Depending on which main road you are driving on to do this scenic drive, it is either 23 kilometres north of Hawker
on the Main Hawker
Road or 45 north of Hawker
on the Main Hawker
Road. Like any drive through the Flinders, it is better to take your time and enjoy the changing and stunning views as you drive in the shadows of the ranges and then come out into open pastoral country. The only small detour from this main track is the sign posted road to Blacks Gap. From the Black Gap car park, it is a 12 kilometre hike back to Wilpena Pound
Continuing further west you will pass the restored and historic ‘Old Cueing Yards’. These old yards were built in the 1870’s to hold the bullocks for “cueing” (shoeing). The bullocks were used to bring the large native pines from the Flinders Ranges
, which were used in the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line. Continuing still further west, the larges and widest creek is crossed, the Moralana Creek. In times of very wet weather and flooding, this creek will be impassable, with evidence of debris wedged into the forks of the large River Red Gum that are in the creek. With 2 more grids to cross, it is the junction of the main Hawker
road. From here you have the choice of heading north, south or retracing your track and enjoying the scenery from the opposite direction.
How to Use this Trek Note
In this trek note, we provide Place to Place distances (see Directions tab), a downloadable plot file, and POI files to enable you to use this as your driving itinerary, or as a base guide to add other side trips. As with all ExplorOz Trek Notes
, you can reverse the order of the direction notes by clicking the arrow alongside the words Start/Finish at the very top of the information on this page.
To see the route, click on the Map tab. Then use the Moving Map Control to take a virtual tour of the route. You can also click on the "What to See & Do" & "Where to Stay" tabs to see more about each Place that the route follows. Click each listed item to open a separate page (and download) for each Place for further information to enrich your understanding of the area.
If you use the Print button at the top of the page the text from all sections will be reformatted into one easy to read document (except for detailed Place information – do these separately). If you are an ExplorOz Member, you'll also be able to download any individually selected Places
(or all in one batch download) as POI/waypoint files to use in your GPS (all popular formats available).
On the 20th February, 1941, the Government Gazette carried detailed definitions of the boundaries of the states Ranges, including the North and South Flinders Ranges
, as well as the Andamooka
Ranges. The Flinders Ranges
generally provided no surprises, except with the inclusion of Willouran Ranges as an arm north-westwards as far as Cadnia Hill
, which is well north of Lake Torrens
. This inclusion was recommended by the Department of Mines and Energy, as it belongs to the same geological sequence as the main Flinders Ranges
Boundary points were mostly listed as specific hills, each forming an outer limit of the Ranges. The line running through Parachilna Gorge
is the dividing point that defines the South and North Flinders Ranges
. Even though there are two main defines areas of the Flinders Ranges
, the region usually falls into 3 main regions. The southern Flinders is a region defines as below Hawker
, the Central Flinders between Hawker
Road and the northern and drier flinders to the north.
Wildlife in the Flinders Ranges
is very varied. The most common native animals spotted are the Red and Western grey
Kangaroo, which are active at dawn and dusk, and Emus which are active during the day. Those that are lucky may even catch a glimpse of the rare and threatened Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby that make its home in the rock gorges. There are over 60 species of reptiles in the region, with the most common species spotted including the sleepy lizard, skinks, goannas, and Central bearded dragon.
Introduced pest animals that are commonly seen in the Flinders Ranges
will include rabbits, foxes, feral cats, and the most commonly seen feral animal, wild goats. Introduced for their meat and milk by early miners and settlers, they would come to be the most destructive feral animal in the Flinders Ranges
, which is found in most inaccessible areas destroying mature vegetation and preventing regeneration by eating the seedlings.
There is prolific birdlife in the Flinders from the common and raucous galahs and corellas, Mallee Ringneck or Port Lincoln
Parrot. Other species like the Elegant, Scarlet and Red rumped parrots are seen in the woodlands
. Birds of prey are also common, including eagles, kites, falcons, kestrels and harriers. This is just a few of many species that can be seen and if you are a keen bird watcher make sure that you take a bird identification guidebook and a set of binoculars.
