As the main town towards the southern end of the Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln is a popular place to visit on a trip to the coastal area. The town sits on Boston Bay, the largest natural harbour in the country, and is considered the Seafood Frontier of Australia. It’s home to the largest commercial fishing fleet in the southern hemisphere, meaning you can guarantee a great culinary scene along with ample opportunities to take yourself out fishing for your own catch.
Port Lincoln also makes a great base from which to explore more of the Eyre Peninsula. It’s within close proximity to both the Lincoln and Coffin Bay National Parks, as well as a range of popular activities like whale watching and surfing. You can easily spend a few days exploring the southern end of the peninsula in and around Port Lincoln.
If you’re thinking of heading from Ceduna to Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula, this guide will help you plan the perfect road trip, including all the best places to stop and things to do on the way.
Best time to travel from Ceduna to Port Lincoln
The Eyre Peninsula is a great place to explore at any time of the year. However, depending on what you want to do and see in this part of South Australia, you might want to plan your trip around a certain season.
Spring and summer are great times to visit Port Lincoln. During this time the weather is warm, making it perfect for enjoying the many beaches on the coast. It’s also a good time to catch the Australian Sea Lions who come out to play off the coast during this time.
Summer and autumn are the best time to see great white sharks. Surprisingly this is a major drawcard on the peninsula which is considered the most reliable place to spot these huge predators. Cage diving experiences are popular during these months if you want to experience a bit of a thrill.
While the weather in winter is certainly not the best on the Eyre Peninsula, this is the best time for whale watching. Another incredible wildlife encounter on the peninsula is the chance to spot Southern Right Whales off the coast and this is best between May and August each year.
How to get to Port Lincoln
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 Port Lincoln: Flinders Highway, Todd Highway and Lincoln Highway. All three of them are connected to the Eyre Highway, making it an easy place to explore along with the Far West Coast and Nullarbor Plain. Many people head to Port Lincoln after exploring Ceduna and the Far West Coast. If you plan on travelling from this direction, there are two different ways you can reach the small city.
The first option is to head south from Ceduna on the coastal route along the Flinders Highway. This is a very picturesque option and takes you past plenty of beautiful beaches and coastal towns.
The second option is to head east from Ceduna towards Port Augusta and then turn off at Kyancutta onto Todd Highway, which runs down the centre of the Eyre Peninsula to Port Lincoln. This way you can experience some of the small towns on the Eyre Highway east of Ceduna as well as the Gawler Ranges before crossing the peninsula.
You can also reach Port Lincoln south from Port Augusta on the Lincoln Highway. This is another coastal route that passes through Whyalla on the way.
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 onto 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 planning you’re trip from Ceduna to Port Lincoln, here are some important practical things to know before you go.
The major highways that people use to reach Port Lincoln from Ceduna include the Eyre Highway, Flinders Highway and Todd Highway. All three are well-maintained, sealed roads and safe to use for all vehicles. The Eyre Highway in particular is a busy and popular road that is used frequently by trucks and travellers, most of whom are heading east or west from South Australia to Western Australia.
The Eyre Highway begins all the way in Norseman in Western Australia and runs across the Nullarbor Plain through Ceduna to Port Augusta in South Australia. It’s part of the National Highway A1 network and is the most direct route from Ceduna to Port Augusta and Adelaide.
The Flinders Highway and Todd Highway are both connected to the Eyre Highway and allow people coming from Ceduna to explore more the Eyre Peninsula. The Flinders Highway is a coastal route that takes in towns such as Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay, Elliston and Coulta 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 roads are in good condition and well-maintained there are still some safety considerations you should take before you travel. You should avoid travelling at night on the Eyre Peninsula. 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.
For any long road trips, you should come prepared with a basic first aid kit, jumper leads and car repair kit, so if anything is to happen along the way you are well-equipped to help yourself. 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 means that you can 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 enjoy and 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 by many days 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.
Ceduna is a major town on the northwest corner of the Eyre Peninsula. Located on the Eyre Highway, it’s a popular place for travellers to find themselves passing through or basing themselves for their entire trip around the Far West Coast. Being right on the eastern fringe of the Nullarbor, it’s considered the gateway to the plain and is also the last major town before heading west across the Eyre Highway.
Ceduna is known as the Oyster Capital of Australia and, along with Port Lincoln, offers some of the best seafood you can find in the entire country. Many people come to visit the town to taste the freshest oysters and visit a working oyster farm in nearby Smoky Bay. Ceduna is also a convenient place for exploring more of the Far West Coast and Great Australian Bight, with access to surfing, fishing, 4×4 driving, swimming and walking in and around the town.
With hundreds of thousands of vehicles passing through Ceduna each year, there is a great variety of amenities and businesses to cater to your needs. There are plenty of accommodation and shopping options for all your supplies.
To travel 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.
Here are some of the must-see towns and must-do activities on both highways:
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’s what you can see on the way:
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. You’ll also find a caravan park and pub in town if you need somewhere to stay and eat.
