Port Pirie

Boats at Port Pirie jetty, South Australian Tourism Commission

Population 13204

Industry in its splendour greets the visitor at this major industrial and commercial centre. The oil tanks, grain silos and 250-metre-high smokestack all tower over the city, while on the waterfront huge local and overseas vessels are loaded and discharged. Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) began mining lead in 1889 and various South Australian ports at that time vied for BHP's smelting business. Port Pirie eventually won, and created what is today the largest lead smelter in the world. Wheat and barley from the mid-north are also exported from here. Port Pirie shows great character in its old buildings and attractive main street, and Spencer Gulf and the Port Pirie River offer swimming, waterskiing, fishing and yachting.

Visitor Information

Regional Tourism and Arts Centre, 3 Mary Elie St; (08) 8633 8700 or 1800 000 424


Nearby national parks

  • Mount Remarkable National Park

    Mount Remarkable National Park, in the southern reaches of the Flinders Ranges, is a beautiful bushland park with pretty creeks, steep...more

  • Lake Torrens National Park

    The 250-kilometre-long ephemeral Lake Torrens is timeless, wild and starkly photogenic. Protected within Lake Torrens National Park, this is...more

  • Flinders Ranges National Park

    Flinders Ranges National Park covers a vast ancient landscape of rippled outback terrain and exposed ridges, culminating in the striking...more

Nearby towns

  • Crystal Brook - Introduction

    Crystal Brook serves the sheep and wheat country at the southern point of the Flinders Ranges. It once formed part of a vast sheep station,...more

  • Melrose

    Melrose, a quiet settlement at the foot of Mount Remarkable, is the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges. Indigenous groups who occupied the...more

  • Whyalla

    Whyalla, northern gateway to Eyre Peninsula, has grown from the small settlement of Hummock Hill to the largest provincial city in South...more

In Town

Regional Tourism and Arts Centre This award-winning centre comprises an eclectic mix of exhibitions, art and information. A lifelike fibreglass model of the largest white pointer shark taken from SA's waters is on display. Local and regional history is presented through a series of art pieces and on the miniature railway, Pirie Rail Express, which replicates the journey from Port Pirie to Broken Hill (runs 1st and 3rd Sun each month). There are local and touring art exhibitions in the art gallery and the centre runs tours to the Pasminco smelter. Mary Elie St; (08) 8633 8700.

National Trust Museum: located in historic town buildings, including the old customs house (1882) and the Victorian pavilion-style railway station, the museum houses a local history display and rooms furnished in early-1900s style; Ellen St.

Memorial Park: features the John Pirie anchor, memorials, and the Northern Festival Centre; Memorial Dr.

Fishing: good local spots include the main wharf.

Self-guide walks: including National Trust Walking Tours and The Journey Landscape, a 1.6 km nature trail representing changes in vegetation from Broken Hill to Port Pirie; brochures from visitor centre.


Weeroona Island: good fishing and holiday area accessible by car; 13 km N.

Port Germein: a quiet beachside town with a tidal beach safe for swimming. At 1.7 km, the town's jetty is one of the longest in Australia; 23 km N.

Telowie Gorge Conservation Park: follow the marked Nukunu Trail from the park's entrance to the breathtaking Telowie Gorge on the south-west edge of the Flinders Ranges. Care should be taken on less-formal tracks in the park; 24 km NE.

Fishing spots near town

Point Lowly 30 km

The Point Lowly lighthouse marks the southern extremity of Fitzgerald Bay. Near the lighthouse is a small community of shacks. These lighthouse cottages are cared for by the Uniting Church, and are available for hire. It... Find out more

Fitzgerald Bay 37 km

Snapper fishing has a language all of its own. In Queensland and NSW, anglers talk about small snapper as ‘squire’. In Victoria, small snapper are ‘pinkies’; in SA, they are known as... Find out more

Whyalla 43 km

Whyalla is snapper central for anglers. Every Easter the Australian Snapper Championships are based here and the top ten snapper weighed in are always over 10 kg. As you would expect with a destination where fishing is... Find out more

