Rusty red roads, rugged mountain ranges and the incredible feeling of being completely and utterly remote – Flinders Ranges in South Australia’s Outback really is something else. A locality within Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, it’s home to some of the country’s most fascinating natural sights, many of them the result of millions of years of erosion. By far its most known attraction is Wilpena Pound for its majestic, natural amphitheatre, though it’s got equally stunning gorges and canyons, too.
Spend your days here exploring its Mars-like landscapes on a hike, scenic flight or four-wheel drive tour. At night, bundle into your tent at a bush campsite or curl up by your own private fire pit at a luxury resort.
While Flinders Ranges is an experience to tick off your Aussie travel bucket list, once you have, you’ll no doubt want to come back. Because really and truly, there isn’t anywhere else quite like it.
Flinders Ranges has a great mix of trails, ranging from strolling to strenuous hiking. Hills Homestead Walk (6.6 kilometres) will see you leaving from the Wilpena Visitor Centre and walking through the peaceful Pound Gap into Wilpena Pound. Red Hill Lookout Hike (8.4 kilometres) will see you hiking to the top of Red Hill for views of the Aroona Valley and peaks of Wilpena Pound. And on the Arkaroo Rock Hike (3.1 kilometres), you’ll walk to a rock shelter featuring rock paintings from the Adnyamathanha people and see spectacular views of the Chace Range. Mount Ohlssen Bagge Hike (5.6 kilometres), Aroona to Youngoona Hike (13.4 kilometres) and, if you can spare a whole day, Bridle Gap Hike (18.6 kilometres) are other hikes to consider. For more information on walking and hiking in Flinders Ranges, visit Walking South Australia.
While you don’t need a four-wheel drive to get around in Flinders Ranges, experiencing it on one can be an incredibly exhilarating experience. Join a four-wheel drive tour with Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Experience Tours or Wilpena Pound Resort. Or rent a four-wheel drive and hit the tracks at Merna Mora Station, Horseshoe Rim 4WD Adventure or Worumba Station. For more details on four-wheel driving in the park, visit The Flinders Ranges Council.
While Wilpena Pound is easily the most known attraction within Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park’s 95,000 hectares, the Heysen Range, Brachina Gorge and Bunyeroo Gorge are also popular and worth seeing. Wildlife-wise, yellow-footed rock wallabies, red kangaroos and western grey kangaroos can all be found in Flinders Ranges. The area is also home to numerous bird and reptile species, including the grey-fronted honeyeater, the wedge-tailed eagle and the Lake Eyre dragon. For better luck spotting the wildlife, head to Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, a 61,000-hectare private sanctuary, where you can book a tour.
There are great rafts of information published about the Flinders Rangers. Here’s our distilled guide to the essential Flinders ...
Set among bushland, Rawnsley Park Caravan Park is a pet-friendly park with a camp kitchen, grocery shop and pool. Don’t want to lug around a tent? Book into its Bunkhouse. Caravans and campervans can also be parked at the campground at Wilpena Pound Resort, the only accommodation within Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. The campsite has 40 powered campsites and 300 unpowered bush sites.
There are roughly 10 campgrounds dotted in and around Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Hookina Ruins Campgrounds, just off the Outback Highway, offers dog-friendly, free camping. Koolamon Campground, located on Aroona Creek at the base of the ABC Range, has 15 unpowered sites, while Flinders Bush Retreats has six unpowered bush campsites.
Trezona Campground, Rawnsley Park and Brachina East Campground are also good options nears Flinders Ranges. And, if you’re looking for somewhere a bit closer to the highway, Horrocks Pass Bush Camp is an hour and 30 minutes drive from Flinders Ranges and also a good bet.
Flinders Ranges takes full advantage of its surroundings with a number of stays that embrace the outdoors, alongside a healthy offering of lodges, cottages and bed and breakfasts. At Flinders Bush Retreats, you can glamp in an eco-tent.
Glamping is also available at Ikara Safari Camp at Wilpena Pound Resort. Here, each safari tent has a bathroom, king bed and air-con, as well as its own private deck and fire pit.
In addition to its bush campsites, Rawnsley Park Station also has a range of other accommodation options, including eco-villas, a homestead and holiday units.
For a wildly luxurious stay, look no further than Arkaba, which welcomes just 10 guests at a time on its 24,000-hectare wildlife conservancy property. Hop on a safari here and you’ll spot mobs of kangaroos, emus and some of Australia’s rarest wildlife.
The most awarded hotel in the Outback, Prairie Hotel in Parachilna is a quirky-meets-elegant pub serving fine food, craft beer and tasty wines.
The Woolshed Restaurant at Rawnsley Park is housed in an actual iron woolshed and is known for its country-style fare and friendly service. Book in for its Lamb Tasting dinner and you’ll get to dine with the station manager.
Grab a coffee at Dunes Café in Roxby Dunes, dried fruit from O’Reilly’s Orchard and sweets or ice cream from Harts Sweetopia. For snacks for hikes or car trips, head to the Spalding General Store.
The Flinders Ranges are just under a 17-hour drive from Sydney, a 12.5-hour drive from Melbourne and a five-hour drive from Adelaide. You don’t need a four-wheel drive to explore the region. The nearest airports are in Port Augusta, Coober Pedy and Wilpena Pound.
The best time to visit Flinders Ranges is in the cooler months – from April to October – when you’ll experience warm, clear days and cooler mornings and evenings. In autumn, the fall foliage turns the landscape orange, red and brown. In spring, wildflowers turn it red, yellow and purple. In winter, with more rain, the creeks and gorges fill with water and you have a better chance of spotting wildlife.
For an overview of the area, visit Flinders Ranges Visitor Information Centre in the town of Quorn. Wilpena Pound Resort has 4WD tours, walking tours and scenic flights that take you over the park’s highlights and, on longer flights, Lake Eyre. Its sunset tours will see you get to take in one of the area’s spectacular sunsets, beer or wine-in-hand.
Rawnsley Park Station: Flinders Ranges Discovery Tours also 4WD and walking tours, as well as scenic flights. If you only have one day to see the Flinders Ranges, book its nine-hour Central Flinders Explorer. The eight-hour Wallabies, Rocks and Copper Tour will also give you a good feel for the area. For multi-day tours, join The Arkaba Walk, a Wild Bush Luxury experience, which will see you trekking for four days, and Wallaby Tracks, which has three, to eight-day tours.
Infused with light and Aboriginal art, culture, talks and music, Parrtjima is a one-of-a-kind experience.
The Flinders Ranges – one of the great walking destinations in Australia.
A great Australian rail and road journey like no other, in the wonderful, timeless, colourful NSW Outback.
Return Qantaslink flights from Sydney, 7 nights accommodation at Ocean View Apartments plus free use of snorkelling gear & stand-up paddle boards.
Enjoy a complimentary upgrade from a dinner bed and breakfast rate to an all-inclusive getaway this summer.
Discover the hidden beaches of the Macleay Valley Coast.
Pamper yourself at a stunningly restored former Chaff Mill and save 30% -living history amongst organic shiraz vineyards. DATES: March 13 – July 31 2023
Acclaimed artists, vibrant public artworks, world class performances – Goulburn’s bustling art scene is waiting to be explored.
Get wild on a motorcycle tour from Cairns to Cape York with a team of experienced guides. Take in the backcountry during the day, then enjoy your accommodation each night.
QLD Island Adventure: 2-night eco-resort accom, visit World Heritage locations on a guided 4WD tour + daily breakfast included.
For the best travel inspiration delivered straight to your door.