Just a three and a half hour drive north of Adelaide, Port Augusta is often called the “crossroads of Australia,” located at the intersection of the main route between Adelaide and Darwin, as well as Perth and Sydney. Carly Archer, Tourism Facilities Manager of Port Augusta Council and a town local, calls this “close knit community” one of the top central regional locations. And, for those brave enough to face the harshness of the outback, the perfect place to start your next camping or four-wheel driving holiday.
When starting an outback adventure, finding the right campsite is very important. As the largest mountain range in South Australia, the Flinders Ranges make a stunning backdrop for any camping experience. With cliffs composed of quartzite dating back hundreds of millions of years, deep gorges, and beautiful creeks, it’s the idyllic location to set up a tent and make camp for a few nights.
At Wilpena Pound resort, you will find space for your caravan or tent beneath the canopy. On arrival, you can cool off from a long journey in their resort pool, before spending your first night under the stars at one of their restaurants, bars and bistros. The resort restaurant boasts “genuine outback dining,” featuring local and Indigenous seasonal produce, and offering a delicious line-up of hearty meals.
With other happy campers surrounding you, it’s the perfect place to make new friends and share stories from all around Australia.
To properly explore the scenery in the area, a 4WD tour departing from Adelaide and making its way through Port Augusta offers a once in a lifetime experience.
Choose a one, two, three or four day tour of the Flinders Ranges, before piling into a comfortable 4WD and setting off. The trip includes visiting South Australia’s largest Red River Gum, over 900 years old and located in ancient ranges rising up to 750 metres. With a friendly guide to direct your journey, groups can expect local knowledge on the best views and attractions.
Or, choose to undertake an Indigenous cultural 4WD tour. Sample traditional food, learn about the Dreaming, and participate in Indigenous art walks, all while surrounded by the stunning Flinders Ranges. You’re guaranteed to return to camp buzzing from the beauty of the outback.
When looking for something to do in town, it’s hard to move past Port Augusta’s rich fishing community. Renowned for its Blue Swimmer Crabs, but home to a wide variety of fish species including the giant Yellowtail Kingfish, it’s the perfect place to hook your next catch.
When arriving in town, you can launch your boat from any of their free boat ramps, and set out to explore the beautiful sheltered waters that set Port Augusta apart as a top fishing location. Or, for those wishing to stay on dry land, stunning beaches and a long jetty mean you’re still able to cast your line into the clear water.
According to Carly, however, fishing in Port Augusta is due for an upgrade. In 2021, the South Australian government injected $22 million into the town to upgrade their marine infrastructure. “Port Augusta will be changing in the next 24 months into something really vibrant,” Carly says, meaning budding fishermen should expect an even greater experience over the coming years as docks and other structures are upgraded through town.
Exploring the town
When asked about other “must-do” experiences for any Port Augusta visitor, Carly highlighted the beauty of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. Established in 1996, the gardens span over 250 hectares, promoting an appreciation for Australia’s arid zone flora. “We should be making people aware of our native flora,” says Carly, and the Botanic gardens strive to do just that, with hundreds of plant species and over 150 bird species located on site. When looking for ways to pass the day on your camping trip, the Botanic Gardens offer something for everyone. While there, you can also enjoy a relaxing meal at their highly acclaimed cafe, which serves delicious food in a peaceful and stunning location.
And, if trying to entertain the kids on your camping adventure becomes difficult, stopping off at the Wadlata Outback Centre will provide the perfect source of entertainment. Visit the popular “Tunnel of Time” by first climbing through the jaws of Max the Ripper Lizard. This immersive experience takes visitors on a tour of Port Augusta’s history, starting with the creation of the Flinders Ranges and local Indigenous Dreaming, before moving onto the brave treks of early explorers, and the introduction of the Royal Flying Doctors service. In fact, it brings you all the way back to the town you see today, making it an experience not to be missed on any Port Augusta holiday.
With plenty of camping, fishing, and four-wheel driving opportunities, Port Augusta is primed for all your outdoor antics. Just don’t forget to grab a souvenir on the way out.
For more places to go off road in South Australia, click here.
Visit Port Augusta with Rex Airlines
In order to start your camping adventure, you first need to fly into Adelaide. See the map below and click here to book your flights.