The city of Port Augusta is one of the main townships on the Eyre Highway. Located in the far northeast corner of the Eyre Peninsula and at the northern head of the Spencer Gulf, it is a major road and transport junction in South Australia.
The trip from Ceduna to Port Augusta crosses the top of the Eyre Peninsula and is usually just a small section of a longer road trip across the Nullarbor Plain. The journey from Ceduna to Port Augusta is 470km on the Eyre Highway. Although this trip can be completed in a day, there are plenty of places to see and things to do on the way, depending on how much time you have to spare.
This article will outline all the towns and best things to see between Ceduna and Port Augusta, so you can plan your road trip on the Eyre Highway.
Table of Contents
- 1 When to travel from Ceduna to Port Augusta
- 2 How to get to Port Augusta
- 3 Things to know about travelling from Ceduna to Port Augusta
- 4 Popular towns and activities to do on the way
- 5 Things to do in Port Augusta
- 6 While you’re crossing The Nullarbor Plain
When to travel from Ceduna to Port Augusta
This southern part of South Australia has a relatively moderate all-year-round climate, meaning that you can travel through at any time. However, summers can get particularly hot, with days reaching into the high 30s. This is a good time to be enjoying the beaches on the coast, but it can be a little too warm for long days of driving on the Eyre Highway.
On the other hand, winters are relatively mild with an average temperature in the low 20s. You might experience more rain in winter than other seasons, but it also means that you can enjoy some of the best things to do on the Eyre Peninsula, including whale watching.
Most people consider the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn the best times to travel from Ceduna to Port Augusta. This is when temperatures are most moderate, and rainfall is more limited and predictable. It all depends on what suits your own trip.
How to get to Port Augusta
Port Augusta is a major road and railway junction in South Australia, north of Adelaide. This means that it’s easily reached from a number of different places in the state.
The journey from Ceduna to Port Augusta is 470km along the Eyre Highway, which is part of the National Highway A1. This popular drive can be done in around five hours if you drive directly. However, with more time to spare, the landscape and small towns along the way are best enjoyed at a slower pace. There are plenty of sights and activities to break up your trip, along with towns to stay the night if you get weary.
If you have plenty of time and want to take a longer, alternative route, you can also detour off the Eyre Highway from Ceduna and travel around the Eyre Peninsula. This option requires a few days to take in seaside towns including Smoky Bay, Elliston, Venus Bay, Port Lincoln and Whyalla. Otherwise, the journey from Ceduna to Port Augusta is usually part of a longer trip already which travels across the Nullarbor from the west.
If you need to travel by public transport to Port Augusta, there is a weekly Stateliner bus which travels from Ceduna to Port Augusta, on its way to Adelaide. The journey time on the bus is around six and a half hours and it stops in a few towns along the way, including Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay, Poochera, Wudinna, Kimba and Iron Knob.
Things to know about travelling from Ceduna to Port Augusta
If you’re planning a trip from Ceduna to Port Augusta on the Eyre Highway, here are some important things to know about the journey.
The Eyre Highway is the main road connecting the western half of the state with Port Augusta and further to Adelaide. The highway is the most direct way to travel from Ceduna to Port Augusta and is part of the National Highway A1.
It travels from Port Augusta to Ceduna, then across the Nullarbor Plain to Norseman in Western Australia. The road takes in a number of South Australia’s highlights including the Gawler Ranges National Park, the Nullarbor, the Great Australian Bight and the Eyre Peninsula. It’s considered one of the best road trips in the country, with many thousands of people undertaking the journey every year.
The Eyre Highway was named after John Eyre, who was the first European to cross the Nullarbor Plain in 1841 with his Aboriginal companion, Wylie. The highway was constructed from 1941 onwards but wasn’t completely sealed until 1976. Today, the road is used by hundreds of thousands of vehicles and trucks and is considered one of the greatest roads in Australia.
Despite its remote location, the Eyre Highway is a well-maintained, sealed road from Port Augusta and all the way across the Nullarbor to Western Australia. However, it’s still best to avoid driving at night from Ceduna to Port Augusta, even for experienced drivers. The more rural areas between major towns are particularly prone to animal crossings and this can be dangerous for both you and the animals that call the area home.
