The Flinders Ranges National Park covers much of the central Flinders Ranges. With its stunning scenery, deep valleys and gorges, this area belongs to the top tourist attractions in Outback South Australia.
You can easily spend a week or two in the national park and the surrounding areas without getting bored. There is so much to do and see.
The Flinders Ranges National Park is located approximately 450 km north of Adelaide, between the townships of Hawker and Blinman.
The park begins about 40 km north of Hawker and about 13 km south of Blinman.
Access from the western Hawker to Leigh Creek road is through scenic drives and stunning gorges.
There is a entry and camping fee to be paid at various self-registration stations at park boundaries.
Wood fires are only permitted in designated areas at campgrounds outside the fire danger season. It is not allowed to collect fire wood in the park.
During the fire danger season (November to March) gas fires can be used except on days of total fire bans.
Best time to visit
The Flinders Ranges National Park can be visited all year round, each season has its own charm. You should be aware that summers can be hot, but it is usually a dry and bearable heat. However, this might not be the best season for bushwalking.
Spring is famous for the abundance of wildflowers in the national park.
Rainfall is usually low, however, when it comes, flooding can occur.
Spring and autumn: 13-25 degrees C (55-77 degrees F)
Winter: 8-18 degrees C (46-64 degrees F)
Summer: 26-38 degrees C (79-100 degrees F)
The road from Hawker to Blinman, including the access road to Wilpena Pound, is fully sealed. All other public roads are unsealed but usually suitable for 2WD vehicles and caravans. Of course, conditions can change after rain, so check at the info centre at Wilpena for the latest conditions.
Important: Be aware that many national parks in South Australia close due to pest control a few times during the year.
Please check on South Australia's National Parks website to see if the parks are open at your time of travel.
Closure of the Flinders Ranges National Park usually won't affect the Hawker to Blinman Road, the Wirrealpa Road to Arkaroola and access to Wilpena Pound Resort and Campground.
Visitor Information Centre
Wilpena Pound has a good visitor centre where you get all info you need to know for your visit, including permits for the park.
Wilpena Pound is the main attraction in the park. The pound is a saucer-shaped structure of mountains with rough and rocky peaks around the rim. It looks like a natural amphitheatre. On the outside, the walls rise steeply up to 500 m, while inside they slope gently away from the peaks.
Take a scenic flight from Wilpena pound resort. It is the best way to appreciate this stunning natural monument.
Wilpena Pound is a paradise for bushwalkers. St. Mary Peak (1190 m) at the north-western side of the pound is the highest peak. The views from the top are amazing.
Wangarra lookout, the old homestead, Sliding Rock and Mt. Ohlssen Bagge (950 m) are within reasonable walking distances from the resort.
The only access to the pound is along Wilpena creek, from the resort it’s a 3 km walk to the pound entrance.
Unfortunately, while we stayed there, the flooded creek had damaged a bridge, and we couldn't walk into the pound. These are the unexpected things that can always happen while you're on an Australian Outback trip.
Wilpena Pound resort is a comfortable place to stay for a few days and explore the national park. The resort offers 60 standard & deluxe rooms, a large caravan & camp ground, a shop and the info center for the Flinders Ranges National Park.
The campground winds up a hill, the area is covered with trees, so it is easy to find a shady place to camp, even in summer.
About 10 km north of Wilpena along Blinman Road is the turnoff to the gorges. The road meanders through the lovely Bunyeroo Valley.
From Razorback lookout the views over the valley to the surrounding ranges are gorgeous. Once you enter Bunyeroo gorge things can get a bit difficult. The creek meanders around the road, sometimes you're on firm ground, and then the road leads into the creek again. Adventurous!
Well, this was many years ago. We drove through the gorge after heavy rain in the area.
A couple of years later, the road had improved. The creek was dry, and it was really an easy-going drive. Conditions really depend on the last rainfall in the area. Check out before you go.
Brachina Gorge is a delight for geologists. The gorge provides a pathway through the rock sequence which reveals their ancient history – a corridor through time. Walk the 20 km Brachina Gorge Geological Trail that passes through 130 million years of earth history. A map and more information is available at the Wilpena Pound centre.
At the eastern entrance of the gorge is a basic camping spot without any facilities, just stunning nature.
The gorge is an refuge for birds and animals, the yellow-footed rock wallaby for example.
These vantage points north of Wilpena Pound are worth a visit.
Hucks lookout offers stunning views of the northeastern rampart of Wilpena Pound.
Stokes Hill (750m), this bare windswept hill is probably the most spectacular vantage point in the Flinders Ranges National Park. To the north the hills fade away and you can picture the vast plains of the outback.
Tourism South Australia has added several information displays introducing Aboriginal history and native bush plants There is also a metal relief of Wilpena Pound
Leaving the national park to the north you arrive in Blinman. At 610m, it is South Australia’s highest town. The copper mine in Blinman was the largest copper producer in the Flinders Ranges. It closed in 1907. A few old buildings remained, the hotel, the Memorial Hall and a couple of miner’s cottages.
Heading west from Blinman is another scenic route to Parachilna through a gorge with the same name. Once you leave the gorge, the hills of the Flinders Ranges fade away. Turning north in Parachilna, you are on your way to the real Outback.
If you don't want to do the planning for a journey to the Flinders Ranges yourself, you can also join a guided tour from Adelaide.
Viator is an international online booking company, they work with reliable local tour operators to offer the best tours.
Choose from a 3-day small group tour to the central Flinders Ranges including Rawnsley Park and Wilpena Pound, or
decide for this extended 5 days tour that takes even further north to Arkaroola.
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