There are a number of routes through the ranges depending whether you want a quick trip or one that is more complex. If you are in a hurry the 159km run up the bitumen from Hawker
via Parachilna and Copley to Lyndhurst
is the quickest but doesn't really take you through the mountains, being just a distant blue haze to your right.
The Flinders Ranges
in South Australia
is probably the most accessible outback region of Australia
. This accessibility however, does not alter the beauty or majesty of this wonderful mountain range area. In fact, many sites are very significant to both pastoralists, and environmentalists. The Flinders encompasses both the southern areas around Quorn
, the Flinders Ranges National Park
, areas further north up to and including the Gammon Ranges National Park
(called the Northern Flinders), Arkaroola and beyond to finally meet up with the Strzelecki Track
The major areas of interest are Wilpena Pound
, Bunyeroo Gorge
, the Heysen Trail, Blinman
historic town, Chambers Gorge, and Arkaroola but there is lots more to explore if you have the time. In fact, many people make the Flinders Ranges
an annual holiday returning each time to a different location until finally settling upon a favourite. Because the region changes so significantly throughout the seasons, a place you saw on last year's trip could appear completely different at another time of year, making it worthy of return visit.
The Flinders is popular with campers with a range of locations to choose from depending on your level of required amenities. Bush camping among the gorges and valleys is quite spectacular, although others prefer to set a base camp with more facilities.
For self-drives, there are a huge range of options available with the following scenic drives all at no cost: Arkaroo Rock
, Buckaringa Gorge
& Proby's Grave, Cradock
& 'Outback Tour, Death Rock
Waterhole, Flinders Ranges National Park
, Bunyeroo Gorge
& Brachina Gorge
, Horrock' Pass Tour, Kanyaka
Ruins & Cemetery
, Moralana Scenic Drive
, Port Augusta
via Horrock's Pass & Pichi Richi Pass
, Warren Gorge
& Dutchman's Stern, Willochra Creek
Ruins, Willow Waters, Yourambulla Caves
There is also a network of private tracks, mostly suitable specifically for 4WD vehicles on station properties for a small fee, throughout the region. These are known as the "The Great 4WD Journeys of the Flinders Ranges".
Take the link to Trek Notes
in this region to find out more about these self-drive tours through the Flinders Ranges
is the most notable natural feature of the region. Often mistaken for a volcanic crater it is in fact a natural amphitheatre 11km long and 5km wide. All camping in Wilpena is with private operators, as it is for Arkaroola.
The vegetation is very dependant on rainfall and soils with much of the area falling in a semi-arid or arid zone. Salt marsh, mallee and savannah formations are frequent and harsh red ranges are lightly covered with spinifex. Valleys have flourished since the grazing has ceased and now eucalypts, native pines and sheoaks abound. River beds bear massive red river gums. In spring or after good rains, the Flinders becomes a delight with a transformation from a dry and rocky landscape to lush fields of wildflowers
and green grass. Wildlife in the Flinders is also abundant with emus, wedgetail eagles, red and grey
kangaroos, blue tongue lizards, snakes and all sorts of reptiles.
The best way to experience the Flinders is on foot. There are countless excellent tracks throughout the region ranging from 10 minutes - many days. The Heysen Trail is one of Australia
's premier long-distance walking tracks. It starts 110km south of Adelaide
and wanders through the Mt Lofty Ranges to Parachilna Gorge
in northern Flinders Ranges
. The total walking distance is 1500km. The trail is closed during the heat of summer (1st November - 30 March). You can get details about the track at most good map stores or locally in the region