Only fears over a secure fresh water supply swayed Colonel William Light from choosing Adelaide rather than Port Lincoln as the site of South Australia’s capital in 1836. But Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula
has developed into a thriving provincial city set on a magnificent natural harbour. Sparkling blue Boston Bay covers an area three and a half times larger than Sydney Harbour and its waters are protected by Boston Island. Tours operate to Boston Island, first inhabited around 1840.
Port Lincoln has an important grain-loading facility, as well as loading facilities for other agricultural produce. It also has a successful fishing industry, including tuna farms for the lucrative Japanese market. The fortunes made from the tuna trade are truly colossal, and the coastline is dotted with enormous (not neccessarily all that tasteful!) mansions built by rich fishermen. The harbour, too, is filled with millions of dollars worth of fishing vessels.
The calm waters of Boston Bay are perfect for watersports while the Sir Joseph Banks islands to the north-east and Thorny Passage to the south give off-shore anglers and blue water sailors a wide range of recreational options. Beach lovers can find sheltered and surf beaches and secluded picnic spots.
Cruises in Boston Bay can include fishing, wildlife spotting (sea-lions, dolphins and birds), diving and visits to commercial tuna farms.
Port Lincoln has a rich and well-preserved history. The Mill Cottage Museum collection of furniture and household items brought from England in the mid-19th century is housed in a small, limestone cottage built in 1866. Settlers' Cottage Museum houses memorabilia from the local district. Axel Stenross Maritime Museum features a working slipway, wooden boats and tools used in boat construction. The Railway Museum is housed in the old railway station, and includes historic railway memorabilia.
There are two lookouts in Port Lincoln. The Old Mill Lookout was built as part of a mill complex, but now the tower offers good views of the city and the bay. The spectacular Winters Hill Lookout features superb views across Boston Bay towards Boston Island and beyond.
Parnkalla Walking Trail is a pleasant walk that follows the shores of Boston Bay. For a scenic drive, take the privately-owned Whalers Way on the southernmost tip of the Eyre Peninsula.
At Koppio, north of Port Lincoln, Koppio Smithy Museum has an interesting collection of buldings and artefacts, as well as a collection of historic fencing equipment.
The southernmost part of the Eyre Peninsula is protected by Lincoln National Park. Many of the features in the park were named by Matthew Flinders when he charted the area in the Investigator, including Memory Cove. It was here that eight of his crew perished when a boat was overturned, and Flinders erected a tablet commemorating these men. Today the original tablet is housed in Adelaide, but a replica can be seen in the cove. The Flinders Monument on Stamford Hill has good views across the bay. There are several walking trails within the park.
Things to do:
Watersports - boating, sailing, fishing, beaches, surfing
Cruises - fishing, wildlife spotting, diving
History - Mill Cottage Museum, Settlers' Cottage Museum, Axel Stenross Maritime Museum, Railway Museum
Lookouts - Old Mill Lookout, Winters Hill Lookout
Scenic Walk - Parnkalla Walking Trail
Scenic Drive - Whalers Way
In the area:
Koppio Smithy Museum - historic buldings and artefacts
Lincoln National Park - tablet at Memory Cove, Flinders Monument on Stamford Hill for views, walks
Find out more about the Eyre Peninsula.