Port Augusta is a town of 15 000 built in arid lands at the head of Spencer Gulf. Its main reason for existance is as a road and rail freight service town at the crossroads of major Australian highways and rail lines. Many travellers and lots of freight pass through Port Augusta. From Port Augusta it is 322km south to Adelaide, 1600km north to Alice Springs (through Coober Pedy or along the remote Oodnatdatta Track), 1500km east to Sydney (through Broken Hill, Dubbo and the Blue Mountains), 2400km west to Perth in Westen Australia across the desolate Nullabor Plain.
Port Augusta, being on the edge of the outback provides services to many outlying communities. It is the main access point to the dry barren Flinders Ranges which bloom full into flowers in Spring, and the Eyre Peninsula.
The interesting tourist centre is called the Wadlata Outback Centre. 41 Flinders Tce. Phone 8641 0793. Open 9am to5.30pm weekdays, 10am to 4pm weekends. The centre has free brochures on the Flinders Ranges and Eyre Peninsula and a historical display costing $6.50.
Port Augusta’s one main attraction is the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. It is off the Stuart Hwy. Follow signs. There is also an interesting visitors’ centre at the gardens.
Places to Stay
Port Augusta Backpackers 17 Trent Rd, just off Highway One. Phone 8641 1063. Dorm $12.
Flinders Hotel Motel has dorm beds for $14. 39 Commercial Rd. Phone 8642 2544. Motel rooms are; single $42, double $55
Port Augusta Holiday Park is a caravan park but has beds in 4 bed bunkhouses for $12, on-site vans $35 and cabins $41. Cnr Stuart Hwy and Eyre Hwy. Phone 8642 2974. Kitchen.
Getting There and Away
Augusta Air flys weekdays to to Adelaide ($115), Woomera ($100) and Leigh Creek ($100). Phone 8642 3100. They also operate the air mail route to Boulia in Queensland stopping at Birdsville and Innaminka leaving Saturday morning and returning Sunday. $750 or $1000 ex-Adelaide.
Greyhound Pioneer and Stateliner bus stations are at 23 McKay St.
Greyhound Pioneer goes to Perth ($214), Alice Springs ($147) and Sydney ($132). Phone 132030.
Stateliner goes to Adeliade ($29), Coober Pedy, Wilpena Pound, Port Lincoln, Ceduna and other locations on the Eyre peninsula. Phone 8642 5055.
McCaferty’s depart from the Shell petrol station on Highway One on the town’s east side. Trey run to Alice Springs and Sydney. Phone 8642 6488.
Trains run to all mainland State capital cities and Alice Springs. Economy seat to Sydney ($185, 32 hours), Perth ($224, 33 hours), Alice Springs ($136, 16 hours), Adelaide ($33, 4 hours). On long trips economy sleepers are at least double the price and first class sleepers triple.
Where to Go Next
Dry barren Flinders Ranges which bloom spectacularly into flowers in Spring.
Port Lincoln is a pleasant fishing town at the southern tip of the peninsula. The Eyre Peninsula makes a scenic detour for those heading west across the Nullabor Plain.
Travel South to Adelaide
322km south to Adelaide.
Travel North to the Northern Territory
1600km north to Alice Springs and Ayres Rock (through Woomera and Coober Pedy or along the remote Oodnatdatta Track). The road continues further north to Darwin and Kakadu National Park.
Travel West to Western Australia
2400km west to Perth in Westen Australia across the desolate Nullabor Plain.
Travel East to Sydney
1500km east to Sydney (through Broken Hill, Dubbo and the Blue Mountains.