Port Wakefield is a small country town on the Augusta Highway (former National Highway One), almost 100 kms from Adelaide. This highway is the major transport corridor between Adelaide and Port Augusta with a dual carriageway from Adelaide to Port Wakefield.
The town, with its numerous service stations, is known to most travellers as a halfway point between Adelaide and Port Augusta, – a place to refuel, get a bite to eat and stretch your legs. Roadhouses, bakeries and businesses line the main road. Accommodation, dining and other services are also in the town.
The township stretches to the beach and it's worth taking a short drive. It's set on the Wakefield River, a tidal estuary with a wharf where boats are launched to go fishing. A breakwater built across the river’s terminous forms a tidal pool. There’s a footbridge across the water and a picnic area with bbqs in the park. A boardwalk trail with signage on birdlife and Samfire Coastal plants winds to the right of the park. It’s a great place to stop and to break your journey.
Two hotels, bakeries, a caravan park and a motel cater for visitors.
Port Wakefield dates from the 1800s and there are a number of heritage buildings, including a museum in the old courthouse. A monument honours Captain Matthew Flinders who sailed by the area in 1802. The tidal creek was dredged and the port, originally called Port Henry, became a major shipping outlet for copper. It was brought by bullock teams from Burra when 300 bullock teams were on the roads. Port Wakefield’s substantial buildings reflect those days. Ask locally for the Historical Walking Trail Map.
With the opening of the railway from Adelaide to Gawler in 1857, the Copper Company's traffic came to a sudden end when the copper trade rerouted away from Port Wakefield. Wheat, wool and pastoral produce continued to flow from the port for a few years.
A new housing developement for Port Wakefield is in the planning stages.
Port Wakefield History
Port Wakefield was named after Edward Gibbon Wakefield who was responsible for the unique settlement plan of Adelaide. The town played an important role in transporting copper from the mines at Burra. History
Just north of the township a busy forked intersection diverts traffic to Yorke Peninsula and the main highway continues north to Port Augusta and beyond.