Flinders must do's?

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 11:48
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We are heading off in a couple of weeks. Seeing Currawinya, Wanaaring Cameron Corner, then down through Mt Hopeless rd into Arkaroola, Wilpena, then back to Brisbane via the Darling river run.
I would be most interested to hear from the old hands about which tracks/self guided drives/walks/historical sites/camps you would most recommend. Australia is a huge place and chances are we might not be back to some of those parts again.
We haven't made any bookings as most places say don't worry if camping on unpowered sites?
Thankyou for your help.
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Reply By: Bob R4 - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 14:11

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 14:11
What vehicle, trailer/camper/tent? How much time for Arkaroola, Flinders?
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 15:02

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 15:02
Ranger towing an mdc rear fold
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 14:32

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 14:32
Hi gbc

The biggest thing will be time. If you have not been to the Flinders before, you will need weeks to fully explore the countless places to visit, and even then you still will not see it all.

I personally prefer the lower Flinders, which has far more drivable tracks and more tracks to explore....just my personal view.

Seeing you will be in the area shorty, your first priority must be Farina....just unreal and the underground bakery will be in full swing for the best fresh bread and pastries and two good four wheel drive tracks to do.

If you are into real four wheel driving, there are countless great tracks to tackle that will test your four wheel driving skills. There are two very good caravan parks in the Wilpena area, Rawnsley Park and Wilpena Pound. Both are great and will cater for all your needs.

Enjoy a very special part of South Australia that we never tire of visiting.



Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 15:05

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 15:05
Thankyou Stephen,
That is just what I was after. We canned this trip after the wet weather last year so are very excited
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 14:08

Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 14:08
"your first priority must be Farina....just unreal and the underground bakery will be in full swing".

Things must have changed since this time last year. The lady in the underground bakery stated that they could no longer cook down there as the Health Dept had shut that part of the operation down due to the ? lack of running water down there.

Still an interesting part of local history.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 16:21

Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 16:21
Hi Zippo

In the latest newsletter from the Farina Restoration Group, they mentioned that the bakery will be open again for the next 8 weeks.

They have done work on the wood burner box to make in more economical on wood and cooking better.


Cheers




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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 05:58

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 05:58
We have changed our route to now go all the way down the strez and on to Farina first then down to the national parks. Thankyou.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 13:27

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 13:27
Stephen, when we passed through the "bakery" was operating as an above-ground tent affair - mainly feeding the restoration crew - and the lady who showed us around the underground was fairly clear that it was definitely a thing of the past.

I'd suggest anyone contemplating visiting there should contact the group to ascertain the current situation if the bakery status is important. The overall historical aspect of the entire townsite is worthwhile on its own of course, and the restoration work is great to see.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 21:31

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 21:31
Hi Zippo

The Tent affair that you are talking about is not the bakery, but the shop where the goods are sold. Here is a press release from April this year that shows that the Underground Bakery is alive and going well, and is going to be redeveloped.

Please read this link for full details.



Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: gbc - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 at 05:56

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 at 05:56
I confirm the 'scotch oven' underground bakery is open for business and roaring. Farina was amazing, thankyou Stephen for sending us there. A day isn't enough. Of course we brought some rain with us from qld so the locals were happy. Currently sitting in wilpena resort for a few days walking and driving. Apart from smashing (again) the rear window of the ARB ute canopy we are having a ball. We might need a stone stomper as well as all the barriers we already have.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 at 11:08

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 at 11:08
Thanks for that follow-up, and pleased to see the bakery is back in business.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 at 14:19

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 at 14:19
Hi gbc

Glad to hear you enjoyed Farina, and now you see why I advise anyone passing by to stay there, and spend the time to look over the place.

It is one of those places that if you are not told about it, it is very easy to overlook.

We have stayed there a good number of times and it is always great.

I can smell that fresh bread from here, it is just fantastic.


Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: Bob R4 - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 15:52

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 15:52
Arkaroola can be sampled in 3 days. If you can, the ridgetop tour will give you a life-long memory. Their vehicle, and about $120 pp, but well worth it.
Other self drive tracks are great to get amongst the area, with a lot of history, both ancient and modern to experience.
Plenty of wildlife and birdlife.
The Flinders?
Well Stephen has covered the subject. The reality is extraordinary.

