How to spend a day in SA’s Lincoln National Park

How to spend a day in SA’s Lincoln National Park

Want to make the most of your vis­it to this icon­ic park? We’ve got you cov­ered with this one-day itinerary.

Known for its spec­tac­u­lar ocean views and rugged off­shore islands, Lin­coln Nation­al Park is one of South Australia’s many true beauties.

The park sits on the south-east­ern tip of the Eyre Penin­su­la, just south of the region­al city of Port Lincoln.

While it’s an 8‑hour, 680-kilo­me­tre dri­ve from Ade­laide the park’s mag­nif­i­cent scenery and tran­quil beach­es will total­ly make it worth every are we there yet?’ from the back­seat of the car.

If you’re in Ade­laide or can make your way there, you can also choose to cut down your trav­el time by fly­ing from Ade­laide Air­port to Port Lin­coln in about 50-minutes.

Lin­coln Nation­al Park has some­thing for every­one. If you’re feel­ing up for an adven­ture, you can go hik­ing, fish­ing or four-wheel-dri­ving, but if you’re after a more relax­ing time, soak up the sun on the beach or cool off in the clear, blue waters.

You’ll find plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties for bird and wildlife watch­ing and prac­tic­ing your pho­tog­ra­phy skills too.

To help you plan your vis­it, here are some ideas on how to spend a day in the park:

Before you go

Before you start your day of adven­ture, make sure you buy your vehi­cle entry pass. You can buy it online before you head to the park or from the Port Lin­coln Vis­i­tor Infor­ma­tion Cen­tre.

Lin­coln is renowned for its rugged beau­ty and wilder­ness – but this also means there’s lim­it­ed facil­i­ties avail­able onsite, so you’ll need to be prepared.

Make sure you pack enough drink­ing water and food as there are no shops locat­ed in the park. It’s also a good idea to pack sun pro­tec­tion (a hat, sun­glass­es and sun­screen) and insect repel­lent. If you’re plan­ning on hik­ing it’s also essen­tial you wear suit­able footwear and cloth­ing, such as long pants.

When you get there


When you are all pre­pared and ready to go, trav­el to Port Lin­coln and head south on Prop­er Bay Road until you reach the park entrance.

As you head deep­er into the park, keep your eyes focused on the road as the abun­dant wildlife may make an appear­ance. It’s best to be a lit­tle cau­tious and keep to the set speed lim­its – for your safe­ty and the safe­ty of our wildlife.

Before the sun gets too hot, go for a morn­ing walk or hike. Head to the Stam­ford Hill Day Vis­it area carpark, where you’ll have the choice of two walks:

Easy walk – Sur­fleet Cove Loop (1.5 hours return, 4.8 km)

The Sur­fleet Cove Loop is an ide­al trail for the whole fam­i­ly. It’s a scenic walk along the shores of Prop­er Bay and Sur­fleet Cove, which returns through euca­lypt and tea-tree woodland.

Top tip: Take an option­al detour at Sur­fleet Cove and fol­low the coast to Sur­fleet Point for views of Boston Island and Boston Bay.

Hard Hike – Stam­ford Hill Loop (2 hours return, 5.7 km)

Recog­nised as one of SA’s top 40 Great Short Walks, this hike is for the more adven­tur­ous. Climb to the top of Stam­ford Hill through the diverse native veg­e­ta­tion until you reach the Flinders Mon­u­ment – the per­fect loca­tion for stun­ning panoram­ic views across the mag­nif­i­cent Boston Bay, Port Lin­coln and the rest of Lin­coln Nation­al Park.

Inter­pre­tive signs at the top of the hill pro­vide infor­ma­tion about the area’s nat­ur­al his­to­ry, as well as the his­toric ruins left by the ear­ly wood­cut­ters. The trail is a rea­son­able chal­lenge and has some mod­er­ate inclines, but it has a good trail surface.

Top tip: If you’re short on time, you can do the short­er return hike (45 mins, 1.6km) to Stam­ford Hill.

How to spend a day in SA’s Lincoln National Park


By now you’ve prob­a­bly worked up an appetite. Make use of the pic­nic shel­ters and tables over­look­ing the beach at Stam­ford, where there’s a stair­case trail that takes you down to the beach. Cool off with a swim or just dip your toes in the shallows.

Top tip: If you’re ready to move on and your hunger can wait a lit­tle while, there’s sim­i­lar pic­nic facil­i­ties at Sep­tem­ber Beach Camp­ground, which is only about a 20-minute dri­ve away.

How to spend a day in SA’s Lincoln National Park


Leave the bitu­men behind you and take the unsealed road to Cape Don­ing­ton – don’t wor­ry the road is still two-wheel-dri­ve acces­si­ble but make sure you dri­ve to the road con­di­tions. You’ll be reward­ed with views of Spald­ing Cove as the road hugs the coast.

Explore Don­ing­ton Beach, Cape Don­ing­ton Light­house and Sep­tem­ber Beach. Just don’t for­get your cam­era or smart­phone to cap­ture these beau­ti­ful places.

If you have the ener­gy for anoth­er walk, take the Cape Don­ing­ton to Sep­tem­ber Beach hike (1 hour return, 2 km). This mod­er­ate hike fol­lows the rocky coast­line through the coastal heath and offers refresh­ing sea views.

Top tip: As you start the jour­ney back to Port Lin­coln, take a detour (14 km return) to Tay­lors Land­ing where you’ll find a stun­ning seclud­ed beach with turquoise waters and white sand. Keep your eyes alert for malleefowl cross­ing the road as the Ranger and Friends of Park Vol­un­teers have spot­ted them here at this time of year.

How to spend a day in SA’s Lincoln National Park

On your way home

A day in Lin­coln Nation­al Park isn’t com­plete with­out a vis­it the spec­tac­u­lar Wan­na Look­out, which offers stun­ning views over the Sleaford Bay Sanc­tu­ary Zone.

The sanc­tu­ary zone pro­tects an impor­tant aggre­ga­tion area for south­ern right whales. They can often be spot­ted from May to Octo­ber with their young before migrat­ing back to Antarc­tic waters in spring.

Top tip: Try to time your vis­it with sun­set for a mem­o­rable photo.

How to spend a day in SA’s Lincoln National Park

Park of the Month 

Through­out April, Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Aus­tralia are cel­e­brat­ing Low­er Eyre Penin­su­la Parks. A range of activ­i­ties are on offer, includ­ing snor­kel­ing tours, ranger-guid­ed kayak­ing and a free movie screening. 

Vis­it parks​.sa​.gov​.au/​g​e​t​-​i​n​s​p​i​r​e​d​/​p​a​r​k​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​month for full details.

There’s so much to do in Lin­coln Nation­al Park, you’ll like­ly run out of time to see and expe­ri­ence it all. So why not extend your stay and camp in one of the 16 camp­grounds that can be found in the park?

Want some extra tips for your next vis­it? Find out what park ranger Elly Schultz rec­om­mends.

(Head­er image cour­tesy of the South Aus­tralian Tourism Commission)

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living