Where else can you discover a beautifully
rugged and colourful landscape in a
timeless land of history and wonder?
22 kilometres from Parachilna
Between Parachilna and Blinman, Angorichina Village is nestled in rugged Parachilna Gorge. Explore some of the best day walks and scenic wonders in the region. It has a wide range of cabins, a bunkhouse and small caravan park, and the store provides take away, alcohol, groceries, fuel and regional information.
Attractions include the spring-fed Blinman Pools which are a popular picnic spot. There’s a 12 kilometre return walk that begins from the Angorichina Tourist Village’s general store. You can also hike to Wild Dog Gap or Mount Falkland from the store. The 1200 kilometre long Heysen Trail ends nearby.
Flinders and Beyond Camel Treks, based in Blinman, are a specialist tour company offering a range of camel rides, overnight treks and camel safaris throughout the Northern Flinders Ranges.
Wakarla Glass Gorge Tours are an Aboriginal owned and operated tour company that can take you on a guided walk into the magnificent Glass Gorge, where you will hear a number of Dreaming stories connected to this land.
The road to Glass Gorge is a tricky but picturesque 4WD track and was the original route for dray carts delivering copper to Parachilna. A must for all 4WD enthusiasts.
129 kilometres from Copley
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is South Australia’s premier ecotourism destination. In 2012, the Arkaroola Protection Act was awarded to Arkaroola, recognising the sanctuary’s geological and ecological importance. Admire rugged mountains, granite peaks, magnificent gorges and waterholes on bushwalking or 4WD adventures including the world-famous Ridgetop Tour. After dinner, book an astronomy tour and take in the heavens from one of their observatories. Facilities include accommodation, fuel, tyre repairs, a restaurant and bar, store, airstrip, swimming pool, public telephones and Wi-Fi hotspot.
45 kilometres from Parachilna
Located 540 km north of Adelaide, Beltana Township is 12kms off the highway and well worth the detour. Beltana is a truly remarkable State Heritage listed town in outback South Australia, with an active community. Beltana had a significant role in the early settlement of the State as a service centre. The Pastoral and Mining industries utilised Beltana and its railway to facilitate growth in the early years of the State.
Explorers commenced inland journeys from Beltana and the import of camels brought with it cameleers and the beginnings of an Afghan population. Beltana is the home of the Australian Inland Mission the forerunner of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and had an important role in the Overland Telegraph.
You are welcome to park your car in the community park and walk around the town reading the interpretative signage and taking in the history. The community provides picnic facilities and a BBQ for your enjoyment. All buildings are in private ownership and are people’s homes. Please respect people’s privacy and stay on the marked roads.
Beltana Station was one of the region’s most significant properties in the 19th century. It now offers family-friendly accommodation, a woodshed museum/café and camel safaris during the main tourism season. The Warraweena Conservation Park, previously a working station, is home to Yellow-footed Rock wallabies and also one very rare plant, Menzel’s Wattle.
64 kilometres from Wilpena Pound
The ruins of the Blinman mine are set against a stunning backdrop of hilly countryside in South Australia’s highest town. Explore the peaceful Chambers Gorge for a chance to see Aboriginal petroglyphs. Be aware when travelling this route that you will be on unsealed road surfaces that can get rough after storms or intensive use, and there are no services until reaching Arkaroola. The other route from Blinman to Arkaroola is via Parachilna, then north to Leigh Creek and Copley.
The Blinman Mine experience will take you back to the 1880s when hauling copper to the smelter on the surface was a daily exercise. Tours are available daily at 10am, 12 midday and 2pm.
Home of the “Big Kibble Bucket”, the 2.5 metre copper kibble bucket has been two years in the making by Adelaide artist Leanne Hamilton of Verdigris Metalwork. The sculpture features copper items from the Blinman mining area. With experienced guides and an innovative sound and light system, it transports people back in time, to the lives of the miners and their families during the second half of the 19th century.
