Flinders Ranges?

Submitted: Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 16:01
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Hi all
Got a few questions about traveling around the Flinders Ranges..
We will be finishing a trip with two other couples in Birdsville, but still have 3 weeks to get home, near Canberra..
After leaving Bv, we wanted to go to the dig tree, Innamincka, and Cameron corner, then, thinking about heading down the Strzelecki track, and starting off going to Arkaroola, without going all the way to Leigh Creek, and working our way south from there..
Google maps says Mooba to Arkaroola is roughly 450km.. But something like 20 hours.. Would this be correct?
When done in the Flinders, Broken Hill, and if time Mungo...Then home.. If anyone who has experience in the Flinders, could give us a heads up, on "must see" areas, we would love to hear about it, and travel times.. We will be tenting it, and not towing the ct this time round.. Any suggestions, that would help with our planning this trip, would be fantastic.. Cheers Odog
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Reply By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 16:15

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 16:15
Hi Odog
We have just come back from 10 days in the Flinders and had a ball. Really spectacular scenery and some great walking & 4WDriving if that interests you.
We stayed at a few different stations such as Rawnsley Park, Willow Springs, Warraweena, and Merna Mora. For us the stations were great as we don't need power and love to have a campfire and like some peace & quiet. Merna mora was the cheapest at $15 pn, others were around $25 pn.
We only touched the surface of the Flinders and would love to come back again soon.
Enjoy your trip, cheers Geoff
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 16:22

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 16:22
Love the flinders and there is so much to see. Arkaroola you have mentioned. Gammon Ranges, Willow Springs Skytrek, Climb St Marys Peak at Wilpena Pound, stay at Rawnsley Park and do the walk to the top of Rawnsley Bluff.

Have a great trip

Tjilpi
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Reply By: oetkb - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 16:32

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 16:32
We were in the Flinders ranges and Arkaroola a few years ago and unfortunately have to admit we were a little disappointed. The scenery is spectacular but unfortunately its very touristy and crowded. There were a few tracks we wanted to drive but to do them was going to cost $80 to drive myself or we could jump in their 4WD (which was the same as theirs) and pay a bucket load of money to do their trip.
The kick in the pants was that my wife had been there as a youngster and had all these great places to show me but they were all now MVO tracks.
We did happen to find a place Called Beltana station that's just south of Leigh creek. We stayed there for a few nights and got talking to the owners, They supplied us with a map of the station with some good driving routes. We did 3 days of driving returning back to base camp every night and it was amazing.
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Follow Up By: Bob R4 - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 17:11

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 17:11
I think the only 4WD track which is closed to the public is the Ridge Top Tour. This can be done in their vehicles as a paying passenger, and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. Can't remember the cost when we did it , but thought it was excellent value. Certainly wouldn't have attempted it myself, nor take my vehicle there. View is stunning at the top of Sziller's Lookout.

Other tracks are good 4WD tracks and take you to some spectacular gorges and historic sites on fairly good tracks. Some can take a good half day the traverse, more if stopping to admire the views and wildlife, with a few challenging sections, but not too daunting.
Probably best described as nice scenic drives requiring something more than a 2 wheel drive.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 21:53

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 21:53
Ridge Top Tour is currently $155 pp.
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Reply By: Member - Terry W4 - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 17:05

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 17:05
Owen

Did two trips to the Flinders last year. There are many parts you can see without paying money. Arkaroola is a must see and there are some good drives out and around the village.
In the Flinders itself all of the gorges are worth a drive and I agree with others about Rawnsley Park.

When are you planning on going? My May trip with my brother experienced some cold nights but nice around a campfire. The Sept/Oct with Annie and daughter it got quite hot - unseasonal in fact and was up to 42 at Arkaroola.

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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 18:24

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 18:24
It's probably been 15 years since we drove from Innamincka to Arkaroola, but we easily did it in a day with plenty of daylight hours to set up and a bit of stopping on the way.
Depending on your requirements, have a look at remote camping at Arkaroola rather than the desolate looking camping area (or it was 15 years ago)
We enjoyed our too short a time there.

