Bay. Smoky Bay is known for its Aquaculture Park which is the oyster growing centre. There is also a nice picnic area, public toilets and a safe swimming enclosure near the town jetty.
Haslam offers another great little stop-in along a self-drive tour. Near the foreshore, you’ll find unpowered sites for just $10 per night with amenities nearby which is great for a relaxing night’s stay.
There are lots of things to do in Ceduna and in the surrounding region. It’s a chance to see many diverse industries from fishing to farming, but we’ll just focus here on tourism interests. Here are the best things to do in the region:
Explore Ceduna on a self-drive tour. This gives you complete freedom to be able to do things at your own pace and according to your own interests. You can explore places outside of the township, such as Decres Bay-Wittelbee Conservation Park, Laura Bay Conservation Park, and the famous pink waters of Lake MacDonnell further afield. This Ceduna map is a great guide.
There are plenty of guided tours on offer, from scenic flights to fishing charters, and whale watching boat tours in Ceduna and further along the Nullarbor. No matter what you want to explore, you’ll find a tour to suit your interests.
At the top of the list for oyster lovers, is a great oyster tour in Smoky Bay. In Aquaculture Park, you will find Jeff and Colleen Holmes of SA Premium Oysters. Jeff and Colleen don’t just offer a unique experience in touring a working farm, but they also provide avid oyster lovers the opportunity to eat the freshest oysters available to you on the planet!
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to fishing on the Far West Coast. You can go boat fishing in our many bays, jetty fishing in the towns, and even rock fishing and beach fishing further out.
You’ll have the chance of catching Tommy Ruffs, the famous King George Whiting, salmon, garfish, snook, and a range of sharks. For the serious fishing enthusiast, there’s also bluefin tuna, mulloway, snapper and more. See the Department of Primary Industries and Regions website for limits.
From around May until October, Southern Right Whales and occasionally humpback whales can be seen off the coast of the Great Australian Bight. There are a variety of ways to observe these incredible marine mammals from Ceduna.
You can either view them from land at a number of viewpoints, or you can opt for a boat tour that will get you a closer look at these giants from the water. There are whale watching tours available from Ceduna, Fowlers Bay and Baird Bay.
There are plenty of sheltered swimming spots for everyone to enjoy around Ceduna. The best places are near the Sailing Club and at Alexander’s Beach, located a few hundred metres on either side of the jetty. These popular swimming spots are easily reachable on foot from the town centre.
The world-famous Cactus Beach is just 90 km west of town, near Penong. If you’re into surfing, then chances are you’ve already heard of Cactus Beach, as it’s considered one of the best places to surf in Australia. It’s home to two world-class left-hand breaks known by local surfers as Cactus and Castles, as well as, the right-hand break known as Caves. It’s strictly for dedicated surfers only, with serious breaks and a notorious prevalence of great white sharks too.
For more modest surfers, you can head to Fowlers Bay or even east to the Eyre Peninsula for more gentle waves.
This salt lake is located at the former site of a salt mine on the largest gypsum deposit in Australia. It’s just inland from the surfing spot, Cactus Beach at Point Sinclair. The incredibly high salt level of the water combined with algae and pink bacteria makes the colour of the lake turn a bright fluorescent pink colour.
The contrast with the blue lake next to it makes it one of the most incredible sights you’ll see on the coast. The lake has become a bit of an Instagram famous sight in the area and people come from all over South Australia just to snap a photo of the unique colours.
You can easily explore the coastal scenery on foot or on to wheels. A stroll or cycle along the Encounter Trail from the local sailing club to Pinky Point in Thevenard is a must-do. The 4km trail is a great way to take in the scenic coastline, including the islands and Denial Bay. Pinky Point Lookout is especially beautiful at sunset if you want to time your walk with golden hour.
You can also explore the beach, sand dunes, and serenity of Shelly Beach on the beautiful and secluded Bosanquet Bay. You can follow the scenic Shelly Beach Dune Walking Trails that weaves across 55 acres of coastal sand dunes. Find it all and more on this map of Ceduna.
