Port Augusta is located near the head of Spencer Gulf and offers a warm welcome to travellers passing through and those who stay a little longer.
Because Port Augusta is one of the few major towns in this part of South Australia, many travellers see it as little more than a place to stop for fuel and a break on their way to Western Australia or the Northern Territory. However, Port Augusta is a destination in its own right and the perfect spot to stay for a day or two before you explore the spectacular Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Visit the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden which strives to research, conserve and promote Australia’s arid zone flora, or lace up your hiking boots on a Flinders Ranges Explorer tour or Walk the Flinders Ranges tour and hit the trails winding through the nearby Flinders Ranges where you can marvel at Ikara (Wilpena Pound). Port Augusta is the perfect jumping off point for seeing the sights in this part of South Australia.
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Highlights of Port Augusta
Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
Discover more than 150 species of birds and hundreds of plants which thrive in arid conditions at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden at Port Augusta which is free to visit. There are plenty of walking tracks to explore with plaques that explain the flora and fauna of the surrounding area. If you’re short on time, the highlights walk is a good option, or you can take the Red Cliff Walk which offers spectacular views of Spencer Gulf and the Flinders Ranges. Knowledgeable volunteer guides are available to take visitors on a guided walk daily at 10am.
Hike the Flinders Ranges
Covering approximately 95,000 hectares, the Flinders Ranges in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park near Port Augusta play host to one of South Australia’s most spectacular landscapes. If you’re an art lover, this area may look familiar as it inspired the paintings of famous local artist Hans Heysen. There is plenty to keep you entertained, especially if you’re a keen photographer. Surround yourself with mountains at Ikara (Wilpena Pound) or explore the National Park on foot or in a four-wheel drive. Or you can see it on two wheels cycling along some of the State’s best and most scenic mountain biking tracks.
Ride the Pichi Pichi Railway
Climb aboard a restored steam train and travel on the original Ghan route between Port Augusta and Quorn on the historic Pichi Pichi Railway which has been maintained by volunteers since 1973. Take in views of classic Australian scenery like stands of gumtrees alongside sparkling creeks and watch emus running alongside the train. The half- or full-day trip journey offers a trip back in time in the original timber carriages which are more than 130 years old.
Climb the Water Tower Lookout
If you love a good view and aren’t afraid of heights, climbing the Water Tower Lookout in Port Augusta is for you. Built in 1882 to provide water for residents in Port Augusta West, the historic tower has see-through metal steps that take visitors to a balcony at the top of the tower. From here, you can see look out across the Spencer Gulf, the Flinders Ranges, and all the way back to town. If you aren’t keen on climbing, there are gardens around the tower’s base.
Marvel at Ikara (Wilpena Pound)
Ikara (Wilpena Pound) is a remarkable 800-million-year-old natural amphitheater surrounded by mountains that is 300 metres higher than Uluru and just as culturally significant. The local Adnyamathanha people translate Pound to Ikara, meaning 'meeting' or 'initiation place'. Join a local First Nations guide for a walk around the magnificent Ikara (Wilpena Pound) area and discover the ancient stories of the landscape that provide insight into the biodiversity of the region and the life it sustains, and explain the relationship between the land and its people. On the Walk the Flinders Ranges trip, you’ll stay at a resort on the outskirts of this miraculous formation.
Discover the town of Port Augusta
Take a stroll along Port Augusta’s scenic coastal walking path which takes you from the beach, along the coastline, and straight to one of the town’s highlights, the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. When you’ve finished at the gardens, stroll along the waterfront near the Railway Station Precinct where you can check out the art gallery and purchase works from local artists. From here, you can also board the Pichi Richi Railway, a historic route maintained by volunteers that travels along the original Ghan route using a restored steam engine.
Port Augusta tour reviews
Port Augusta FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy
The closest major airport to Port Augusta is Adelaide. From here, it takes just over 3 hours to drive to Port Augusta. A bus service is available from Adelaide to Port Augusta and takes just over 4 hours.
The easiest way to get around Port Augusta is by car or on a group tour as this enables you to get out and see the sights in the surrounding area. A local bus service is available if you want to travel around town.
Any time is a good time to visit Port Augusta. Summer can be warm but cool sea breezes keep the temperature at a comfortable level for walking and other outdoor pursuits along the coast. Autumn brings with it crisp mornings and nights. Winter is the perfect time for hiking in the areas surrounding Port Augusta. The weather in spring is generally good although it can get chilly, especially after the sun goes down.
What you pack will depend on the time of year you are visiting, but you can't go wrong with clothes you can layer plus a jumper or jacket and wet weather gear. Dining venues in Port Augusta are laid back and casual so there is no need to bring fancy clothes.
There is good WiFi coverage in the town of Port Augusta. If you are visiting some of the more remote areas around Port Augusta, you may experience periods of time with no internet access.
There is good mobile coverage in the town of Port Augusta. If you are visiting some of the more remote areas around Port Augusta, you may experience periods of time with no mobile signal.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
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