At Blinman, you can travel north to Wirrealpa Station, Chambers Gorge, Wearing Gorge and the Stirrup Iron Range to Yunta Road. Or travel onto Arkaroola via this route, but the road conditions can vary, so most travellers to Arkaroola do so via Leigh Creek and Copley.
Five kilometres from Leigh Creek
Visit the renowned Quandong Café in Copley for a bite of bush baking, now situated at the Copley Caravan Park or grab a meal at the Copley Pub (Leigh Creek Hotel) both open daily. Copley is a friendly gateway to Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, the Vulkathunha–Gammon Ranges National Park and is a day’s drive to Innamincka, Birdsville, Oodnadatta and Adelaide.
About 100 kilometres from Copley is the Vulkathunha–Gammon Ranges National Park (or ‘the Gammons’), an arid wilderness with spectacular scenery, wildlife and a wealth of Adnyamathanha culture and European heritage.
45 Kilometres from Carrieton
Nestled in the Flinders Ranges and surrounded by the Black Jack, James and Black ranges, Cradock was established in 1879. The historic sandstone Cradock Hotel is the only Cradock business to survive and welcomes visitors to Cradock.
66 kilometres from Quorn
Once a thriving railway town, Hawker retains much of its 1880s charm. It’s a great base for day trips, as well as offering shops, an airstrip, vehicle repairs, hospital, sports centre, scenic flights, 4WD tours and various places to eat and stay.
The century-old Hawker Hotel is ideally located and offers casual dining in the front bar, lounge bar, beer garden or on the verandah. The Hawker General Store also has plenty to offer.
For great panoramic views of the surrounding area, head to Jarvis Hill, Camel Hump or Castle Rock lookouts.
Before you head north, book your accommodation and tours, get maps, food, fuel and visitor information from the accredited Hawker Visitor Information Centre at Hawker Motors. Here view Fred Teague’s Museum and the Seismograph Station.
Hawker’s heritage walk is a fascinating tour of discovery, taking in the Hawker Hotel, railway station and stone goods shed. A Town Heritage Walk Guide is available at the Hawker Visitor Information Centre.
If you don’t plan to climb it, see Wilpena Pound from St Mary’s Peak, via a panoramic painting at the Jeff Morgan Gallery. The new Arkaroola panoramic painting is now complete and is a must see!
Open Monday–Friday from 9am–5pm and Saturday 9am–12pm.
196 kilometres from Port Augusta
Parachilna knows how to attract the rich and famous, with moviemakers drawn to this Outback landscape. Famous visitors include actors Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, during the filming of Holy Smoke, and Bryan Brown and Australian rock star Paul Kelly during the filming of Beautiful Kate. The Australian movie Rabbit-Proof Fence was also filmed here.
Famous for the ‘Feral Food Platter’ and Fargher Lager, the Prairie Hotel offers weary travellers a variety of quirky food using local and South Australian produce (restaurant bookings recommended). There is also a range of comfortable accommodation including newly renovated hotel rooms, railway fettlers’ cabins and camping facilities. While at the Prairie Hotel, check out the artwork that is regularly exhibited by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists. Most of the artwork is available to purchase too.
Situated to the west of the picturesque Northern Flinders Ranges, the modern outback township of Leigh Creek was originally created to house workers from the nearby coal mine but is now a popular base from which to explore the region’s natural beauty and its rich Aboriginal heritage.
Many travellers visit Leigh Creek as they drive north towards Alice Springs and beyond. It can also be used as a base before heading out on day trips to Beltana, Copley, Marree, Nepabunna, Iga Warta, Lyndhurst and Farina. With its excellent range of facilities, including a Tavern, supermarket, petrol station and Post Office, this outback oasis in the desert is the obvious place to break your journey before re-joining the Explorer’s Way.
