In 1802, Matthew Flinders was the first recorded European to explore the area surrounding present day Port Augusta. By 1852-53 at the urging of Thomas Elder, wool merchant and parliamentarian the government of the day surveyed the harbour and laid out the township.

Today, Port Augusta is known for being the ‘cross roads of Australia’ and the Gateway to the Flinders Ranges and the Spencer Gulf. Situated on the quiet waterways at the head of the Spencer Gulf, Port Augusta is also a thriving industrial port. Travellers passing through can continue on west to the Nullarbor and Western Australia, south to Adelaide, or south-west towards the many coastal towns of the Eyre Peninsula. It is also the stopover for the Ghan (Adelaide to Alice Springs) and Indian Pacific (Perth to Sydney) Railways.

With prominent landforms surrounding the city on both sides of the Gulf, the area holds importance to both the Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal. The Flinders Ranges to the east and the series of hills to the southeast have traditionally signified the area of the Nukuna people. The name given to his locality by the Aboriginal people is ‘Curdnatta’.

There are a number of attractions from the historic buildings, lookouts, galleries, railway heritage trail, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, School of the Air, botanic garden and parks. There are recreational activities from beaches, fishing and bird watching. For those looking for sporting facilities, there is Port Augusta Racing Club, squash, lawn bowls, golf, tennis and the Port August Aquatic Centre.

For more information contact the local visitor centre, or better still, drop in to the nationally accredited Wadlata Outback Centre.

Port Augusta Attractions

  • Wadlata Outback Centre
    The nationally accredited Wadlata Outback Centre, winner of 6 South Australian Tourism Awards is a multi functional major visitor information centre, a must for all visitors travelling to or through the Region. You can spend up to 5 hours exploring everything on offer at the centre. The Centre houses:
    • The “Outback’s Tunnel of Time” (Interpretive Centre)
    • Visitor Information Centre – Nationally Accredited
    • Gift shop with real Aussie products
    • Original local and Regional Aboriginal Art
    • The Outback Tuckerbox
    • Restroom facilities & Disabled facilities
    • Vehicle parking – car, coach & caravan
    • Internet facilities
    • After hours visitor information – an interactive kiosk, Port Augusta Visitor Guides and maps are left outside the main door.

The name “Wadlata” is an Aboriginal “Parnkhalla” word, which means to “teach, say or communicate”.

  • Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
    Located just 2 km north of Port Augusta is this 200 hectare gardens offering views across the Flinders Ranges and provides an insight into the rich diversity of flora on the Australian desert.
Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden

  • Alan Mclellan Lookout
    Whiting Parade, Port Augusta SA
    Located on Whiting Parade, which is at the far south-eastern extremity of the city. This was the site where in 1802, Matthew Flinders landed, a stone cairn marking the spot. The Lookout is named after Alan McLennan, a local historian, and offers views across Spencer Gulf towards the Power Stations.

  • Homestead Park Pioneer Museum
    Take Howard Street north off Victoria Parade to reach the Homestead Park Pioneer Museum, an railway and farming museum set in an attractive park. The centre piece, and a symbol of the hardships of the early settlers, is the 135-year-old Yudnapinna Homestead, the only genuine log cabin in South Australia, which was moved to the site from over 100 km away. There is an extensive local history collections. There is a working blacksmith shop; a photographic display of the region; early rail exhibits; pioneering machinery; and horse-drawn vehicles.

  • Pichi Richi Railway
    Pichi Richi Railway is an operating museum, operating regular heritage train journeys on the oldest remaining section of the famous old narrow-gauge Ghan railway. Pichi Richi Railway is located at Quorn, in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. Trains operate from Quorn and Port Augusta. The railway is operated, maintained and managed by its dedicated volunteer members. See website for train services, fares, timetables and bookings.

  • Port Augusta Coastal Path
    The Coastal Path is well signposted, has access to drinking water at various points with water bottle refill stations, and passes many points of interest such as the skate park, both foreshores, playgrounds and fitness equipment stations. And the scenery is just stunning!

    With Port Augusta’s great weather, the Coastal Path provides a great opportunity to get out and active with family and friends on the weekends, or when visiting the City.

  • Water Tower Lookout
    Located just across the bridge to the west of the town (turn south west into Bond Street) is an old iron water tower, offering great views across Spencer Gulf to the city centre.

Footnote & References