Searching for the secret surf break on the rugged coastline of South Australia.
Photography: Alexander Knorr & Stefan Haworth.
Have you ever heard of that 'secret spot' in South Australia where the barren landscape turns into rugged coastline with pumping waves? Well, we certainly have!
Hungry for another road trip in Marty (our vintage Kombi) and a new range of headwear to shoot, this was the perfect excuse to go searching!
Left. Enjoying the warmth of the campfire in the Levi Beanie. Right. Barren landscapes and the road ahead.
We packed the van and left Byron, picking up our good friends Stefan and Jessy along the way, little did we know this was going to be our best road trip yet! With only one destination planned to explore, we were all in the ‘wing it’ mode and excitement levels were high. Our first stop was some 200km out of Broken Hill down a few random dirt roads when Bear (Alex) decided to ‘go that way’. His instincts brought us on top of a dirt hill with 360-degree views and no one except for the wild kangaroos around. As the sun started to lower over the horizon we set up camp and built a warming fire to cook our dinner with.
A star filled sky and not a worry in the world.
A simple yet hearty meal slow cooked over the camp fire followed by a warming Anzac pudding dessert felt deserving after the days drive. And the simplicity of camp cooking makes everything taste better, especially over an open fire when the simple task of eating and cooking becomes the only real chore. So as the stars took place in the sky we all devoured our meals and sat around the fire chatting with no other thought in our minds than ‘where are we heading tomorrow?’.
Left. Road tripping friends at Alligator Gorge. Right. From sunrise to sunset, each day is an adventure.
Morning came and the ritual of packing up camp and hitting the road had begun and what is usually 2 of us, was 4 of everything. Being so accustomed to travelling in Marty as a pair makes it easy to slip back into work mode, but to travel with our 2 good friends meant a distraction from distractions. As we headed for nowhere in particular, we passed a sign ‘Alligator Gorge’. Without much thought, we hooked straight down that road in hope to see some alligators. To much disappointment there were none but what Alligator Gorge lacked in actual alligators, made up for in epic red earth rocks! And in true tourist fashion, we all jumped out and adventured over the ripple stacked rocks where water once ran through.Being with people who share the same passion for travel whilst having constant banter to pass the hours by made the journey a whole lot better.
Rugged coastlines and Nature's colour palette.
Left. Wave watching from the cliffs in the Levi Beanie and William Brown. Right. Where to next?
If you’ve ever done a long road trip you’ll know how exhausting doing nothing is especially when you’re travelling with 4 humans and no aircon! All taking turns napping on the comfiest back seat of Marty, Stefan decided he needed the ocean after a few days of hot inland Australia. Delegating himself as the driver, Stefan gunned it to the nearest coast overnight whilst we all slept. As we woke, we were all breath-taken by the beauty of Elliston; bright blue water with wild 20ft waves, amongst the brown dusty land with not a soul around. Being on a trip with no limitations or solid plans meant that we could find the untouched hidden gems and spend as long or as little time there as we wanted. And after spending two nights in the beauty of Elliston enjoying the simplicity of life on the road, we decided it was time to truly begin the hunt for ‘secret spot’.
Secret Spot in all its glory, a day to remember.
The longer we drove the more diverse the landscape became, with muted tones and earthy hues the textures where ever-changing. Bridging closer and closer to our wanted destination we passed through two lakes that held different colour on either side; one pink, one green, as if we were rolling through Mars. We had inside info from a friend to look out for a caravan park and sure enough, we found it! Confirming our arrival, a lovely man from the Caravan park gave us strict instructions to steer clear of social media, tagging, and revealing all locations as they want to remain discreet. Because only people on an adventure could find this place.
So as we made our way through the rolling sand dunes and desert like land we suddenly popped out at clear blue ocean and parked Marty just 20metres away from shore. With 4 epic surf breaks and solid pumping waves, we were spoilt for choice and Bear (Alex) was brave enough to go out for a paddle. Crossing all fingers and toes, perched upon the rocks, Will (Loz) peeked through binoculars hoping he would make it out alive. It felt so nice to finally be there after an eventful 7 days of exploring and travelling and to enjoying life stripped back to basics with a few good people. Despite our trip totalling 14 days, our time at ‘secret spot’ amounted to only 2. Two incredible days of watching the wild remote coastline, it's rugged dry cliffs and gazing at the abundance of stars at night.
Left. Soft muted browns and icy blue tones make uo Australia's salt flats. Right. Kicking dust at dusk.
Now that we had completed our mission and experienced what we’d only ever heard rumours of, our plan was to gun it home in 4 days. However, things don’t always go to plan, and 4 days turned into 7. Driving through Wirulla gave us the option of continuing down the highway or taking the ‘off road’ route. Choosing the 258km ‘off road’ drive when travelling in a vintage van with no spare tyre may seem a little ridiculous, but of course, we did it anyway. Halfway through we got the inevitable flat tyre, and two days later we popped yet another tyre after being bogged for 4 hours. But despite the dilemmas and small delays, we were able to see and experience moments perhaps we wouldn't have if it were smooth sailing. Being surrounded by kangaroos at dusk and driving through the Australian Salt flats was something we've never seen before and something we would definitely see again. And so as we made it to the next town on self-repaired tyres we waited for new ones and finally began the journey home.
It's always worth the drive.
If it’s one thing we’ve learnt; life on the road isn’t always glamorous but it is always worth taking the road less travelled to explore and see where the road takes us. And the more we travel Australia the more we’re blown away by its charm and diverse landscapes, leaving us inspired and always seeking more.