The Flinders Ranges
are one of the oldest Mountain Ranges in the world, with fossil evidence dating back over 640 million years and today’s weathered remains of a once great mountain that was once up to 6 kilometres high. For over 15,000 years, these ranges where the home for the local Adnyamathanha Aboriginal people. There are many fine locations in the Flinders Ranges
where their paintings and rock art sites can be viewed and it is well worth the time to visit one of these sites. At the time of European settlement
, it was estimated that there were about 500 aboriginal people living in the Flinders Ranges
The first European to view ‘a chain of rugged mountains’ was Matthew Flinders in March 1802, on board the “Investigator”, while charting the coastline of Spencer Gulf, during his circumnavigation voyage of Terra Australia
, to see if the Eastern and Western coastlines of Australia
were in fact 2 separate islands, as thought by many at the time, or one large continent.
The next European to see and visit the still unnamed mountainous area was Edward John Eyre
in 1839, who undertook a series of exploration expeditions to the Flinders Ranges
over the next two years. The travels of Eyre
proved very successful, and he named a number of features during his visits. In a letter dated 10th July 1839 by the then Governor of South Australia
, Governor Gawler
to Colonel Torrens, which was published on page 3 of the Government Gazette, dated 11 July 1839, Governor Gawler
described the work of explorer, Edward Eyre
and advised that he had named the mountain range ‘Flinders Ranges
’, after their discoverer.
In 1851 Benjamin Babbage was appointed by Earl Grey
, at the South Australian government’s request, to make a Geological and Mineralogical Survey of the Colony. Babbage was appointed Commissioner of Gold licences and in 1853 government assayer. In 1856 Babbage was sent north to search for gold as far as the Flinders Ranges
. He found none, but discovered MacDonnell River, Blanchewater and Mount Hopeful and was able to dispel the current idea of the impassability of Eyre
’s horseshoe shaped Lake Torrens
by ascertaining the existence of a north-east gap to the Cooper and Gulf country
. Babbage had actually crossed the gap
, but it was Peter Egerton Warburton, using Babbage’s detailed information to traverse this gap completely.
With the opening up and settlement in the Flinders Ranges
, South Australian’s were looking for Copper throughout the region. By the late 1850’s a large copper ore deposit was discovered in Blinman
. The Blinman
mine then was worked on and off over the next 20 years, but was never a profitable venture to continue. Many other sites in the Flinders opened, all with the thoughts of finding that mother load. Sites like Nuccaleena, Sliding Rock, Prince Alfred, and Yudnamutana were just some of the sites that showed promise, but petered out after a few short years after mining commenced.
Copper was not the only mineral of importance that was discovered in the Flinders Ranges
. There were a number of gold fields discovered, as well as silver and lead. Mining is still undertaken in the Flinders Ranges
today, with coal, barites, talc and uranium being mined at various locations.
This is not a hard track, but another chance to enjoy the scenery of the Flinders. As this route will be incorporated while visiting the Flinders Ranges
, no special preparation is required, other than a tank full of fuel and good tyres. The Wilpena Pound
Information Centre and shop
can supply all basic needs, from fuel to food and water, as well as basic camping gear.
The tracks throughout the Flinders are well known to damage tyres, so take your time and drive to the track conditions. Good tyres are a therefore a must, and also consider carrying adequate recovery gear and tyre repair kits, etc. In the event of wet weather, care must be taken and there may be water through the creeks.
Carry a quality first aid
kit and take a range of reliable communications equipment such as UHF Radios, Satellite phone, PLB, and navigation equipment such as a GPS Unit (or a laptop running OziExplorer
with some updated digital maps
). You could also consider taking some recent hard copy maps as well.
Any time of the year in the Flinders can be rewarding, but the cooler winter months of Southern Australia
make the best time for any foot activities in the Flinders. Please take the time of year and weather conditions into account, and carry adequate clothing, hats, sunscreen, quality hiking boots, etc. If the winter and spring rains have been good, the wildflowers are also a very rewarding.
Police: (08) 8648 4028
Ambulance : 000
Fire/CFS – Wilpena
: (08) 8648 0049
Fire/CFS – Hawker
: (08) 8648 4065Wilpena
Visitor Centre: (08) 8648 0048
Office: (08) 8648 0049
Even though this Scenic Drive passes through two Stations, namely Arkaba
and Merna Mora Stations, no permits are required. Drivers are not permitted to deviate from the main route and camping is also banned.
Fuel Supplies & Usage
Best Time To Visit
Any time of the year in the Flinders can be rewarding, but the cooler months of Southern Australia
between April and October make the best time for driving and camping in the Flinders Ranges
Closest Climatic Station
Distance from Trek Mid Point 28.26km S
|Mean Max. °C
|Mean Min. °C
|Mean Rain mm
Best time to travel Ok time to travel Travel NOT recommended