Have you ever wanted to explore South Australia? Why not come across and check out Port Lincoln? Known as the seafood capital of Australia, Port Lincoln is a town on the lower Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. A perfect van travel destination, spend time exploring the pristine waters and beaches it has to offer along the south coast. It’s fair to say Port Lincoln is one of SA's hidden treasures!
A brief history
The Eyre Peninsula of South Australia has been home to Indigenous Australian’s for over 40 thousand years. Named after his native county of Lincolnshire, England, Matthew Flinders' voyage of discovery aboard the Investigator in 1802, is the first recording of a colonial landing in Port Lincoln. By the 1820s Port Lincoln was an important resting point for both sealers from Kangaroo Island and French whalers from Port Jackson who fished the local bays and island regions. The first settlers arrived in Port Lincoln in March 1839 and the population grew to 270 people one year after settlement. There is now over 13,000 people who live in the city.
When to go
Port Lincoln has a semi-arid climate, which means it’s mild to warm with cool sea breezes in the summer months, that keep temperatures typically below 26℃. In the winter months of June to September, cold fronts cause heavy rain and colder temperatures. Conditions are the most ideal between March and April as the average temperature is around 24℃.
For how long
To get the most out of your trip, 4 days to a week means you won’t be rushing through the region. Depending on how far outside Port Lincoln you are willing to explore, you could take an extra week if you’re wanting to camp in Lincoln National Park.
Port Lincoln Tourist Park
Port Lincoln Tourist Park, right on the water’s edge, is a 5-minute drive from the centre of Port Lincoln and 6.5 hours away from Adelaide (652km). The park itself has a private jetty and boat ramp, other facilities include a children’s playground, BBQ, free WIFI, laundry amenities, fish cleaning station, undercover picnic areas, a camp kitchen and kiosk.
Port Lincoln Caravan Park North Shields
Located in the small historic town of North Shields on the coast, 10kms north of Port Lincoln, this park has several amenities such as a barbeque area, fish cleaning station, playground and laundromat, with coin operated washing machines and driers. Places nearby to visit include North Shields jetty, boat ramp, beach and, of course, the local hotel. The start point of the Parnkalla Walking Trail is also close by, if you’re in the mood for a hike.
Coffin Bay Caravan & Camping Site
The Coffin Bay Caravan Park is a family-owned park, centrally located on the esplanade of Coffin Bay, 45 km west of Port Lincoln. There is a selection of over 130 large, grassed sites available, both powered and unpowered. Amenities include a camp kitchen, BBQs, playground, free WIFI, modern laundry, disabled and family bathrooms. Pets are also allowed.
Fisherman's Point Campground
This is an open campground in the Lincoln National Park and one of the few sites accessible by van. It takes around 30-40 minutes, via paved and unsealed roads, from the entrance of the National Park to get there. It’s an unpowered site with minimal shade and wind protection, but perfect for those looking to get off-grid and away from the crowds. This campground has eight sites to choose from, includes a long-drop toilet and campfires are allowed (seasonal fire restrictions apply). You will need to bring your own water and toilet paper though and be mostly self-contained. The surrounding areas have safe to swim beaches and stunning rockpools that are amazing to explore! You will however want to beware of the local blue ringed octopus.
Van travel options
There are two popular ways to get from to Adelaide to Port Lincoln with your van. The first is to take the Searoad ferry over the Spencer Gulf, from Wallaroo to Lucky Bay. This trip takes around two to two and a half hours and prices start from $180. On the journey across, look out for dolphins and whales or relax by watching TV and taking in the vast sea views. There is a café on board the ferry that includes a range of snack foods and hot or cold beverages available for purchase.
The second option to get to Port Lincoln from Adelaide is to take your van on the road. It’s a good idea to go from Adelaide to Port Augusta via the Lincoln Highway. Then past Whyalla, Cowell and Tumby Bay to Port Lincoln. The whole drive will take about seven hours and cover approximately 647km. There are many small country towns along the way that have interesting historical context, stunning beaches and fantastic food and drink options.
If you’re wanting to get off-grid and explore the Lincoln National Park, having a reliable dual battery system is crucial to making sure you can keep all your accessories running without a flat starter battery. With a solid power system, you will be able to run fridges, lights, heaters, and water pumps. When deciding on a set up to tie your battery and solar together, the REDARC Manager30 Battery Management System ensures that all your batteries are always fully charged and ready to go. Paired with a pure sine wave inverter, the whole setup can be wired up and tucked away under the bed in the back of the van.
What to see
Coffin Bay National Park and Oyster Walk
A must try if you’re going down south to Port Lincoln is to check out the freshest Coffin Bay Oysters you’ve ever tasted. Learn to open oysters yourself, join in on the hands-on shucking lesson and eat them straight out of the water in this hour and a half long session. It is best to wear comfortable fitted clothing, as waterproof waders will go over the top. Make sure to dress for the weather especially in the warmer and cooler months. Due to its popularity these oyster tours fill up very quickly, so bookings are essential.
Fishing at Port Lincoln is seriously hard to beat, with a variety of fishing spots around the region. Below is a guide of the types of fish and sea life you can expect to catch off the coast of Port Lincoln.
Salmon, trout, whiting, tommy ruff, garfish, flathead & mullet
Salmon, mullet, tommy ruff & gummy shark
Salmon trout, whiting, mullet, tommy ruff, garfish, flathead & squid
Salmon trout, whiting, garfish, tommy ruff, flathead, trivially, snapper, nanagi, stingray, yellowtail kingfish, gummy shark, squid & sand crabs.
Tuna, kingfish and samson fish can be caught from January through to May
Sea lion tours
Experience the Advanced Eco Certified Australian sealion tours and see why they are called the ‘puppies of the sea’. Swim, photograph and simply enjoy watching these amazing animals show off to you. There are 4 locations to choose from Hopkins, Langton, Grindal or Blyth Island. The season begins in September and goes through to June/July (weather dependant).
Shark cage tours
Take advantage of the natural fish berley to attract the Great White Sharks to the boats at the Neptune Islands Marine Park. This berley provides the best possible chance of shark sightings close to the vessel and cage.
Mikkira Station Koala Sanctuary
Mikkira Station is a private property located about 30kms southwest of Port Lincoln. It is home to a colony of wild koalas that live in the manna gum trees. Enjoy the tranquillity of the natural bush environment by parking the van to have a picnic. It’s amazing to see the wide variety of native birds and be able to watch koalas relaxing up in the trees. In winter there are tiny native orchids that you can spot as well as the "Giant Yakkas".
What to bring
Learn more about exploring Port Lincoln on their website. For more great destinations to visit around South Australia, check out our guide to travelling local in SA and best 4WDing in SA. If you’re wanting to upgrade your van power system but aren’t sure how our design your perfect power system blog is a great place to start.
While a GPS is a necessity, it always pays to have back up navigation in the form of a map or guidebook. Having a dual battery system means you’ll always be able to power your GPS, no matter how remote you go. As far as safety is concerned, it’s essential that you plan for unexpected weather and other emergencies. A first aid kit is a necessity for everyone, as well as a fire extinguisher and CO Detector. Make sure you invest in some ecofriendly, biodegradable soap that will not harm the environment, especially if you’re planning to be off-grid or use outdoor showers. Many of these soaps are multi-purpose, meaning you can wash wash dishes and clothes with them too.