The Flinders Ranges in South Australia provide a dramatic departure from the hectic pace of big cities with an Outback Discovery experience, but it’s surprisingly accessible. See the majestic natural amphitheater of Wilpena Pound, a lost world located inside a giant stone crater. Go driving into the deep Outback and spend time exploring our legendary desert tracks. Or take a scenic flight over the Flinders Ranges. There’s hiking trails, places to fossick for opals, and even a desert golf course with no grass.
The Flinders Ranges and Outback covers such a vast area of South Australia, and so many different environments, it’s no surprise that it is one of Australia’s richest areas of Aboriginal heritage and living culture.
This is a 5-day itinerary I would suggest if you are looking to discover the true Flinders Ranges:
Day 1, from Adelaide to the Northern Flinders Northern Flinders
Travel north, from Adelaide, to the Flinders Ranges; enjoy morning tea on the Pt. Augusta foreshore and visit Wadlata Outback Centre for hands-on interpretive displays about the history and culture of the Flinders Ranges.
Lunch at the historic town of Quorn in the friendly Austral Hotel; then pass through the historic town of Hawker to experience the vast and diverse landscapes of the Aussie outback; Continuing north we visit the famous Prairie Hotel at Parachilna for an afternoon drink.
Pass through the outback towns of Leigh Creek and Copley; check in and relax in tonight’s accommodation.
Day 2, full day sightseeing in the Northern Flinders Northern Flinders
After breakfast, start the morning drive to visit a spectacular and secluded Aboriginal engraving and etching site; walk through scenic creek beds and marvel at ancient artwork dating back many thousands of years; enjoy your bush foods morning tea in this timeless location.
Learn about the early history of the Adnyamathanha people. See the remnants of Mineruta a former location of an Aboriginal community. After lunch, we visit an Aboriginal site renowned for its timeless cave paintings. Hear interpretations of the artwork and reflect on the teachings of an Aboriginal creation story.
Day 3, travel to Wilpena Pound Wilpena Pound
Set out for an early morning tour of a local Ochre Pit to see the earthy colours of ochre and find out about its traditional uses, enjoy Billy Tea and bushfood for morning tea in a tree lined creek (weather permitting) and tour Nepabunna Community where you can meet some locals.
Then proceed to tour Ithala Awi and learn about native bushfoods; Visit Balcanoona Rangers’ Headquarters and a beautiful gorge to experience remote yet timeless ancient Aboriginal engravings and rock etchings, and hear a creation story that explains geographical features of the surrounding area while you enjoy a picnic lunch. Leave for a Gorge Tour on a drive through breath-taking Gorges and view the magnificent geological rock formations and look for Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies and other wildlife.
Arrive at Wilpena Pound Resort, settle in and dine at the impressive resort restaurant or perhaps consider a 30 minute scenic flight.
Day 4, full day exploring the Wilpena Pound area Wilpena Pound
Enjoy a peaceful walk to Wangarra Look-Out for a spectacular view inside Wilpena Pound. Take a tour to “Old Wilpena Station”, enjoy the ‘Living With Land’ interpretative trail where you will gain a glimpse of isolated pastoral settlement life. (approx.1 or 2 hr rtn walk). After this you may want some free time to relax, have a swim or enjoy a drink in the bar.
Day 5, Drive back to Adelaide
Before heading back to Adelaide you may want to visit a local Aboriginal rock art site depicting the creation of Wilpena Pound or enjoy a horse trail ride. Lunch at the historic town of Hawker and visit the Wilpena Panorama Gallery to see a magnificent 360° degree painting of Wilpena Pound and locally produced art, craft and foods. Depart for Adelaide, visit a Cellar Door for a quick wine tasting on the way home (time permitting).
This is just one of many suggested itineraries that would give a wonderful overview of the real Flinders Ranges.