Winter wanderings on the Southern Eyre Peninsula

The Southern Eyre Peninsula is famous for beautiful beaches and an amazing array of seafood and local produce.

It’s also a joy to visit in winter, so here are some of the awesome offerings in Port Lincoln and beyond to experience during the cooler months.

 

Couple relaxing around a fire with drinks at September Beach, Southern Eyre Peninsula.

 

Back to nature

Winter on the Southern Eyre Peninsula has the sky and ocean turning a brighter shade of crisp blue, and the air is so pure, it’s enough to put a rosy glow in your cheeks and a bounce in your stride. 

It’s the ideal time to pull on your hiking boots and explore the region’s two national parks – Lincoln National Park and Coffin Bay National Park. Both parks have more than their fair share of natural beauty – picture-perfect beaches adorn the coastline, and quintessentially Australian campsites are filled with gum trees, wattles, mintbush and even orchids. 

Lincoln National Park sits on the south-eastern tip of the Eyre Peninsula, and if you are up for an adventure in the great outdoors, this is where you should be. Go 4WDriving, boating, fishing, swimming, whale watching, mountain biking or hiking. The wildlife is abundant, so there are plenty of opportunities for birdwatching and honing your photography skills. The park contains the Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area, which is home to a pure white sandy beach surrounded by breathtakingly rugged mallee and granite outcrops. 

Coffin Bay National Park is one of South Australia’s best-kept secrets – although the locals all know how amazing this part of the region is. This vast coastal wilderness with magnificent limestone cliffs, undulating coastal sand dunes, an abundance of wildlife and pristine sandy beaches is a nature lover’s paradise. 

 

With dramatic coastlines and sandy beaches, the Southern Eyre Peninsula is a wonderful place to visit in the winter.

 

The wonders of Whalers Way

Some of the most spectacular, dramatic coastline in this region can be explored at Whalers Way, which has been privately owned since 1887. The land is on the tip of the Southern Eyre Peninsula, around a half hour’s drive from Port Lincoln. As soon as you drive into the park, you’ll be met with an incredible view of the Southern Ocean and the beginning of the Great Australian Bight. If you’re lucky, you’ll encounter Australian fur seals chilling on the rocks.

With its wonderland of cliffs, active blowholes, caves and golden beaches, it’s a photographer’s idea of heaven. There’s even a swimming hole at the end of a narrow road where vehicles can be parked. An enclosed steel ladder has been fastened to the cliff’s edge, which takes you down to a trail that leads to the swimming hole.

 

Peter Teakle Wine’s curved restaurant and winery on the Southern Eyre Peninsula.

 

Wonderful wineries

For food and wine lovers, nothing beats visiting vineyards in winter – having a wander amongst the vines and then tucking into some wonderful food while drinking in the views. 

In 2020, Peter Teakle Wines’ spectacular restaurant Line & Label and cellar door opened. With a wonderfully curved aesthetic to reflect a trio of wine barrels, it has to be one of the most visually appealing winery restaurants in the country.

Step on to the property and be wowed by the family-run local institution that takes its wines as seriously as its approach to friendly, professional hospitality. Founder Peter Teakle created the business based on the philosophy that to create the best product you need the best produce and people. Now led by Peter’s son Ben, and overseen by chief winemaker Liz Heidenreich, the grapes, grown on-site, are blessed by the region’s unique maritime climate. 

Less than a ten-minute drive from the heart of Port Lincoln, you’ll find Boston Bay Wines on the eastern hills overlooking gorgeous Boston Bay. The ocean is so close you can sip on a wine or two while watching whales cavorting and dolphins frolicking. 

Boston Bay Wines was recently bought by the owners of Barristers Block Wines in the Adelaide Hills, after they discovered it basking in the glorious Eyre Peninsula sun. They fell in love with the location and the wines, and intend to continue the long legacy of pairing the region’s exceptional produce with some of the finest wines in South Australia. Cosy up inside and admire the ocean views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, or rug up and enjoy the cool ocean breezes from a table outside on the ample lawns. . 

