Port Augusta is a regional centre of about 12,000 people 300 km from Adelaide at the top of the Spencer Gulf. It is at the crossroads of five major highways: Port Augusta towards Adelaide, Stuart towards Darwin, Eyre towards Perth, Lincoln towards Port Lincoln and Flinders Ranges towards the northeast and eventually Mount Isa.
Dubbed as the "Gateway to the Outback", in South Australia. It is also known as the "Crossroads of Australia", being situated on the Eyre Highway connecting Perth and Adelaide, on the Stuart Highway connecting Adelaide and Darwin, on the northeast-southwest highway between Adelaide and Mt Isa and finally on the road between Sydney and Adelaide without passing through Victoria. It also lies on the routes of both the Indian-Pacific and the Ghan.
Most people visit Port Augusta on their way somewhere else.
It is about 4 hours up the A1 from Adelaide. It is at the start of the Stuart Highway to Darwin, and the Eyre Highway towards Perth. It is nicknamed the "crossroads of Australia" as it is where the Adelaide-Darwin and Sydney-Perth routes meet.
The Ghan and the Indian Pacific both pass through here but do not stop.
The only passenger trains that stop in Port Augusta are run by the Pichi Pichi Railway, which runs steam locomotives from Quorn in the Flinders Ranges. These are geared exclusively towards tourists and not as a practical travel option.
The Gulf (only a few hundred metres wide at this point) divides the west and east of the town with the city centre and the main commercial street on the east side with the majority of the shops, supermarkets and small malls
- 1 The Wadlata Outback Centre, 41 Flinders Terrace, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa Su 10AM-4PM, Closed Christmas. This place is a step up from your average country town museum. It is an interesting exploration of the Aboriginal and European history of outback Australia. Restored railway carriages, interactive exhibits, and several movie productions. Allow at least 90 minutes to experience it. Adults - $18.50, Children - $10.50.
- 2 Watertower (Westside Lookout Tower), Mitchell Terrace / Gold Street Port Augusta West SA 5700, ☏ . The old town watertown that has been converted into a lookout and has some great views of the town. Walk the four flights of steps to the top. In the west of town, just over the bridge, turn left and look out for it.
- Wharf Precinct - Port Augusta used to have six commercial jetty wharves, and the main street of town looked down to the wharfs. The finger wharves were replaced by a parallel wharf in the 1950s, and the town's use as a port continued. That view is now unfortunately obscured by a supermarket, and the wharf is no longer a commercial wharf, but a recreational precinct. Just behind Woolies (Woolworths).
- 3 Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Stuart Highway, Port Augusta West SA 5700, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. As you enter the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens, the first thing you will observe is that nothing changes. It is just the same low level cover over red sands that you would have experienced during the drive there. After you get over this initial amusement, drive to the visitors centre and spiral out through the gardens, and you will see why this is an award winning and unique place. The various types of plants you have been driving past are classified, with interesting interpetive signage about their uses by the Aboriginal and early Europeans. Displays on how to set up an arid garden too. The gardens are open until sundown, the visitors centre is open until 5pm, and admission is free.
- Blanche Harbor (At the end of Shack Rd, about 23km from town centre). This areas was once overrun with 4wd tracks, and overgrown with weeds. The area has now been rehabilitated by local residents, and is a great spot for a picnic, or for some birdwatching. Spot the Mulga Parrot, and a few emu and kangaroo. The trip out Shack Rd is interesting in itself, to see all the signs to the houses that line the water.
While driving over the bridge towards the west, the sign directing you towards the left fork for Perth and Western Australia, and the right fork towards Darwin and the Northern Territory is quite unusual. Each destination is many thousands of kilometres distant.
- Swim at the foreshore. Sandy beach at high tide, with a short jetty out into deep water. Good to cool off during the hot Port Augusta summer. Cold water shower and change rooms at the foreshore. There is a current with the tide in the deeper water.
Being at the Crossroads of Australia, Port Augusta caters for a constant stream of passing traffic. There is a Woolworths, Coles and Big-W, and almost all the services you could need before continuing on to more remote areas.
Aboriginal art is available.
During the day you have a choice of coffee shops and cafes around the town centre. After dark, the pubs, clubs, roadhouses and fast food are your choices. There is a roadhouse and a Hungry Jacks open 24-hours. The pubs and clubs only serve meals at meal times.
- Ian's Western Hotel and Ian's Chicken Hut.
- Golden Pearl Chinese Restaurant Pty Ltd, 78 Commercial Road. Cuisines: Chinese, Malaysian.
- Indian Indulgences, 54 Victoria Parade.
- Standpipe Golf Motor Inn, A1 at cnr of A87 (1 Daw Street), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Cuisines: Indian.
- Gotta Be Fish, 6 Maryatt St. Grubby fish and chips shop with some good local fish but at very high prices. $10+.
- Arid Lands Botanic Garden Cafe, Stuart Highway (in the Botanic Garden visitors centre). Well-reviewed cafe.
- The Hotel Augusta, 1 Loudon Rd, email@example.com.
- 1 Pastoral Hotel Motel, 17 Stirling Rd, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Situated at the crossroads of Australia, the Pastoral Hotel is the ideal base for your next family holiday or business trip to the Flinders Ranges region.
- Flinders Hotel Motel, 39 Commercial Rd, ☏ . Opened about 1879 as MacKay's Hotel, and the Flinders Family Hotel and in 1930 renamed the Flinders Hotel.
- Hotel Commonwealth, 73 Commercial Rd, ☏ .
Visit Quorn - a historical Railway Town. Ride the Pichi Richi from March to November. Visit Warren George to see the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, climb Mt Brown or hike on the Hysen Trail to Dutchmen Stern
|Routes through Port Augusta|
|Alice Springs ← Pimba, Kingoonya, Tarcoola ←||N S||→ Port Pirie → Adelaide|
|Kalgoorlie ← Pimba, Kingoonya, Tarcoola ←||W E||→ Port Pirie → Adelaide|
|Coober Pedy ← Woomera ←||N S||→ END|