Port Lincoln is the main town on the southern half of the Eyre Peninsula and is a popular destination on a road trip to the coastal area. The town sits on the largest natural harbour in the country known as Boston Bay, which is home to the largest commercial fishing fleet in the southern hemisphere. It’s a place where you can guarantee a great culinary scene along with plenty of chances to head out fishing for yourself, with it being referred to as Australia’s premier Seafood Frontier.
The Eyre Peninsula is often incorporated into a longer trip on the Eyre Highway. Home to two spectacular national parks and plenty of activities including whale watching and surfing, Port Lincoln is the perfect base from which to explore further. You can easily spend a few days exploring the southern end of the peninsula in and around Port Lincoln after a visit to the Far West Coast.
If you’re thinking of travelling from Ceduna to Port Lincoln, this guide will help you plan the perfect road trip, including all the best places to stop and things to do on the way.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best time to travel from Ceduna to Port Lincoln
- 2 How to get to Port Lincoln
- 3 Things to know about travelling from Ceduna to Port Lincoln
- 4 Popular towns and activities to see on the way from Ceduna to Port Lincoln
- 5 Ceduna
- 6 Via Todd Highway
- 7 Via Flinders Highway
- 8 Port Lincoln
- 9 While you’re crossing The Nullarbor Plain
Best time to travel from Ceduna to Port Lincoln
The Eyre Peninsula is a great place to explore before or after a trip to the Far West Coast in South Australia. This whole region can easily be explored at any time of the year. However, depending on what activities you plan on doing, you might prefer to time your trip with a certain season.
Spring and summer are great times to visit Port Lincoln and the Eyre Peninsula. During this time the weather is warm, which is perfect beach weather to explore the coast. It’s also a good time to see the Australian Sea Lions who come out to play off the coast during this time.
Late summer and autumn are the best time to see great white sharks. While not necessarily welcomed by surfers, they are a major drawcard on the peninsula which is considered the most reliable place to spot these huge predators. Cage diving experiences are especially popular during these months before winter.
While winter is certainly not the best time to head to the Eyre Peninsula, it’s the only time you’ll be able to go whale watching. Southern Right Whales migrate to the Great Australian Bight during the cooler months from May until August each year, making them the biggest attraction of visiting the Far West Coast and Eyre Peninsula during winter.
How to get to Port Lincoln
The Eyre Peninsula is often visited as part of a longer trip on the Eyre Highway, incorporating the Nullarbor and Far West Coast. Being at the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula, you can approach Port Lincoln from many different parts of South Australia. There are three major highways that lead to the town, including Flinders Highway, Todd Highway and Lincoln Highway, which are all connected to the Eyre Highway as well. This makes it a common destination to visit from Ceduna after a trip across the Nullarbor Plain. If you plan on travelling from this direction, there are two different ways you can reach the small city.
The first option is to take the coastal route south from Ceduna along the Flinders Highway. This is a very picturesque road and takes you past plenty of beautiful beaches and coastal towns popular for fishing, whale watching and surfing.
The second option is to head east from Ceduna on the Eyre Highway before turning off at Kyancutta onto Todd Highway. You can then take this road down the centre of the Eyre Peninsula to Port Lincoln. This way you can experience some of the small towns on the Eyre Highway, as well as the Gawler Ranges before heading down to the peninsula.
You can also reach Port Lincoln from Port Augusta on the Lincoln Highway. This is another coastal route that passes through Whyalla on the way and is a nice alternative.
The driving distances are as follows:
• Ceduna to Port Lincoln via Flinders Highway: 405km or 4 and a quarter-hour drive
• Ceduna to Port Lincoln via Todd Highway: 425km or 4 and a half-hour drive
• Port Augusta to Port Lincoln via Lincoln Highway: 344km or 3 and a half-hour drive
If you prefer to fly to the peninsula, then Port Lincoln also has its own airport. There are daily direct flights to and from Adelaide with Rex and QantasLink, which are easily connected to other major cities in Australia.
Things to know about travelling from Ceduna to Port Lincoln
If you’re driving from Ceduna to Port Lincoln, here are some important practical things to know before you head off.
There are a number of major highways that lead to Port Lincoln, including the Eyre Highway, Flinders Highway, Todd Highway and Lincoln Highway. They are all well-maintained, sealed roads and safe to use for all vehicles including 2WD. The Eyre Highway in particular is a busy and popular road that is used frequently by both trucks and travellers, most of whom are heading east or west from South Australia to Western Australia.