You can play a round of golf on the longest golf course in the world at Ceduna at the Nullarbor Links Golf Course. The 18-hole par 72 golf course stretches from Ceduna to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, a distance of about 1365km. This is a very unique attraction for all golfing enthusiasts. The first (or last, depending on which way you’re going) hole is in Ceduna, so you can begin your epic golf tour here that can take up to four days to fully complete.
For a more modest golfing experience, you can also try the smaller Ceduna Golf Course.
Art and history
If you’re interested in learning more about the traditional custodians of the land and the history of the area, there are plenty of opportunities. The Ceduna Arts and Cultural Centre is definitely worth a visit to peruse local aboriginal art. It is also a great place to buy a unique memento of your visit with artwork and souvenirs for sale.
The National Trust Museum is located in the town’s first school building. There is a range of displays with old photographs and memorabilia.
At Penong, you can also walk amongst the open-air Windmill Museum and visit the Penong Woolshed Museum. This will give you a fascinating insight into the agricultural and farming history of the area.
For the serious (and well prepared) 4-wheel drivers, there’s the famous adventure trek that is Goog’s Track. The 360km track will take you to the Transcontinental Railway Line before turning east to the end in Kingoonya. It’s a genuine adventure for the daring with over 300 sand dunes to navigate. Many make the pilgrimage each year but be warned – this isn’t a track for beginners!
If you happen to be in the region in October, you’ll have to time your visit with the annual Oysterfest. It’s a long weekend of music, dance, art, wine, and delicious seafood. The town goes all out for this weekend with fireworks, a street market, and a range of entertainment.
This flat, semi-arid plain is one of the most unique landscapes in all of Australia. It is the largest exposure of limestone bedrock in the world and covers an area of 200, 000 square kilometres, straddling South and Western Australia. It’s situated right along the coast of the Great Australian Bight and begins just slightly west of Ceduna.
For many people, exploring the Far West Coast is synonymous with exploring the Nullarbor Plain and Ceduna offers the perfect base or overnight stop from which to do that. The Eyre Highway that passes through Ceduna crosses the Nullarbor and is the main way to access and explore the region.
A drive across the Nullarbor is considered one of the best things to do in South Australia and is best done over at least a few days to enjoy the various stops on the way. It’s best to rest and restock your supplies in Ceduna before or after the long drive.
Ceduna accommodation comes in all different types. One of the best places to stay though is Ceduna Shelly Beach Caravan Park. This is a highly sought-after caravan park that offers the widest variety of accommodation options from camping sites to luxury villas. They also have immaculate amenities and facilities, dune walks, games room, laundry, and the list goes on.
It delights the traveller who, with or without pets and/or children, appreciates a quiet, secluded beach on Bosanquet Bay. Yet it’s still only a 5-minute drive to Ceduna’s centre for all your conveniences.
Ceduna has become a popular foodie destination thanks to the delicious seafood and famous oysters. You can’t leave town without sampling some of the tasty oysters and King George Whiting.
If you’re looking to stock up on supplies for your road trip across the Nullarbor Plain, Ceduna has a range of businesses and stores to help you out.
Jim’s IGA in Thevenard is the best place to stock up on essential food and drinks for your trip or you can stop in at Ceduna Meat Service for some quality meat to take with you. Terry White Chemmart in Ceduna is able to help out with all your health and medical supplies, while Ceduna Home Timber and Hardware stocks a range of practical products that you might need for your trip.
If you’re on a long road trip and need something for your car, Autopro Ceduna will likely have the parts you need. Ceduna Toyota can sort you out with your vehicle and mechanical needs and for homewares etc. visit Ceduna Furniture.
While you’re on The Eyre Peninsula:
Here are our helpful tools to help you get the most out of your time on Eyre Peninsula.
• Get updates LIVE to your mobile device during your stay by downloading EP App
• Join the conversation on our EP!C Eyre Facebook page.
• See what else we have on our website epiceyre.com.au
Join our socials:
“Tag us @epiceyre let us know what you’re getting up to”