Bob
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 18:01

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 18:01
We have a rough time allowance, will skew it for more time down south. Thankyou.
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Reply By: Member - Megan and Kevin D - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 17:48

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 17:48
Hi
I suggest you consider the National Parks campsites in the Flinders and the Gammon Ranges (Chambers Gorge comes to mind). We stayed at three different ones in 2014. They provide very basic facilities but are quiet, spacious and wonderfully unlike caravan parks.
Megan
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 18:00

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 18:00
Thankyou Megan, we aren't caravan park types either. I will research them.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 18:37

Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 at 18:37
We visited the Flinders early December 2016. Thoroughly recommend Rawnsley Park. Great caravan park with an outstanding camp kitchen. Willow Springs and its SkyTrek drive is definitely worth a visit. The caravan park at Willow Springs has a great camp kitchen but is not as well developed as Rawnsley Park, however the SkyTrek drive will test you and your vehicle.
The RidgeTop Tour at Arkaroola is also good but I heard that it only goes half way due to road damage. Check before you visit. The caravan park at Arkaroola is a real disappointment however.
Brachina Gorge is interesting and is worth travelling in both directions. The main disappointment with the Gorge is that the signage needs some attention.Moralana Drive is also worth a drive especially the eastern section.
Sacred Canyon is somewhat over rated. Long drive for little of interest at the end. On the other hand Wilpena Homestead was very interesting as was the Aroona Ruins Historic Site.
Robert
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 06:56

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 06:56
Great time of year to visit..................NO FLIES AND NICE AND GREEN....WARM DAYS AND COLD NIGHTS!!!
http://www.warraweena.com/
Warraweena, Prospectors Camp Site (unpowered). Alongside a huge river bed with huge gums and private. Great 4wd tracks from easy to medium. Historic tracks as well. Ask for Stoney when booking. You may have to carry extra fuel in to do all the tracks then double back to Leigh Creek to refuel. Beltana roadhouse is now closed.
http://www.beltana.org.au/history
On the way in Beltana is an old historical town well worth seeing.
Blinman guided mine tour 40min from Wilpena. Today they can mine in 4weeks what took them 40 years back in the day
Skytreck is ok but be prepared for an 6-8hr drive to do the track if you really want to appreciate the sites and views.
Theres a few old cemeteries on between Leigh Creek and Hawker well worth checking out, including a few out the back tracks of Hawker........over the hills but not to far away.
A must visit is Sarah's place 5mins up from Sky Trek. Well preserved ruins from the 1800's.........Farmers vs Miners............excellent history write ups on each ruin.

The hardest 4wd track is in the south.........http://www.bendlebyranges.com.au/4wd-tracks/
Billy Goat Track....mostly 4/10 for difficulty with one 6/10.
2nd most difficult track is at Warraweena
3rd is Rawnsley Park 2nd half of track
http://www.rawnsleypark.com.au/experiences/4wd-self-drive-tours/
4th is Skytreck
http://www.skytrekwillowsprings.com.au/self-drive-skytrek.html
5th is Merna Mora Station
http://www.mernamora.com.au/tracks.htm
Each track has their magical views.
If you're in Hawker.........Try Quandong Milk Chocolate.....expensive but mmmmmm.
Have a great time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 07:21

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 07:21
Thankyou for taking the time. Very much obliged. We are forming a plan.
We have a petrol cruiser coming along. He should be right for fuel at arkaroola and back at wilpena? He will be carrying jerrys from the first part of the run.
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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 07:34

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 07:34
I gather you will be coming in from the north. Fill at Leigh Creek prior to Warraweena and watch out for Emu's coming in.
Petrol cruiser (140L) will still need extra fuel if going into Warraweena and doing most of the tracks then back out. I'd take an extra 40L which then you may not have to double back to Leigh Creek and continue south to Hawker to re-fuel.

You may need close to a full day from Leigh Creek to Warraweena due to plenty of historical things to explore in between.
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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 07:38

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 07:38
Also check weather conditions prior to heading to Warraweena. If rain is forecast the track in can be impassable.
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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 07:46

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 07:46
Fuel stops from the north heading south
leigh creek
Hawker is pretty much the central hub of the Flinders.
Then east of Hawker
Wilpena pound resort
Blinman
Further south of Hawker
Orroroo which is just out from the Bellamy Ranges
Google map these places so you can get your bearings and distances between everything
Cheers
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Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 08:35

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 08:35
Thankyou once again. We are coming from merty down the strez to the mt hopeless turnoff then into arkaroola from the east. If arkaroola has petrol he will be all good. Then down to the flinders proper and more fuel at hawker.
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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 08:46

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 08:46
Just a note on Blinman. You might like to double check but we noted last December that there was no fuel available.
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Follow Up By: Member - rooster350 - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 09:05

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 09:05
There is no fuel at Blinman,but the pies are great ,and Chambers Gorge is very good , and the Ridgetop tour stops about 400m from the end because the track is unsafe at the moment..the dozer that was working on it broke down...but our driver (Alf) told us that we did not miss much and we were very fortunate to do the tour in a landcruiser as we were the only 2 going that Sunday morning, the afternoon group went in a troopy. We were there 2 weeks ago
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 14:12

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 14:12
Hi

Sky Trek is far too expensive for only 12 kilometres of real four wheel driving.

Arkapena, Arden Hills Drive, and the Merna Mora drives are far superior in both scenery and driving conditions and depending on which drive, can be half the price of Sky Trek.

