Port Augusta – Gateway to the Outback
Located at the top of Spencer Gulf, Port Augusta is often called ‘the crossroads of Australia’.
It’s where the desert meets the sea, and huge road trains roll off across the Nullabor to Western Australia, or head north up the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs and beyond.
In the Northern Territory, Port Augusta has an unfortunate but funny nickname: Porta Gutter (think ‘port of gutter’) – which it doesn’t deserve.
Whilst Territorians might get a laugh from this (it’s a bit of harmless interstate rivalry), if you’re planning a roadtrip, a caravan holiday of an off road adventure, this little town’s location makes it one of the best places to start your outback travels.
Start Your Outback Adventure Here!
When we’re travelling south to visit family in Adelaide, Port Augusta is where we stop on our first night on the road.
You’ll find all the facilities you’d expect in a much larger place (like Big W!). It’s got a huge range of accommodation, ranging from backpacker’s, several brilliant caravan parks, to Four Star hotels and motels.
It’s even got a beautifully re-developed waterside recreation area.
What’s more , if you’re heading out into South Australia’s outback to the Simpson Desert, the Oodnadatta, Birdsville or Strezlecki Tracks, then Port Augusta is THE place to get those last few pieces of off-road equipment you’ve forgotten, to stock up on food and other necessities, and to get your meat cyrovaced to make it last much longer.
It’s also where you can find out all the latest on outback road conditions (is the road to Lake Eyre open?), get your Desert Parks Pass, and spend some time learning about the history, environment and geology of the outback.
Port Augusta is more than just a transit stop on the way to somewhere else!
Before you head off up the Stuart Highway, across the Nullabor or out into the Simpson, we recommend you spend several days exploring the area around the town.
There’s quite a few tourist attractions here that we think are an absolute MUST visit if you’re heading off road.
We love learning about the ecosystems, plants, animals and history of the places we’re visiting. Amanda especially wants to know about its Aboriginal people and their culture.
So if you’re interested in learning more about Australia’s amazing outback life, then there’s two very special places to visit: the Wadlata Outback Centre and the Arid Land Botanic Garden.
Both are free and you can spend several hours at each place, wandering through the gardens and the award-winning displays (and have a cuppa!), learning more about the vast, wild landscapes you’re about to explore.
To get an even better idea of outback life, a visit to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air are also a must.
But that’s not all , there’s loads more to see and do here!
Accommodation & Caravan Parks
For a small outback town, there’s plenty of accommodation choices.
There are 8 motels, several hotels, self-contained apartments and even a backpacker’s hostel.
If you’re setting off on a caravan holiday, make sure you check out the town’s beautiful caravan parks.
They’re not only for caravans there’s a huge range of cabins and units (with and without ensuite) also on offer.
We reckon that Port Augusta is the best place to start your outback adventure. From here, you can jump off into South Australia’s outback, head off up the Stuart Highway, or go west, and tackle the Nullabor Plain.