Ah the Copper Coast. Every South Australian worth their weight in pie floaters and frog cakes will have a story to tell about some sort of family adventure on our famous Yorke Peninsula. Whether it be getting stuck in a 20km traffic jam past Port Wakefield with every other person in the state, or being chased by an emu at Innes National Park (maybe thats just my story?), there are so many reasons why it always has been and will remain such a popular holiday destination for us all.
Fun fact; the whole peninsula is a really bloody big place! Looking kind of like Italy and probably about the same size (not a fact), it doesn’t take long to drive around the whole peninsula but to properly relax, explore and take it all in, now that takes a bit of time. As a result for our trip we focussed on the northern part of Yorkes, the Copper Coast. Making up the towns around Wallaroo, Kadina, Moonta, Port Broughton etc, this beautiful part of the state has so much to offer for families. Given the price of petrol is higher than the moon, the fact all this is under 2hrs from the city and all these towns are really close together, it is also really friendly on the budget.
We set aside 3 nights for our trip, which for those math buffs out there, translated to 4 full days with about half a day allowed for comfortable travel. Incredibly, for only a 3 night trip, we had enough supplies in our car to last probably 3 months. Anyone else suddenly become a doomsday prepper when they pack for a family trip? Yeah I may need 4 loaves of bread. What if there are no shops in any of the 7 towns I will be within 15km of at all times?
Like probably most of you reading this, we headed to the Copper Coast from the city, which meant after aiming (and failing) to leave early to beat the city traffic, we drove past South Australia’s most famous tourist attraction, the Monster at Lochiel (more precisely at Lake Bumbunga). This lake, also sort of famous for being coloured a fairly bright pink most of the year, it is also known for the sight of a bunch of old tyres in the lake shaped like the Loch Ness monster. The Loch Eel monster below.
A tad over 2 hours after leaving home, add on a bit for the obligatory required stop at Port Wakefield so the kids can stretch their legs, and we arrived at sunny (and windy) Port Broughton. We checked in at our lovely accommodation at the Port Broughton Tourist Park and spent a lovely afternoon running around on the seemingly endless beach and taking advantage of the winds by flying a kite. Hadn’t flown a kite in about 33 years and to be honest, I don’t remember it being as hard as it was. Sometime after Mr 5 was hit in the head by a kite on a kamikaze mission with the ground, we called stumps on kite flying and prepared for dinner.
One of the best things about this trip and the Copper Coast, is how close all the towns are to each other but still offer something a bit different. Dinner for us was at the brilliant Cooper’s Ale House at Wallaroo. Have a read of our extended feature on this absolute must for your trip. We washed down dinner by driving along the northern beach at Wallaroo and enjoying the sunset. We are blessed with a few beaches in SA that we can drive on, but if you haven’t experienced it, it is just a magnificent way to end the day. There was miles of flat hard sand so no chance of getting bogged either!
With my lower back alarm waking me at stupid-o’clock, like any parent my priority lied with one thing. Coffee. Thankfully being the prepared person I am (usually a lie) I had asked the friendly tourist park staff for the best place in town. So for me, my coffee recommendation for Port Broughton is Baker Bears just near the big jetty. Can’t miss it really. Not a lot of shops in the town and it has a big bear on it. They kept me going each morning!
With coffee came a lovely morning of exploring the biggest jetty in South Australia….maybe. Well its big and it had fishing boats at the end so that was cool for the kids. Take your time walking the jetty and let the kids search the pristine crystal clear waters. We found a heap of little sting rays and one ginormous (its a word…Mr 5 said so) big sting ray just cruising along. Really was a perfect way to start the day.
We had Day 2 set aside as our day to explore Kadina, about 20 minutes or so from Port Broughton. After spending a few hours at the fabulous Copper Coast Tourist Centre at Kadina (you can’t miss that one. Fantastic family attraction) we then headed in to the town centre for a nice stroll and explore. Take your time when planning these sort of trips to allow exploring time, you never know what you will find. In our little explore, we found a fantastic new playground right in the heart of the town.