For others, the big drawcard is the nearby Ediacaran fossil site, dating back some 600 million years. There is worldwide interest in the large reefs of stromatolites, understood to be the earth’s oldest fossils, found in the ancient ranges. The only other place they exist is in south-west Africa.
Built by the State Government in 1982 to support its own electricity company, Leigh Creek also provides easy access to a number of popular regional attractions such as the Prairie Hotel, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and The Iga Warta Experience – an introduction to the Iga-Warta people and the culture of the Adnyamathanha land.
Nature lovers will also find much to delight them. The Aroona Dam Sanctuary offers spectacular views and peaceful surroundings for a picnic lunch. It also has a wonderful 5.5 kilometre interpretive walk, which starts below the main wall of the 5000 megalitre dam, the largest of its type outside of Adelaide. The trail traverses wetlands below the dam, mountainous terrain, rocky outcrops and red-gum lined creeks.
The Northern Flinders Ranges provides the opportunity for all kinds of adventures, from hiking to mountain biking, scenic flights and birdwatching expeditions. You might even see the endangered Yellow-footed Rock wallaby which were released into the area in 1996.
With its tree-lined streets and modern amenities, including a public swimming pool, Leigh Creek also provides welcome relief from the summer temperatures in this part of the world, where the mercury can climb into the high 30°Cs. Winter time provides pleasant day time temperatures around 18-20°C and as the area is in an arid zone, there is low rainfall. The town was built to the highest environmental standards and is a model of arid land urban development. So much so that it became a destination for visiting international town planners.
After 70 years of continuous operation, the current lessee Alinta Energy made the decision to close the mine in 2015 and will hand the town back by 2018. Leigh Creek is now carving out a new future for itself. Already established as an important regional centre, the town is also becoming a tourism hub.
The town’s access to remarkable geological sites, stunning natural landscapes and a living Aboriginal culture is certainly one of its great drawcards. The other is the high standard of facilities available to the traveller here.
In addition to essential services such as a well-stocked Foodland supermarket, post office and service station, Leigh Creek also offers an impressive list of recreational facilities including a swimming pool, gym, theatre and sports complex. The town has good fast internet and Telstra mobile coverage too.
Leigh Creek provides emergency services including a hospital, Royal Flying Doctor Service, police station, ambulance, fire service and State Emergency Service (SES).
Accommodation options include the Leigh Creek Outback Resort and the Leigh Creek Caravan Park. The Resort offers 24 hotel rooms, 40 cabins and a full-service restaurant, while the Leigh Creek Caravan Park has ensuite cabins, powered sites, a laundromat, a camp kitchen, barbecue facilities and a van dump point.
69 kilometres from Port Germein
Called ‘the crossroads of Australia’ because roads from Sydney to Perth and Adelaide to Darwin all pass through Port Augusta. This regional hub, where the Outback meets the ocean, is a major tourism, shopping, government and commercial centre. Getting to Port Augusta is easy with a Monday–Friday air service, seven day bus service to and from Adelaide, and The Ghan and Indian Pacific railway service passing through. A public bus service (runs twice a week in season) travels from Port Augusta through to Arkaroola in the Flinders Ranges. Advanced bookings are essential. The city offers a vibrant range of cafés, pubs and restaurants and accommodation options include camping sites, traditional pubs and several modern motels.
There are a range of attractions for the whole family including the Wadlata Outback Centre – winner of six South Australian Tourism Awards. To get the whole story on the region, creep through the jaws of Max, a giant Ripper lizard, to begin a journey through the Flinders Ranges & Outback’s ‘Tunnel of Time’. There’s the nationally-accredited Port Augusta Visitor Information Centre onsite where you can find out more about the region, and book tours and accommodation.
4WD and coach tours are available from Port Augusta. These half and full-day 4WD and larger coach tours can also be booked at the Wadlata Outback Centre. Learn about regional food and wine, history and geology.
