Flinders Ranges National Park, SA

By Mischa Vickas | May 16, 2014

Whether you walk, cycle or climb, there are many ways to get up, down and around South Australia’s largest mountain range.

The remote Flinders Ranges are a treasure trove of South Australia’s geological, natural and cultural heritage, with a history dating back much further than when Matthew Flinders explored it in 1802.

They are part of an ancient and dramatic mountain landscape dating back 540 million years. En route, you will pass crumbling homesteads and abandoned livestock stations, relics of European settlement following Flinders’s expedition. Venture into the ranges to discover the region’s flora and fauna – including echidnas, wedge-tailed eagles and desert lizards – as well as the history of the Adnyamathanha, the Aboriginal people who have lived in the region for thousands of years.

Activities

Bushwalking: Walks cater for all experience levels. Hikes include the one-hour Drought Busters walk (learn how plants survive water shortages) at the base of Wilpena Pound; the St Mary Peak Hike to the ranges’ highest point (1171m); and sections of the Heysen Trail.

Mountain biking: The 900km Mawson Trail traverses the park along fire-access trails, roads and farm tracks. Historic towns and the Barossa wine region are also highlights.

Rock climbing: Moonarie is a remote, 2km section of cliff along the south-eastern side of Wilpena Pound with more than 400 routes for experienced climbers.

The essentials

Location: Flinders Ranges National Park is 450km north of Adelaide between the townships of Hawker and Blinman. Entry is $10.

Accommodation: Park camp grounds are accessible by car, 4WD or foot. Many have toilets and require an honesty-fee of, at most, $13 per night. More comfortable lodgings can be found at Wilpena Pound Resort or at livestock stations such as Rawnsley Park, Willow Springs and Gum Creek.

Food/drink: Hawker and Blinman have shops, cafes and pubs.

Points of interest: The 100sq.km natural rock basin of Wilpena Pound; ancient Aboriginal art at Arkaroo Rock and Sacred Canyon; natural and geological history at Brachina Gorge.

Maps: Walking and camping maps can be found at the service station in Hawker or at the park’s visitors centre. Buy cycling maps from Bicycle SA.

More info: www.environment.sa.gov.au; www.southaustralia.com