Mid North region South Australia: A Guide
18th May 2023
Looking for a nature-filled getaway that’s packed with excitement and topped off with adventure? Look no further than the Mid North region of South Australia. With its breathtaking natural beauty (really – it’s underrated), rich cultural heritage, and lively towns and vineyards, the Mid North offers endless opportunities for fun and excitement. Discover stunning national parks, go wine tasting in the picturesque Clare Valley, or immerse yourself in the region’s rich history and culture. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a lover of the arts, the Mid North has something to offer everyone. Read on to learn a little more about the Mid North region and what you can get up to here.
Where is the Mid North region of South Australia?
The Mid North region of South Australia is a geographic area located north of the Adelaide Plains, but south of the Far North and the Outback. More generally, this means that it stretches from Adelaide up to Port Augusta. Known for its indigenous history – with the Ngadjuri people having lived there for thousands of years prior to European settlement – the Mid North region is a highly diverse region.
During the early colonial era – particularly in the 1850s and 1860s – disputes and conflicts occurred between settlers and the Aboriginal people. Today, the Ngadjuri people hold native title rights over the vast area.
Much of the land in the Mid North is used for agriculture, with farmers here producing wheat, wine and wool amongst other things. Within this land, pretty historic towns are set amongst the gorgeous landscapes. It is here that visitors and locals alike can enjoy wine tastings, cosy pubs, friendly locals and a lively atmosphere.
Outside of towns, some incredible national parks pervade the landscape. For example, Mount Remarkable National Park – only a short drive from Port Pirie – puts hikers in proximity to some of the most pristine nature in the state.
Towns in the Mid North Region, South Australia
There are a number of wonderful small towns in Mid North South Australia. From winery focused townships to coastal cities, the region boasts some great variety.
As you travel up the coastal route, the first major town you’ll reach is Port Pirie. This industrial hub is known for its large lead-smelting industry, but there’s more to see beyond the factory smokestacks. For history buffs, the National Trust Museum and Arts Centre offer intriguing exhibits and displays. Plus, the seaside location here makes it a great place to stop for a day or two.
Heading further north, you’ll run into Melrose. With a beautiful setting at the base of Mt. Remarkable, Melrose is a sweet little historic town famous for its early mountain biking. You might like to stop here for the night and enjoy the beautiful countryside.
Nearby is the even smaller town of Murraytown where you can stop for a wander and perhaps drop into a local pub. Next you’ll find Port Germein, a peaceful town on the coast popular with locals on their holidays.
Heading inland, there are a heap more towns you can visit. Taking the inland route towards Peterborough, you will first come across Kapunda an old mining town with an interesting history. Then, in quaint Auburn you could spend some time admiring the beautiful buildings and enjoy a fantastic lunch.
Looking to visit the Clare Valley? Drive through the stunning and world renowned wine growing region, where towns such as Clare keep you totally occupied for the day. Then moving north east, drop into the historic town of Burra where you can step back in time and experience 19th century South Australia.
Best things to do in the Mid North region South Australia
Explore Burra’s Heritage
Step back in time to the 1840s in the historic town of Burra. Explore the township’s rich heritage and immerse yourself in its fascinating history. From the charming Tivers Row Heritage Cottages to the Redruth Gaol and the emotional legacy of its psychiatric hospital, there is so much to discover. Take a stroll through Burra’s heritage sites and uncover the stories that make this town such a unique and special place. One you’re done in the town, head north for 3km and see the ruin made famous on the cover of Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust.
Take the Riesling Trail
In terms of activities in the Mid North, this is pretty much as good as it gets. The Riesling Trail is the perfect way to experience breathtaking views of the Clare Valley. The 35km track follows an old rail corridor that’s been converted to a flat, cycle-friendly path. You can rent bikes at either end of the trail, and either embark on the entire length or any portion that you like. Make sure to stop by the Sevenhill Cellars and other wineries for a taste of local wine along the way. The views along the ride are truly unmatched, with stunning hills and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see
Spring Gully Conservation Park
When in the Mid North immerse yourself in nature. Spring Gully Conservation Park is a natural wonderland located in the heart of South Australia’s stunning Clare Valley. It offers visitors the chance to explore a diverse range of native flora and fauna on foot and by bike. Take a leisurely stroll through the park’s walking trails, or rent bikes to hit the nearby Riesling Trail. You’ll fall in love with the park’s rolling hills, beautiful scenery, and peaceful atmosphere.
Hike through Mount Remarkable National Park
The incredible Mount Remarkable National Park is one of South Australia’s most underrated national parks. The park boasts a truly awe-inspiring landscape, with rugged mountain peaks and sweeping valleys to pristine forests and winding rivers. Hike through the park’s well-maintained trails or explore on bike. Don’t miss the chance to explore the stunning Alligator Gorge and Mambray Creek, two of the park’s most popular attractions. Plus, make sure you climb high to capture views of the Spencer Gulf.
Go mountain biking
Mountain bikers should know that there’s a mountain biking mecca in the Mid North. With a variety of trails catering to all skill levels, it’s no wonder that the town plays host to the annual Fat Tyre Festival. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the magic Mambray Creek or tackle the challenging trails of Mount Remarkable National Park.
Drop into some wineries
Near Port Pirie lie two charming, intimate wineries that offer a stark contrast to those larger spots in the likes of the Barossa Valley. Bartagunyah Estate boasts high-altitude, Mediterranean vineyards and stunning views, while Blessings Garden Wines sits amongst rolling hills and silver gum trees. Both wineries offer friendly winemakers and cellar door tastings seven days a week. For a cosy and welcoming wine tasting experience, head to these hidden gems just outside of Port Pirie.
Discover Port Pirie
Experience the rustic charm of Port Pirie, a city located in the heart of South Australia’s Mid North. Although not as well-known as other South Australian destinations, Port Pirie offers a unique blend of industrial heritage and natural beauty. Take a stroll along the picturesque Ellen Street to admire the historic architecture, or head to Port Pirie Regional Tourism & Arts Centre to learn about the local culture and history.
Visit bright pink Lake Bumbunga
Nestled near the small township of Lochiel in South Australia, Lake Bumbunga is a stunning pink lake that has become a popular tourist destination over the years. The unusual pink color you see here is caused by high salt levels and algae, creating an otherworldly landscape. Take a leisurely stroll around the lake, snap some amazing photos and enjoy the natural beauty.
Pay a visit to the historic town of Mintaro during your visit to the Mid North of South Australia. Step back in time as you take in the over 30 heritage-listed buildings that adorn the town’s streets. After soaking up the architecture, head over to the Magpie & Stump pub, a local institution since 1851, to enjoy some delicious takeaway pub grub. And while you’re there, keep an eye out for the Mintaro Maze and Martindale Hall – two of the local attractions.
Where to stay in the Mid North region South Australia
Receive 10% off at John Pirie Motor Inn using the code SAWE10.
Located in Port Pirie, South Australia, the John Pirie Motor Inn offers comfortable accommodation and delicious food. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool after a long day of exploring.