The Treetop playground at Victoria Square is huge! It has one of those really high ropey climbing slide things, similar to the one at Craigburn farm, which is not really that easy to climb in your thongs. Tip for those parents who have aspirations of being somewhat active like me, but prepare poorly for it. If climbing and heights are not your thing (me) they have a great restored train to climb on as well as a massive fenced playground suitable for all ages.
Once we had finished regretting our choice of footwear, we headed back to our cabin at the tourist park. We wanted to allow plenty of time left in the day to relax, read a book or explore the tourist park. Not sure why I bothered to pack a book while also packing a 5 year old. Optimistic I guess. So while the big kids rested and read in the cabin, old Optimistic me and the little guy explored the park facilities. These parks offer so much, which I ramble on about in our feature on the park, but an afternoon swim, pedal buggy and playground hunt was a fantastic way to spend the afternoon.
Another plus about staying in a holiday park we found was you don’t have to spend $100 to eat out every night. A park BBQ was just perfect for us on night 2, with all the facilities a few metres from our cabin.
Day 3 for us was Wallaroo and Moonta day, which if we are honest could easily have been a few days on their own. Again, about 20 minutes down the road from Port Broughton and we hit the lovely Wallaroo for brunch by the beach at the North Beach Kitchen. Unfortunately a tad windy on our visit, and by ‘tad’ I mean I could probably have thrown a vortex 3km. Luckily our fantastic venue catered for all conditions and we ate like kings. Make sure you have a read of the full write up, highly recommend this one too.
A bit like our day in sunny Kadina (I got burnt. So. So burnt), we wanted to explore Wallaroo a bit and found a great playground right in the middle of town, again with a big train to play on! As someone who loves trains, I appreciated this more than most of my fam I think. A big playground, heaps of grassed area to run around and a sunny day was just what we needed to work off our big breakfast before heading to Moonta.
Now hot tip coming here. If you are planning on heading to a water park, apart from sun cream, what is a fairly important thing to pack? If you said Towels, you would be correct. If you also said that I forgot the towels, you would also be, correct. “Oh we can just pop into a surf shop and grab a couple of cheap towels”, said no-one ever, so luckily for us the Moonta IGA had us covered and after another nice walk down the main street of a beautiful Copper Coast town, we headed to the Splashtown at Moonta Bay. Moonta Bay just offers to much for families with not only the water park (check out our pics and write up on that one…oh and its Free!), but a huge jetty, playground and one of the best beaches in the region. With shallow waters that extend for what seems forever, it is a great beach and one we certainly love for our kids.
Who loves a secret, hidden gem on a trip away? We have just the place when on your trip. The Coffee Barn and Gelateria at Moonta was absolutely amazing. Great coffee, but the gelati was sensational. A real nice quirky spot off the beaten track too. Follow the signs for this one and don’ the put off by having to drive around the back blocks a bit. Totally worth it. Oh but cash only!
One thing we would have loved to do on our trip at Moonta was the Moonta Mines Train. It runs several times a day during school holidays and takes an hour, but sadly we just couldn’t fit this one in. Sigh, next time.
It may seem like day 3 was just all about eating, which is true, but on our way back we stopped again at Wallaroo for lunch at the Bond Store, an absolutely stunning distillery, micro-brewery and restaurant. We stayed for hours and honestly, I wish I was back there now. Make sure you read up on our visit there, because you won’t regret it. Its only new so it will get popular real quick.
After eating like it was Christmas Day, dinner for us was a very casual fish and chip take away from the Fish Shack at Port Broughton to eat back at our cabin. Did the job for us as we were knackered after a huge day.
Coffee, packing up and the nice drive home back to Adelaide. We packed a heap into our few days up on the Copper Coast and can’t wait to go back! Oh and the kids didn’t even fight that much. Weird!