NELSON, at the end of the coastal road and virtually on the Victoria/South Australia border, is well worth an overnight stay. A peaceful, friendly little hamlet, it feels caught in a time warp, and there's little to do but wander along the coast, read on the beach, and fish or canoe on the Glenelg. Nelson Boat & Canoe Hire on Kellet Street (daily 9am–5pm, closed Thurs; Tel:08/8738 4048, Web: www.nelsonboatandcanoehire.com.au ) rent out canoes and kayaks. They also sell bait; but you'll need a fishing licence, obtained from the visitor centre. Fishing shelters line the river. Glenelg River Cruises on Old Bridge Road operates cruises to the Princess Margaret Rose Cave (daily in peak season, other times Sat & Sun and on some weekdays; departs 1pm; 4hr; $25, cave entry not included; Tel:08/8738 4191).
The Nelson Parks & Visitor Centre (daily 9am–5pm; Tel:08/8738 4051) is signposted just off Leake Street; it also covers the Discovery Bay Coastal Park, which protects the shoreline almost all the way from Portland to the border. Here you can get camping permits for this and the Lower Glenelg National Park (book in advance in peak season) and information on walks and activities. They also have internet access ($6 per hr). Nelson Kiosk (daily 8am–5pm; Tel:08/8738 4220), on Kellet Street, serves as the local service general store and post office.
If you're staying overnight, the best option is the charming Nelson CottageB&B (Tel:08/8738 4161, Web: www.nelsoncottage.bigpondhosting.com ; Price: $76-100) which has comfortable rooms with shared facilities in an old police station dating from the early 1880s. The Beach Road B&B (Tel:08/8738 4241; Price: $76-100), indeed on Beach Road, is very good value, located on the bottom floor of a private house set on the water's edge. The Pinehaven Motel on Main Road (Tel:08/8738 4041; Price: $76-100) is a basic motel owned by the petrol station next door. Rooms are small but clean. The Kywong Caravan Park on North Nelson Road (Tel:08/8738 4174, Web: www.kywongcp.com ) has cheap cabins (Price: under $75) 1km north of town. The fantastic Nelson Hotel, on Kellett Street, is a true country pub, and has excellent fresh seafood and huge steaks (daily dinner & lunch Fri & Sat; summer lunch Mon– Fri). The only other places in town are the Kiosk, which sells sandwiches and the usual junk food, and the petrol station on the main road which doubles as a fish-and-chip shop.