A taste of Wild Eyre in beautiful Port Lincoln

Flying across the Eyre Peninsula into Port Lincoln, one thing is abundantly clear – this busy town of 15,000 residents has more than its fair share of stunning waterways framing an array of pristine landscapes that would bring joy to any adventurer’s heart. 


Port Lincoln comes to life before the sun has even risen – fishing boats and trawlers heading into the marina in the darkness of the early hours, the glow of another day spreading across the ocean as boxes of prawns, mussels and fish are piled high on pallets and forklifted up for the beginning of their journey.

Locals head out for walks and runs along the foreshore and, as the sun continues to rise, café doors are opening and seating is arranged on the pavements. Trucks, utes, and 4WDs flood the roads as tradies and tourists make early starts, while the scent of freshly baked muffins, bread and croissants drifts down the main street.

Whichever way you look in Port Lincoln – famous for its incredible seafood – water is not far. It’s the heart of this region and the reason why the first settlers decided to build a community here. To this day, most of the lives in these parts are dependent on it – the ocean and bays supporting both industry and tourism. 


Sand dunes of Lincoln National Park


Diving into natural wonders


Drive 15 minutes any which way out of Port Lincoln and the houses quickly disappear in the rear vision mirror, replaced by sweeping lands of scrub, agricultural fields, stony or sandy beaches, and hills covered in tough-as-nails native plants. The sea breezes are a constant reminder of how close the water is, and the fauna a sign of how hard it would have been to tame this wild terrain when the early settlers arrived in the 1800s.    

Lincoln National Park is one of many areas in these parts where visitors can camp, 4WD and experience the rugged, desert-like country that is prevalent in this part of South Australia. 

To get a true understanding of this remarkable region, take a tour with a company such as Untamed Escapes, which as its name suggests, focuses on eco-tourism and exploring off-the-beaten track locations. The expert guides know the regions, and the history, like the backs of their hands. Untamed goes above and beyond to deliver an authentic experience that leaves guests with memories to last a lifetime. 

Entering the 206 square kilometre national park – where visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, beach­combing, swimming, bird watching, whale watching and walking – the dense low-lying scrub is scattered with bright native flowers like sweet bursts of sprinkles. This sets the scene for the palette of natural beauty unfurling in every direction, and within half an hour, the majestic cliffs that are synonymous with the Great Australian Bite appear – like guardians protecting the edge of the world. 

Lincoln National Park is a sand duning heaven with sweeping hills and mountains of soft, golden sand spanning off into the distance. Tangled networks of 4WD, emu and goanna tracks criss-cross over footprints. The landscape is so sandy and barren that it could be the Middle East, and yet pop over the top of a massive sand dune and there’s the wild Southern Ocean, glistening blue, crashing up against red and cream sandstone cliffs that few would dare to scale.


Rumi Beach


Further out, and only ten minutes by boat from Port Lincoln, is a little-known place called Louth Island, and upon it is Rumi – a luxury eco paradise that is all about embracing the wild while on an unforgettable escape. Established in 1802 as a sheep farm, it is now a place where the raw beauty of the landscape offers a retreat embodying the essence of barefoot luxury travel. 

Guests can stay in one of the island’s beautifully designed lodges, with stunning views in every direction, and everything they need for a private, indulgent holiday. They can choose from immersive day-long excursions or a two-night stay, both offering wild and wonderful experiences such as Odyssey Catamaran cruises, gourmet dining, wildlife and ecology buggy tours, kayak fishing expeditions, and beach picnics. Bird enthusiasts will delight in the diverse avian population, including seabirds, shorebirds, and the adorable Fairy Penguins. Free from invasive species such as snakes and rodents, Louth Island offers a safe haven for its native wildlife, including geckos and goannas.

 It’s all about immersive experiences here, and with its stunningly white sands merging into turquoise waters, it perfectly encapsulated the rugged South Australian beauty. Rumi is gradually being meticulously developed by its owners, and so intrepid travellers can enjoy being some of the first visitors to step foot on the island.


Boston Bay Wines


Food & glorious seafood


It would be a crime to come to this part of the world – known as Australia’s Seafood Frontier – and not indulge in the local wine and seafood. 

