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Situated at the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, the seaside city of Port Lincoln is not only known as the seafood capital of Australia, but lies a short drive away from two stunning national parks.
After three days of camping across the Nullarbor on our Perth to Adelaide adventure, followed by an amazing afternoon swimming with dolphins and sealions in Baird Bay, my travel mate, Michi, and I were keen to spend a couple of nights in the city of Port Lincoln for a change of scenery.
While we’re both big nature lovers, we also enjoy a bit of civility now and then, and Port Lincoln offered the best of both worlds. Here’s what we got up to along with my recommended things to do in Port Lincoln, SA.
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Lincoln National Park
Just 9.5km south of Port Lincoln lies Lincoln National Park. Overlooking Boston Bay, Australia’s largest natural harbour, the park boasts beautiful beaches, offshore islands, walking tracks, lookouts and the Sleaford-Wanna sand dunes.
Our first stop in the park was the steep 1.6km-return hike up to the Stamford Hill lookout and Flinders Monument, where we were treated to magnificent views across Boston Bay, Port Lincoln and Lincoln National Park.
Next we drove on to Fisherman Point, a camping ground on a raised, rocky area overlooking two beaches on the northern tip on Lincoln National Park. It was a bit of a bumpy drive across the stony ground, but well worth it once we’d climbed down to the beach.
While the sand wasn’t all that special, and there was a lot of sea grass everywhere, the water was stunningly clear. We cooled off with a dip before lazing on the virtually empty beach.
Port Lincoln City Centre
Port Lincoln is a reasonably sized city, so a good place to stock up on supplies if you’re on a Perth to Adelaide road trip like we were (particularly if you’ve just crossed the Nullarbor too!).
We did attempt to go out for a drink, since it was the first time we’d been in a city for a long time. But after a long day exploring Lincoln National Park we ended up not reaching the city until 10:30pm!
Being a Tuesday night, there really wasn’t much happening and places were closing up, so we drove up to Winter Hill lookout instead to view the city lights by night. (I’ll spare you my photos – they didn’t turn out well!)
If you fancy going out in Port Lincoln for food or drinks, the Marina Hotel looked like a pretty nice spot.
Coffin Bay National Park
Another fun thing to do in Port Lincoln is visit Coffin Bay, a small, idyllic town 47km northeast of Port Lincoln overlooking the waters of Port Douglas and Kellidie Bay.
Famous for fresh oysters and home to beautiful Coffin Bay National Park, it’s an area well worth exploring if you’ve made it down to the tip of the Eyre Peninsula.
Since Michi had never tried oysters before, our first stop was finding somewhere for lunch, since Coffin Bay oysters are famous! The town was much smaller than we’d realised, so it didn’t take long to explore.
While it was a bit fancier than our usual backpacker haunts, we decided that 1802 Oyster Bar, right on Coffin Bay waterfront, seemed like the nicest place to eat.
While the view from the terrace was beautiful, it was an absolute scorcher of a day (the weather in Port Lincoln and South Australia in general was much hotter than it had been on our trip through Western Australia from Perth), so we decided to sit inside and make the most of the air-con!
They had a huge array of flavours to choose from, but we went with the natural oysters with a squeeze of lemon to try them out properly. Michi decided oysters definitely weren’t for him, but hey, he tried them in style!
From there we headed into Coffin Bay National Park, where we immediately came across the abundant South Australian wildlife and had to stop to let some emus cross the road!
Next we stopped at Templetonia lookout to enjoy the view before continuing west.
Our next stop was Golden Island lookout, where the water was phenomenally turquoise!
We went on to explore the dazzlingly white Almonta Beach, which had amazing views stretching across Gunyah Beach and the sand dunes that sit behind it.
Our last stop before heading to Port Lincoln for the night was Yangie Bay, where there’s also a campground. It was starting to look a bit stormy by this point though!
There’s much more to Coffin Bay National Park, but it’s only accessible by high-clearance 4WD. You can read more on the National Parks South Australia website.
If you only have time to visit one national park, I personally preferred Coffin Bay because of the amazing white beaches and dunes.
Port Lincoln Accommodation
There’s lots of accommodation in Port Lincoln and this section of the Eyre Peninsula, including hotels, hostels, holiday parks and camping grounds. We stayed two nights and camped at two different places, purely because the Port Lincoln Tourist Park was closed for the night when we arrived, and we hadn’t booked in advance!
McKechnie Springs Farmstay
After frantically looking through last-minute accommodation options in Port Lincoln after our long day in Coffin Bay National Park, we ended up driving 25 minutes north to McKechnie Springs Farmstay, which was mega cheap at only $20 per night for a campsite.
Out in the South Australian countryside, the farm had fantastic views and plenty of space. The landscape in South Australia is very different to Western Australia, and very dry looking with a particularly bright blue sky.
We’d been quite worried about the thunder and lightening on the way there, but thankfully the storm seemed to bypass the farm and settle over the city instead! (The sunny photos are from the next morning.)
We were the only people camping there, so we had the kitchen and bathroom facilities all to ourselves. It was a nice change to use a proper indoor kitchen, rather than the usual open-sided kitchens at tourist parks which get really cold at night. It even had a TV and pots and pans! And we woke up to a very sunny day the next morning.
McKechnie Springs farmstay is located at 977 McFarlane Rd, Green Patch, SA 5607. To book call: 0421 062 697.
Port Lincoln Tourist Park
The next day we returned to Port Lincoln and checked straight into Port Lincoln Tourist Park, which is ideally situated in the city whilst being absolute waterfront.
It’s a 4-star tourist park with campsites, cabins, waterfront cabins and plenty of facilities. We got to do all our laundry as well as make use of the large kitchen.
We had a very short walk of about 20 seconds to reach the beach!
Port Lincoln YHA
If you’re backpacking but don’t want to go camping, (or just fancy a break from it), try the Port Lincoln YHA in the city centre, which has dorm rooms and great reviews.
Airbnb can be a great option when you’re travelling. It sometimes works out cheaper than a hostel if you share a room. Here’s my link to get $55 off Airbnb on your first stay if you haven’t signed up yet.
Port Lincoln Hotel
If you’re on a bigger budget, Port Lincoln Hotel has amazing ocean views as well as a restaurant and bar.
If you’re thinking of going on a south coast Australian road trip, make sure you read my Perth to Adelaide drive itinerary, which includes attractions, drive stops, distances and costs.
To read about the fun we had on the final two days of our road trip before hitting Adelaide, check out my blog post on how Whyalla turned out to be the perfect destination to end our road trip!