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Flinders Ranges Facts

Get an overview of this outstanding travel destination

The Flinders Ranges belong to the oldest landscapes in the world. The rugged mountain scenery is beautiful and impressing, visitors can explore nature's grandeur & wildlife at its best. Come and see one of the top tourist attractions in South Australia.

view over bunyeroo valley
Bunyeroo Valley in the Flinders Ranges as seen from Razorback Lookout
This is one of the most amazing drives in the central ranges.

Taking a trip to this ancient mountain ranges is an unforgettable experience. The valleys and towering mountains are spectacular. Wildlife is abundant, wedge-tailed eagles hover majestic in the clear blue sky. Emus and kangaroos, colourful birds and reptiles abound in the area, and yes, you will see them!

This verse from the poem "My Country" by Dorothea McKellar always comes to my mind when I think of the Australian Outback, especially of the Flinders.

"I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains."
In years of drought the country really looks sunburnt, while it is covered with wildflowers after good winter rain.

The Flinders Ranges, considered as "easily accessible" Outback, offer so much to the visitors. Easily accessible means that you reach many attractions like Wilpena Pound, several lookout points and small country towns on a bitumen road.

Location and other useful facts

The Flinders stretch from Crystal Brook, near the waters of Spencer Gulf in the south for some 400 km to Mt. Hopeless in the north.

Mt. Hopeless, was named by explorer John Edward Eyre in 1840 while he was on an expedition to search for an inland sea and a route to central Australia. He only saw huge salt pans. As the north is on the edge of the real Outback, thus, the name describes Eyre's feelings when he decided to give up and return.

Important: When you're planning to travel in one of the national parks, be aware that the parks 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.

Visitor Information Centres can be found in Port Augusta, Melrose, Quorn, Hawker, Wilpena Pound and in a few other towns. Just watch out for the blue sign with the yellow i.

The Southern Ranges

The scenery in the southern Flinders Ranges is not as rugged as in the central and northern parts, but beautiful nevertheless. There is so much to see and to explore in the region from Crystal Brooks to Quorn.
Quaint old towns, Melrose, Wilmington & Gladstone to name a few, offer accommodation and shopping facilities for travellers.

  • Mount Remarkable National Park located south of Wilmington has good walking trails. A highlight is Alligator Gorge which can be reached from Wilmington.
    The main camping area of the park is at Mambray Creek in the south of the park, it is only a few kilometres off the main highway to Port Augusta.
  • Hancock's Lookout southwest of Wilmington offers stunning views.
  • My favourite scenic drives include the Horrocks Pass (462 m) from Wilmington to Port Augusta, the Pichi Richi Pass from Stirling North to Quorn and the unsealed road from Wilmington to Carrieton that passes through the historic town of Hammond.
  • The historic Pichi Richi Railway operates on a remaining section of the famous Old Ghan line. Thanks to the volunteers of the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society visitors can still enjoy train rides in vintage wagons and often operated by impressive steam locomotives.
    The Afghan Express service operates from Port Augusta to Quorn & back. One-way rides are available from both towns.
    The Pichi Richi Explorer runs between Quorn and Woolshed Flat, the return journey takes about two and a half hours.
    Old steam locomotive at Quorn
    Even if you don't have the time for these unique train jorneys, a visit to Quorn & the lovely train station is always worthwhile.
  • The southern Flinders is a fairly young wine region. Stop by the cellar doors of local producers for a great wine-tasting experience.

The Central Flinders Ranges

When people think of the Flinders they often have the central part, from Quorn up to Blinman & Parachilna in mind. Especially Wilpena Pound and the surrounding national park with its stunning gorges, lookouts and Aboriginal sites is considered the "heart" of the central Flinders.
Indeed, there is so much to do & see within the national park that I tell you about those sights on a separate page, don't miss the link at the bottom of this page.
But there are even more attractions waiting for you!
  • Hawker is typical outback town where you can buy everything you need before heading north. Don't forget, it gets lonelier the further you go from here.
    The latest addition to Hawker's attractions is the Wilpena Panorama. Enjoy a 360° panorama painting by local artist Jeff Morgan displaying the view from Wilpena Pound's highest mountain St. Mary's Peak (1,171m).
    Wilpena Panorama in Hawker
  • Moralana Scenic Drive - This is a 28 km connection between the Hawker – Leigh Creek Rd and the Hawker – Wilpena Rd. The beautiful drive is along the valley of Moralana creek and Six Mile creek. The valley lies between the Elder Range and the south-western rampart of Wilpena Pound.
    The drive is fantastic, especially in the late afternoon. The rocky mountains are glowing in the soft sun. I admit, it took us three times to finally find the best weather and light conditions.
  • Kanyaka Homestead Historic Site between Hawker and Quorn is worth to explore. In the mid 1850s it was one of the large sheep properties with up to 70 men and their families living and working here.
    You will see many ruins of abundant places in this region. Pastoral farming was an success during the good (wet) years, but rain is unpredictable and in years of draught many settlers gave up.
  • There are several lookout points near Hawker where you can appreciate the stunning landscape.

The Northern Region

The rugged north is surrounded by endless open plains and two large salt lakes: Lake Frome in the east and Lake Torrens to the west.
Apart from the Hawker to Leigh Creek Road on the westerns side of the ranges, all roads in the Northern Flinders Ranges are dirt roads.
  • Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park is a rugged park in the far north. It's main attractions include deep gorges & chasms and an impressive wilderness, a paradise for hikers. Wildlife is abundant as is the rich culture of the local Adnyamathanha Aboriginal people.
    The park's ranger station, shearers quarters, shower & toilets can be found at Balcanoona. Within the park there are bush campgrounds without facilities.
    Please bring everything you need including food and plenty of water.
  • Iga Warta & Nepabunna are small settlements on Nepabunna Aboriginal Land. Both communities offer indegenious tours and basic accommodation. These are the places to go if you want to discover more about the rich Aboriginal culture of the area.
  • Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is privately operated, located to the north of the Gammon Ranges national park. Hiking trails and 4WD routes take you to the most beautifull and rugged mountain scenery.
    Arkaroola village offers all kinds of accommodation, a basic shop and fuel.
  • Leigh Creek, Parachilna, Blinman & several gorges are more attractions in the northern Flinders Ranges.

    Don't miss the links below for more information of these worthwile destinations.

Flinders Ranges Pictures

The impressive Alligator Gorge near Wilmington
Alligator Gorge near Wilmington

View over hills to Hancock's looksout
View to the upper Spencer Gulf from Hancock's Lookout

A cute possum at a caravan park in the Flinder Ranges
Late night visitor at a caravan park

Picturesque cafe in Quorn
I loved the Quandong Cafe in Quorn

Colourful mountains
Along Moralana Scenic Drive

Kanyaka ruins between Quorn and Hawker
Kanyaka Historic Site

Lovely mountain scenery in the Aroona valley
Aroona Valley

Arkaroola's impressive wilderness scenery
Wilderness in the Arkaroola area

Discover attractions, culture and things to do in the Flinders Ranges

Copyright © 2007- Rita Amend.