The rugged, weathered peaks and rocky gorges of the Flinders Ranges in Outback South Australia form some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes in the country. It’s a place rich in Aboriginal history and home to a vast array of wildlife. Following the scenic roads, 4WD tracks and walking trails that crisscross this wild countryside will take you on a remarkable adventure.
Covering over 70% of South Australia is the famously beautiful Flinders Ranges. Colourful landscapes, gorges and waterholes to explore. There are many sacred Aboriginal sites with beautiful rock art. This is real Öutback Australia” and you will find the underground town of Coober Pedy an interesting outback town, while remote towns like Oodnadatta can prove real oasis in times of need.
The Flinders Ranges abounds with wildlife from wedge-tailed eagles and emus to colourful parrots, and kangaroos ,which are all indigenous to this this area. Containing three national parks the Flinders are arguably one of Australia’s most under-rated natural attractions.The Mid North has some of the richest agricultural and pastoral land in the state, with a valuable maritime and mining history, idyllic wine producing district and natural bushland adventures.
How to get to there
The Flinders Ranges are about 500 kilometres (311 miles) north of Adelaide, or a five hour road trip. You can also fly from Adelaide to Port Augusta with Sharp Airlines, which takes about 55 minutes. Many place and attractions of the Flinders Ranges region are easily accessible by normal car, but there are many remote attractions in the Flinders Ranges that are only accessible by 4 wheel drive.
Driving from Adelaide take Main North Road to Gepps Cross, then Port Wakefield Road toward Port Augusta. Take the Quorn exit and continue onto Hawker. From Hawker, head toward Wilpena Pound which is located 35 kilometres north of Hawker and is signed from the main road.
The Outback is an adventurer’s paradise that you can see in style by yourself or with tour guides. The choice is yours. Strike out on your own, go in a convoy of like-minded travellers or let a host do all the driving. Always check for up to date information before travelling on four-wheel drive (4WD) tracks in the Flinders Ranges and Outback of South Australia. Take adequate food, water and petrol in case of a breakdown, and tell someone your journey plans. When travelling in remote areas, always carry a satellite phone in case of emergencies. Regular mobile phones will not work.
A bit like petrol stations, you won’t find many (accessible bathrooms), but the Woolshed Restaurant, Wilpena Pound Visitor Information Centre, and the Prairie Hotel all have accessible facilities.
Autumn, winter and spring are by far the best seasons to visit, in winter, daytime temperatures are generally mild, but the nights can be very cold. The Flinders Ranges present a wide variety of climatic regions. As the wide variety of the plains north of Crystal Brook, the climate is temperate, with an annual rainfall of around 650 mm. Further north, conditions become progressively more arid, with average annual rainfalls between 250 and 350 mm. High temperatures around the upper 30oC are experienced at the height of summer.
The locals travel for miles to visit an outback race meeting. But will it be camels or horses? There are district shows held in Quorn, Wilmington, Melrose and Jamestown when the best of the area is on display. If you are into art and culture, make sure you plan your trip around the Peterborough Art and Cultural Festival in April or come in September when A Brush with Art sees exhibitions throughout the Flinders. See a list of events in the Flinders Ranges and Outback listed here
Good to know
Wildlife is in abundance around the park and Flinders Ranges, don’t be surprised to see an emu scratching in the dirt as you drive through one of the many scenic gorges. And slow down on the roads at mid afternoon to dusk as this is peak kangaroo grazing time.
Unless you are taking a date to the Woolshed Restaurant or Prairie Hotel leave your smart clothes at home, red dust will get all through your clothes and wheels. It can get extremely hot in summer with drought like conditions and in winter flash floods and cool nights can be in store, so pack accordingly. Don’t forget your camera, you’ll see sunsets like never before!
Make sure if you are on a self drive trip that your car is well maintained and keep an eye on your petrol levels as there aren’t many petrol stations once you are in the Flinders Ranges. There’s minimal phone and wifi coverage, which can be a good thing but just be mindful! AND, don’t expect many coffee stops once in the Flinders so get your fix before you head out for the day!
Sleep under the stars in a luxury swag
Try delicious wild food (like kangaroo and emu) at a famous Outback pub
See the extraordinary Wilpena Pound from above on a scenic flight
You can learn more about the region and things to do at www.southaustralia.com
Plus, you’ll find plenty of local destination info on the Flinders Ranges Visitor Information website.