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Postcode 5291 - Port MacDonnell, SA

Home > Mount Gambier > Places of Interest | Historic Houses | Escape the City | Day Trips | Beaches
by Ian Gill (subscribe)
I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published December 16th 2017
Crayfish Heaven
With a permanent population well under 1000 people Port MacDonnell is located on South Australia's famed Limestone Coast, at the eastern end of the Great Australian Bight. The southernmost township in South Australia it's an easy 5 -hour drive from both Melbourne and Adelaide.

Between 1860 and 1880 large Clipper ships routinely departed for Europe with cargoes of wheat and wool making Port MacDonnell one of Australia's busiest ports, evidenced by its very impressive and Heritage Listed Customs House.

South Australia Adelaide Port MacDonnell Melbourne Seaside Coastal Fishing Port History Southern Rock Lobster Crayfish Holiday Destination Weekend Getaway
Port MacDonnell's imposing Customs House stands testament to its prominence as a major 19th Century seaport. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


The Customs House also served as the Telegraph Station and Police Station with residences for both as well as a residence for the local schoolteacher. The building was home to local Police until 1958.

Today, Port MacDonnell is the self-proclaimed Southern Rock Lobster capital of Australia – Crayfish to us Aussies – with a large fleet of commercial Cray boats operating from the Port.

South Australia Adelaide Port MacDonnell Melbourne Seaside Coastal Fishing Port History Southern Rock Lobster Crayfish Holiday Destination Weekend Getaway
Just over 5-hours drive from both Adelaide and Melbourne Port MacDonnell is at the eastern end of South Australia's spectacular Limestone Coast. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


A popular summer holiday destination, Port MacDonnell is mostly about the ocean – fishing, surfing, boating & sailing, diving & snorkelling, but other popular pastimes include 4-wheel driving along beaches, walking and cycling. And, of course, everyone wants a feed of Crayfish with a single recreational fisherman permitted to take up to 4 per day.

South Australia Adelaide Port MacDonnell Melbourne Seaside Coastal Fishing Port History Southern Rock Lobster Crayfish Holiday Destination Weekend Getaway
Port MacDonnell is the southernmost town in South Australia. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


Just 3-kilometres out of town you'll find the Dingley Dell Conservation Park and Dingley Dell Cottage, the former home of famed poet Adam Lindsay Gordon. Now a museum the cottage contains the most important collection of Gordon memorabilia in the world and is well worth a visit.

Nearby Cape Northumberland Lighthouse dates back to 1882, replacing an earlier one erected in 1858.

South Australia Adelaide Port MacDonnell Melbourne Seaside Coastal Fishing Port History Southern Rock Lobster Crayfish Holiday Destination Weekend Getaway
A large commercial fishing fleet operates from Port MacDonnell, the self-proclaimed Southern Rock Lobster capital of Australia. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


South Australia Adelaide Port MacDonnell Melbourne Seaside Coastal Fishing Port History Southern Rock Lobster Crayfish Holiday Destination Weekend Getaway
The safe haven of Port MacDonnell's breakwater also attracts recreational boat owners and fisherman. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank


Getting There ...

Port MacDonnell is 463 kilometres from Adelaide, just over a 5-hour drive via National Highway A8 and the Riddoch Highway/A66 or 440 kilometres from Melbourne, again just over a 5-hour drive via the Hamilton Highway/B140. It's 28 kilometres, a 25-minute drive, south of Mount Gambier.

Staying There ...

The Customs House B&B
3 Charles Street, Port MacDonnell
www.thecustomshouse.com.au Tel: 0409 671 999 or 0418 854 595

Arches of Allendale (6 Kms out of town)
26 William Street Central, Allendale East
Tel: 4058 241 682

Port MacDonnell Foreshore Tourist Park
12 Eight Mile Creek Road (Woolwash Beach)
www.woolwash.com.au Tel: (08) 8738 2095

Eating & Drinking There …..

Victoria Hotel – Bay Pub
40 Meylin Street
www.ptmacpub.com.au Tel: (08) 8738 2213

Periwinkles Café
63 Sea Parade
www.periwinklescafe.com Tel: (08) 8738 2943

Bob's Breakwater Café
49 Sea Parade
Tel: (08) 8738 2389

What's To See There ...

Port MacDonnell & District Maritime Museum
5 – 7 Charles Street
www.portmacdonnell.sa.au Tel: (08) 8738 3000
Adults $6, Children $2.50 Under 5 Years FREE, Family $15

Donald & Sheila Feast's Classic Car Collection and memorabilia
Lower Nelson Road, Port MacDonnell
Tel: (08) 8738 2191

Port MacDonnell Fishing Charters
898 Eight Mile Creek Road, Port MacDonnell
www.portmacfishing.com.au Tel: 0428 382 483

Dingley Dell Conservation Park and Cottage
Dingley Dell Road, Port MacDonnell
www.dingleydell.net Tel: (08) 8738 2221
Open daily (Except Christmas Day) 10 AM to 4 PM and other times by arrangement.



What's On There ...

Port MacDonnell Bayside Festival – an annual event held on the 1st Sunday in January.

Tuna & Sports fishing Tournament – held annually in May.

Annual Summer Holiday Program – Telephone (08) 8738 3000 for more information.

Sprintcar and Speedway Racing – staged annually in January at Borderline Speedway.


Best Freebie In Town ...

A drive to the Cape Northumberland Lighthouse.

South Australia Adelaide Port MacDonnell Melbourne Seaside Coastal Fishing Port History Southern Rock Lobster Crayfish Holiday Destination Weekend Getaway
Life doesn't get much more relaxed than a stroll along the beach at Port MacDonnell, South Australia. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank




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Why? Take the opportunity to visit this historic seaport, South Australia's southernmost town and the self-proclaimed Crayfish capital of Australia.
When: Anytime is a good time to visit Port MacDonnell but it's most popular in the summer months.
Phone: Visitor Information Outlet (08) 8738 3000
Where: Port MacDonnell, South Australia
Cost: Various - refer to the individual attractions.
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