As darkness falls,
the waves roll by,
the seasons change,
the wind is warm.
– Pink Floyd, ‘Pillow of Winds’
The Eyre Peninsula is the kingdom of the wind.
Sand, water, tenuous plants and white Hilux utes make up the tessellated landscape of South Australia’s southwestern extremities. They vie and counterbalance each other in a spiraling battle. But nothing defines this coastline like the wind.
You don’t just feel the wind here – you see it. Glazed with sand, dust or sea spray, the wind is a visible entity. You can watch it whorl around cars, carve sand dunes into new shapes before your eyes and turn the horizon into a fluffy gauze of colour as the sun sets over the ocean.
When it comes in like a freight train from the north, it brings hot desert air, drying the coast out, preventing topsoil from ever having a chance at hanging around long enough for roots to keep it there.
The plants live on morning dew for months at a time.
As it spins around to the south in the afternoon, the wind brings cool, humid air from the Antarctic, but the Eyre peninsula is so flat that it blows right past without stopping, like a full train.
The waves the wind has groomed into rolling submarine frequencies are quickly subdued by the limestone cliffs that rim this rugged borderland. But these soft cliffs are nothing more than temporary barriers, sliding into the sea in massive reticulated clumps, worn down by the wind’s incessancy.
Welcome to the kingdom of the wind…the hidden desert…the last wilderness.