Poochera is a small town on the Eyre Highway and is 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 known for the discovery of the rare dinosaur ants in 1977 after previously thought to have been extinct. The roadhouse is now closed but taking a slight detour from the highway to the Poochera Hotel and Caravan Park will provide a great rest stop.
The small town of Minnipa further down the Eyre Highway is a great place to stop for a break. The town 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 and hotel/motel, and general store all available for amenities and supplies.
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. The erosion at the top of the rock also forms small rock holes which were used by Aboriginals to catch and collect water after rain.
Just before the turnoff to the Todd Highway, this town is a popular place to stop on the Eyre Highway. It has plenty of amenities including accommodation, a fuel station, supermarket and pub. You’ll notice a couple of photo ops in town, including the Australian Farmer statue. This huge farmer is carved out of local granite rock and is right next to the local information centre.
The town’s most popular attraction is Mount Wudinna, which is one of the largest granite monoliths in the southern hemisphere offering a great view from the top. It’s located just 10km from town and has plenty of parking and picnic areas around it.
Gawler Ranges National Park
If you have a little more time up your sleeve, consider a couple of days exploring the Gawler Ranges. Just 38km north of Wudinna you can find this spectacular rocky wilderness area known as the Gawler Ranges National Park. It harbours some rare flora and fauna, including the Crimson Mallee and the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby, along with native animals like emus and kangaroos.
It was a sacred place for the region’s Aboriginal people and is a great introduction to the incredible outback landscape of South Australia. The park is best explored by 4WD but can also be driven by 2WD or conventional vehicles in the dry season. Bushwalking and camping are popular activities if you have the time.
After turning onto Todd Highway, you’ll find more coastal landscapes and small rural towns. Located at the heart of the Eyre Peninsula, Lock offers a return to country life away from the coast. There are four conservation parks around the town which are home to beautiful wildflowers and native animals. You’ll also find a small Heritage Museum in town housed in the former police station. The museum displays 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 a small IGA for supplies.
Via Flinders Highway
Just 44km south of Ceduna, Smoky Bay is home to a thriving oyster industry in its Aquaculture Park. One of the must-do experiences near Ceduna is a tour of one of the working oyster farms. They offer an incredibly unique experience where you can learn more about the oyster growing industry and taste some of the freshest oysters on the planet.
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.
Slightly further down the coast, Streaky Bay is a picturesque town on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Home to stunning white sand beaches and plenty of activities from walking to snorkelling, it offers a perfect place to stop and enjoy the coast. Part of the Seafood Trail self-drive tour, it’s also a popular fishing destination. You can find plenty of accommodation in town, with caravan parks and holiday villas.
The small coastal town of Baird Bay is home to some of the best marine encounters on the entire peninsula. The popular whale watching tours in winter and swimming with sea lions and dolphins all depart from this town. It’s also a popular fishing town and it has plenty of accommodation options if you can plan on spending a few days.
Venus Bay is one of the most popular coastal towns on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. The small town is well-known for its island-dotted bay and rugged coastline with calm water perfect for a range of activities. Fishing, swimming, kayaking and water skiing are popular water-based activities and there are also some great surf beaches just outside of town for beginners as well as intermediate surfers.
Set on the edge of Waterloo Bay, Elliston is famous for its beautiful sunsets and coastal scenery. As with many of the other towns on the west coast of the peninsula, fishing, surfing and walking are all popular activities around town. You can also keep an eye out for Southern Right Whales and sea lions playing in the water at certain times of the year.
Coulta is a small town just inland from the coast on the Flinders Highway. It’s most well-known for Greenly Beach just outside of town which is an incredibly stunning beach and is popular amongst surfers. Backed by sand dunes and bordered by bluffs, it’s a rugged part of the coast that is simply beautiful. While there’s not much in terms of facilities and amenities in town, it’s only 62km northwest of Port Lincoln.
Coffin Bay National Park
Coffin Bay National Park is one of two spectacular national parks on the southern end of the Eyre Peninsula. Being on the western coast, it’s easily visited on the way from Ceduna to Port Lincoln. Coffin Bay 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.
If you want to stay for the night, there are campgrounds inside the national park which require permits and fees to be paid in advance. Some parts of the park are only accessible by 4WD, but there are still many beaches accessible by sealed roads.
Port Lincoln is a small city on Boston Bay on the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula. It’s particularly known as being the fishing capital of the peninsula, with the largest fishing fleet in the southern hemisphere based in the harbour. There are plenty of amenities and facilities for all travellers to stock up after the long drive from Ceduna, with supermarkets, Bunnings, hospital and plenty of accommodation options.
While many people use the town as a base for exploring the surrounding area, there are still plenty of things to do in town. There are a few museums worth checking out if you want to learn more about the peninsula’s history. The Port Lincoln Railway Museum, Mill Cottage Museum and Axel Stenross Maritime Museum, are all worth exploring and are perfect for when the weather isn’t so good for the beach.