This Quaint, Coastal Town In Australia Is Bursting With Unique Art And Pristine Beaches

Sometimes vacations with a lot of sightseeing are exactly what you're looking for. You can learn about the history of a place or visit all the famous spots to tick them off your bucket list. That sort of trip is wonderful and very fulfilling, of course. The thing is, sometimes you want your vacation to be, well, a vacation. Not the kind of vacation where you have to use the stupid line about needing a vacation from it, but one where you actually get some rest and relaxation.

There is a wonderful town in southern Australia that will suit you perfectly if this is what you're looking for. This place is called Tumby Bay, and it's on the west side of the Eyre Peninsula — about 375 miles west of Adelaide to help you orient yourself. Named by explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802 after the town where he grew up in Lincolnshire, England, Tumby Bay is a calm and serene vacation destination, full of relaxing things to do. You can visit the pristine beaches, admire street art around the town, walk down the esplanade, and keep your eyes peeled for a magical little creature you might spot if you dive under the town's famous jetty. Let's take a look at Tumby Bay, including what to do while you're there and how to see a leafy sea dragon.

The art at Tumby Bay

Tumby Bay was once inhabited by the Nawu First Nations people, with settlers showing up in the 1840s. The town's jetty, which we'll get to, was first built in 1874. Water sports are huge here, but another thing that draws people to the area is the art scene. You can check out the Tumby Bay Rotunda, which was first built in 1908 and later added to. The rotunda evolved over the years until 1983 when it became an art gallery, and you can now find an impressive mural painted on it. In fact, all around town, you'll see creative and incredible murals, some on silos like the one done by Ron Muralist above. There are murals from Kitt Bennett, Andrew J Bourke, and more. 

In fact, each March, the town holds the Colour Tumbly Festival, where you can see art being created, enjoy performances from musicians, acting troupes, and magicians, watch a sailing regatta, or check out some comedy. If crafting and creation are your thing, you can visit the Excell Blacksmith & Engineering Museum, though do note that it's only open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of every month. You can learn the history of the craft, see the tools that are used, and check out an old forge. 

If you want to wander the area, the Tumby Mangrove Boardwalk and Nature Trail is a 2.8-mile stroll on the foreshore, which passes the jetty, the beach, and the marina at the end. You can also take a relaxing ride through town in a horse-drawn trolley.

Water sports and things to do at Tumby Bay

Tumby Bay is big for fishing and watersports, with a 6.2-mile main beach and the famous jetty. Swimming, diving, sailing, paddleboarding... it's all there to do. You can, of course, do nothing at all and lounge on the beach from sunrise to sunset. We certainly wouldn't blame you. However, if you're looking for a unique snorkeling or scuba diving destination, this is a great place to find unique sea life beneath the surface. You likely won't be alone if you visit the jetty and swim underneath. In fact, it's a big spot for divers, and you could see creatures like stingrays, sea moths (though they're hard to spot), moonlighters, puffers, and cowfish. You may even find an octopus. 

One activity that divers shouldn't skip is an attempt to see a leafy sea dragon, as a colony lives here. If you do see one (or several) and you get a good shot, you can post a picture on the Bay's leafy sea dragon Facebook page and see some from other divers. Leafy sea dragons look like fantasy creatures (as you can see above) and live in seagrass and rocky reefs in southern Australia. They may look small, but they can grow up to a foot long. They eat plankton crustaceans, and, like seahorses, the males carry the eggs and give birth. Do not touch them if you see them, as they're a threatened species.