Port Lincoln is located on the stunning Eyre Penisula, about an 7 hour drive from Adelaide. It’s well known for it’s fishing, expansive beaches, sand dunes, shark diving and stunning coastline. We love visiting, and it’s an ideal location for families of all ages as there is lots of outdoor fun to be had.
The drive from Adelaide takes around 7-8 hours. There is a car & passenger ferry service from Wallaroo to Lucky Bay but as of this time (October 2018) the service is awaiting updates to it’s ferry and terminal services so is not currently running.
Our recent trip to Port Lincoln took us about 9 hours, with our 4, 3 and 8 month old children. We stopped at Crystal Brook (playground!) and Whyalla (playground!) on the way there and Whyalla and Port Wakefield (playground!) on the way back. For us, leaving at 4:30am worked well as the kids could be bundled in and continue to sleep for a while before they needed a stretch, toilet and run around. It also meant we avoided the kangaroos (dusk and dawn) on our way back from Lincoln. We tend to pack our own food and eat in the car to eliminate wasted travel time (we’re all about efficiency!).
If you’re looking to take a bit more time to get there, then we suggest stopping at the beautiful coastal towns along the way. Plan your trip out and take a week to get to Lincoln if you have the time- you won’t regret it! If you head over to the other side of the Penisula there’s Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay (check out the giant shark replica! Aaaahhhh!!), Venus Bay, Elliston and so many more divine beachside towns to enjoy.
- Port Lincoln Tourist Park. We usually stay here and love the 2 bedroom cabins. The location is ideal, as it’s a very short drive into Port Lincoln, or an easy walk along the Parnkalla Trail. Caravan, camping, and a multitude of cabin options are available. It’s beachfront and has a little playground plus great trees to climb!
- Port Lincoln Hotel. This is a beautiful location and a lush hotel. They have just added family rooms, which is awesome! Be aware that it is one room though, so once the kids are in bed you will just have to sit on the balcony enjoying some Boston Bay wines! The hotel sometimes have deals come up so keep an eye out for those too.
- Donnington Cottage. This is a beautifully maintained old cottage tucked away in Port Lincoln National Park. It can sleep up to 6 people (minimum of 2 nights) and has two bedrooms, a lounge room, kitchen, bathroom and outdoor toilet. Electric barbecue facilities are also available.
- Port Lincoln National Park. Perfect for camping! Check out the designated camping areas and the online booking form.
- Limani Motel. This is beachfront and has had a recent refit. We haven’t stayed here before, but it’s meant to be pretty good!
- Air BnB- There are loads of family homes available in the Port Lincoln area
- Marina Hotel Apartments. These are located a little further from the town centre, on the beautiful Marina.
- For more great ideas on accommodation click HERE
Things to see & do
- Port Lincoln National Park. There is loads to see and do in the national park. Boating, fishing, swimming, bird watching, whale watching and nature walks are all popular activities in this park. There are places to camp and lots of walking trails. The park overlooks Boston Bay, the largest natural harbour in Australia. It’s located about 13km south-west of Port Lincoln. Below are some great activities to do in the park (don’t forget you will need to purchase a permit to enter)
- Whale Watching at Sleaford Bay or Wreck Beach. Try Wanna or Lone Pine lookouts (usually between May and October).
- Mountain Biking
- Stamford Hill- hike up to the monument for great views over Boston Bay
- Memory Cove- learn more about the history of the area and go 4-wheel driving along the stunning beaches. You may need to pay an extra fee for this area.
- Rock Pools
- Whaler’s Way
- Wreck Beach
There are plenty of other activities to enjoy outside of the national park too….
- Parnkalla Trail
- Shelly Beach (just along the Parnkalla Trail, with a shaded space, bbq area, toilet and nice grassed space for a picnic)
- Mikkira Station– great place for a picnic, camping and spotting koalas. We saw about 10 koalas without even trying. The kids LOVED it! Costs $15.00 per car to enter for a day trip, or $25.00 per car load per night if you’re camping.
- Shark Diving (maybe not for the kiddies!). There are a few different operators for this adventurous activity. We haven’t done this before because, well, I’d probably be the first person in the world to get eaten by a shark through a cage! Google ‘Shark Diving’ and you’ll find out all you need to know on this one!
- Glen Forest Tourist Park– This is a really lovely animal farm, full of all the regular animals kids love plus a lot of animals you wouldn’t expect! An easy, short drive from the centre of Port Lincoln. A family costs $50.00 (2 adults and 2 children). You can also hire segways if you’re feeling very keen!
- The Old Mill- walk up and enjoy the views from the top of the Old Mill (free). You can also visit the Mill Cottage Museum, located at Flinders Park, Flinders Highway.
- Axel Stenross Maritime Museum. Our kids really enjoy this museum and you can walk along the Parnkalla Trail to get there if you feel like some exercise!
- Koppio Smithy Museum.
- Winters Hill Lookout- great views over Lincoln
- Brinkworth Reserve is at the base of Winters Hill and has great free orienteering for kids
- Port Lincoln Railway Museum
We are usually busy exploring when we’re in Port Lincoln, but our kids are still quite young so playgrounds are also a must! We haven’t explored all the playgrounds on offer, but the ones below are located centrally and offer shade, picnic space and good play areas.
- Andrew Small playground. This is located on the foreshore (Tasman Terrace) and has a nice, shaded playground with terrific views of the beach. Plus, it’s near FOOD & COFFEE!
- Wellington Square playground. This is located next to the bowling club (55-65 London Street, next to the bowling club). It has toilets, bbq facilities, lots of space for kicking a ball or having a picnic, and a REALLY good, shaded playground.
- Flinders Park playground. Located just off Flinders Highway, this park is super lush. It’s shaded, has lovely rotunda and is perfect for a picnic, birthday party or game of chasey. It has a toilet, bbq and plenty of shade.
Places to eat
- Port Lincoln Hotel has great food, both fine dining and bistro style menus. The bistro has a basket of baby and toddler toys to help you get through a bowl of wedges in relative peace! There is also the outdoor dining
- Greenside Bistro. This is located at the golf course so it has lovely green views. They are only open on Wednesday and Thursday, and have really affordable kids meals ($5). There’s also a kids corner.
- Del Giorno’s– A great family-friendly Italian restaurant. High chairs available. Can be a bit squeezy between tables, but good food the kids will enjoy.
- Rogue and Rascal- great coffee and breakfast, cafe style. Located on Tasman Tce (foreshore)
- Beer Garden Brewing– freshly brewed local craft beer, all day grazing menu and woodfire pizzas (Friday to Sunday). Child and dog friendly venue!
- Marina Hotel. Our kids love eating here, and the food is great. Kids can watch the boats all day long!
- Boston Bay Wines.
- Peter Teakle Wines– The Line and Lable Restaurant
- Coffin Bay– A nice little drive from Lincoln (30-40 minutes) is the beautiful beaches and oysters of Coffin Bay! The Coffin Bay National Park is beautiful and it’s really a must to visit.
- Tumby Bay– This little town is about 45km from Port Lincoln and really is just so serene. A great place to stop for a while and relax!
All information up to date as of October 2018. Please be aware of safety when accessing remote areas, particularly in National Parks. All information is written in my own words and is my opinion. I have included some input from Port Lincoln locals who are families with great knowledge of the area.