Mark
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Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 at 16:00

Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 at 16:00
I agree with Mark's comments.Innamincka to Arkaroola (via the Mt Hopeless track) is doable in a day, even with our off-road caravan attached.. Flinders is beautiful with incredible scenery. Call into Chambers Gorge south of Arkaroola.
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Reply By: Member - Geoff B (NSW) - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 18:48

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 18:48
Last July drove Arkaroola to Innamincka in about 6-7 hours with kids in tow - so not pushing it at all. In 2010 - after being stuck out at Cullymurra for 6 days we were one of the first to leave Innamincka and the Strez was a much slower, slippery proposition on that ocassion!
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Reply By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 20:32

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 20:32
Hi Odog,
I would suggest the 20 hours travel time quoted would be a trip around the 'main' roads down through Lyndhurst, Copely and back through Nepabunna to Arkaroola. You will turn off the Strzelecki track near Mt Hopless and as above will take you around 7 hours.
I would suggest after you leave Arkaroola you travel to Blinman then through Parachilna Gorge to Parachilna then south to Brachina Gorge and Bunyeroo Drive then enter Wilpena pound, from there travel via Moralanna scenic drive through to the Hawker-Leigh Creek road to Hawker. The travel time for all that would only be about 6 to 8 hours but I'm sure you could enjoy a couple of nights camping and sight seeing along the way, there is also plenty of short walks and even the odd meal at either the Blinman or Parachilna pubs (Blinman would be my pick).
I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Cheers
Graham
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 22:17

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 22:17
Hi Graham

I would rather travel to Blinman via Chambers Gorge, then to Parachilna via Glass Gorge.

Seeing you are a local up that way, what do you think of my way?


Cheers



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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 06:14

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 06:14
Hi Stephen,
Just came back from working near Chambers Gorge they haven't received as much rain there as the surrounding areas and it is not as green as the rest of the Flinders but certainly worth a visit. I was thinking of some of the side tracks when I posted, like Nuccaleena, Sacred Canyon and Aroona Valley but where do you stop?
Any way it's all good out there and you'll probably see plenty to come back for next time.
Keep warm in Clare
Cheers
Graham
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 08:51

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 08:51
Hi Graham from a hot and dusty Clare..........not

Yes the places you listed are a must visit for sure and I was only telling some people at work yesterday about visiting Nuccaleena and how you must follow the creek after the old hotel ruins. Not sure what the weather is like your way, but it sure has been wet and cool.....I had a phone call yesterday from on of our customers up in Leigh Creek and they were saying, it was full sun, not a cloud in the sky, while at the very same time here in Clare, the heavens were opening up.

Seeing yesterday was not going to be wet here in Clare, we ended up with 11mm of rain with heavy rain predicted on Wednesday. As for keeping warm, the slow combustion heater has been running 24/7 for the last 7 weeks and it is always a very warm 24 degrees in the house.


All the best.


Cheers


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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 20:49

