Kimba’s claim to fame has been that it’s ‘Halfway across Australia’ but now you’d have to add, home to stunning silo art, a clever shopping precinct, bushland walking trail, sculptures and views, a brilliant free camp and the friendliest folk to boot.
Kimba is 465 kilometres north west of Adelaide on the Eyre Peninsula and a good stopping point on the way to Ceduna or the Head of the Bight for whale watching season.
There is a sign as you drive into town informing you that you’ve made it half way across Australia as it is halfway between the east coast and west coast of the country. It is also famous for having the giant galah, we do love our big things in Oz, but unfortunately for us he’s getting a spruce up at the moment and so was covered in scaffolding and tarps while he’s undergoing a refresh paint.
We weren’t too disappointed though because we’ve come to see another amazing work of art, the painted silos, which are one street back from the highway.
These silos were painted by artist Cam Scale and feature a little girl standing in a wheat field which this farming area is known for. A farm house is also in the painting along with a beautiful pink and lilac sunset over the fields. To see these silos during the day is lovely especially with a bright blue sky, but by staying in town for the night you can go back and see them at night when they are flood lit. They seem even more breath taking at night.
Kimba has a free camp area for caravanners and campers at the recreation ground just a couple of blocks back from the highway and it is absolutely fabulous. Ok I did hear a comment that it was too crowded but it’s no wonder why when you get there.
There is lots of room on a gravel base parking area and a second area will be available to use soon. The ablution block, (just one at the moment but another is being completed too), has four unisex toilets plus a family room and one shower which you can pay $1 to use for 2 minutes. The second ablution block looks to have the same configuration. They are immaculately clean and well looked after. At the end of the ablution block is a donation tin for campers to donate something if they wish and why wouldn’t you!
The camping area is right on the edge of the sports grounds which include netball courts, football and cricket ovals. There is also a large camp kitchen for campers to use and more local art nearby, called ‘Sharing our history’ painted by artists John Turpie and Siv Grava who were assisted by the local art group and students and teachers from the Kimba Area School.
From the campground you can take a walk on the Roora walking trail which you can take for a 6 kilometre return walk through bushland and up to a lookout area. At the lookout are sculptures which pay tribute to explorer Edward John Eyre and the indigenous men on whose bush skills he so often relied. From the lookout you have views over the golf course and town below.
From the recreation ground you can pretty much walk anywhere in town and High Street is the main shopping strip in town and where you will find Workshop 26. This once tractor shed has been taken over by local artisans, crafts people and clever creators making everything from candles, soaps, pottery and more. There is also vintage furniture and garden art, so much talent on display really and all from shipping container shops within the shed. A really clever concept and it has a feel of wandering through a market or village in a very welcoming and friendly space.
So many lovely products to buy and again, especially if you are free camping, you can spend here instead! You may just be fortunate enough as we were, to walk out of there with a great buy and even some free locally grown lemons and mandarins thrown in. Perfect.
There’s only one way to end a visit to Kimba and that is with a visit to the Gateway Hotel for a meal. Another very friendly place to stop in, and the menu was extensive and hard to choose from. A bonus is that you can also see the illuminated silos from the back deck of the hotel.
Make Kimba a destination to aim for if you are travelling across the Eyre Highway in South Australia and you can easily spend a day or more here discovering this lovely town. I don’t think we passed a single car where the locals didn’t give us a wave.
West we go!