Flinders Ranges | South Australia | What To See & Do, Where to Stay
One of our absolute favourite places to visit in South Australia (and Australia in general) is the Flinders ranges. Despite the many times we have been to this amazing location, there is so much that remains to be seen and explored.
We personally love off-road four wheel driving. Whilst there are plenty of four wheel drive tracks in the Flinders Ranges, this area is also accessible in other modes of travel.
The idea with this post is to give you an overall idea of what this area is all about, what are the many sights to visit and types of accommodation options. At the bottom of this post, we have a few useful links which will help you in planning your trip to this incredible country.
So let's start with an overall background of this amazing place. The Flinders Ranges is a stunning mountain range located in South Australia, just a few hours’ drive north of Adelaide (500km). Known for its breathtaking natural beauty and rich Aboriginal history. Home to some of the oldest rock formations in the world, with some dating back over 600 million years. The ancient landscapes are characterized by deep gorges, towering cliffs, and rugged peaks that are dotted with vibrant wildflowers and towering gum trees.
One of the most popular attractions in the Flinders Ranges is Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheater that is often described as the heart of the range. The pound is a vast, bowl-shaped valley that is surrounded by rugged mountains and is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, including red kangaroos, emus, and wedge-tailed eagles.
Visitors to the Flinders Ranges can explore the area on foot, by bike, by 4x4 or by car, with a range of hiking trails, cycling routes, 4x4 tracks and scenic drives to choose from. There are also a number of guided tours available, which offer a more in-depth look at the history and culture of the area.
Amongst the many highlights when visiting the Flinders Ranges is the chance to learn about the rich Aboriginal history of the area. The Adnyamathanha people ("The Rock" people) have lived in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years, and their ancient rock art and cultural sites can still be seen throughout the region.
One of the best places to learn about the Adnyamathanha culture is the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, which is home to a number of important cultural sites, including the Arkaroo Rock art site and the Old Wilpena Station, which was once a pastoral station.
For those looking for a more adventurous experience, the Flinders Ranges offers a range of outdoor activities, including rock climbing, abseiling, and mountain biking. There are also a number of campgrounds and caravan parks located throughout the region, making it easy to spend a few days exploring the area.
Flora & Fauna, Wildlife
The Flinders Ranges, is a biodiverse region that is home to a range of unique flora, fauna, and wildlife. Let's take a closer look at what you can expect to see when visiting the Flinders Ranges.
Flora: The Flinders Ranges is home to a variety of unique plant species, including some that are found nowhere else in the world. One of the most iconic plant species found in the Flinders Ranges is the Sturt's Desert Pea, which is a striking red flower with a black center. Other notable plant species include the Flinders Ranges Gum, the Yellowtail Tree, and the Bladder Saltbush.
Fauna: The Flinders Ranges is also home to a diverse range of fauna, including many species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. One of the most iconic animals in the Flinders Ranges is the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby, which is a small marsupial that is only found in the rocky outcrops of the region. Other notable animal species include the Western Grey Kangaroo, the Emu, and the Wedge-tailed Eagle.
Wildlife: The Flinders Ranges is also home to a range of unique wildlife, including many species that are rarely seen elsewhere in the world. One of the most notable wildlife species found in the Flinders Ranges is the Greater Bilby, which is a small, nocturnal marsupial that is endangered in many parts of Australia. Other notable wildlife species include the Short-beaked Echidna, the Yellow-bellied Glider, and the Brush-tailed Possum.
In addition to the above-mentioned species, the Flinders Ranges is also home to a wide variety of bird species, including the Elegant Parrot, the Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, and the Peregrine Falcon. Reptiles such as the Shingleback Lizard and the Sand Goanna are also common in the region.
The Flinders Ranges offers a range of accommodations to suit every traveler's needs. From rustic campsites to luxury lodges, offering something for everyone.
If camping is what you are after, there are some great camp sites offered by the national parks. These are well worth exploring. Alternatively a wide range of accommodation options are offered by the many privately run stations surrounding the region.
Here are some of the places to stay, including our personal favourite Rawnsley Park.
