The views of Toolinna Cove
from the spectacular 75 metre high Baxter Cliffs on the Great Australian Bight
make this trek a must do. Toolinna Cove
must be one of the most remote coves on the southern coast of WA and it’s one of the few breaks in the vast cliffs of the Great Australian Bight
. Nature lovers will find a wide variety of bird life, concentrated in the woodland forest that extends in a narrow belt along the vast cliff system.
On this trek you will also visit;
- a 1906 well used by cameleers and other travellers coming via SA to the WA gold rushes,
- the vast open plains of the Nullarbor,
- then the dense woodland forest of the Nuytsland Nature Reserve,
- a number of sink holes; which depending on the weather will be sucking in or blowing out vast volumes of air,
- the ruins of a 1877 east west telegraph linesman’s camp,
- and Toolinna rockhole/tank; a stone lined well with a metal lid.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
On the first half of this trek you will travel over the vast plains of the Nullarbor, which has only isolated pockets of trees and limestone outcrops to break up the monotony. Once you reach the tree belt closer to the cliffs, the soil changes and tends to be sandy in patches, again with limestone outcrops. Numerous sink holes are dotted along the track; travellers will easily spot
them as they drive by. Take note, once you enter the tree belt, the track becomes windy and overgrown with long stretches of scratchy bushes along this section. Scratches on your vehicle are inevitable.
The cliffs themselves stretch out to the east and west as far as the eye can see, and the passage of time during the day changes the colours and the moods of what you see. Toolinna Cove
is undoubtedly the most spectacular scenery of the whole trek; it’s the only break in the cliffs between Eyre
and the beach to Israelite Bay
. Toolinna Cove
beach is now inaccessible, because the old steel ladder and rope system has been removed for safety reasons.
Edward John Eyre
first crossed from SA to WA in 1841; his epic journey still remains as one of Australia
’s most arduous yet successful feats of exploration. Others to follow included John and Alexander Forrest
in 1870 on their journey of exploration from west to east and the surveyors and builders of the east-west telegraph line which opened in 1877.
The Western Australian gold rushes of the late 1880s, attracted hordes of prospectors many of whom had little or no money, they could not afford the fare by ship to WA; so they walked, cycled or came by horse via the Nullarbor. Cameleers, carting equipment and materials to the WA goldfields, also used this route for their journey.
The water at Five Ways Tank
was critical to the safe passage of all of these travellers or ‘’overlanders as they were known. Few people are aware that during WWII Toolinna Cove
had a lookout
tower, manned by some six Australian soldiers. They were on the lookout
for enemy activity on the south coast.
In the 1980s and 1990s, people from stations to the north, came here for the annual salmon run. They installed ropes and a steel ladder so they could access the small beach below. Authorities have since considered the ropes and ladder dangerous and removed them. They also installed a pulley system, so they could lower their food and camping gear and retrieve fish from the bottom. Leaving their freezers and generators running at the top of the cliffs, they camped at the bottom of the cliffs in caves. An old bicycle frame (also removed) was concreted in place on top of the cliff; the front wheel was used as a pulley. The operator would pedal like fury and the basket of goods would rise up the cable to the top; most ingenious.