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Port Lincoln: Hub Of The Eyre Peninsula
port lincolnFlick through any Australian landscape or tourism book and you will no doubt come across pictures of the Eyre Peninsula. Port Lincoln is one of the largest towns in this beautiful region and is regarded by the locals as its capital. This town is also an important economic base for the grain and fishing industries in the region, making it the Eyre Peninsula's hub of activity. With its near perfect Mediterranean climate, its sophisticated harbour and its wealth of attractions lying nearby, Port Lincoln ideal for a touring holiday because there is just so much to see and do, while still enjoying a small-town-feel.

Nestled on the banks of Boston Bay (which is three times the size of Sydney Harbour), Matthew Flinders was the first to discover this region, back in 1802. Since then Port Lincoln's long history has been a prosperous and rich one, first being a base for whalers and sealers, and then to becoming a large fishing port, which is what it remains today. Today its economy is largely driven by the massive grain handling facilities built on the foreshore, and it is an important storage and distribution point for grain grown here. The fishing industry is equally as prevalent, and many of the local fisherman have actually become millionaires because of the high demand for certain types of local tuna. One of the talking points of the city are the large mansions they have built for themselves. Ostentatious and vulgar, it seems money cant buy taste!

The history and heritage becomes clear through the old style architecture of many of the original buildings, as well as the numerous museums that pay homage to the towns rich past. The Mills Cottage Museum rests in an old limestone cottage that was built in 1866, and houses a bunch of memorabilia from the early days. These collections include some interesting and intriguing English furniture that was brought over in 1839. Another equally interesting museum is the Rose-Wal Memorial Shell Museum, which houses a private gleaned collection of shells and marine creatures, compiled over a lifetime of collecting and trading. The Alex Stenross Maritime Museum is also worth a look as it has various artifacts relating to local maritime history, including dinghies, tools and photographs.

If you want to make a few day trips out of town, then head south to the gorgeous beaches and magnificent headlands of the Lincoln National Park. Beginning right at the tip of the Eyre Peninsula, about 15 kilometres south of town, this park has a stunning hinterland to match its coastline. Extensive mallee woodland forests, limestone hills and granite outcrops will whizz by you and bushwalkers will love the numerous designated trails for them. As you enter the part, you will be greeted with an information station from which you can get entry permits, and camping permits if you are spending more than one day in the park. There is a cottage, Donington Cottage, which is available for hire if you do not feel like camping, offering a certain element of luxury.

The town of Coffin Bay is nestled on a bay, that coincidentally shares the same name. Reached by driving west for approximately 45 kilometres, this quaint village is home to just 600 people, rising to over 3000 in the summertime. Once there, take some time to absorb the beautiful coastline, which is characterised by natural inlets, bays and pristine waterways. these are sharply contrasted with the jagged cliffs and wild seas of the Coffin Bay Peninsula, which adds to the diversity of the scenery you will see on your tour and are great for some brilliant photos.

If you wish to head offshore from Port Lincoln there are a few exciting activities you can partake in. Boston Island and the Spilsby Island Group are just a few of the stunning islands to visit, but it is Dangerous Reef that really attracts the thrill seekers. This is one of the most well known Great White Shark locations in the world, and regular charters to see or dive with these amazing creatures are available throughout the year. The reef also has one of the largest sea lion colonies in Australia, and there is an underwater viewing platform to let visitors view them in their natural environment. This is is another attraction that you shouldn't forget your camera for!

Port Lincoln is a fantastic place to visit at anytime of year. Celebrate the seaside history and heritage of this seaside town through one of the many festivals, or alternatively, just find your own little quiet spot and relax. There are so many beautiful sights here and amazing things to do that you may never want to leave.

Christine Barton

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