See an amazing array of arid zone plants and one of Australia’s most significant collections of Eremophilas at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. Open daily, it is also home to more than 100 native bird species. Stroll through the AridSmart Display Gardens to discover how to create your own native garden. The visitor centre has a café, serving native-flavoured food and regional wines, as well as a gift and garden shop. Open Monday–Friday.
Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service air base where communication operators attend to emergency medical flights and inter-hospital transfers for people living in or visiting Outback areas of South Australia.
Built in the 1870s, the Pichi Richi Railway is a narrow gauge railway and is the last remaining portion of the original ‘Old Ghan’ railway line. Powered either by steam or historic diesel engines, depending on the season, the full-day Afghan Express, departs Port Augusta twice a month from March–November.
For art enthusiasts, local and regional Aboriginal art can be viewed and purchased at the Wadlata Outback Centre. The Platform Gallery at the Railway Station showcases local artists and high quality paintings, pottery, crafts and fabric art. See local and contemporary art at Port Augusta Cultural Centre – Yarta Purtli, next to Gladstone Square.
Experience 360 degree views of Port Augusta at the Water Tower Lookout, enjoy a picnic at the Red Cliff/Matthew Flinders Lookout or head to the Military Memorabilia Museum for the largest display of war memorabilia of its type in regional South Australia.
The top of Spencer Gulf is great for boating and land fishing, with Yellowtail kingfish among the prized catches. Details can be found in the Port Augusta Visitor Guide.
Spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the sunshine on Port Augusta’s foreshore with an exercise area, playground, barbecues, swimming pontoons and the Swimmers Memorial Garden.
On the first and third Sunday of the month you can ride on a miniature train carriage drawn by either a diesel or steam model engine. The kids will love the new Wave Skate and BMX Park; enjoy the monthly flea and produce markets or the twice yearly Augusta Markets, relax in the cinema, or hire a buggy and have a game of golf on the 18 green and watered fairways.
41 kilometres from Wilmington
Quorn, in the heart of the Flinders Ranges, has been the backdrop for many Australian films, including Sunday Too Far Away, The Shiralee, Gallipoli and most recently The Water Diviner. If travelling through the scenic Pichi Richi Pass from Port Augusta following the Old Ghan line, you’ll wind your way through towering walls of ripple stone and fossilised mud cracks. Explore the tracks and trails by foot, bike, train, 2WD or 4WD – all great ways to discover Quorn, the ‘unexplored Flinders’.
The Flinders Ranges Visitor Information Centre, at the iconic Quorn Railway Station, has been renovated to co-locate Pichi Richi Railway and the accredited Visitor Information Centre. It’s a great place to obtain information or book accommodation. New accommodation in Quorn now includes the Great Northern Lodge, opened in November 2017.
Built in the 1870s, Pichi Richi Railway is a narrow gauge railway and the last remaining portion of the original ‘Old Ghan’ railway line. Ride along this heritage train and take in the stunning view of the Flinders Ranges. Powered either by steam or historic diesel engines (depending on the season) the carriages showcase immaculately restored timber body carriages up to 116 years old. Full day adventures on the Afghan Express depart
Port Augusta twice a month. The Pichi Richi Explorer runs out of Quorn for half-day tours each weekend from March–November with additional services during school holidays.
To stretch your legs, stroll around Powell Gardens and discover how local plant species are grown. The Quorn Native Flora Reserve provides an outlook over Quorn. Two of the best walks in the region are The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park walk and Warren Gorge’s walking trail. Devil’s Peak and Mount Brown provide plenty of interest for geologists and bushwalkers.
The ruins of the Kanyaka Station homestead, outhouses and shearers’ quarters are all that remain of this once huge sheep station of about 950 square kilometres. Proby’s Grave is marked by a huge granite slab, shipped from London. Take a short walk to Death Rock, steeped in Aboriginal history and the former station’s permanent waterhole.
