I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published December 16th 2017
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 ½ -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.
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 Â– Crayfish to us Aussies Â– with a large fleet of commercial Cray boats operating from the Port.
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 Â– 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.
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.
A large commercial fishing fleet operates from Port MacDonnell, the self-proclaimed Southern Rock Lobster capital of Australia. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
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.