Things to see, do in Nelson, Port MacDonnell

Beachport is a wonderful seaside district, located just less than 400 kilometres from the city of Adelaide
Beachport is a wonderful seaside district, located just less than 400 kilometres from the city of Adelaide


Originally known as Ngaranga, Port MacDonnell is the southernmost town in South Australia and is surrounded by interesting coastline and parklands.

The seaside settlement is located in the Limestone Coast region, about 470 kilometres south east of Adelaide, and hosts some of the most popular sights near Mount Gambier.

There's plenty to see and do when visiting the small port town, with a majority of attractions being maritime-related. After all, it is home to SA's largest lobster fishing fleet.

To get a grasp on the town's rich history, a visit to the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum is a must. Some of its highlights include the shipwreck museum, an exhibition gallery, and a public gallery.

Another great delve into history is the self-drive Admella Discovery Trail, which guides you to several heritage attractions peppered along the coast; or the Dingley Dell Conservation Park, which houses the former home of famous Australian poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon.

The cottage was the first house on SA's Heritage Register and has been restored to provide visitors with a glimpse of life in the 1860s.

If you would prefer to spend your afternoon exploring nature, then make Ewens Pond your first port of call. It's a series of three water-filled limestone sinkholes on Eight Mile Creek.

Here you can spend time discovering the wetland habitat characterised by dense stringybark, blackwood, Christmas bush and a range of interesting orchids, or pull on your recreational diving gear and take a closer look at the dolines.

Another nearby sinkhole is the Little Blue Lake, notable locally as a swimming hole and nationally as a cave diving site.

When in Port MacDonnell, it's a must to visit the southernmost point too - Cape Northumberland - which offers dramatic cliffs and breathtaking scenery. It's also home to the historic Northumberland Cape Lighthouse ruins, circa 1882.

Don't forget to check out the outdoor mural on the Community Hall, Feast's Classic Car collection, the wagon wheel tracks carved into the granite on the beaches, the Bicentennial Turret and the public buildings complex while in town.


Nelson is a small, picturesque fishing and holiday township in Victoria, just a few km from the SA border.

The town offers a pub, a general store, roadhouse, visitor centre, guesthouses and caravan parks, all of which are within reach of the wild ocean beaches, beautiful estuary and river, rock ledges and the surrounding Lower Glenelg National Park.

Despite the beauty of the area, Nelson's relative remoteness means that it has undergone little commercialisation and offers numerous holiday experiences without the crowds.

While in town, you must explore some of the 470-kilometre Glenelg River.

Boats and canoes can be hired in Nelson and are the ideal way for you to discover the river from the mouth to Dartmoor.

For those who prefer a leisurely cruise, you may wish to look into Nelson Endeavour or Glenelg River Cruises who offer a 3.5-hour trek to the Princess Margaret Rose Caves, anther popular attraction.

Regular guided tours at the caves allow visitors to examine actively growing stalactites, stalagmites, helictites and other limestone formations, some of which are 700,000 years old.

A trip to Nelson wouldn't be complete without discovering the Lower Glenelg National Park and its 27,300 hectares of beauty.

The park has so much to offer, including the previously-mentioned river and caves, surrounding forest, and a 15km limestone river gorge with cliffs stretching up to 50m in height.

You can partake in power-boating, water skiing, fishing, scenic drives, walking, picnicking, camping and nature studies in the park - so it really does cater for all.

South of the national park, and south east of Nelson, is another smaller park - Discovery Bay Coastal Park.

This park offers a range of coastal environments, including rugged cliffs, a 50km sweep of ocean beach, mobile dune fields, Aboriginal middens, wetlands and woodland forest communities, as well as the Cape Nelson lighthouse.

For the active-type, there's the Great South West Walk - a 250km circular walking track, which takes in farmland, forests, rivers, coastlines, springs and much more.