Lincoln National Park


Whilst I have previously had separate pages for camp sites within this Park, I've decided to have just one to cover the entire Lincoln National Park.  I'll make it as comprehensive as I can, but please keep in mind I base it all on areas within the Park I have visited myself and there are plenty of spots I haven't; not yet anyway.

Lincoln National Park is only 12 kilometres from Port Lincoln itself.  However, Port Lincoln is about 650 kilometres from Adelaide by road.  It's a long drive to do in one hit, although not an uncomfortable one.  I have found the best way is to have a substantial break in Port Augusta and maybe a couple of shorter ones if needed.  The important thing is to have plenty of rest before you head off and, if you do feel tired whilst driving, pull over and rest.  A few hours either way is no going to make much difference.

If travelling at night, be mindful of kangaroos, especially between Whyalla and Cowell.

Regular flights leave Adelaide Airport for Port Lincoln and there is a rental car service or you can drive to Wallaroo from Adelaide (about 160 kilometres), catch a ferry across the Gulf to Cowell, then drive from Cowell to Port Lincoln (about 160 kilometres).

Port Lincoln one of my favourite places.  The town itself is not the most picturesque (although it's not horrible), but the surrounding coastline certainly is.  There are many offshore islands nearby, as well as beautiful, isolated beaches and the camping and fishing is excellent.  

As mentioned above, Lincoln National Park is only about 12 kilometres out of Port Lincoln.  Upon entering the park, there is a self registration station.  At the time of writing, it costs $11 to enter the Park and $12 a night to camp.  It is more expensive to stay at Memory Cove, and bookings are required here.  You will need to obtain a key, camping is restricted to a certain number and a 4wd will be needed to access the camping area.  All other sites within the Park are $12 a night.  If camping, you will need to pay the entrance fee in addition to your camping fees (ie for a 3 night stay it'll cost $47 - $11 to enter then $12 a night(x 3) to camp - $47.  

The entrance road is now bitumen.  The campsites at Surfleet Cove can be accessed without leaving the bitumen at all.  These are lovely sites, above a nice, sheltered beach.  

Campsite number 5 at Surfleet Cove.

The bitumen also leads to the Stamford Hill walking trail.  It's well worth the walk to the top of Stamford Hill.  Captain Flinders climbed this hill in his search for water.  There are excerpts from his diary on a sign here which make for interesting reading.  The views from here are great too.  Port Lincoln lies across the bay, with Boston Island and numerous other islands visible.  

Before the bitumen ends (and before you reach Surfleet Cove) there are clearings on the left where it's possible to stay for a night or two.  These sites, along the shores of Proper Bay, are popular with RV or caravan owners.  You will also find the turn off to Woodcutters Beach on the left along this stretch.  It's only 2 kilometres from the road to the beach, but you need a 4wd.  The track is very rocky and takes about 20 minutes to navigate.  I'd recommend a high clearance 4wd and some tough tyres.  Take it slowly and you'll get through no worries.  Even after heavy rain this track is negotiable, leaving only shallow puddles.  There are only 2 sites at Woodcutters.  They are very close together and are very small.  They are fine for 1 or 2 campers, but no good for family groups.  No good for caravans here and not big enough for camper trailers.  Swags and small tents only.  The beach here is very shallow, but the water is crystal clear.  The tide goes out a fair way.  The beach is open to westerly winds and Port Lincoln lies just across the bay.  Woodcutters lies pretty much at the base of Stamford Hill.  It is a great beach if you like beach combing.  A fair bit of rubbish washes up when the westerly winds blow - last time I was there, I found an entire boat wrecked, outboard engine and all.  It was spread over about 2 kilometres of beach.  The headlands at either end are fairly shallow, but fish well on high tides for whiting, mullet (especially in autumn), tommies and garfish.  Squid also put in an appearance.

Woodcutters Beach after a westerly blow - hence the seaweed.  The beach is nice and sandy after an extended calm period.