It’s a good idea to carry a basic first aid kit, jumper leads and car repair kit so that if anything is to happen along the way you are well equipped. It’s also advised to purchase roadside assistance so that you can get help anywhere on your journey.
If you’re driving long distances on the highway, it’s important to remember to take regular breaks. The 470km drive from Ceduna to Port Augusta can be a long, so it’s a good idea to plan at least a couple of stops to stretch your legs. There are plenty of towns and roadside stops that are perfect places to have a break and see some of the sights on the way. This also helps you to appreciate the landscape and enjoy some of the rural towns in South Australia.
Popular towns and activities to do on the way
There are plenty of towns dotting the Eyre Highway between Ceduna and Port Augusta that offer some incredible activities and a chance to have a break from driving. Whether you’re limited on time or not, there’s plenty to see and do.
Here are all the best towns and things to do on the way from Ceduna to Port Augusta:
Ceduna is a major town on the Eyre Highway in the northwest corner of the Eyre Peninsula. It’s also the last major town before heading across the Nullarbor to the west or the first major town travellers come across in South Australia if coming from Western Australia. It’s an important stop for travellers and is a great base for exploring more of the Far West Coast and Eyre Peninsula. You can enjoy a range of activities in and around Ceduna, including surfing, fishing, 4×4 driving, swimming, cycling and walking.
Ceduna is known around the country as the Oyster Capital of Australia, with some of the freshest seafood found in the waters around the town. Many people come to Ceduna just to taste the delicious oysters. However, for real foodies, a real highlight of the area is a tour of a working oyster farm in nearby Smoky Bay.
The town also offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all different types of travellers and budgets such as caravan parks and hotels. Ceduna also has a range of shops in town from where you can pick up any supplies for your road trip, including Terry White Chemmart, Jim’s IGA, Autopro Ceduna and Ceduna Meat Service.
From Ceduna, the Eyre Highway heads east to Port Augusta across the top of the Eyre Peninsula. If you have more time you can detour south to the peninsula where you can explore some of the beautiful white sand beaches. Otherwise, as you head east to Port Augusta, there are other towns to stop and places to explore on the way as well.
If you head east from Ceduna, the first town you’ll come across is Wirrulla. You’ll find a caravan park and pub in town, if you need somewhere to stay and eat. Otherwise, this unique town even has a jetty, despite being quite far from the coast. This dry jetty is the tee-off for the Wirrulla Golf Course and was also the stage for the locals’ great sense of humour. Several years ago, a dead whale washed up on shore and was transported via the Eyre Highway passed Wirrulla by truck. The local radio station was called to inform the locals that there had been a whale sighting at the Wirrulla jetty!
Further along, Poochera is a small town on the Eyre Highway and is considered the western gateway to the Gawler Ranges National Park. The town also has a caravan park, pub and public picnic area if you need a break.
For something different, a visit to the small museum in town is worth a stop. Rare dinosaur ants were discovered in Poochera in 1977, after long being considered extinct. The museum has some interesting displays on these critters that you can check out and the town also has a photo op of a big dinosaur ant statue at the now-closed roadhouse on the highway.
Another small town further down the highway is Minnipa. The town is characterised by some incredible natural scenery and rock formations due to its proximity to the rugged Gawler Ranges National Park. It’s home to huge granite outcrops and an abundance of wildlife, which you can easily explore from the town. If you want to stay longer, you can also find a caravan park, motel and general store for supplies.
The most popular spot to see in Minnipa is Pildappa Rock, 15km outside of town. This unique pink inselberg is shaped like a wave and was formed about 1500 million years ago as part of the much larger Gawler Craton. Geologists believe that the wave shape was produced by water run-off that seeps into the soil and eats away at the rock face. The erosion at the top of the rock also forms small rock holes which were used by Aboriginals to catch and collect water from rain.
Wudinna is a common place to stop as it’s almost at the halfway point on the journey from Ceduna to Port Augusta. It has plenty of essentials for travellers, including accommodation, a fuel station, supermarket and pub. It also has a couple of major attractions that are worth checking out.
