Food and Drink in Port Lincoln
Besides Port Lincoln's plentiful seafood there's a long tradition of agriculture and farming in the region. Stock up on local pork and bacon, Eyre Peninsula grain-fed beef and lamb, locally grown fruits and vegetables, olive oil, honey, chocolates, nuts and bakery products made from locally grown and milled grain. Restaurants, hotels and cafes along the beachfront (Tasman Terrace) provide ample variety for visitors to find something to satisfy. Fish lovers should sample the local King George Whiting, with its light and delicate white flesh. It is regarded as one of the best eating fish anywhere. Lightly crumbed is the popular method, but grilled is good, too. Avoid battered and/or deep-fried as this can mute the fine flavours.
The Fresh Fish Place: An eatery and attraction all in one, this is relatively new on the tourism scene and includes a factory tour, some fish and seafood education as well as tastings. It's the place to go to find the widest range of fresh seafood available. You can even sample the famous southern bluefin tuna or take home a small jar. Enjoy local wine, beer and produce all under the one roof. (20 Proper Bay Rd, Port Lincoln; +61 8 8682 2166; Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 6 pm, Saturdays 8.30am to 2pm. Closed Sundays, but expect these hours to vary on cruise days)
Line & Label: A little bit out of town at the Peter Teakle Winery (formerly Delacolline Winery Estate), Executive Chef, Josh Harris and his team are gaining a reputation for fine cuisine using a majority of local produce such as fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden, plus Kingfish, calamari, beef, Razor Clam, Vongole and more. (+61 8 8682 6635; 31 Whillas Rd, Port Lincoln; open from noon till late, Thursday to Saturday; Sundays noon to 6pm)
The Rogue & Rascal: This casual cafe is perfect for a quick, healthy bite in a beachfront setting. Outdoor seating and, most importantly, great coffee. (62 Tasman Terrace, Port Lincoln; +61 8 8683 5003; open daily 7 am to 5 pm)
Del Giorno's: Great waterfront place for Italian favourites such as pizza, pasta and gelato plus seafood in an outdoor setting. (80 Tasman Terrace, Port Lincoln; +61 8 8683 0577; open Monday to Saturdays 7.30 am to late; Sundays 8.30 am to late)
Marina Hotel: Surround yourself with expensive yachts and powerboats as you enjoy excellent pub favourites or a seafood platter with a local twist. There's outdoor dining, a lively bar and sun deck with loungers. (13 Jubilee Drive, Port Lincoln; +61 8682 6141; open daily for breakfast 7 am to 10 am; lunch noon to 2.30pm; dinner 6 pm to 9 pm. There is a grazing menu on offer from 2.30 pm to 9 pm on weekends only)
Sarin's Restaurant & Bar/Bistro: You'll find all-day dining here in a contemporary hotel (pub) environment serving popular comfort food such as steaks and burgers as well as local premium seafood. (1 Lincoln Hwy, Port Lincoln; +68 8621 2026; open daily 7 am to 10 pm)
Local Beer and Wine: As you may have discovered, Australians are fast gaining a reputation for quality wine and beer and this would be an ideal opportunity to try either or both. Local wineries, Boston Bay, Peter Teakle and Lincoln Estates all produce commendable wines, although Boston Bay seem to gain the most attention. If you are lunching in town, this would be the perfect pit stop. Local sustainable brewers, Beer Garden Brewery, use all local grains and crystal clear rainwater for their nine beer and ale types, which you can sample on tap at the family-run premises, which are just a few minutes' walk from the pier in London St.
Beaches in Port Lincoln
Port Lincoln waters in Boston Bay are sheltered and calm but can be cool and even chilly at around 20 degrees. The township of Port Lincoln is surrounded by a multitude of beaches. It should be noted that Australian waters can be rough and unpredictable with dangerous offshore currents that make them hazardous for first-time visitors. As such, swimming at remote beaches is not recommended, nor is swimming alone.
Secluded Beach: Shelly Beach is a short walk east of the wharf. Popular with locals and with visitor facilities, this beach is likely to be more private than either the town beach or Kirton Point Beach if you want to laze on the sand, stroll or take a dip. Swim with caution as there are numerous rocks.