After Surfleet Cove, the bitumen ends and the road reverts to dirt/gravel.  It leads out to Donnington Point and September Beach.  This road can be rough in places but it's negotiable in a 2wd vehicle.  You would have to take it easy with a caravan or camper trailer.  Donnington Point has a cottage that can be rented.  This cottage is set amongst the scrub and is walking distance from the beach.  It has great views of the coats and landscape.  There is a small camping area at Donnington Beach, probably more suited to individuals or small groups with tents or swags.  September Beach is a much larger area suitable for caravans and campers as well.  Both these beaches have clean white sand and relatively calm water.  Both beaches are exposed to northerlies, with September Beach maybe a little more sheltered.  

Before you reach Donnington or September Beaches, you will pass Fisherman's Point, Engine Point and a couple of other camping areas (all of which are sign-posted).  They are all fairly small sites, but all offer access to beaches and headlands.  All these sites are 2wd accessible.

On the right as you travel along this road, you will see signs for Carcase Rock and MacLaren Point.  These are accessible only by 4wd and tracks into both are along the same lines as the track into Woodcutters.  They are narrow and rocky.  Care should be taken, be aware of ground clearance and make sure you have good tyres.  Both are great places to camp.  I have recently spent time at MacLaren Point and it is close to the ideal spot if you like isolated, self sufficient camping.  The camp site is at the south eastern end of the beach.  It is really only clearings amongst the bush, but it is a lovely setting.  The beach has white sand and clear water and is sheltered from the westerly winds.  The beach offers good fishing at times, but it's the deep water around the headlands at either end of the beach that offer the best fishing.  Squid are numerous at times and can be quite large.  Squid jags work, but they seem to prefer fish baits.  A berley trail and gents as bait will see some monster tommies caught, as well as garfish in the warmer months.  Salmon and snook can also be caught and snapper are not unheard of if fishing the bottom.  Snorkelling would be fantastic here, but you'd be a brave person - very sharky looking water.  It's also a good spot to keep a lookout for whales in late winter.  A walk around the south eastern headland will reveal a magnificent stretch of coastline; rugged with sheltered beaches and an unspoiled landscape.

The beach at MacLaren Point

Camping at MacLarenPoint

Carcase Rock is similar, although it is a little more exposed than MacLaren Point.  It still offers excellent camping and fishing though.

The Wanna Dunes are part of the Park, and an extensive 4wd track runs through them, allowing access to some excellent surf fishing.  Places like Salmon Hole and Millers hole are great salmon fishing spots.  At times, 4-5kg fish are common and, if you have ever caught a big salmon from a surf beach, you know how hard they go.  It can be pleasantly exhausting to spend a few hours battling these fish.  As mentioned it's 4wd only to access this stretch of coast and you can enter from the Sleaford Bay end.  Tyre pressures are important if driving on sand.  Generally, about half your road tyre pressure is about right, but be prepared to drop it further if you keep getting stuck.  Always carry some recovery equipment, and a good air compressor, and travel with at least another vehicle if you can.  Take plenty of water (especially if travelling in the warmer months) and stick to the tracks.  

There is a walking trail that travels right through the Park.  You can spend a few days walking it in it's entirety if you are en experienced hiker, or you can tackle it in sections.  Whatever section you walk, you won't be disappointed.  

There a other parts of the park that I haven't mentioned. There is a boat ramp at Taylor's Landing, along with a small camp ground.  The rocks here, along a fairly sheltered coast, offer excellent squid fishing when the water is clear.  In the boat, whiting, snapper, tommies, garfish and squid are all readily available and not that far from shore.  Once again, take care; sharks are common.

If you are a surfer Sleaford Bay, whilst just outside the Park, is good at times.

It would take a very long time to explore this Park thoroughly.  It is well worth a visit at any time of the year.  Whilst it rarely gets busy, there are more people about during the school holidays and the Christmas/New Year period.  At other times, especially in winter, it can be virtually deserted.  Although close to Port Lincoln, it seems very isolated.  There are no facilities and you need to be self sufficient.  Take plenty of food and water and remember to take your own fire wood.  See https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Eyre_Peninsula/lincoln-national-park for information relating to fires.  Most sites allow solid fuel fires outside of Fire Danger Season.  Memory Cove doesn't though.  Only cooking fires allowed here.  Make sure you check the link mentioned above for detailed fire restrictions.