Port Broughton 44 km

Port Broughton is a favourite destination for anglers wanting to fish from charter boats. The boat ramp in the sheltered harbour is next to a small pier complex and is popular for small fish including salmon, Tommy ruff,... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Diving with cuttlefish, off Whyalla 46 km

Every year between May and September, thousands of Australian giant cuttlefish converge on the rocky coastline between Fitzgerald Bay and False Bay at Whyalla (on the Eyre Peninsula’s north-east coast) to breed and... Find out more

Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden 80 km

Located at Port Augusta West (at the head of Spencer Gulf) and spread over 200 hectares, this centre showcases the Australian arid landscapes and their vegetation. There are 12 kilometres of walking tracks, guided tours... Find out more

Campsites around town

Bush camping areas (walk-in camping) 19 km

Remote areas of the park are available for experienced, self-sufficient bushwalkers to use as walk-in campsites. Bring water and a gas/fuel stove. A permit is required.... Find out more

Telowie Gorge camping area 20 km

Basic facilities are provided at this camping area, 27 km north of Port Pirie from the Princes Hwy. Come equipped with wood, water and a permit.... Find out more

Ippinitchie Campground 24 km

Shady, creek-side camping is offered close to the appealing mid-north town of Wirrabara and the Heysen Trail, with its local forest, bush gardens and views from The Bluff.  The campsite is just off Forest Rd, 8 km... Find out more

Fitzgerald Bay camping area 39 km

A series of designated camping spots – some with toilets – can be found scattered along the shores of the bay for self-sufficient campers, 32 km north-east of Whyalla. Ocean views and beach access for... Find out more

Mambray Creek Campground 39 km

The park’s largest and most accessible campground is in a classic creek and river red gum setting. It offers a full range of facilities and ready access to the walking tracks heading east. Signposted access is off... Find out more

Sugar Gum Dam camping area (bush camping) 41 km

Secluded small sites are set in this walk-in area among high woodland on the Black Range Trek, 11 km east of Mambray Creek. A permit is required from the self-registration station, and the site is gas/fuel stove only.... Find out more

Redhill Recreation Ground 43 km

This overnight highway stop on the outskirts of the small farming town of Redhill is 50 km south of Port Pirie. It’s just off the Princes Hwy along an access road to the west of the train line.... Find out more

Melrose Showgrounds camping area 43 km

Creekside camping is permitted on the outskirts of the delightful Flinders Ranges town of Melrose, the oldest settlement in the region. With sites among mighty river gums, this is a convenient base for enjoying the town... Find out more

Hidden Camp (bush camping) 44 km

This sheltered walk-in site is close to the dramatic ravine of Hidden Gorge, 8 km on foot north of Mambray Creek. The site is gas/fuel stove only, and a permit is required from the self-registration station.... Find out more

The Racecourse camping area (bush camping) 45 km

This walk-in site with a big water tank is near the junction of the Racecourse and Mungola Hut tracks, close to the modern Grays Hut camping area. It is also on the Heysen Trail. A permit is required from the... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Port Pirie Beach Caravan Park 1 km

This beachfront caravan park is just 1.5 km from the town centre and offers a range of facilities to suit most travellers. Nicely angled drive-through sites, clean amenities and friendly staff make this our pick of the... Find out more

Crystal Brook Caravan Park 24 km

This is a small, neat council-owned park just on the edge of town. It is a very pretty park with large red gums, a creek alongside, and lawn sites. We find it good value.... Find out more

Discovery Holiday Parks – Whyalla Foreshore 44 km

This large park close to town has most amenities for tourists. Bookings are required at Easter.... Find out more

Port Broughton Caravan Park 47 km

A large park on the waterfront at the small town of Port Broughton, this is ideal for a quiet break or for fishing and crabbing. Bookings are required in peak periods, and a minimum-length stay period applies at Easter... Find out more

