Port Augusta is located 68 kilometres
northeast of Iron Knob and 300 kilometres north of Adelaide.
In 1802, the English navigator Matthew
Flinders first explored Spencer Gulf's northern waters as far
north as Redbanks - near present day Port Augusta. In common with
other explorers of the time, Flinders explored the Port Augusta
area hoping to penetrate the heart of the Australian continent.
At the time such expeditions were mounted with the view of discovering
a large navigable river or vast inland sea. Flinders was disappointed
on both counts however. The legendary inland sea did in fact once
exist, but basically Flinders was 120 million years too late.
Having discovered no supplies of fresh water in the Port Augusta
area Flinders then departed to complete his epic circumnavigation
of the Australian continent.
By 1852 South Australian colonists
had settled in Port Augusta and the town soon became a thriving
commercial centre and port, serving the needs of pastoralists
in the truly vast hinterlands to the north. For a time wool exports
were the mainstay of Port Augusta's economy with many London sailing
clippers bearing cargoes to English wool mills.
By the 1870s wheat had overtaken wool
as Port Augusta's chief export. Early promises of a thriving wheat
industry proved illusory however. Rainfall was too unreliable
and the area was subject to frequent droughts. The area soon resorted
to its previous pastoral activities.
1877 saw the completion of the Overland
Telegraph line that linked Australia's eastern states to Perth.
In the scheme of things Port Augusta played a crucial role as
a major repeater station for the telegraphy network. With the
completion of the Indian Pacific railway in 1917 Port Augusta
began to assume the role of a pivotal transport hub.
Today Port Augusta's unique geographic
position sees it as a major service centre for travellers and
freight trucks crossing the Nullarbor. In many respects Port Augusta
is also the southern gateway to the Northern Territory. Travellers
heading north can do so via the Stuart Highway. An alternate means
of transport is to take a more leisurely journey via the "Ghan"
rail service which was extended from Alice Springs to Darwin in 2003.
During the construction phase
of the newly completed Ghan Railway, Port Augusta played a major support role in the development of
this landmark project. Just for the record, the Australian Government
originally committed itself to completing the Adelaide to Darwin
rail link in 1913. At Nullarbor Net we are not great supporters
of the current Federal government, however we do congratulate
Prime Minister John Howard and his cabinet for its commitment
to constructing and completing this long awaited visionary project!
Since February 2004 Great Southern
Railways has been operating the regular Ghan service linking Adelaide through
to Alice Springs, and beyond to Darwin. From the traveler's viewpoint
this railway project certainly was a long time coming, but it has been
well worth the wait. The newly extended "Ghan" railway line has proven itself
to be one of the world's great train journeys. Great Southern Railways also operates the Indian Pacific train service which runs from Sydney and Adeaide, through to Port Augusta, and across the Nullarbor to the Western Australian Goldfieds and Perth. The Indian Pacific train service runs several times a week and we reckon that's definitely travelling the Nullarbor in fine style!
Port Augusta is well served by numerous
Hotels, Motels, 2 Caravan Parks and 2 Backpacker Hostels.
Located on the western outskirts of
Port Augusta is the Standpipe Golf Motor Inn. This establishment
is one of Port Augusta's newer Motels and caters for the traveller
who likes their creature comforts. Phone (08) 8642 4033.
Also located on the western side of
Port Augusta is the Augusta Westside Motel which offers
a quiet beachside location and special weekend rates. For further
information please call (08) 8641 0722 or FREECALL 1800 355 125.
For the more budget conscious traveler,
the Poinsettia Motel is located on the corner of Burgoyne
Street and the Eyre Highway. Bookings can be made by phoning (08)
other Hotels and Motels are available within Port Augusta, including
the Acacia Ridge Motor Inn (08) 8642 3377, and the Myoora
Motel which can be contacted on (08) 8642 4033.
Augusta's 2 caravan parks are both located on the western side
of Spencer Gulf. Located on the corner of the Eyre Highway and
Stokes Terrace is the Port Augusta Big 4 Holiday Park.
The Big 4 caravan park offers both powered and unpowered sites,
swimming pools, 10 on-site vans, and a number of holiday cabins
including one designed for handicapped travellers. Coach camping
facilities are also available. The Big 4 Holiday Park does
not permit pets. Visitors are advised to arrive before
9 pm. For further information please contact (08) 8642 2974.
Augusta's Shoreline Caravan Park is situated
on Gardiner Avenue - right next to Spencer Gulf. The Shoreline
Caravan Park offers both powered and unpowered sites, 14 on-site
vans, and a number of holiday cabins - including one catering
for the needs of disabled people. Pets are permitted on
a leash. Visitors are advised to arrive before 9 pm. For further
information please telephone (08) 8642 2965.
Port Augusta Backpacker's Accommodation
Augusta's International Backpackers Hostel is located
on 17 Trent Road. The Backpackers International Hostel offers
a friendly atmosphere and is located within a few minutes walk
of the city centre. For further information please phone (08)
Port Augusta Shopping Facilities
Augusta's main shopping district is located on Tassie Street and
Commercial Road. Both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets
can be found in the area. Woolworths supermarket is open 7-00
am to Midnight Monday to Saturday, and from 7-00 AM to 10-00 PM
Competitive fuel prices can be found
at Woolworths petrol station. EFTPOS and banking facilities
are readily available within Port Augusta.
is well served by an extensive network of Bus and Train services
that link Australia's eastern states to the Northern Territory
and Western Australia. Located on Mackay Street is the Premier
Stateliner and Greyhound Bus Terminal. Bus services
to and from Adelaide run several times a day, with many services
also connecting to Eyre Peninsula towns such as Port Lincoln,
Streaky Bay and Ceduna. These destinations may be of interest
to the traveler.
connect through to Perth, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and Darwin.
