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D'Estrees Bay

D'Estree Bay Self Guided Drive

Stop 1- Second Boat Ramp
Stop 2- Wrights Ruin
Stop 3- Osmanli Reef
Stop 4- Point Tinline
Stop 5- Wreckers Beach
Stop 6- Old Threshing Floor and Tadpole Cove
Stop 7- Weatons Beach
Stop 8- The Sewer

D’Estrees Bay is located on the eastern side of the Cape Ganthaume/Seal Bay Park area. D’Estree Bay is a popular camping fishing and surfing area. The area also has a rich history including shipwrecks, whaling, farming and conservation. The Friends of Cape Gantheaume undertake works in this area to enhance the visitor experience and protect the natural and cultural values.

In 1803 the French explorer Nicholas Baudin circumnavigated Kangaroo Island. He named this long, sweeping bay after Jacques D’Estrees (1660-1737), a French author, Marshall of France, Vice Admiral and Minister of State.

D'Estrees Bay Self-guided Drive

The D’Estrees Bay Self-guided Drive begins at the second boat ramp seven kilometers from the junction of Elsegood Road and D’Estrees Bay Road. It will take you to the end of D’Estrees Bay Road adjacent to Sewer Beach. The drive is approximately eight kilometers in length and consists of 8 stops.

The D’Estrees Bay Road is along a narrow winding dirt road. Road conditions vary. The surface may be loose and corrugated or have unexpected "pot-holes”. Reduce your speed and watch out for wildlife and other vehicles.

Regenerative Wildfires

The last major fire to burn the D’Estrees Bay roadside was in late 1996, a fire burnt other parts of Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park in XX. The 1996 fire started with a lightening strike near Seal Bay Conservation Park and burnt through to D’Estrees Bay, an area of more than 24,500 hectares.

Years later you can still see how the bush is regenerating. The eucalyptus trees here grow in mallee form- they have many stems growing from a large underground rootstock (lignotuber). After fire they shoot very quickly from buds in the lignotuber, and it takes many years before the trees reach their full height. The understory heath plants either regenerate in a similar way or from seeds released by heat of the fire.

Fire has been part of the Australian environment for thousands of years. Native plants and animals have evolved with fire and have a number of different survival strategies. No particular fire regime favors all organisms. The effect of fire on natural communities depends on many factors including:

Fire Frequency

All plants need to mature, flower and set a store of seed to be able to survive fire. Plants that take a long time to do this die out if fires are too frequent. Similarly mammals, reptiles, birds and insects all need different fire regimes, some thriving with frequent fires while others are only found in areas with a longer fire frequency.

Fire Intensity

As with fire frequency, different fire intensities are needed by different plant and animal species. Usually summer and autumn fires are of high intensity, burning hot and fast. Winter and spring fires are cooler and slower moving, leaving a patchwork effect in the plants that they burn or miss. Many Australian plants with woody cones (such as banksias and hakeas) need high intensity fire to release their seed.

Friends of Cape Gantheaume Activities

The Friends of Cape Gantheaume developed the D’Estrees Bay Self-guided Drive along the D’Estrees Bay Road. This drive is designed to enhance the visitor experience of the area. Activities undertaken at D’Estrees Bay are generally involved in enhancing this drive.

The group has also produced a D’Estrees Bay Bird list which can be accessed by clicking HERE.

In summary the Friends of Cape Gantheaume have undertaken the following activities at D’Estrees Bay-

  • Funding, construction and maintenance of the D’Estrees Bay Self-guided Drive;

  • Funding, construction and maintenance of beach access;

  • Funding, stabilisation and maintenance of heritage sites;

  •  Funding, planting and maintenance of revegetation areas;

  • Weed control, sign and general maintenance.