Rawnsley Park Station is a working sheep station that offers a range of accommodation options, from campsites to luxury eco villas. The property is located at the foot of Wilpena Pound, providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
For those looking for a more rustic experience, Rawnsley Park offers powered and unpowered campsites, perfect for pitching a tent or parking a camper van. The campsites are situated among gum trees and are equipped with picnic tables and fire pits. The amenities block includes hot showers, toilets, and laundry facilities.
For those seeking a little more luxury, Rawnsley Park offers a range of self-contained accommodation options, including eco villas, holiday units, and glamping tents. The eco villas are designed to minimize their environmental impact and offer a modern and comfortable living space. The glamping tents offer a unique experience, with king-sized beds and en-suite bathrooms, all set up for you.
Another popular accommodation option in the Flinders Ranges is Wilpena Pound Resort, which offers a range of accommodation options, from camping to luxurious spa rooms. The resort is located inside the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, providing easy access to some of the most stunning natural attractions in the area.
The resort's camping area is equipped with powered and unpowered sites, as well as a range of amenities, including a communal kitchen, barbecue area, and laundry facilities. The resort also offers a range of self-contained accommodation options, including studios, apartments, and spa rooms.
For those looking for a more secluded experience, Arkaba Station offers a luxury wilderness experience that combines conservation, comfort, and adventure. The property is set on 60,000 acres of private wilderness, providing guests with a truly unique and exclusive experience.
The property offers just five guest rooms, each with its own en-suite bathroom and private outdoor area. The main homestead features a library, a bar, and a dining room, where guests can enjoy meals prepared using locally sourced produce. The property also offers a range of guided activities, including bushwalking, wildlife viewing, and stargazing.
These are just a very few from the many places to stay that's on offer in the Flinders Rangers. Here are some links for you to do more research:
National Parks, South Australia
National Parks in the Flinders Ranges
There are several national parks in the Flinders Ranges that offer camping facilities run by the park authorities. Here are some of the national parks with campgrounds in the Flinders Ranges:
Wilpena Pound - This national park is the most popular and well-known park in the Flinders Ranges, and offers several camping options. The Wilpena Pound Campground offers powered and unpowered sites, as well as eco-tents and cabins. There are also several bush camping sites available in the park, which offer a more secluded camping experience.
Mount Remarkable - This national park is located on the southern edge of the Flinders Ranges, and offers several camping options. The Mambray Creek Campground offers powered and unpowered sites, as well as cabins and a group camping area.
Ikara-Flinders Ranges - This national park is located in the northern part of the Flinders Ranges, and offers several camping options. The Rawnsley Park Campground offers powered and unpowered sites, as well as cabins, eco-tents, and a group camping area.
Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges - This national park is located in the northern Flinders Ranges, and offers several camping options. The Balcanoona Campground offers powered and unpowered sites, as well as a group camping area.
Warren Gorge - This national park is located on the eastern edge of the Flinders Ranges, and offers a basic camping area. The Warren Gorge Campground offers unpowered sites only, and has basic facilities.
It's important to note that camping in national parks requires a permit, and fees apply for camping and vehicle entry. It's also important to follow the rules and regulations of the parks.
Walking/Hiking/Cycling and Sealed Road Touring
A variety of trails are available for walking, hiking, cycling, and driving. Whether you're an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, there are plenty of trails to choose from. Here are some of the top trails for walking, hiking, cycling, and driving in the Flinders Ranges:
- Walking/Hiking Trails:
Wilpena Pound: There are several walking trails within the Wilpena Pound area, ranging from easy strolls to challenging hikes. The Wilpena Pound Circuit Walk is a popular trail, offering stunning views of the natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound.
Brachina Gorge: This walk takes you through a stunning gorge and provides a great opportunity to view the geology of the Flinders Ranges.
Mount Remarkable: There are several hiking trails within this park, including the popular Alligator Gorge Hike, which features stunning views of the gorge and surrounding landscapes.
- Cycling Trails:
Mawson Trail: This is a long-distance cycling trail that runs through the Flinders Ranges and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
Wilpena Pound: There are several cycling trails within the Wilpena Pound area, ranging from easy rides to challenging mountain biking trails.
