Gateway to the North, West and Flinders Ranges
Port Augusta is known as the "Crossroads of Australia", where the major highways converge that lead to the Northern Territory and to Western Australia. The City is set on the quiet waterways at the head of the Spencer Gulf, in close proximity to the spectacular Flinders Ranges.
Port Augusta is the Gateway to the Flinders Ranges and the Outback and the major shopping and commerce centre for the region. Leafy parks, lawns and trees with picnic and BBQ facilities provide a welcome. Visitors to the foreshore area will find a pleasant park connecting the old bridge region to the shopping precinct with a shared pedestrian/bikeway.
The Swimmers Memorial Gardens have been restored and are a pleasant spot to relax. The Water Tower Lookout, Matthew Flinders Lookout and McLellan Lookout present spectacular views.
Port Augusta has a low rainfall and enjoys mild winters with hot dry summers. Spring and Autumn are the best time of year.
It is the territory of the Nakuma Aboriginal people and the head of Spencer Gulf was an important meeting place as Aboriginal groups followed their trading routes from all over the country.
In 1802 Captain Flinders, in circumnavigating Australia sailed up Spencer Gulf. He named Mount Brown in the Flinders Ranges and some of the crew explored inland and climbed it. Flinders established the Gulf did not lead to the fabled "Inland Sea".
The town was established in the mid 1800s and was a thriving port and centre for the wheat and pastoral industries. The great drought in the 1860's caused severe economic hardship and the Flinders Ranges is dotted with settlers' ruins. Rain did not "follow the plough".
The construction of the Overland Telegraph Line from Darwin to Adelaide provided work until its completion in 1872.
The Great Northern Railway began snaking north in 1877. The railway was to become a major employer for Port Augusta until recent times.
There are a number of attractions, Art Galleries, and the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. Wadlata Outback Centre provides an insight with interpreative displays into the Outback and history of the region and gives tourist information about the area to visitors. The historic Pichi Richi railway is part of the original Ghan Railway and travels the scenic route between Quorn and Port Augusta.
Port Augusta is host to many on route vistors and is an ideal base for day trips to the Flinders Ranges. Port Augusta's mild winter climate after the chills of southern winters make a few days relaxation here a pleasure. There is plenty to do!