The Eyre Highway begins in Norseman in Western Australia and runs across the Nullarbor Plain through Ceduna to Port Augusta in South Australia for 1675km. It’s considered one of the greatest road trips in the country, with thousands of people taking the journey every year. One of the best side trips from the Eyre Highway is to the Eyre Peninsula.
To head from Ceduna to Port Lincoln, the Flinders Highway and Todd Highway are both connected to the Eyre Highway and allow people to explore more of the Eyre Peninsula. The Flinders Highway is more of a coastal route that takes in towns such as Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay and Elliston before reaching Port Lincoln. The Todd Highway turns off the Eyre Highway at Kyancutta and continues through Warramboo, Lock and Cummins before arriving in Port Lincoln.
While the major highways are all in good condition, there are still some safety considerations you should take before you travel. It’s best to avoid travelling at night on any of the roads. The region is home to a variety of native wildlife and animal crossings are more common at night making it dangerous for both you and the animals.
You should also come prepared for emergencies with a basic first aid kit, jumper leads and car repair kit. It’s also advised to purchase roadside assistance so you can get help in any of the rural areas you find yourself in.
Finally, taking plenty of breaks during long drives is important to avoid fatigue. This also allows you to enjoy the landscape and small towns along the way a little bit more. There are plenty of places to stop from Ceduna to Port Lincoln with plenty of activities to stretch your legs.
Popular towns and activities to see on the way from Ceduna to Port Lincoln
A trip from Ceduna to Port Lincoln can easily be extended beyond just a few hours, with plenty of towns and activities to see and do on the way. Whether you’re opting for the inland route or the coastal route, you’ll find that there is so much to see and do.
Ceduna is a major town on the Eyre Highway. It’s conveniently located on the northwest corner of the Eyre Peninsula and on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain. It’s considered one of the best places to base yourself in for any trip to the Far West Coast. It’s the last major town as you head west across the semi-arid plain, or the first major town if you’re coming from Western Australia.
Ceduna is known as the Oyster Capital of Australia and, along with Port Lincoln, has the best seafood you can find in the entire country. One of the real highlights of the town however is visiting a working oyster farm in nearby Smoky Bay. Ceduna is also a convenient place for exploring more of the Far West Coast, with surfing, fishing, 4×4 driving, swimming and walking all popular activities in and around town.
Ceduna sees hundreds of thousands of vehicles passing through each year. This means that there is a great variety of amenities and businesses to cater for traveller’s needs, including accommodation, services and shopping, plus more.
There are a couple of options when travelling from Ceduna to Port Lincoln. You can head south along Flinders Highway or travel east on the Eyre Highway before turning right onto Todd Highway and heading straight down the middle of the peninsula. No matter which way you choose, you can find plenty of places to stop and things to see on the way.
Via Todd Highway
If you plan on taking the Eyre Highway east of Ceduna and then turning onto the Todd Highway down to Port Lincoln, here are some of the towns on the way:
After heading east from Ceduna, the first town you’ll come across is Wirrulla. This unique town has a jetty, despite being quite a distance from the coast. This dry jetty is the tee-off for the Wirrulla Golf Course and you’ll also find a caravan park and pub in town if you need somewhere to stop for a meal.
A little further along the highway, Poochera is a small town considered the western gateway to the Gawler Ranges National Park. The town has a caravan park, pub and picnic area if you need a break. The town is also known for the discovery of the rare dinosaur ants in 1977, after they were previously thought to have been extinct. You can visit the small museum in town which has some interesting displays on the critters and you’ll also find a big dinosaur ant statue outside the now-closed roadhouse.
The next town along is Minnipa. It has some incredible natural scenery and rock formations due to its proximity to the rugged Gawler Ranges. You can easily explore these granite rocks from town, with a caravan park, motel and general store available.
The most popular place in Minnipa is Pildappa Rock, 15km north of town. This unique pink inselberg is shaped like a wave and was formed about 1500 million years ago as part of the much larger Gawler Craton. It was an important place for the Traditional Owners, who used to collect water from the small holes formed at the top from erosion after heavy rain.
Just before the turnoff for the Todd Highway, Wudinna is a popular place to stop on the Eyre Highway. It has plenty of amenities including accommodation, a fuel station, supermarket and pub. It’s also home to the Australian Farmer statue, carved out of local granite rock right next to the local information centre.
