Incredible Australian Wildlife Experiences in Port Lincoln
The Eyre Peninsula’s intimate Aussie wildlife encounters can’t be experienced anywhere else.
It is rare to see so many iconic Australian species in one location, and encountering the abundance and variety of Aussie wildlife is a really special part of spending time in and around Port Lincoln.
For a truly awe-inspiring wildlife experience, have an up-close encounter with our iconic Aussie animals. Swim and play with Australian sea lions, cuddle a koala and go cage diving with Great White Sharks in the only permitted location in Australia.
Meet wild koalas in their natural habitat
The Eyre Peninsula is home to one of the best koala encounters in Australia. Mikkira Station is a private property near Lincoln National Park, located less than 30-minutes drive from Port Lincoln.
The historic Mikkira Homestead is surrounded by beautiful native Manna Gums which are home to a flourishing colony of wild koalas. Enjoy the gentle bushwalking trails on the property and you will spot countless koalas in the surrounding canopy. The surrounding native bushland also features yakka trees and delicate native orchids. It’s a beautiful spot for a picnic and appealing to all ages.
Guided day trips are available with selected tour operators including Untamed Escapes, Tour South or Australian Coastal Safaris. Bookings are essential so have a chat to the team at the Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre. Camping on the Mikkira property is permitted during the winter months, contact Visit Port Lincoln Accommodation to secure your permit.
Up-close encounters with Aussie animals
Glen Forest Tourist Park offers an entertaining day out for the whole family. Just a quick 15-minute drive from Port Lincoln, the Tourist Park offers up-close encounters with native Australian animals. Feed kangaroos, pat koalas and hang out with colourful and cheeky Aussie birds.
There are lots of adorable farm animals to meet as well, including chickens, donkeys, rabbits and alpacas, to name a few. The animal encounters are child friendly, with gentle baby animals for little ones to cuddle and interact with.
The Glen Forest Tourist park spans across 400 acres, with 120 acres devoted to the animal park. Picnic and self-catering areas are also available including BBQs and a pizza oven. Segway tours are available to explore the property, which includes 80 acres of vineyards growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Allow enough time for a game of putt putt mini golf, and stop by the cellar door at Lincoln Estate Winery for a tasting.
Swim with Australian Sea Lions, the “Puppies of the Sea”
South Australia is home to an estimated 75% of the Australian sea ion population. These beautiful native sea lions are gentle and curious by nature, and you will very quickly understand how they earned their nickname, the “Puppies of the Sea”!
Swim, play and interact with the sea lions - no cage required! The sea lions of the Eyre Peninsula are completely wild animals and are not trained, they are just naturally interactive and often completely silly. They have even been known to mimic swimmers, so see if you can kick off a game by doing a few somersaults in the water in front of them.
Calypso Star Charters offers a variety of tours to swim with the sea lions. Wetsuits, flippers and snorkels are all provided and no diving experience is required.
Check with Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre for the best time of year to swim with the sea lions. The water off the Eyre Peninsula stays around the same temperature all year round, so there’s no need to wait until summer!
Australia’s only cage dive with Great White Sharks
To see a Great White Shark gliding towards you is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Port Lincoln is the only place in Australia where you can meet these magnificent predators from the safety of a cage dive. Each of the below operators holds eco-certification and are passionate about the conservation of Australia’s Great White Sharks. Rest assured, all of these tours are responsible, sustainable, and safe for both humans and sharks.
Calypso Star Charters offers day trips from Port Lincoln Marina. Leaving early in the morning, the tours travel by boat to Neptune Islands, the only site in Australia where cage diving is permitted. No previous diving experience is required to swim with the sharks. Tours include food and both operators are family-friendly, but it is a long day out on the boat so these tours are recommended for children aged eight and above.
Calypso Star Charters hold an exclusive licence to “berley” the water, which entices the majestic Great Whites to emerge from their pristine island habitat. The berley (fish offal) isn’t enough to feed the sharks, but they do get excited once they detect the scent in the water which can make for some thrilling shark-watching.
For the more experienced divers, Rodney Fox Shark Tours offer multi-day Shark Diving Expeditions. Their signature Ocean Floor Cage can be submerged up to 20 metres, immersing adventurous divers in the mesmerising underwater scenery of the Neptune Islands. See the Great White Sharks up close as they glide around you, stealthy and majestic. Scuba certification is required for the Ocean Floor Cage Dive, though all divers can enjoy the Surface Cage Dive. Rodney Fox Shark Tours is a family business that invests heavily into ongoing research projects and education. Guests are sure to learn plenty of fascinating insights from their experienced, expert hosts.
Birdwatching and wildlife spotting in the wild
Emus are frequently seen strolling around Coffin Bay, and will even take their emu chicks for a frisky walk in the shallows of our local beaches. Keen birdwatchers will appreciate many species of rare birds that live along the Eyre Peninsula, including Port Lincoln Ringneck Parrots, ospreys and white belly sea eagles.
Any time spent exploring Coffin Bay National Park and Lincoln National Park will be full of exciting wildlife spotting, with active populations of koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, emus, goannas and birdlife all thriving in the Parks.
To immerse yourself in their habitat for a change, check out our list of Port Lincoln’s best nature-based accommodation.