Swinging a feral cat ANYWHERE in the middle of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula without hitting a stony peak, hill, bluff, outcrop, mountain, cliff, dome or rock-face is almost impossible.
Take the small town of Darke Peak – population 50 – for example.
We’d followed the 8-peak Darke Range to the west all the way into Darke Peak township named for – yes, you guessed right, the range’s highest point, Darke Peak.
To the east loomed the great domes of Carappee Hill, the Eyre Peninsula’s highest point at 495 metres above sea-level.
Behind us was Caralue Bluff – an impressive wedge of rock where only a short climb up the base gave even more impressive views of the Darke Range AND Carappee Hill.
Because of the mostly flat country around them, the rocks don’t look very big from afar, but the closer you get, the less likely a stroll to the top seems. Despite enticements like seeing the grave of first European explorer to the area Charles Darke, or standing atop the regions highest point, or finding yet another opportunity to prove I really AM an amateur when it comes to landscape photography!!
Luckily for us, the flat country means the great views don’t require great height.
BUT even more luckily, at the small township of Darke Peak there’s a killer view without climbing AT ALL!
Because THIS little town has a true-blue two-loo view!
It’s also got two pubs. First, there’s the Darke Peak Hotel, apparently first in South OZ to serve Queensland brew XXXX (that’s pronounced ‘Four-ex’ in case you didn’t already know).
Then there’s the Hellbent Hotel right across the road – originally constructed in the early hours of New Years Day 1980 so the locals could continue to commemorate the new decade after the Darke Peak Hotel closed for the night!
There’s no record of what happened to the original, but the Hellbent Hotel was upgraded and reopened for the Darke Peak Legends weekend, 2009.
Perhaps it’s unsurprising that at one time, Darke Peak held the record for the per capita highest beer consumption rate in South Australia.
And with a record like THAT, it’s perhaps also unsurprising that the town has TWO loos!
Right next to the Hellbent Hotel and with a fine view of the nether regions of Erica the Emu (see below), the Colman S**tter (just insert ‘hi’ if you’re having trouble with the asterisks) is a classic example of what happens to old dunnies when they die.
It’s unclear if the Colman is still operational – the tin walls and ‘dunny’ can; the wooden seat; and the ‘privacy’ screen are all classic Australiana of yesteryear – but I’m betting NOT!
Happily for visitors wanting to answer nature’s call, there’s a far more modern alternative a few steps away behind the Darke Peak information pavilion.
Built in the proud tradition of the two giant silos it faces at the Darke Peak railway station, this mini silo-shaped dunny is a masterclass in monastic minimalism, inside AND out. But there’s NO doubt THIS loo’s in use – or was that just me 😀
Darke Peak Dunny #2 isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to the view. From the prison cell-like comforts of the little silo loo, cunningly hidden under a giant pine tree just off the main road, I could see the silos, railway (complete with train), the Darke Range, the Hellbent Hotel, Erica the Emu, the Darke Peak Hotel and the Colman S**tter.
It just might be the only place in OZ where you get a tour of the town’s main attractions just by using the dunny!
And that trumps visiting a bunch of rocks any day, right??!!
- Darke Peak
- Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
- MORE Scenic Australian Public Toilets
- My Book: Aussie Loos with Views!
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