Just my thoughts



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Stephen
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Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Jun 10, 2017 at 15:48

Saturday, Jun 10, 2017 at 15:48
" Sky Trek is far too expensive for only 12 kilometres of real four wheel driving."

Have they made any changes to it recently? I drove around it three years ago in a standard Hilux and I did not think any of it was even close to being difficult. .
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jun 10, 2017 at 20:33

Saturday, Jun 10, 2017 at 20:33
Hi Splits

The original Skeytrek was great and we drove it 4 time, was just over 60 kilometres in length and at least 6 hours.

The new Skytrek is now over 80 kilometres in length and of that, the last 12 kilometres only in true four wheel drive country, with the rest on flat,easy station tracks.


Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: splits - Sunday, Jun 11, 2017 at 15:08

Sunday, Jun 11, 2017 at 15:08
"The new Skytrek is now over 80 kilometres in length and of that, the last 12 kilometres only in true four wheel drive country, with the rest on flat,easy station tracks."

Thanks Stephen

I saw the original on DVDs but did not get to drive on it.

Our lap took seven hours. Some of it was 4wd only but if it was the same 12 ks that you said was true 4wd then we found it to be easy.

I was talking to the owner the next day and mentioned it was not all that difficult to drive on. He said what I expected him to say and that was he could not deliberately make it difficult and needing modified 4wds to get over it because it would reduce the number of people that would be able to do it, some would be getting stuck and he would be constantly out recovering cars.

It was the only private track that I have driven on but I would do it again if I am ever get out that way on future trips.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 11, 2017 at 18:38

Sunday, Jun 11, 2017 at 18:38
Hi Splits

When I say true four wheel drive country, I mean that it was first and second low range and impossible to do without low range.

I believe that it is a real money cow for the Reynolds family, and half their luck for have that great country that they open up to the general public. The day that we last did the new drive, there were over 40 paying vehicles on the track and speaking to anothrr chap 3 days later, they had 70 vehicles on the track.

On the other hand, other payable tracks in the Flinders, eg Arkapena, the Merna Mora tracks, Arden Hills etc can be low range from the moment you hit the track and require far driver concentration.

As for doing it again, I can point you in the right direction for better tracks to drive.




Cheers



Stephen
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Reply By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 10:57

Friday, Jun 09, 2017 at 10:57
Don't forget the walk up St Mary's Peak for fantastic views over Wilpena Pound and beyond. Returning via the track inside the Pound will take you past the Old Hills Homestead.
AnswerID: 611778

Reply By: gbc - Saturday, Jun 10, 2017 at 18:11

Saturday, Jun 10, 2017 at 18:11
Thankyou all. I spent all day installing a diesel heater into the trailer. I have no doubt we will appreciate it.
AnswerID: 611809

Reply By: ian.g - Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 14:35

Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 14:35
Coming or going if you are going to do Currawinya and the Darling River run make sure you spend at least a couple of days at kilcowera Station Stay which will allow you to do one of their self drive tours and to see lake Wyara from the western side which you can't do when camping in the National Park. Very comfortable camp grounds at Kilcowera and excellent hosts in Toni & Greg. Log onto the Kilcowera web site and check it out, they are also a Member of ExplorOz.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 15:04

Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 15:04
We were booked at kilcowera this time last year until the heavens opened. We were teeing up a drive through Currawinya into some of the newly resumed properties then around to kilcowera. Unfortunately this run is Flinders-centric and we won't have more than a day or two at Currawinya. We love that part of the world though and will get to the station eventually.
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Reply By: ChrisVal7 - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 05:09

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 05:09
We travelled the route from Wilpena up to Arkaroola, to Mt Hopeless and onto the Strzelecki, Merty Merty, Camerons Corner and Noccundra Waterhole only a couple of weeks ago. The roads were in good condition but in some patches had been chopped up badly by folk driving through before recent rains had dried out. Should be fine now unless they've had more rain.

One thing to look out for is the SA National Parks mob have introduced online bookings for camping in parks camps. This takes full effect in all parks on 1 July. If camping at Cullyamurra on the Cooper you must book before you leave internet land and know what dates you will be there. Or alternatively drive all the way in to Innamincka and pay there at the Tavern. This affects Weetootla Gorge near Arkaroola as well as Innamincka and all the campsites near Wilpena.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 06:00

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 at 06:00
I'm onto it. We had to book Currawinya online too. Thankyou.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 at 08:28

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 at 08:28
It may have been mentioned, but didn't notice it.
PARs (public access routes) in SA are usually very interesting route or detour options.

http://www.rawnsleypark.com.au/assets/PDFs/5178-4wd-A4-web-FINAL.pdf

http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/files/sharedassets/sa_arid_lands/land/rangelands-public-access-routes-fact.pdf

http://www.4wdsa.asn.au/?page=pars

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