24 Dec Perfect Outback Adventure – Flinders Ranges National Park, SA
Four-wheel driving, outback camping, caravanning, seemingly endless drives into the vast wilderness, kayaking, going down on mines… the list is long but the days are short so you might want to stay longer than a couple of days at Flinders Ranges National Park to make the most out of it.
The ranges are where the fun is at when you have your 4WD. 4WD tracks run all over the area in varying difficulties and the rugged mountains provide such an adventure that even the beginner 4WD drivers will enjoy.
What outback experience wouldn’t be complete without a great walk? While there are plenty of walking paths around the park, the most rewarding has to be the one leading to Wilpena Pound. This stately natural structure leaves a lot of people wonderstruck. Apart from the fantastic views, this walk is also a great way to observe the range’s thriving wildlife.
There are also easier walking trails that last 2 hours at the most: Hills Homestead Walk, Living with Land Walk, Sacred Canyon Walk, and Wilpena Solar Power Station Walk.
Cyclists also have a few trails that they can follow but the Mawson Trail is a must-go. Unfortunately, the recent fires have rendered the road unusable in the meantime but the park authorities are exploring reroutes. Stay up to date here.
If you prefer to drive because of the heat, drive through Bunyeroo Gorge to Razor Lookout which will give you a spectacular panoramic view of the pound. Another scenic drive that you must not miss is the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail which you can take on without a guide.
For a bit of history, go on the Blinman Mine Heritage tour. The 2-hour guided tour will provide you with insight to the hardships of the era. Plus, the storytelling by the staff is compelling and informative giving the tour great educational value.
Where to camp
There is no shortage of campgrounds in this park. There are plenty of caravan parks including Almerta Station, Bendleby Ranges, Beautiful Valley, and Crystal Brook among many others. These parks offer basic facilities like toilets, showers, camp kitchens, and sometimes more. Fees start at $5 per night for kids and $25 per night for adults.
You can also venture into the park itself and stay in the campgrounds within. Wilpena Pound Campground is popular due to its proximity to the park’s number one attraction. Brachina Gorge also has a campground that’s ideal for bush camping. Because the park is popular and well-visited, even these campgrounds provide basic facilities.
Camping fees are separate from the fee you pay upon entering the park. Fees for unpowered sites begin at $15 per night for adults.
It’s best to go between April and October when temperatures are mild so activities like cycling and walking remain comfortable. If you are going to brave the summer heat, be doubly prepared as temperatures can reach 45ºC.
Most campgrounds have drinking water but don’t forget to bring your water treatment tablets just to be sure, or at least to boil water that you collect from taps.
Top Image Source: Ian Cochrane – flickr.com