The city of Port Augusta is one of the main townships on the Eyre Peninsula. Located in the far northeast corner of the 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 on the Eyre Highway for 470km. This is often just a small section of a longer road trip that encompasses more of the Eyre Peninsula and further on the Nullarbor Plain.
Although the trip from Ceduna to Port Augusta can be completed in a day, there are plenty of places to see and things to do on the way. Below you will find a comprehensive guide to all the towns and things to see between Ceduna and Port Augusta, so you can plan a longer road trip.
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 on The Eyre Peninsula:
When to travel from Ceduna to Port Augusta
The Eyre Peninsula has a great all-year-round climate, meaning that you can travel through the towns at any time. Summers can get particularly hot, with days reaching into the high 30s. It’s the best time to be enjoying the beaches, but it can be a little too warm for long days spent 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. These months are when temperatures are most moderate, and rainfall is more limited and predictable.
How to get to Port Augusta
Port Augusta is a major road and railway junction in South Australia. This means that it’s easily reached from a number of different places, including Adelaide and Ceduna.
The journey from Ceduna to Port Augusta totals 470km along the Eyre Highway, which is part of the National Highway A1. This popular drive can be done in five hours if you drive direct without stopping. However, if you have more time to spare, the landscape and small towns along the way are best enjoyed at a much slower pace. There are plenty of sights and activities to break up your trip, along with towns to stay the night if you have the time.
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 before heading to Port Augusta. This option requires a few days at least to take in seaside towns including Smoky Bay, Elliston, Venus Bay, Port Lincoln and Whyalla.
If you need to travel by public transport to Port Augusta, there is a weekly Stateliner bus that 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, here are some important things to know about the journey before you go.
The Eyre Highway is the main road taken by people from Ceduna to Port Augusta. This is the most direct highway and the only sealed road connecting the west with Port Augusta and Adelaide. The Eyre Highway is part of the National Highway A1 network and is considered one of the greatest road trips in Australia. It travels from Port Augusta to Ceduna, then across the Nullarbor Plain to Norseman in Western Australia. It 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.
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 officially constructed from 1941 onwards but wasn’t completely sealed until 1976. Today, the road is used by hundreds of thousands of vehicles and trucks ever year. It’s considered one of the greatest bucket-list road trips in Australia.
For safety considerations, the highway is a maintained, sealed road all the way from Port Augusta across to Western Australia. However, it’s 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 also 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 the road.
If you’re driving long distances, it’s important to remember to take breaks. The 470km drive from Ceduna to Port Augusta can be a long drive, 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 way you can also 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 willing to take it slow, 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, including some side trips onto the Eyre Peninsula:
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. It’s an important stop for travellers, coming from the west or east along the highway or south from the peninsula.
Ceduna is known as the Oyster Capital of Australia, with some of the freshest seafood in the country found in the waters around the town. Many people come to Ceduna just to taste the delicious oysters. However, for real foodies, you can also tour a working oyster farm in nearby Smoky Bay, which is a real highlight of the area.
The unique location of Ceduna makes it a convenient place to base yourself for exploring more of the Far West Coast and the Eyre Peninsula. You can enjoy a range of activities from the town including, surfing, fishing, 4×4 driving, swimming, cycling and walking all in and around Ceduna town.
The town also offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all different types of travellers and their budgets. From caravan parks to hotels, you can find something to suit your needs. Ceduna also has a range of shops in town from where you can pick up any supplies, you’ll need for your road trip, including Terry White Chemmart, Jim’s IGA, Ceduna Home Timber and Hardware, an Autopro shop 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 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. However, it was also the stage for showcasing the locals’ great sense of humour. Several years ago, a dead whale washed up onshore 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!
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 from driving.
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. The town also has a photo op of a big dinosaur ant statue.
Another small town further down the highway is Minnipa and it’s a delightful place to stop. The town is blessed with 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. You’ll also find a caravan park, motel and general store for supplies.
The most popular spot to see in Minnipa is Pildappa Rock, 15km north 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. It’s definitely a must stop and a popular place for kids to explore.
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 amenities including accommodation, fuel, a supermarket and a 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. This huge farmer is carved out of local granite rock and is right next to the local information centre. It’s meant to symbolise 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 can also 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. 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 were a sacred place for the region’s Aboriginal people and is a great introduction to the incredible outback of South Australia.
If you have the time on your trip, it’s worth spending some time in the national park. It’s best explored by 4WD but can also be reached by 2WD or conventional vehicles in summer. Bushwalking and camping are popular activities there, with some of the most vivid night skies on clear nights a popular attraction for 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 has a couple of accommodation and dining options in town if you need a break. It’s famous for being the town that is halfway across Australia in terms of distance, making it a great place to stop.
Kimba also has a few great photo ops. The first one is the Big Galah on the right side of the highway. 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 discover 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.
On the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula and just an hour’s drive south of Port Augusta, Whyalla is one of the main towns on the peninsula. Although not located on the Eyre Highway, it’s a popular place to explore the beautiful coastal region with a variety of activities in town.
Whyalla is well known for a unique experience of swimming with colourful cuttlefish. Thousands of giant cuttlefish congregate around Point Lowly and Stony Point in winter and organised tours from Whyalla will take you out to swim amongst this incredible display of colour.
From Whyalla, you can travel south to Port Lincoln towards the tip of the Eyre Peninsula, or simply continue on to Port Augusta.
Port Augusta is a small city in South Australia on the Spencer Gulf, located 322km north of Adelaide. It’s a major traffic and transport junction as mentioned earlier. 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 on their way, there are a few things to do in Port Augusta to keep you busy for a couple of days if you decide to stay in town.
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-visit stop. 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 also tour the Royal Flying Doctor Service base in Port Augusta. There are tours of the base 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. 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.
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