For further information, within Port Augusta please phone (08)
8642 5055. For enquiries at Head Office in Adelaide please phone
(08) 8415 5555 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stateliner's website is also available at www.premierstateliner.com.au
and provides comprehensive details of routes and timetables. Port
Augusta's Bus Terminal also displays a range of tourist brochures
that may be of interest to backpackers. Very basic showering facilities
and a cafeteria are also available within the Bus Terminal. These
facilities are available most of the day and night 7 days a week.
Fuel and Mechanical Repairs
Port Augusta is well server with an
abundance of Roadhouses and fuel outlets on both the eastern and
western approaches to town. A favoured rest stop for freight trucks
crossing the Nullarbor is the BP Roadhouse located on the
eastern outskirts of Port Augusta. The BP Roadhouse has good meals,
takeaway food, and excellent shower facilities. EFTPOS is readily
If your vehicle is in need of mechanical
repairs Port Augusta is the place to do them. Spare parts are
readily available and prices are competitive - certainly when
compared to remote areas of the Nullarbor and outback areas of
Central Australia. For emergency road service contact the RAA
on (08) 8641 1044.
Port Augusta Tourist Information
Outback Centre is Port Augusta's main tourist information
centre. Within the centre are displays covering such themes as
the aboriginal dreamtime, early exploration and European settlement
of the Port Augusta region, mining activities in South Australia's
far north, the Flinder's Ranges and the outback environment. Wadlata
Outback Centre is open 9AM - 5 30 PM during the week, and from
10AM - 4 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Wadlata Outback Centre
is located on 41 Flinders Terrace - on the south side of the Eyre
Highway. For further information contact telephone (08) 8641 9193.
Alternatively view the Wadlata
Outback Centre web site or email
Port Augusta Attractions
on the western side of Spencer Gulf is the Water Tower
Lookout. Port Augusta's Water Tower Lookout offers sweeping
views to the east, overlooking Spencer Gulf and the town centre.
Originally built in 1882, the water tower provided Port Augusta's
residents with a gravity fed water supply. The Water Tower Lookout
is accessed by turning off the Eyre Highway at Bond Street, and
the turning left into Mitchell Street. Don't forget to bring your
is also home to the newly created Arid
Lands Botanic Garden. For the traveller the Arid Lands Garden
displays an unusual mix of native bush and selected plantings
of unique desert flora. Native plant enthusiasts will no doubt
appreciate Australia's largest collection of Eremophila species.
These species of plants are highly adapted to arid areas and are
only grown in more temperate areas of australia with great difficulty.
Although still in its early stages of development the Arid Lands
Botanic Garden will eventually become a major Port Augusta attraction.
For further information please Email email@example.com
or telephone (08) 8641 1214. The Arid Lands Botanic Garden
is located on the Stuart Highway on the northwestern side of Port
Augusta. Open hours are 9 am - 5 pm Monday to Friday, and 10 am
- 4 pm on weekends.
located within Port Augusta is The Royal Flying Doctor
Service. Port Augusta is one of 14 Flying Doctor bases
that serve the healthcare needs of people living in Australia's
Outback. Opening hours for the RFDS are basically from 10AM to
3PM Monday to Friday. Further information can be obtained by telephoning
(08) 8642 2044.
also runs a School of the Air. This educational
facility aims to serve the educational needs of outback children.
In the School of the Air two way radio communication serving as
an all important medium of instruction for outback school children.
To seek further information and arrange a visit just call (08)
For dedicated railway enthusiasts nearby Quorn offers historic
train rides several times a week .In recent years the Pichi
Richi Railway Preservation Society has been active in
restoring locomotives and rail carriages - with some dating from
the late 1800s and early 1900s. Train services operated by this
society include the Afghan Express, the Pichi Richi Explorer,
the Barwell Bull and the Coffee Pot. At present these services
operate out of Quorn with some passing through Pichi Richi pass
to within a few kilometres of Port Augusta. By the end of 2001
a narrow gauge rail link will be extended all the way from Quorn
to Port Augusta. This no doubt will be something to look forward
For those boys who like their toys
Pichi Richi historic rail services come highly recommended. Booking
information, timetables and information regarding these historic
trains can be obtained by visiting www.prr.org.au
Net Travel Tips
If you are driving
through Western Australia or South Australia it pays to check
on fuel prices. In remote areas such as the Nullarbor prices can
be upto 30% dearer than in Australian capital cities. Nullarbor
Net recommends travellers view ExplorOz's fuel price pages for
Australia and Western
Australia. ExplorOz's price update facility can also be used
to inform other travellers of the latest changes in petrol, diesel
and LPG prices. If you will be driving within Western Australia
Watch also has an excellent and regularly updated website
covering prices in metropolitan and country areas of the state.