Located on the Eyre Highway, you can’t miss the Australian Farmer statue carved out of local granite rock. It is located right next to the local information centre. It symbolises the farming spirit in the region and is a quick photo op on the drive through.
However, the town’s most popular attraction is Mount Wudinna, which is one of the largest granite monoliths in the southern hemisphere. It’s located just 10km from town and has plenty of parking and picnic areas around it so you can enjoy a break there. You should definitely take the time to climb to the top for an incredible view of the surrounding area.
Gawler Ranges National Park
Just 38km north of Wudinna you can find the southern border of the Gawler Ranges National Park. This spectacular rocky wilderness area is characterised by its stunning red outback landscape and rare flora and fauna. Amongst the wildlife, you’ll have the chance of spotting the Crimson Mallee and the Yellow-footed Rock wallaby, along with native animals like emus and kangaroos. The ranges are a sacred place for the region’s Aboriginal people and is a great introduction into South Australia’s outback landscape.
If you have the time, it’s worth spending a couple of days in the national park. It’s best explored by 4WD but can also be reached by 2WD or conventional vehicles in summer with the dry weather. Bushwalking and camping are popular activities there, with some of the most vivid night skies attracting keen photographers.
Kimba is a rural service town on the Eyre Highway just east of the Gawler Ranges National Park. It’s 154km away from Port Augusta and is famous for being the town that is halfway across Australia in terms of distance. It’s a popular place to stop and has a couple of accommodation and dining options in town if you need a break.
The town also has a few great photo ops. The first one is the Big Galah on the right side of the highway and just a little further you’ll also find the Halfway Across Australia sign which is a must-stop. This sign is actually facing traffic coming from Port Augusta, so if you’re coming from Ceduna, you’ll have to look out for it.
In between the two, you’ll also find the incredibly stunning silo art which is worth a stop. The silos were painted by Cam Scale in 2017 and depict a girl amidst wheat fields at sunset.
Iron Knob is a small town on the Eyre Highway, just 73km west of Port Augusta. It’s considered the birthplace of Australia’s steel industry, as it was here that the first iron ore deposit was discovered in 1894. It’s an interesting place to stop and learn more about the history of Australia’s mining industry. You can tour the local Mining Museum at the tourist centre in town or check out the huge Iron Monarch Mine on the right as you drive along the highway before town. There is also a caravan and camping area and pub in town for weary travellers.
Port Augusta is a small city in South Australia on the Spencer Gulf, located 322km north of Adelaide. As already mentioned, it’s a major traffic and transport junction and an important stop for travellers. You can practically get to anywhere from Port Augusta by road, with the Eyre Highway, Augusta Highway, Stuart Highway and Flinders Ranges Way all meeting in the city. It’s an ideal place to visit or stop en route to other destinations, with plenty of accommodation, supermarkets, fuel stations and restaurants to cater for all your needs.
Things to do in Port Augusta
Although many travellers simply pass through town, there’s a few things to do in Port Augusta to keep you busy for a couple of days if you decide to stay a night.
Wadlata Outback Centre
This information centre is a well-known tourist attraction in South Australia. It’s a great place to get an introduction into Australia’s vast outback and is considered the city’s must-stop for visitors. The centre provides extensive information to travellers planning a trip into remote, outback Australia, including some history and important practical information on safety and things to see on your trip.
Royal Flying Doctor Service
For another insight into rural South Australia, you can tour the Royal Flying Doctor Service base in Port Augusta. There are tours open to the public which explain how the doctor service works. They also take you into the communication room, which takes all the emergency calls from across the 840, 000 square kilometre area that they cover.
Matthew Flinders lookout and Red Cliff walk
If you want to stretch your legs and enjoy some incredible views, then this lookout and walking circuit is a good choice in Port Augusta. The Matthew Flinders Lookout is just a short walk from the carpark and takes in a staggering view of the Spencer Gulf against the backdrop of the Flinders Ranges. If you’re after a longer walk, you can also enjoy the 4.5km red cliff circuit walk from the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens to the Matthew Flinders lookout which takes in even more scenery along the way.
While you’re crossing The Nullarbor Plain
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