Things to do in Port Pirie SA for Arts & Culture Fans

Just over 200km from Adelaide you will find the quaint town of Port Pirie on the coast of the Spencer Gulf. Port Pirie is well known for its smelting industry and is home to one of the world’s largest lead smelters. Despite being primarily an industrial town there are many things to do in Port Pirie SA, particularly for those interested in arts & culture.

Port Pirie SA

Port Pirie has a rich European history dating back to 1845 and there are a number of different museums, galleries, and heritage trails for you to discover. Spend a few days wandering around the town, meet the friendly locals and learn about the heritage of Port Pirie and how it became what it is today.

To help plan your trip we have narrowed down the best things to do in Port Pirie SA for arts and culture fans.

Pic credit: SATC/Port Pirie Regional Council

Arts & Culture in Port Pirie

Port Pirie Regional Tourism & Arts Centre

When looking for things to do in Port Pirie SA the Regional Tourism & Arts Centre is a great place to start. Home to Port Pirie’s visitor information centre you can drop by here for some top tips. The centre also has many unique attractions to enjoy whilst you are there, including Shakka the Shark. Get up close with the life size replica of the shark which became an icon in Port Pirie when it was brought to shore after drowning in Germein Bay. There is also a virtual reality shark dive experience and a model railway express to keep the kids entertained.

Port Pirie National Trust Museum

A museum which should be at the top of your list of things to do in Port Pirie SA, is the National Trust Museum. Formerly a customs house and police station in 1882 and then a Railway station in 1902, the building itself is one of the many historic buildings you will find in the town. Since closing to passengers in 1967 the building has been preserved as a museum where you can delve deep into Port Pirie’s industrial and railway history. One of the artifacts you will discover is a vintage narrow gauge shunting engine that used to work the railway line to Broken Hill.

Pic credit: SATC/Port Pirie Regional Council

Port Pirie Molfettesi Fishing Boat Museum

Visit this small museum on Port Pirie’s waterfront and discover the story of the Italian fishing community that arrived from Molfetta towards the end of the 19th century. The Molfettesi Fishing Boat museum explains the fascinating story of how the indigenous Nukuna people taught the first Italian migrants how to fish. The focal point of the display here is the Elizabeth, an historic 19-foot wooden plank fishing boat. Originally built in the early 20th Century and has been beautifully restored to its former glory.

Port Pirie RSL Museum

The RSL Museum is one of the most informative and eye-opening things to do in Port Pirie SA. Here you will learn about Australians in war and conflict from the Boer War to modern-day Afghanistan. The exhibits feature stories from individuals, particularly focusing on contributions made by local Port Pirie service men and women. The exhibits feature general items and artifacts including personal items belonging to service people. The museum also features videos, slides, photos, and audio footage of the different wars. The museum is a humbling experience where you can learn about and honour the many service personnel who sacrificed so much for their country.

Port Pirie to Flinders Ranges

Heritage Rail Trail

If you are looking for things to do in Port Pirie SA then the heritage rail trail is the perfect day trip. The 395km self-drive road trip can be driven from Port Pirie to Broken Hill in NSW. The trail follows the route of the historical railway line which closed in 1970. The trail will take you through 15 towns and you can learn about the rich history of the rail way line along the way. Download the Heritage Rail Trail brochure here to plan your journey.

Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery

Discover incredible artwork including paintings, sculptures, and photography at the Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery. Collections feature historical and contemporary pieces by both well established and up and coming artists. There are different exhibitions and displays throughout the year, check out their what’s on page here to find out what you can see during your visit.

SA Weekend Escapes’ Top Hotel Pick

Centrally located, the John Pirie Motor Inn is the ideal base for your stay. There are a variety of contemporary and comfortable rooms including family rooms, executive suites and two-bedroom apartments. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, BBQ and onsite Angus & Co Restaurant.

For more information on things to do in Port Pirie SA, check out our ultimate guide.