Kimba Recreation Reserve
Kimba, South Australia
2019 Best Grey Nomad
Council Free-stay Campsite
Be an explorer and follow in the tracks of Edward John Eyre, the first white man to reach what is now the town of Kimba in 1840.
He traversed the Eyre Peninsula along the route that roughly follows the highway that bears his name and that's most likely how you'll reach Kimba too.
It's a journey worth taking, but take your time because Kimba officially has the best free Council camping ground in the Australia and there's a jumbo bunch of experiences to enjoy in and around this remote town of fewer than 400 super-friendly people.
And best of all, the campsite has everything on its doorstep. Within a kilometre you can experience the Kimba silo art, half-way across Australia sign, giant galah, museums, shops, IGA supermarket and hotel. And if walking to or from the hotel sounds too arduous then there's a courtesy bus.
Location: 37 North Terrace, about 800m from the Visitor Information Centre on West Terrace.
Facilities: The Council free camp is a large site providing plenty of room for all types of vehicles. The camp has toilets, coin-operated showers, bins, picnic tables, and water. It is pet-friendly and adjacent to the Kimba oval, which also features a playground and courts. Generators are allowed. The canteen at the Reserve is open on Thursday evenings during winter sports season. The Grey Nomad Awards encourage you to donate to stay - honesty box on site.
Experiences: Kimba's location at the heart of Australia's greatest road trip from one coast to the other makes it a must-stop town. Among the experiences that have cemented Kimba's reputation as a favourite among mature travellers is:
Kimba Vittera silo art - Painted by Cam Scale in late 2017, the 25-metre-high, 70-metre-wide, seven-stack mural of a young girl playing in the wheat fields at sunset signals to travellers that you have arrived in the heart of Kimba. The silos were the first to be lit in Australia thanks to the town embracing innovative solar technology, with the mammoth artwork becoming illuminated each evening as the sun slides beyond the horizon. This is not the only mural that Kimba boasts, with others located at the Recreation Reserve where the free camp is located. Check them out.
Conservation parks - The area around Kimba is a goldmine when it comes to nature walks and unexpected vistas. In the immediate area there is the White's Knob, Moseley Nobs, Lake Gilles, Cortlinye, Pinkawillinie, Caralue Bluff, Carappee, the Gawler Ranges and Refuge Rocks, aka Secret Rocks, which Eyre named because he was so relieved to find a good water source.
Roora Nature Walk and Edward John Eyre sculptures - The short circular track starts just across the road from the free camp and rises to a scenic bluff where a series of re-purposed metal sculptures of Eyre and his party shine in the bright sun. The artistic collection, forged in 2011 by Roland Weight and Marcus Possingham, are a tribute to the explorer and the indigenous men on whose bush skills he so often relied.
Half Way Across Australia sign - On the Eyre Highway's eastern entrance to the town, this giant sign will set the scene upon arrival, sharing interesting historic information and giving you a clear picture of your exact location in the bigger scheme of things.
The Big Galah - And we do mean BIG! At a mighty eight metres tall, this is the biggest birdie you'll see in South Australia and the only big flying bird among Australia's more than 60 "big things". Crafted in 1993, this pink parrot is impossible to miss as he stands in front of the Half Way Across Australia sign, where you'll also find a gem and coffee shop that sells souvenirs including the unique Cowell Jade - the type of nephrite jade that the Chinese made famous. The local jade deposits are among the largest known nephrite jade deposits in the world and were discovered when a local farmer was prospecting.