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Port Pirie is one of South Australia’s best-kept secrets. Just a short detour from National Highway One, the town is nestled at the base of the picturesque Southern Flinders Ranges. The multi award-winning Port Pirie Regional Tourism and Arts Centre is a must for all visitors. Open daily; it features a fibreglass model of the longest white pointer shark landed in South Australian waters “Shakka”, a 23-year-old female shark, drowned after becoming tangled in the anchor rope of a local fishing boat. Her original jaws, pectoral fin, vertebrae and deformed teeth can be viewed up close. The centre is also home to the Pirie Rail Express, a 1.2 kilometre “ride-on” miniature railway that takes visitors on a replica journey from Port Pirie to Broken Hill. Both the miniature and model railways are operated on the first and third Sunday of the month by enthusiastic volunteers, who are keen to share their knowledge. Co-located at the centre is the Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery. Open daily; it features two great art galleries, hosting major touring exhibitions from the National Gallery of Australia and the South Australian Touring Exhibitions Program. It also features pieces from the Southern Flinders, Mid North and Yorke Peninsula. In keeping with the city’s railway theme is the engrossing National Trust Museum. Housed in the stunning former Ellen Street Railway Station; it offers great insight into the history of a city that was once one of the nation’s busiest railway centres. Visitors can tour of the world’s largest lead smelter which dominates the city skyline. Tours run on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and bookings can be made at the Tourism and Arts Centre. The city has a strong focus on the waters of Spencer Gulf, with great on and offshore fishing. It has two fully-equipped launching ramps and extensive car/boat parking facilities. Pretty picnic areas, children’s playgrounds and fun public art can be found at Solomontown Beach and also at parks dotted around the city (particularly Memorial Park). Seven-day shopping and a wide range of accommodation options make any stay in Port Pirie a breeze.
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