Boston Bay Winery is only a ten-minute drive from Port Lincoln airport and less than ten minutes from the main township, and its wines are as crisp and fresh as the air in these parts. For lovers of white wine, try the Boston Bay Riesling for one of the lightest most elegant wines you’ll find, or if you’d prefer to taste a wider array, opt for the paddle of four wines. Sit indoors or out on the green lawns with sweeping, awe-inspiring views across the vineyards and out across Boston Bay. The menu has a range of delicious meals such as fish and chips and pizzas, light snacks, and an impressive grazing platter generously laden with wonderful local produce.

On the outskirts of Port Lincoln, The Fish Place is the place to go for the biggest range of seafood you’ll ever find in one store, along with a huge range of other food products, art, décor and more. Sit indoors in the quirky café that is a part of the bustling seafood marketplace, or sit outdoors on a lovely deck overlooking Proper Bay. It serves up some of the best deepwater flathead and chips you’ll find in the country, straight from the ocean and on to your plate.

The small, picturesque township of Coffin Bay, globally renowned for its oyster farming, is on the western tip of the Southern Eyre Peninsula, and only a 20-minute drive from Port Lincoln. Visitors can embark on many types of oyster tours, such as the Short n Sweet 75-minute tour with Experience Coffin Bay. Guests are seated at dining tables on a trawler-type boat that glides out to the oyster leases for an hour-long talk about the history of oyster farming, and how an oyster grows from spat to plate. Guests are then served six oysters with beverages to enjoy while cruising. Over at Oyster HQ, visitors don waders and head out to an oyster lease to enjoy a talk about the industry while being served oysters paired with sparkling wine on white-clothed tables. 


Stop by the friendly visitor’s centre


Locally crafted with love


Port Lincoln is home to many artists and creators of delicious produce. For beer lovers, there are two incredible breweries in town where you can meet locals and other visitors while enjoying music and great vibes: Jump Ship Brewing and Beer Garden Brewing, both run by locals who are passionate about the art of brewing. For those into their spirits and cocktails, West Coast Distilling Co. is a fun bar and eatery that has a Bottomless Brunch, where cocktails are paired with a great menu focused on local produce.   

The best way to see all the local produce in one place is by visiting The Boston Bay Collective on Tasman Terrace. The store started out as a company that created beautifully presented, carefully curated boxes of locally made gourmet goodies, to becoming a stylish gallery-like store that stocks produce from the entire region. From handmade beef jerky, artisan chocolate, honey, tinned tuna and cookies, to wine, beer and spirits, it really is a gourmand’s dream. There’s also jewellery, scarves, body products, homewares and so much more to check out. Pack an extra bag so that you can quite literally take home a taste of the Eyre. 

Next door you’ll find the Visitor Information Centre, which not only has plenty of information on everything to see and do, but also friendly staff who go the extra mile to ensure that all visitors leave packed with inspiring ideas for their next adventure. Next to this is the local gallery and store called Nautilus Arts Centre, also brimming with local produce, art, homewares and more. 


The Port Lincoln township


Back to the beginning 


When Mathew Flinders sailed into these parts in 1802, he and his crew were greeted by the Barngarla people, who had been living on the land and from the water for tens of thousands of years. Port Lincoln was then called Galinyala – which means ‘place of sweet water’ – and they believed that the English men were the spirits of their ancestors returned from the islands where they travelled after their burial. 

The Barngarla people helped show the first settlers where to locate fresh water, which saved their lives. However, once the fences started going up, and the Barngarla people were effectively excluded from the settlement, things took a dark turn and the English settlers and First Nations people entered into a decades-long war. 

Today, all the locals want to work together to ensure that everyone who comes to the region has a connection with Country. 

If you would like to know more about the Indigenous heritage of Port Lincoln and surrounds, you can join a tour with Emmalene Richards of Maba Idi Cultural Tours, who works with her family, including her son Kaiden Hancock-Richards, to convey some of the many stories which help visitors understand how the past has affected the present. Emmalene’s tours focus on areas such as bush tucker, the importance of the land and sea, remembering and learning from the past, moving forward and honouring her ancestors. 

“There is something in the water here,” she says. “My people are incredibly proud of our land and the water here. The modern fishing industry that has developed here today is based on the same thing that brought my people here. That makes this region so unique.”

To read about our favourite things to do in the Eyre Peninsula during winter, click here.


Travel to the Eyre Peninsula

Rex flies to Port Lincoln. Book your tickets here and check out the route map below.

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