That familiar orange hue is something that is fondly characteristic of Australia’s landscape. You’ll find it in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, alongside the daunting endless road, rolling hills and rugged landscapes with a lingering sense of ancient history as you enter part of Australia’s Outback.
Flinders Ranges are a vast mountain chain that holds the spirit of your next adventure. With an impressive 15 national parks, a Flinders Ranges tour can take you to any of these well-protected areas that ensure the conservation of the land and all that call it home. Organising a Flinders Ranges holiday can seem impossible with so many choices. People come back year after year, choosing a different tour every time and never get tired; it’s part of the Flinders charm.
While first-time visitors to Flinders Ranges look no further than Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, you can travel to any national park here and find fascinating natural marvels that unravel the ancient history of South Australia. From the Painted Hills of Anna Creek and the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary to Coober Pedy, the Heysen trail and the Pichi Richi Railway; Flinders Ranges is one of the most spectacular road trips in Australia.
Whether you are looking for Flinders Ranges walking tours, helicopter rides, or want to arrange a camping trip in the semi-arid wilderness; look no further for a guide to what is possible in Flinders Ranges.
- Start Planning Your Trip to Flinders Ranges and Outback
- Flinders Ranges Accommodation
- Things to Do in Flinders Ranges
- How to Travel around Flinders Ranges and Outback
- When to Go to the Flinders Ranges
- Want to Go Further on Your Flinders Ranges Tour?
Start Planning Your Trip to Flinders Ranges and Outback
Excited to start your trip to Flinders Ranges? Whether you are interested in fossils, geological formations or are just looking to escape it all with some time in endless nothingness, Flinders Ranges requires planning. The mountain ranges and semi-arid landscapes are vast, so let’s get started with the basics;
Flinders Ranges Accommodation
A Flinders Ranges holiday takes you out into the rustic natural paradise of South Australia, surrounded by wilderness. When looking for places to stay in the Flinders Ranges, it would be rude not to embrace its natural beauty by camping.
No matter what national park you choose in Flinders Ranges, your camping trip could in be anything from glamping sites with four-posters, air-conditioning and hot showers to wild bush camping with nothing but a camp stove and a flashlight. Camping and glamping sites include Wilpena Resort, Rawnsley Park and Flinders Bush Retreats.
Being out in the wild does not mean that you cannot afford a little luxury.
After spending your days in the bush following tracks and climbing mountainsides, coming back to comfortable beds and cooling down in the pool with a cocktail sounds too good to miss. There are a host of Flinders Ranges resorts that will have you sleeping in style no matter what part of the region you choose to explore including Arkaba and Wilpena Pound.
Retreats and Guesthouses
For the ultimate local experience, look no further than a retreat or guesthouse. Mostly family-run, choosing this kind of accommodation in Flinders Ranges will add a little Outback hospitality to your holiday, where you’ll always be greeted with a smile and some laughs! Great for budget travellers, this style of accommodation is spread all across Flinders Ranges.
One of the most popular choices that encompass all options is Flinders Ranges’ accommodation in Rawnsley Park Station. Just moments from Wilpena Pound, Rawnsley Park is like a Flinders Ranges resort town with villas, apartments and a campsite all in one.
Things to Do in Flinders Ranges
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Marking the very centre of the region, Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park is a top destination in South Australia as it offers some of the best Flinders Ranges walking tours and is home to the most famous natural sites.
From dramatic gorges to ancient flora and fauna backed by the rich culture of its traditional owners, a walk through the national park is as educational as it is adventurous. If you don’t have a lot of time, it is worth going straight for the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail like in this Flinders Ranges tour, which will take you straight to 650 million-year-old fossils, some of the oldest on Earth.
The national park enjoys a semi-arid climate, kicking up dust and embracing the desolate landscapes that the Outback of Australia is known for.
South Australia’s answer to Uluru, Wilpena Pound is known by traditional landowners as Ikara meaning “meeting place”. It is a monumental natural amphitheatre of mountains in the heart of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.
Despite being larger than Uluru and arguably as spiritually significant to its people, until recently Wilpena Pound was unknown to most Australians.
Over the years, the mystery of Wilpena Pound’s creation was a great debate; many believe it was once a volcano; however, its inception is a geological phenomenon much more spectacular and complex. Covering more than 8,000 hectares, Wilpena Pound is made up of layers of rock towering 200 metres above its surroundings; the highest mountain is St. Mary’s Peak.
Among the most popular of the Wilpena Pound tours is a helicopter ride which is the best way to see just how big this mountain range is. If you want to stay on the ground, walks with the traditional owners, the Adnyamathanha people are available, as well as 4WD tours that enable you to cover more ground.