The town’s most popular attraction, however, is Mount Wudinna, which is one of the largest granite monoliths in the southern hemisphere. It offers a great view from the top and is located just 10km from town.
Gawler Ranges National Park
One of the highlights of driving along the Eyre Highway is the chance to explore the Gawler Ranges. Located just 38km north of Wudinna you can find this spectacular rocky wilderness, which is known for its rare flora and fauna, including the Crimson Mallee and the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby.
It is a sacred place for the region’s Aboriginal people and is a great introduction into the incredible outback landscape of South Australia. The park is best explored by 4WD but can also be driven by conventional vehicles in the dry season. Bushwalking and camping are popular activities, if you want to spend a couple of days exploring the national park.
After turning onto Todd Highway, you’ll find more coastal scrub and small rural towns. Located at the heart of the Eyre Peninsula, the town of Lock offers a more countryside escape away from the coast. There are four conservation parks around town that are home to beautiful wildflowers and native animals. You’ll also find a small Heritage Museum inside the former police station which shows a variety of local war, farming and domestic equipment and photographs and from local families. If you want to stop for a longer break, Lock also has accommodation, caravan park, pub and small supermarket for supplies.
Via Flinders Highway
For the scenic coastal route, the Flinders Highway is a popular option for travelling from Ceduna to Port Lincoln. Here’s what you can see on the way:
After heading southeast from Ceduna you’ll want to stop in Smoky Bay. The town just 44km away from Ceduna is home to a thriving oyster industry in its Aquaculture Park. One of the highlights of visiting the town is being able to tour one of the working oyster farms. You can do this with Jeff and Colleen Holmes of SA Premium Oysters, who offer an incredibly unique experience where you can learn more about the oyster growing industry and taste some of their freshest oysters on the planet.
The town of Smoky Bay also has a nice picnic area, public toilets, safe swimming enclosure, boat ramp and town jetty from where you can throw your own fishing line in if you want to stay a little longer.
Slightly further down the coast of the Eyre Peninsula you’ll find Streaky Bay. This picturesque town on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula is home to stunning white-sand beaches and plenty of activities from walking to snorkelling. Part of the Seafood Trail, it’s also a popular fishing destination for those doing the self-drive tour.
Despite being a small town, Baird Bay is a popular stop due to it being home to some of the best marine encounters on the entire peninsula. In winter, you can head out on popular whale watching tours or swimming trips with sea lions and dolphins, which all depart from town. It has plenty of accommodation options if you plan on spending a few days there.
The picturesque town of Venus Bay is one of the most popular places on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. It’s known for its island-dotted bay and rugged coastline with calm waters perfect for fishing, swimming, kayaking and water skiing. There are also some great surf beaches just outside of town for beginners as well as intermediate surfers, providing an alternative to the notorious Cactus Beach further west.
Another pretty town, Elliston is located on the edge of Waterloo Bay, famous for its beautiful sunsets and coastal scenery. You’ll be able to head out fishing, surfing and walking from town and keep an eye out for Southern Right Whales and sea lions playing in the water at certain times of the year.
As the Flinders Highway heads slightly inland towards Port Lincoln, you’ll come to the town of Coulta. While there’s not much in terms of facilities in town, it’s famous for Greenly Beach, which is just outside of town. The incredibly beautiful beach is popular amongst surfers, with its sand dunes and rugged bluffs providing stunning scenery.
Coffin Bay National Park
As one of the two spectacular national parks on the Eyre Peninsula, Coffin Bay is a must-see as you travel from Ceduna to Port Lincoln. Being on the western coast, it’s easily visited off the Flinders Highway and is known for its stunning coastal scenery and white sand beaches. There are a range of activities to do in the park including fishing, boating, sailing, diving, swimming and hiking. There are also campgrounds inside the national park which require permits and fees to be paid in advance.
The major town on the southern half of the Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln is a small city on Boston Bay. It’s known as being the fishing capital of the peninsula, with the largest fishing fleet in the southern hemisphere based in the harbour. If you’ve been travelling for some time, you’ll find plenty of amenities and facilities in town. You can stock up on supplies with supermarkets, hardware and medical services as well as accommodation if you want to stay the night.
While many travellers simply stock up on supplies and head off the Lincoln National Park, there are still plenty of things to do in town. If the weather isn’t great for heading to the beach, you can spend a few hours checking out the museums in town including the Port Lincoln Railway Museum, Mill Cottage Museum and Axel Stenross Maritime Museum, which are all worth visiting.
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