Accessible scenic drives will take you over ranges and through gorges, or experience the thrill on 4WD tracks that reveal panoramic views of the countryside. Enquire about 4WD tracks and tours at the Flinders Ranges Visitor Information Centre.
RAWNSLEY PARK STATION
37 kilometres from Hawker
Beneath spectacular Rawnsley Bluff at the southern tip of Wilpena Pound, stands Rawnsley Park Station. Celebrating its 50 year anniversay in 2018, the award-winning Rawnsley Park Station offers a range of accommodation and touring options for visitors. From Hawker, you can head back to Carrieton, Orroroo and Jamestown.
For a bird’s-eye view of Wilpena Pound, try a scenic flight. Attractions include Arkaroo Rock, where ochre drawings tell the Adnyamathanha story of Arkurra (or Arkaroo); and Pugilist Hill Lookout, where you can see the sunset on Chace Range or rise over Rawnsley Bluff.
The station also offers 4WD tours and guided walking tours with experienced local guides to interpret the wildlife, history and geology of the Flinders Ranges.
Mountain biking enthusiasts will revel in the opportunity to traverse the Mawson Trail, which passes through the station for 10 kilometres. Mountain bikes can be hired from station reception. Rawnsley Park is also the southern starting point for the epic 200 kilometre Flinders Ranges by Bike circuit.
During the April, July and October school holidays, sheep shearing demonstrations are great entertainment for the kids.
10 kilometres from Port Augusta
Once a major railway hub, Stirling North, (originally known as Minchin’s Wells), is on the Pichi Richi train route, which travels between Quorn and Port Augusta. Access to Quorn and Hawker is via this township, with the main road through Stirling North leading to Quorn.
76 kilometres from Port Augusta
The north-eastern gateway to Eyre Peninsula, Whyalla is home to GFG Alliance Simec Mining/ Liberty One Steel for Whyalla, and renowned as a steel and shipbuilding hub.
Tours of the Whyalla Steelworks are conducted Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:30am from the Whyalla Visitor Information Centre and returns at around 11am. Whyalla has shops, 24 hour service stations, accommodationoptions, dining venues, and medical and sports facilities.
The Whyalla Maritime Museum is one of the city’s major attractions and home to the former HMAS Whyalla – the first ship built in the Whyalla Shipyards in 1941.
55 kilometres from Hawker
The magnificent natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound is the centrepiece of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Its red ramparts, measuring eight by 17 kilometres, hold spiritual significance for the local Aboriginal people and have inspired artists for generations. Wilpena Pound Resort provides amenities for visitors, a shop, Visitor Information Centre and campground. Accommodation options include air-conditioned motel rooms or go glamping in the Ikara Safari tents, a group of 17 eco-friendly tents suitable for both couples and families. Several trails around the resort are suitable for cycling.
Enjoy the ‘Living With Land’ interpretive trail at Old Wilpena Station. Part of the trail is a large public artwork entitled ‘Ikara’, an Aboriginal word for ‘meeting place’. The circular ground sculpture pays tribute to the Aboriginal people’s contribution to pastoralism over the last century.
The Wilpena Pound Visitor Information Centre is the starting point for popular walking trails, and provides national park maps, gifts and tour operator information. You can also book guided Cultural 4WD tours / walks and scenic flights, as well as hire gas barbecues and mountain bikes.
Wilpena Pound is a paradise for bushwalkers, with hiking highlights including a challenging trek up St Mary’s Peak (almost 1200 metres high), offering superb views over Wilpena Pound. Other popular hikes include the Old Homestead and Wangara Lookout, Arkaroo Rock and Edeowie Gorge.
To fully experience the spectacular views of Wilpena Pound, take to the skies. There isn’t vehicle access into Wilpena Pound but flights and 4WD cultural tours of the national park and surrounding ancient mountain ranges can be booked.
There is also a direct flight from Adelaide to Wilpena Pound via Roxby Downs for those that want to avoid the drive.