Whyalla is a city on northeastern Eyre Peninsula, which was developed around the steelworks, port and nearby iron ore deposits in the early 20th century. Today it is a modern and vibrant country town, with good weather, beaches, and boating, and is the third largest city by population in South Australia.
Hummock Hill, the hill adjacent to the current town centre, was named by Matthew Flinders in 1802, during his voyage in the Investigator. The first population came to develop the nearby iron ore deposits in 1900 and developed into a small town soon after.
With the establishment of the steelworks in Newcastle Whyalla developed into a major port for iron ore shipments to the east, and in the 1950s a steelworks opened in the town. BHP started operating dual steel works in Newcastle and Whyalla, shipping coal from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales to Whyalla and returning the ships laden with iron ore to Newcastle.
The town also has a history of shipbuilding, and the naval ship Whyalla, now on display at the museum, was constructed in the town.
Whyalla is about 1 hour drive south of Port Augusta. The road is sealed, well travelled and maintained.
There is a local bus service, operating three bus routes. All three operate between Westlands shopping centre and the city centre every hour during the day on weekdays, offering a reasonably frequent service for this trip. Anywhere else will require a taxi, which are available on the national 131 008 number.
The foreshore, marina, city centre, and Hummock Hill are within reasonable walking distance of each other.
Whyalla is the ideal size to traverse by bicycle, there are cycle facilities out to the museum, and the city roads are wide and flat. There are no bicycle hire facilities in the city.
Whyalla has an unusual scattering of shops for a city of its size.
Westlands Shopping Centre is a modern shopping mall, around 4km west form the city centre. It has chain stores and supermarkets. The city centre has a strip of shops, but perhaps less than you would expect in a city of its size, and no large stores except for a Harvey Norman furniture/electrical. There is also a small group of shops on Playford Avenue (Lincoln Highway), and several other small clusters in other parts of the city.
The town centre of Whyalla is not developed any restaurant or cafe precinct. After the shops shut at at 5pm the town centre will be totally deserted. Restaurants, clubs and pubs are distributed around the city, and it is best to do some research before you set out. There is not a huge selection of restaurants, and pubs may end up being your best choice for dinner out.
There is a cafe on the town beach, open daily until 6pm. There is fast food and roadhouses on the Lincoln Highway.