Heysen Walking Trail
Covering an impressive 1,200 kilometres, the Heysen Walking Trail includes national parks, bushland, gorges and coastal routes.
Starting at Cape Jervis and finishing in the Flinders Ranges, walking the last part of the Heysen Trail is an amazing way to explore the native bushlands with stunning views across the valleys and gorges of Flinders. However, if you are a more serious walker with much more time, it is possible to do the entire route in two months – the complete trail is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world.
Flinders Ranges 4WD Tours
With so much ground to cover, the best trip is in a 4WD. No matter what national park you go to, a 4WD tour will be the highlight of your Flinders Ranges holiday as you get up close to the animals that live here, learn about the terrain and explore the great depths of the Outback from the comfort of your seat.
With full-day and half-day tours available, 4WD tours can take you out to the dramatic Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges, through Rawnsley Park, and out in search of the perfect sunset across dusty Outback terrain.
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Celebrating the ancient landscape of the Flinders Ranges, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary looks into the billion-year history of the geological formations of Flinders. Exploring here, you can go on a self-guided walk of the Flinders Ranges or organise a day tour with an Aboriginal guide to learn about the fascinating human history of the land too. People have come to live here for tens of thousands of years.
The sanctuary allows you to enter into a world where bush knowledge means survival, Arkaroola can be explored on foot, by 4WD or a scenic flight to witness the land from the ridgetop and see the waterholes and all the wildlife that come to use them. With the help of an elder, you’ll be shown the plants and critters of Arkaroola as well as being introduced to the sanctity of the land and what that means for the Adnyamathanha people.
Nature paints the world in mysterious ways, and the Painted Desert is an exhibition of 80 million years worth of work.
The Painted Desert is a science lovers dream. The strips that appear to be ‘painted’ on the rock as a result of sediment left from the ancient Inland Sea leaving minerals in the soil, that looks like colours leaking through the sand. The result is quite spectacular.
The Painted Desert is a series of rocks that sit in the heart of the South Australian Outback, it’s easiest to visit the site while on a Flinders Ranges day tour to the Mount Arkaringa Lookout as it is on the way.
How to Travel around Flinders Ranges and Outback
The Flinders Ranges is around 200 kilometres north of Adelaide and covers about 430 kilometres in total. Exploring on a Flinders Ranges tour requires a lot of travelling to see what this stunning landscape has to offer! So, here’s how you can do it;
Self-Guided Tours in Flinders Ranges – Self-Drive!
With so much to explore, it almost goes without saying that the best way to explore the Flinders Ranges is by jumping in a car and hitting the road like on this Flinders Ranges and Outback tour.
You can rent a car from Adelaide or Port Augusta airport for your Flinders Ranges holiday or you can buy a car for a more extended trip in South Australia and sell it at the end. If you choose to travel with Designer Journeys, it’s possible to get a Flinders Ranges map for South Australia from our Local Designers on the ground.
Intimidated by the thought of being your own Flinders Ranges travel guide? Hire someone to do the brain work for you!
The Outback is unforgiving; navigating endless roads and long drives are often not the number one choice when it comes to a relaxing holiday, however, there are Flinders Ranges holiday packages that lighten this burden just like in this Flinders Ranges guided tour.
Taking the back seat and jumping from location to location without being in control of the map will be a dream!
When to Go to the Flinders Ranges
As a major trekking destination, Flinders Ranges walking tours run from Autumn (April) to Spring (September) when temperatures sit comfortably around 17 degrees Celcius to 27. During these seasons, there is fairly frequent rainfall which attracts a lot of wildlife and vibrant colours in nature.
During the Summer months, from October to March, some tours do not run as temperatures reach around 31 degrees celsius and above. While it is not the best time to travel to the Flinders Ranges, it is still possible.
Want to Go Further on Your Flinders Ranges Tour?
Map in hand, exploring the Flinders Ranges on a tour could be just the beginning of your South Australian adventure. At Designer Journeys, our Local Designers in Australia are at hand to take the hassle out of planning.
Whether you are looking to explore South Australia, like in this 9-day wine and wilderness tour or want to go deep into the Outback and up into the Northern Territory like in this 8-day wonders of the Outback tour; our Local Designers are on the ground and ready to tailor any tour to match your travel style and budget.
What’s more, if you don’t like any of the tours that you see, you’re just one click away from designing your own trip where you specify all of the basic details, and our Local Designers will do the leg-work for you and create your next trip to South Australia and beyond!