The sight of the ‘Halfway Across Australia’ sign on the highway at Kimba, SA, is enough to get even the weariest of travellers a little bit excited.
It’s a milestone of sorts, providing a sense of achievement after many long hours on the road.
The RV Friendly Town of Kimba is halfway across Australia, ‘as the crow flies’, in the centre of the Eyre Peninsula, around 160km south-west of Port Augusta.
Just a hop, skip and a jump down the road is the Big Galah. One of Australia’s ‘big’ icons, the 8m-tall galah has been guarding the adjacent ‘Halfway Across Australia’ roadhouse, with its gems, Kimba tea towels and souvenirs, fluffy toy galahs and stubby holders, since 1993.
Of course, we had to stop in there for a look (and an ice cream), too.
Kimba is on the traditional lands of the Pangkala Aboriginal people. European settlers began planting grains and crops here in the early 1900s, but the region was extremely isolated until the railway from Port Lincoln was extended to reach the area in 1913.
The town was proclaimed in 1915 and the community began to flourish, with the surrounding district becoming one of the largest wheat growing areas in South Australia. Huge white grain silos are a common sight on the side of the highway as it passes through the small towns that dot the peninsula.
For those interested in learning about the region’s past, the volunteer-run Kimba and Gawler Ranges Historical Museum features buildings from the town’s early beginnings as well as historical displays relating to farming, transport and social activities.
Free camping is available in town at the Lions Park on Park Terrace and the Recreation Reserve on North Terrace. The Lions Park has public toilets, a barbecue area, gazebo and playground.The Recreation Reserve offers a coin-operated shower, public toilets, dump point and playground. Donations are welcomed.
Kimba is involved in the Grey Nomads program and offers short-term volunteer opportunities in exchange for free camping, allowing RVers the chance to become involved in the local community.
Information on the program is available at the Kimba Visitor Information Outlet: Council Offices, Cross St, Kimba: 08 8627 2026; www.kimba.sa.gov.au