Broken Hill to Port Augusta (& Coober Pedy): Road Trip Stops, Bus, Flights And More [2021]

Thinking about making the journey from Broken Hill to Port Augusta (or Port Augusta to Broken Hill)? Or maybe heading from Broken Hill to Coober Pedy and want to know how to travel between the two? I can help!

The good news is that the distance from Port Augusta to Broken Hill is not that far – it’s about a four and a half hour drive. It’s also a great drive from the Outback to the sea and an interesting slice of Australia. It’s also an easy drive.

Port Augusta, South Australia
Port Augusta

If you want to head on to Coober Pedy, you’ve got a much longer journey ahead of you with it taking about 9.75 hours.

If you don’t want to drive, this journey is quite tricky and takes a lot longer. Below, I have all the details whether you want to take the car or something else. I’ll help you get there, and everything is described step-by-step. I also describe the reverse journey from Port Augusta to Broken Hill and have a special section for people travelling past Port Augusta to Coober Pedy.

Broken Hill To Port Augusta Map

The distance from Broken Hill to Port Augusta is around 412 kilometres and the driving time is around four and a half hours.

While the distance Broken Hill to Port Augusta may sound like a lot, it’s an easy drive and it’s always fun to explore a different part of Australia. There was not much traffic when we did it (or any in some parts!) and there’s a bit of variety once you leave the Barrier Highway to make it more interesting.

BEST OPTION: How To Get From Broken Hill To Port Augusta

The best option to travel from Broken Hill to Port Augusta (or vice versa) is in your own car on the A32 out of Broken Hill then taking the B56 on to the A1 and Port Augusta. It’s an easy 4.5 hour journey. You can also make the journey by bus via Adelaide.

Option 1: Broken Hill To Port Augusta Road Trip

To travel from Broken Hill to Port Augusta, take the main highway, A32, out of Broken Hill towards Adelaide. Keep driving until you see the B56 on your right as pictured below.

Broken Hill to Port Augusta

Keep following the B56 and the signs you see to Port Augusta. There are a few turns to make but every one is clearly signposted. I had been worried I would miss a turn and end up on a very long detour but there is no way this would have happened.

Take this road until it ends on the A1. Turn right towards Port Augusta and you’ll be there before you know it.

The road itself takes you from the Outback to the sea and it’s a diverse part of Australia. There’s the Outback, farmland, mountains and sea and it’s quite the journey.

The first part of the drive is nearly three hours along the Barrier Highway from Broken Hill into South Australia to the B56 turn off towards Port Augusta. This is the most remote part of the journey – there’s not a petrol station for 200 kilometres after you leave Broken Hill in Yunta so make sure you have enough fuel.

On that topic, I had assumed that fuel would be cheaper at Broken Hill than Yunta but actually it was over 10 cents a litre cheaper at Yunta when we made the journey. There’s two petrol stations here.

Broken Hill to Port Augusta Yunta

There are regular rest stops and tiny towns which usually have a hotel where you can get food.

It’s illegal to bring fruit, vegetables, grapevines and plants across into South Australia and there is a quarantine station at Oodla Wirra where they check that you don’t have these products. I was asked for any eskis, cooler bags, etc and had to show the contents to the inspector.

The South Australian border itself is not far from Broken Hill. There is a cafe here and it’s worth a photo stop.

South Australian border cafe

This part of the journey is very easy driving through the Outback until near the end where it looks more like farmland than desert. Other than when there was road works or a town, I was cruising at 110km/h and it was quick and painless.

The B56 part of the journey from the Barrier Highway to the A1 has a few towns, particularly Peterborough which is a great place to break the journey. There are some museums and other attractions here.

There’s more turns and it’s less boring on this part of the journey. After Wilmington, on the last part of the B56, the road is windier over mountains and you’ll need to slow down a bit. During the B56 part, overtaking is harder so getting caught behind a slow truck or caravan can be more frustrating.

Not long after Wilmington is the A1 and Port Augusta! This last part of the journey is very easy and, if you  have an onward journey, you’ll have no problem finding all the services you need in Port Augusta on the main highway.

