tree and rocky ranges

Parachilna in the Flinders Ranges

A beautiful gorge & quaint little town

The drive from Blinman to Parachilna leads you through one of the most scenic gorges in Outback South Australia. The change in scenery is dramatic. Once you leave the Flinders Ranges and arrive on the vast plains of the Australian Outback it seems you're in a different world. Get out of the car, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes.

winding road in the flinders ranges

Of course, if you drive in the opposite direction, you traverse the flat plains of the Outback first before you approach one of the most stunning mountain ranges in Australia. This is just a fantastic sight.

Parachilna Gorge

Coming from Blinman you are on an elevation of approximately 600 m, so the winding road goes down, and down and down. Parachilna creek has cut its way deep into the mountains, leaving a steep and rocky gorge.

On the way to the bottom of the gorge you pass by Angorichina tourist village. This is a good place to stay and explore the surroundings either by foot, or by mountain bike.

Conditions: The road is usually in good shape although very windy, narrow in parts & with a lot of crests. However, as it crosses the creek a few times in the gorge, these crossings can cause some troubles after rain. You would need a car with high ground clearance then as the water might leave stones & other debris on the road.
Please check the road before you cross a flowing creek. It is a good idea to ask in Blinman or Parachilna for road & weather conditions before you go. Always drive carefully & according to the conditions.

red rocks along parachilna road
It is amazing to see the sheer rocks, and imagine the power needed to fold them up to their present appearance. The rocks glow red in the early morning and the late afternoon sun.

old trees in a gorge
Majestic river red gum trees line the creek at the bottom of the gorge. The first time I was out there the creek carried some water, a few years later, it was completely dry.

I didn't see any designated camping areas, but there are spots along the creek where you can put up your bush camp.

Caution: Please do never camp within dry creek beds, or too close to the bank in gorges like this. Heavy rainfall can turn the creek into a raging torrent.

Parachilna Gorge


The town was originally surveyed close to the gorge in the foothills of the Flinders Ranges in 1863. It was moved to its present place when the Great Northern Railway was built about 10 km away from the settlement. The railway provided the supplies for the growing mining town Blinman.

The derelict railway station and the grand old pub, called Prairie hotel, and a few other buildings remained.

old train station

Today, Parachilna has a population of 7. The railway line opposite the pub is still in use. However, it isn't the Great Northern Railway anymore.
Trains passing by come from Leigh Creek in the north, and bring their huge loads of coal down to Port Augusta. These are "monster trains" of up to 3 km in length. It takes 5 minutes until the entire train has passed by.

Prairie Hotel

The old Prairie Hotel is an inviting place to stay for lunch, dinner, or even overnight. The hotel has been renovated, extended, and offers good accommodation facilites.

The restaurant has a good reputation. People fly in from all over Australia to try what they call "feral food". Dishes made from quality products of the area. Emu, kangaroo, native quandongs, bush tomatoes and other fruit and vegetable are on the menue.

Check facilities at the Prairie Hotel.

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Copyright © 2007- Rita Amend.