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 20:49
A quick look on my map suggests that it's about 350k from Moomba to Arkaroola (down the Strzelecki to the Mt Hopeless corner, left to Moolawatana, on to Balcanoona and a right up to Arkaroola)*. For me it would be a leisurely day's drive...I take it easy and enjoy the drive (usually). As for the Flinders / Gammons Nat Parks.....we have been there many times and never tire of the region....if you are interested in the natural environment, the geology is astounding and the wildlife can be impressive too. I'm not into paying silly dollars to 4WD the ridges - much happier enjoying national park campgrounds and trekking here and there. As for the locations....Arkaroola is great, with plenty to see....the staff there will provide first class info on activities...it's $25 unpowered for 2 people in the caravan park / campground. Next door in the Gammon Ranges NP we have enjoyed Grindle's Hut and Weetootla camp grounds....quality walking around there. As for your possible run home via Broken Hill and Mungo - the run from Balcanoona to Yunta via Frome Downs offers nothing but driving* (I venture to say :-)...then more 'just driving' to the Hill and Mungo. Maybe Broken Hill and Mungo might suit another trip better and on this one you could drift over to the Brachina Gorge precinct in the Flinders Ranges National Park ?....more astounding scenery and geology (and heaps of interpretive signage). And.... Wilpena Pound is only just down the road. But then...I'm a Flinders tragic...where else can you see 550MYO stromatolites, 700MYO glacial mud....debris from the Lake Acraman asteroid impact, (ploughed into Eyre Peninsula 580 MY ago) ? ....and then (there's more :-)....at night you can look up and see other galaxies (I'll stop selling now :-).
As for driving times....rain aside of course, the roads out there can be very good 'gravel cruising'....maybe allow an average of 60kph, which allows for a few short stops, a bit of lunch and a look at this n that.
*Some of those outback runs in the region seem to be literally in the 'middle of nowhere'....a proper assessment of weather, road conditions, supplies and distance communications in case of breakdown is a necessity in my view (sorry, if you already right into that).....have a great time.
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Reply By: Nifty1 - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 21:53

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 21:53
We were at Arkaroola last month. We were initially hesitant about paying $155 a head for the Ridgetop Tour (yep it's that expensive) but it really was a highlight. At Arkaroola I bought a copy of Reg Sprigg's book "Geology Is Fun" which I thought looked more like a kids book, but it has been an entertaining read with parts of it way beyond me. I now realise how much we missed seeing in the area and will return before long. I suggest you do some reading before you go (Ediacaran fossils for a start). Try to get Doug Sprigg as your driver/guide and get him talking, as he is a mine of information about so many things (uranium, radium, thorium, uranium lifecycle politics, the increased safety of single engine aircraft over twin engines, why females are safer pilots, the natural nuclear reactor lake in Africa, the use of Lake Frome as the standard white colour for satellite imaging, then the trees, animals, mines and minerals in the area (and we had only a couple of hours with him). For a bit of after-dark entertainment go with him to the observatory and take a look at the Sombrero Galaxy, 20 million light-years away. He can also put a bit of long-term perspective on global warming for you.
Do the copper mine tour at Blinman, and try to get to Farina where there is excellent camping close to the ruins. Plenty of good camping in the Brachina and Parachilna Gorges - Wilpena was a bit touristy and we didn't get to the other stations this trip. For a laugh, drop in on Talc Alf near Copley, and have a quandong pie for me at the Copley caravan park.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 22:22

Monday, Jun 06, 2016 at 22:22
Hi Odog,

It does not matter how many times you go to the Flinders, you will never get sick of visiting the area, as there is just so much to see.

Just do not rush the drive, and give yourself lots of time to explore.


Enjoy the fantastic Flinders.



Cheers




Stephen
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 16:11

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 16:11
Thank you all so much, plenty of info amoungst all that, I'm sure we will sort through it, and figure out our plan of attack..
Sue and I both love history, and how nature creates her master pieces... Just hope Sue doesn't collect to many rocks.. Usually sea shells, but can be like a bower bird, check her pockets before she gets back in the car.. Ha..
I'm sure we will both be in awe of the intire area.. Thank you again for all your help.. Cheers Owen n Sue
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Follow Up By: Member - Terry W4 - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2016 at 17:10

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2016 at 17:10
Owen

I will lend you Mr Stuart's Track. A great history of Stuart's treks through the centre via the Flinders Ranges.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 16:20

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016 at 16:20
We spent almost two weeks on just a brief drive through, because we were on our way home from Tasmania. Some highlights included:

The scenic folds of endless and soft coloured ranges around Wilpena Pound.

Brachina Gorge drive with the geology trail of any different geological formations marked.

Paralana Radioactive Hot Springs on Arkaroola. Paralana is one of the three most radioactive naturally occurring places in the world and the only radioactive spring found in Australia.
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