Exploring Port Lincoln, South Australia
A crackle roars above me so loud it sounds as though the ground is splitting in half. Not long after a bolt of lightening cuts its way through the coloured sky, lit up in a brilliant blood orange, pink and purple, before striking down on the peninsula. It’s a free performance put on by Mother Nature and I’ve got the best view sitting in my campervan in the Port Lincoln Tourist Park. Port Lincoln, located on the lower Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, is the bustling home to more than 14,500 people and is known for its changeable weather. It has been called the city with the highest number of millionaires per capita, due to the southern bluefin tuna fishery. Sitting on the cusp of Boston Bay and the Spencer Gulf, the city has a successful Bluefin tuna and sardine fishing industry due to cold nutrient rich water from the Great Australian Coastal Upwelling System being brought into the nearby Great Australian Bight. If you drive to Port Lincoln down the east of the Eyre Peninsula you will come across smaller, quainter fishing villages such as Cowell and Tumby Bay which are both worth a look around. The roads are long and parallel to the coast providing a beautiful scenic drive and plenty of photo opportunities. Port Lincoln Tourist Park is a brilliant campsite I found using the free travel app CamperMate. I could see from the app the campsite offered good facilities and is situated close to both the beach and town centre. On arrival I discovered the campsite actually has its own small beach just yards away from our pitch and beautiful views out across Boston Bay. Come evening time, once the heat of the day has passed and the sky turns a softer powdery blue, you can wind your way along the coastal walk from the Tourist Park into the city. The walk, approximately one hour at a leisurely pace, takes you past pretty floral bushland, along rocky cliff edges and through the Port Lincoln Wharf where you can spot the giant grain towers, container ships and mile-long freight trains before reaching the city’s promenade. The city centre offers plenty of shops, cafes and delicious restaurants along with free BBQs on the promenade with beautiful views out to sea. If you’re after a little more adventure from your trip to the peninsula, how does swimming with tuna, sea lions or shark cage diving sound? There is a variety of boat trips and tours offered from Port Lincoln - I liked the sound of swimming with sea lions and booked myself onto a tour with ‘Adventure Bay Charters’. It was one of the best experiences spending the day playing with the seal pups. They seemed to enjoy the groups' company swimming around next to us before diving underneath and flipping themselves out of the water - splashing us even more. The boat journey to Hopkins Bay, part of the Port Lincoln National Park and where you will find the sea lions, was a four-hour return and saw us sailing alongside a pod of dolphins, past a White Bellied Sea Eagle perched high in the tree tops of the park and out into the beautiful blue horizon. Fresh fruit, muffins and toasties were provided during the trip along with all our diving gear. I was very thankful for the wetsuit – the water is colder than you think! There are plenty of other day trips available whilst staying in Port Lincoln. When the weather was a little drizzly one day I visited the Billabong Animal Sanctuary, a scenic 30-minute drive outside the city centre into the countryside. Here you will find wallabies, camels, ostriches, dingoes and even the chance to get up close to some fluffy koalas. There's also a huge aviary where you can feed all the birds - beware they may sit on your head! The beautiful little Oyster town of Coffin Bay is also a short drive away from Port Lincoln and is a great spot for those who enjoy water sports such as water-skiing, skindiving and wind-surfing. However if you'd much rather just simply relax and enjoy the views, watching the boats bob by from a camp chair in the tourist park with a glass full in one hand and book in the other, I would highly recommend that too.