- Driving Trails:
Bunyeroo Gorge Scenic Drive: This is a sealed road that winds its way through the stunning Bunyeroo Gorge, which is known for its spectacular views and unique rock formations.
Flinders Ranges Way: This is a sealed road that runs through the heart of the Flinders Ranges, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Ordinary Car Accessible Trails:
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary: This area offers several scenic drives that are accessible by ordinary cars, including the Echo Camp Backtrack and the Arkaroola Ridgetop Tour.
Wilpena Pound: There are several scenic drives within the Wilpena Pound area that are accessible by ordinary cars, including the Wilpena Scenic Drive and the Brachina Gorge Drive.
For The 4x4 Enthusiast
The Flinders Ranges is a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts, with a variety of 4x4 tracks and trails to explore. Whist we have done some of these tracks on our own, we would recommend travelling with at least another vehicle. Degree of experience required will vary from track to track. Best to enquire from the respective reception office before embarking.
Some of the more popular 4x4 tracks in the Flinders Ranges are:
Skytrek - This is a challenging track that takes you through the heart of the Flinders Ranges, with steep ascents and descents, rocky terrain, and stunning views. The track is 80 km long and takes around *6 hours to complete. Skytrek requires a high-clearance 4x4 vehicle with low range and good ground clearance.
Arkapena 4WD Track - This is a more moderate 4x4 track that takes you through the scenic Arkapena Station. The track is 15 km long and takes around *2 hours to complete. The track features creek crossings, sandy sections, and rocky terrain. The track is suitable for high-clearance 4x4 vehicles with low range.
Moralana Scenic Drive - This is a scenic 4x4 track that takes you through the stunning landscape of the Flinders Ranges. The track is 22 km long and takes around *2 hours to complete. The track features steep climbs and descents, rocky terrain, and stunning views.
Bunyeroo Gorge 4WD Track - This is a moderate 4x4 track that takes you through the scenic Bunyeroo Gorge. The track is 22 km long and takes around *2 hours to complete. The track features creek crossings, sandy sections, and rocky terrain.
Glass Gorge 4WD Track - This is a challenging 4x4 track that takes you through the scenic Glass Gorge. The track is 18 km long and takes around *2 hours to complete. The track features steep climbs and descents, rocky terrain, and stunning views.
- Rawnsley park station has its own 4x4 track. The first half of this track is suitable for all wheel drive vehicles. For the second half low range is required. At the mid way point there is an exit track if you do not want to take the more difficult 4x4 track. Which ever you take the scenery is simply breath taking.
*indicated travel times are only approximations.
It's important to note that off-road driving can be dangerous and requires proper preparation and equipment. Always make sure you have a well-maintained 4x4 vehicle, recovery gear, and a first aid kit. Always follow the guidelines and restrictions set by the local authorities, and respect the natural environment by leaving no trace.
Park entry fees are required whether you are just a day visitor or staying within the park. There was a time when travellers could pay the park fees at the entry point. Kind of a "honesty box" system. This is no longer available. Entry fees have to be paid online. Don't leave this to the last minute as internet connectivity can be lacking in some place.
If you are staying in one of the private properties and would like access to their 4x4 tracks, separate fees apply.
When to visit
The best time of year to visit the Flinders Ranges is during the cooler months of autumn (March to May) and spring (September to November). During these seasons, the temperatures are mild, making it comfortable to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, and camping. The wildflowers are also in bloom during spring, adding a splash of colour to the landscape.
In contrast, summer (December to February) can be extremely hot and dry, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C, making it uncomfortable for outdoor activities.
Winter (June to August) can be quite cold, with overnight temperatures dropping below freezing, and some trails may be closed due to this. However, if you are looking for a winter adventure, this can be a great time to explore the Flinders Ranges' (very rare) snow-covered peaks and valleys.
We hope the information in the post gets you excited about visiting the Flinders Ranges. It certainly is a must visit place for your bucket list.
Please contact us if you require any more information.
Duncan & Ajanie
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Thank you so much for all of this information, we have camped all over australia but now we are old we need comfort of a bed and I’m so pleased to see the variety off accomodation in the wilpena pound. Thank you