The city of Port Augusta was first inhabited by Banggarla or Nuguna Aboriginal tribes before the Europeans came and settled here. The first European explorer who discovered Port Augusta was Matthew Flinders who sailed up the Spencer Gulf till the Redwaters in the year 1802. The harbour was discovered on 24 May 1852 by Alexander Elder and John Grainger who named it as Port Augusta. This was done in honour of Lady Augusta Sophia Young, who was the wife of the then Governor of South Australia. Port Augusta soon became a commercial centre and a major wool exporting port. The town was proclaimed officially in 1882 and Port Augusta became a city in 1963.
Port Augusta enjoys a Mediterranean type of climate which is characterised by warm summers and mild winters. The summer temperatures in the months of January to March on an average soar up to 30ºC or more. In winters the temperatures range from 10ºC to 7ºC. The average amount of rainfall is 200mm in a year and most of it occurs in the month of May and June.
Port Augusta is well-connected by an extensive network of bus and train services. There are regular buses to and fro from Adelaide which are available from Greyhound bus terminal and are operated by Premier Stateliner. Many services connect to Eyre Peninsula, Streaky Bay, Ceduna and Port Lincoln. Port Augusta is also well-connected by a developed train network of Ghan and Indian-Pacific trans-continental trains.
Port Augusta has a rich Aboriginal culture which is well-represented in their works. These Aboriginal artefacts are often displayed at several galleries and in cultural fairs. The city is also planning to develop its own Regional Centre for Culture being funded by the Australian government.
Port Augusta has emerged as an exciting tourist destination spot which acts as a gateway towards the Northern Territory. Some of the most popular tourist destinations of Port Augusta include:
- Homestead Park Pioneer Museum
- Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
- Water Tower Lookout
- Pichi Richi Railway
- The Royal Flying Doctor Service
- McLennan Lookout
Port Augusta has many restaurants and cafes which provide a varied range of that, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Australian and other types of cuisines. Some of the renowned ones are—Augusta Westside Motel, Crossroads Restaurant, Your Choice Coffee Lounge, Fernleigh Restaurant, Barnacle Bill Family Seafood Restaurant and King Po Chinese restaurant among others.
Port Augusta has a wide collection of accommodation options which are cheap yet luxurious. Some of them are hotels and motels while others are cottages, guesthouses and caravan parks. Few such options include:
- Hotel Commonwealth
- Flinder’s Motel
- Pastoral Hotel
- Pampas Motel
- Big 4 Fauna Caravan Park