Closest Beach: Kirton Point, with its own jetty, is immediately next to the wharf and provides some cozy private coves along an excellent walking trail if you want to stretch your legs and stop and enjoy some sand between your toes. Again, swim with caution and watch for rocks.
Best Swimming Beach: Town Beach is right in front on the shopping strip and, if you are dead keen to get into the water, the tidal swimming pool on the town jetty is the best place. Alternatively, swim directly off the beach at mid-to-high tide.
Don't Miss in Port Lincoln
Axel Stenross Maritime Museum: Anyone interested in classic wooden boat building will be fascinated with this small, very personal museum. Wander among the restored historic vessels, marine artefacts and relics, which tell the story of a Finnish boat builder and ship's carpenter who jumped ship in 1927 and made Port Lincoln his home. Chat with the enthusiastic volunteers who will regale you with stories of the old fishing and coastal trading days around the coastal waters of Port Lincoln and the cast of colourful characters. (97 Lincoln Highway Port Lincoln; +61 8 8682 3624; Open Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays 9.30 am to 4.30 pm; Saturdays and public holidays from 1 pm to 4.30 pm).
Port Lincoln Visitor Centre: If you have not pre-booked tours, pop by the centre for a snapshot of activities and attractions around town and ask for their cruise passenger specific brochure. Cheerful staff are on hand to guide you through the city's nearby sites and advise you on simple enquiries such as shopping, transport and dining. (3 Adelaide Place, Port Lincoln; +618 8683 3544; open seven days from 9 am to 5 pm)
Swim with Australian Sea Lions: The waters around South Australia have some of the few remaining Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) colonies. These curious, intelligent and cute-as-anything marine animals are now listed as endangered due to hunting practices in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A few specialist operators, such as Adventure Bay Charters and Calypso Star offer swim tours in conjunction with your cruise ship. Do book early, as these tours will fill.
Great White Shark Cage Diving: Port Lincoln is one of the very few locations in the world where this is possible, but please enquire with your cruise ship well in advance if this is offered while in port. If you are on one of the several expedition ships that visit Port Lincoln (such as True North Adventure Cruises) then you may be in luck.
Mikkira Station: is a privately owned property a short drive from town and frequently included on shore excursions. It's a relaxed excursion and suitable for those with mobility issues as wild koalas, kangaroos, birds and emus roam freely among the native trees and plants around the old homestead. Washrooms are on site and walking is easy as it's all on flat ground. (Off Fishery Bay Road Sleaford; open by arrangement only. Enquire at your ship's tour desk or Port Lincoln Visitor Centre; +61 8 8683 3544)
Boston Bay Winery: located a short drive north along the highway from Port Lincoln on excellent soil, the winery opened in 1984 and now produces premium Riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and shiraz grapes (Lincoln Highway; +61 8 8684 3600; open seven days noon to 4 pm)
Coffin Bay: About 50km to the west of Port Lincoln is where you will find Coffin Bay, which is famed around the world for its oysters. Tours are run from Port Lincoln and will often explore the nearby national park and gorgeous coastal scenery along the way. Tours typically include an oyster farm tour and talk with wine and oyster tasting. (100 Esplanade, Coffin Bay; +61 4881 39032. Enquire at your tour desk)
Port Lincoln Railway Museum: Contains artifacts, photographs and displays dating back more than 100 years including some rolling stock and station fittings. (Railway Place Port Lincoln; +61 4281 19287; open Wednesdays, Sundays and most public holidays from 1 pm to 4 pm and extended hours for cruise ships)
Mill Cottage Museum: Located in a lovely park setting about 30 minutes' walk from the pier, this old home was built in 1866 and houses many artifacts, many of which arrived with the pioneering Bishop family from England on the Dorset. You can see numerous watercolour paintings by the late Miss Amy Bishop, who was a prolific painter throughout her life. (Flinders Park, Flinders Highway; +61 4 2967 6661; admission fee $4 to $5; check for opening times)