Peterborough Caravan Park 80 km

This is a tidy park located off the main road in a quiet part of town, adjacent to the town’s swimming pool. The park has modern amenities and is conveniently positioned for an overnight stop between Broken Hill... Find out more

Port Augusta Big4 Holiday Park 83 km

With very good facilities, this park is strategically based at the junction of the Eyre, Princes and Stuart highways. It can get quite busy here, even in the low season. The park is about 1.5 km from the town centre.... Find out more

Shoreline Caravan Park 83 km

This park has good facilities in a quiet, off-the-highway location. It has sea frontage and views of the Flinders Ranges. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Nuttbush Retreat Caravan Park 83 km

This park adjoins the huge Pandurra sheep and cattle station, 40 km south-west of Port Augusta on the Eyre Highway. The park has very good facilities, including a licensed bar and restaurant.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Sampsons Cottage

This historic former butcher shop is a landmark in the town’s main street, dating from 1864 and preserved by the National Trust. The ornate facade harks back to the days when this was a thriving port. The shop now... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Warnertown rest area 11 km

At Warnertown

Just off the highway. On the south side of town. For northbound only.

Port Germein South rest area 16 km

72km S of Port Augusta (L)

Secluded behind trees. For southbound only.

Ippinitchie camping area 24 km

T/O at Wirrabara

In the forest 8km (partly unsealed) west of Wirrabara in Wirrabara Forest Reserve.

Laura park area 26 km

At Laura

Under shady trees opposite a caravan park.

Point Lowly camping area 31 km

T/O 36km S of Eyre Hwy (L) or 11km N of Whyalla (R)

Near the foreshore 23km east of the highway via Port Bonython Rd.

Gladstone park area 32 km

At Gladstone

Adjacent to the highway and next to a caravan park.

Murray Town camping area 35 km

At Murray Town

Large area just off the highway. In the middle of town. Good facilities. Limited shade.

Mambray Creek rest area 38 km

T/O 48km S of Port Augusta (L) or 47km N of Warnertown (L)

Under trees on both sides of the highway.

Mambray Creek camping area 39 km

T/O 48km S of Port Augusta (L) or 47km N of Warnertown (R)

At the base of some ranges 5km east of the highway in Mt Remarkable National Park.

Fitzgerald Bay camping area 39 km

T/O 36km S of Eyre Hwy (L) or 11km N of Whyalla (R)

On the foreshore 24km (partly unsealed) east of the highway via Port Bonython and Point Douglas rds.

Georgetown park area 40 km

At Georgetown

Just off the highway. In the middle of town.

Willochra Creek rest area 47 km

17km S of Wilmington (R) or 3km N of Melrose (L)

Just off the highway among trees.

Hancocks Lookout rest area 54 km

T/O 18km SE of Princes Hwy (R) or 4km W of Wilmington (L)

At the lookout 7km (unsealed) south of the highway.

Wilmington park area 60 km

At Wilmington

Just off the highway. On the south side of town.

Snowtown North rest area 64 km

62km S of Warnertown (L)

Under trees just off the highway. For southbound only.

Spalding park area 65 km

At Spalding

Adjacent to the highway. In the middle of town.

Mount Whyalla rest area 70 km

11km S of Eyre Hwy (L) or 36km N of Whyalla (R)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Granite Hill rest area 76 km

48km SW of Whyalla (L) or 59km NE of Cowell (R)

Just off the highway.

Information Bay rest area 76 km

130km NE of Kimba (R) or 26km SW of Port Augusta (L)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Tank Hill Rest Area 78 km

126 km NE of Kimba (R) or 30 km SW of Port Augusta (L)

Large secluded area just off the highway in the scrub. Limited shade.

Lake Lochiel rest area 81 km

82km S of Warnertown (L) or 33km N of Port Wakefield (R)

Just off the highway and overlooking the lake.

What's on around town

State Masters Games: even-numbered years, Apr.

Blessing of the Fleet: celebrates the role of Italians in establishing the local fishing industry; Sept.

Festival of Country Music: Oct.

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