Option 2: Bus From Broken Hill To Port Augusta

Taking a bus from Broken Hill to Port Augusta is painful because you’ll need to first catch a bus to Adelaide and then a second bus from Adelaide to Port Augusta. All up, this will take about 12 hours IF you get a relatively nice transfer time.

Buses leave Broken Hill for Adelaide only a few times a week and take about 6.5 hours on NSW Trainlink (more information here).

Buses Adelaide to Port Augusta leave a few times a day and take about 4.5 hours on Stateliner or Greyhound.

Option 3: Flights Broken Hill To Port Augusta

It’s not that practical to fly between Broken Hill and Port Augusta.

If you want to take to the skies, your best bet is to fly from Broken Hill to Adelaide on Rex (only flying twice a week at time of publishing) and then taking a bus from Adelaide to Port Augusta like described above.

Port Augusta To Broken Hill

Broken Hill Line of Lode Miners Memorial
Line of Lode Miners Memorial in Broken Hill

Travelling from Port Augusta to Broken Hill is much the same as Broken Hill to Port Augusta. You can basically reverse the advice above 🙂

Take the A1 out of Port Augusta heading towards Adelaide. Turn off on the B56. Take the B56 to the B79. At the end of this road, turn left on the A32 and keep driving until you hit Broken Hill.

Alternative: Broken Hill To Coober Pedy

If you want more Outback, I highly recommend travelling on to Coober Pedy. It’s what we did!

The distance from Broken Hill to Coober Pedy is around 952 kilometres and it takes about 9.75 hours to drive this. I recommend stops along the way! Also keep in mind that it’s not safe to drive through the Outback during the dark thanks to wildlife so try to find somewhere to stop before the sun goes down. There aren’t tons of hotels along the route so this does take planning.

Port Augusta is the natural stopping point somewhat in the middle or you can keep going on to Woomera. We stayed at the Eldo Hotel in Woomera to break up our journey.

Woomera to Coober Pedy, Stuart Highway
Stuart Highway

From Port Augusta, it’s time to turn on to the Stuart Highway (A87). It’s clearly signposted and it gave me a thrill to see the road choices at this junction – Darwin or Perth! You’ll want to head towards Darwin to get to Coober Pedy.

This part of the journey is very easy. The road is quite straight and flat and surrounded by scrub and desert. There are regular rest stops but note that toilets are rare and you’ll want to travel with your own toilet paper.

There are very few fuel stops so make sure you fuel up before leaving Port Augusta. It’s also much cheaper here.

Broken Hill To Coober Pedy Pimba rest stop
Pimba rest stop

The first town you’ll hit is about 174 kilometres away at Pimba. There is a roadhouse here complete with petrol. There’s also toilets and a picnic area. It’s possible to detour to Woomera from here which is just eight minutes away.

As noted above, we stayed here and enjoyed checking out the Woomera Aircraft and Missile Park and Heritage Centre. Even if you can’t stay, this is a good way to break up the journey.

Woomera Aircraft and Missile Park
Woomera Aircraft and Missile Park

Next up is Glendambo about 112 kilometres further along the highway. Here, there are toilets, two petrol stations (thankfully as I nearly had a heart attack when the first one was shut and I thought I wouldn’t be getting fuel!) and a hotel which was shut for renovations when we came through.


The final 254 kilometres are uneventful with no petrol stations or shops.

Along the way there are also some scenic stops and it’s good to factor in some time for the occasional stop like at the Hart Lake Lookout between Glendambo and Pimba.

Broken Hill to Coober Pedy lookout
From a lookout not long before Pumba

We did the first part of the journey on the Stuart Highway from Port Augusta to Woomera in the afternoon and then Woomera to Coober Pedy in the morning. There was substantially less cars on the road in the morning.

Final Words

The Breakaways, Coober Pedy
The Breakaways, Coober Pedy

It’s easy to travel from Broken Hill to Port Augusta and I hope you have a smooth and easy journey no matter which option you pick.

Broken Hill to Coober Pedy is a lot further but also more rewarding.

I hope you found this guide to how to travel from Broken Hill to Port Augusta or Coober Pedy useful. You can find our complete travel guide to Coober Pedy here and to Broken Hill here.

You can also read about our onward journey from Coober Pedy to Adelaide here or Mildura to Broken Hill here.