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Published April 3rd 2015
Look further than the highway
The Old Wharf Near the Port Wakefield Caravan Park
Port Wakefield has become well known to many South Australians, and sadly often for the wrong reasons.
On most long weekends the road from Adelaide to Port Wakefield becomes clogged with heavy traffic as holidaymakers desert the city. Many are heading to Yorke Peninsula, although Port Augusta and the Flinders Ranges are also very popular holiday destinations too.
With traffic often moving at a snail's pace, many people stop at Port Wakefield service stations for a bite to eat or a comfort break. It makes little difference to their journey times. Few people take the time to detour from the main road to discover what the real Port Wakefield is all about.
Home to the Kaurna tribe when Matthew Flinders first visited in 1802, Port Wakefield was first named Port Henry and later given its present name around 1849. It was first developed as a port for a copper mine at Burra and then carried pastoral produce. A railway line connected Port Wakefield to Kadina on the Yorke Peninsula by 1878.
The old town does not seem to have changed dramatically in the next 130 years. The establishment of the Australian Army's Port Wakefield Proof Range in 1926 was perhaps one of the highlights of local history, and it later became the main range for the testing of munitions manufactured in Australia
However in 2007 a large housing development was announced and the results can now be seen north of the town. Nearly 3,000 new houses were planned, which have since helped satisfy demand for Port Wakefield accommodation due to growth in local poultry and pork farming.
Stop at the Salt of the Earth Cafe on Your Next Long Weekend Trip
If you're willing to look around you can find quite a few Port Wakefield attractions. The Port Wakefield bakeries have an extensive range of locally made pies, you can get meals from $10 at the Port Wakefield Hotel, while the Salt of the Earth Cafe is also an art gallery, located in a charming heritage building away from the roar of highway traffic.
For me one of the most pleasant Port Wakefield attractions is the tidal pool. There's a shady rest area that's a pleasant place to eat lunch and public toilets nearby. Quite a few people were relaxing there in the autumn sun rather than being buffeted as you park near the main highway. A boardwalk leads across the water and there are signs to help identify the birds that you see.
Port Wakefield accommodation is readily available at the caravan park. If you walk a little way from the caravan park you can see the old wharf with its narrow channel for boats.
You can read about a historical walk on the Port Wakefield website although there does not seem to be a map available. As I walked around the town I saw some well preserved old buildings, and signs commemorating the 1955 Australian Grand Prix circuit at Port Wakefield - won by Jack Brabham.
Port Wakefield Hosted the 1955 Australian Grand Prix
On your next long weekend holiday away, if you're stuck in traffic travelling between Adelaide and Yorke Peninsula or the Flinders Ranges then why not stop here. Even take advantage of the Port Wakefield accommodation to escape the traffic peak hours. Relax, do a bit of sightseeing, and go on with your sanity saved.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (score: 2|555) 1787 days ago
Dave - several of the images in this article are mine. They are Creative Commons licensed so they are free to use but I don't see any attribution to me as the author or link back to the original image anywhere. Am I missing it somewhere?
Dave , I agree with your sentiments.I have been stopping off at Pt.Wakefield,by the pool,on my way to Moonta,Wallaroo and Kadina and back to the city since 1955.I think most people would get a pleasant surprise at what a"quaint"little town it is,off the petrol stopping highway.By the way,I was told by a local,there is/was a dirt road to the top of the hummocks...do you know of this..perhaps you have been on it.I can imagine if there is such a driveable track,one would get a magnificent 360 degree view! noel.