 

Don’t miss diving with great whites in the Neptune Islands Conservation Park off the coast of the Southern Eyre Peninsula.

 

Swim with majestic great whites

The Neptune Islands Conservation Park – which is 139 kilometres from South Australia’s Spencer Gulf – is the only place in this part of the world where you can cage dive with mighty great white sharks. Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions and Calypso Star Charters both offer trips from Port Lincoln, and it’s an experience no one ever forgets. 

The boats leave in the morning and take guests out to the islands where these incredible creatures live. After being kitted out in a wetsuit complete with weights, you climb down into a cage that is attached to the back of the boat. The weights help you to stay standing on the cage bottom so that you can look through a gap in the cage, straight out into the watery depths. Sharks are curious, so they swim around the cage, meaning you can see them up close. The operators are eco-certified and are passionate about shark conservation – so guests and sharks are kept very safe.

 

“The seafood capital of Australia” in Port Lincoln on the Southern Eyre Peninsula.

 

Sumptuous seafood at top eateries around town

Port Lincoln is known as the ‘seafood capital of Australia,’ as the pristine waters of the Southern Eyre Peninsula and Spencer Gulf provide ideal conditions for plentiful catches of premium seafood, including southern bluefin tuna, yellowtail kingfish, King George whiting, snapper and other popular fin fish. Additionally, prawns, Boston Bay blue mussels, southern rock lobster, southern calamari (squid), and green and black lip abalone are seasonal and of the highest quality. This means you can enjoy some of the best seafood in the country at the city’s many eateries and bars.

The Port Lincoln Hotel is a local institution. Family-owned, it is a sprawling hotel with an awesome beer garden and thriving restaurant and bar. The Luxury and Spa Suites have spas and large balconies, so you can have oysters and sparkling wine delivered to your room while taking in the views. At Sarin’s Restaurant you can feast on the region’s fresh-as-it-comes seafood, and the best seasonal produce that the Eyre Peninsula has to offer. Sharkys Bar is great for a drink or a quick feed with mates. Pull up a stool and watch the footy with the locals. You’ll feel right at home as soon as you walk in the door.

Del Giorno’s is another local institution – an award winning café and restaurant located on Tasman Terrace in the heart of Port Lincoln, overlooking Boston Bay. The owners pride themselves on having close relationships with all of the local producers in order to serve up delicious dishes made with the best seasonal produce.

Pier Hotel is another favourite for locals and visitors as it is in the middle of town on the foreshore, and it’s a great place to have a drink and enjoy local seafood as well as all the pub favourites. The Hotel Boston is the grand old dame of the local eateries – built in 1929, it has sweeping manicured lawns and an alfresco area right on the foreshore of Boston Bay.

 

The Southern Eyre Peninsula is a great place to taste test beer, wine, and coffee.

 

Drink up and chill out: some more must-dos

Jump Ship Brewing is a brew pub and taphouse. It is a great place to pop in for a pint or stay all day. Book a tasting experience with a group of mates.

Beer Garden Brewing in Port Lincoln is a top spot to enjoy a local beer on tap. It’s super dog-friendly and the owner champions local products including food, wine, coffee, and music.

West Coast Distilling Co. is a great place to sample local spirits along with some simple meals such as toasties and pizza. Relax and enjoy a cocktail and some great tunes in a laidback joint made for fun.

 

Visitor Information Centre

The Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre is in the heart of Port Lincoln CBD and open seven days a week. Their team of friendly and dedicated tourism information consultants can provide you with excellent recommendations for itineraries, tours, bookings and more. They also have top tips for bucket-list experiences, as well as fantastic places to eat, stay and play. 

 

If you liked this article on the Southern Eyre Peninsula, check out the cosiest winter retreats in Australia.

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