48 Hours in Port Augusta

Known as ‘the crossroads of Australia’ and home to the Wharfest annual festival, Port Augusta is a booming town filled with history and culture and is the gateway to the Outback. Set against the Flinders Ranges and with the Spencer Gulf running through the town, it’s not only filled with activity but also a picturesque spot to appreciate the land’s natural beauty. Travelling with the family? We’ve listed the top places to visit and landmark attractions in and around Port Augusta for guaranteed fun for everyone.

Wadlata Tunnel of Time
Discover Unique Cultural History

Begin your Port Augusta adventure by discovering local living with a delicious breakfast at Mamma Lou’s cafe. Offering a child-friendly menu and breakfast classics, the kids can enjoy a milkshake while adults appreciate a smooth, barista-made coffee. After feeding the family, it’s time to begin your Port Augusta exploration at the Wadlata Outback Centre. The Centre is just a five-minute walk from Mamma Lou’s, making it easily accessible. Here, children will love the interactive features in the ‘Tunnel of Time’ while adults can read about local history. From learning about the region’s climate to discovering the Outback at the G'Day Mate theatre, a visit to Wadlata is both educational and entertaining for the whole family. If the kids get hungry, the Outback Tuckerbox caters to all, and pop by the gift shop on your way out to bring home a souvenir to remember your time here. After a wholesome breakfast and educational morning, it’s time to hop in your Dollar rental car for your afternoon activity. 

Matthew Flinders Red Cliff Walk
Explore the Gardens

Just ten minutes North of Wadlata, the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is a must-see while visiting Port Augusta. Showcasing the region’s diverse plant life - including rare and endemic plants - stunning scenery is all around the Gardens, as well as information about native flora and fauna. Plus, many Australian wildlife species call the Gardens home, including fairy wrens, kangaroos, and goannas. With a range of trails here, follow the 20-minute Children’s Walk for a quick look around, or hike the more challenging Red Cliff Walk which leads you through desert plains and woodlands, showcasing the varied beauty of the region. You’ll also find the Arid Explorer’s Children’s Garden where kids can explore the nature play area while adults watch on. After a wander through the Gardens, settle in at one of the picnic areas for lunch amongst the blooms. From here, head to the Matthew Flinders Red Cliff Lookout for panoramic views of the Spencer Gulf. Capture some photos of the incredible scenery and spend some family time together before heading back to town for dinner.

Family Fun Road Trip

Start your second morning in Port Augusta at the Eastside Foreshore. Here you can stroll along the water, taking in the scenic views, explore the shops, and watch the children play on the playground. Enjoy breakfast at Ozzie’s Coffee Lounge just over the road and stop in at the Wharflands Plaza shopping centre to stock up on any food or snacks you may need for the day ahead. From here, it’s just under an hour and a half drive in the rental car to Magnetic Hill, so when it’s time to make a pit stop, Wilmington is an excellent choice. In town, stop by the Wilmington Toy Museum and Sansouci Puppet Museum for a look at intriguing dolls, vintage toys and collectables before heading back out on the road. You’ll know once you’ve arrived at Magnetic Hill, with a giant magnet signposting the unique stop. Here, experiences the optical illusion where it seems like your car rolls uphill - it's a fun and fascinating way to spend the morning before continuing your day.

Pichi Richi Railway
Train Rides and Mini Golf

If you’re looking to extend your road trip, travel to the Pichi Richi Railway Station in Quorn. Here, experiences the wonder of a steam train ride through vast Outback landscapes on the Pichi Richi Explorer. This half-day return trip is excellent for those interested in trains and is the perfect opportunity to take some photos for the family photo album. Looking for something closer to Port Augusta? If you’re visiting on the first or third Sunday of the month, the Port Augusta Model Engineers Society runs miniature train rides for both children and adults to enjoy. For one last activity to round out your stay in rural South Australia, drive to Stirling North for a game of mini golf at the putt putt course. A game here is guaranteed fun for the whole family, with the Flinders Ranges providing a beautiful backdrop as you play. Unwind with dinner at The Standpipe Restaurant back in Port Augusta. With a delicious menu and children’s options, place to end your stay here and reflect on your getaway before calling it a day. 

From exploring the vast landscape of the Outback to experiencing unique optical illusions, a two-day escape to Port Augusta offers a range of fun activities for a family-friendly holiday. You’ll return home with a belly full of laughs and a photo album filled with memorable moments. 

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