Flinders Ranges National Park is one of the top places to visit in South Australia. It’s also the largest mountain range in this state. Stunning views, rugged gorges, bumpy roads and abundance of native wildlife. This is exactly what you can expect here. The place is absolutely beautiful and in my opinion, perfect for people who would like to visit outback Australia for the first time. Why? In this blog post, I’m going to answer this question and share with you some of the best things to do in Flinders Ranges National Park.
HOW FAR IS FLINDERS RANGES FROM ADELAIDE?
Flinders Ranges National Park is located in South Australia, around 450 km north of Adelaide. The main road through the national park is sealed, and fully accessible for 2WD vehicles. The other roads are unsealed with changing surfaces and may be affected by weather conditions. According to the official information, a 2WD car is sufficient to explore the national park. However, the roads are bumpy, and very often sandy. Therefore, I think that a 4WD car would be safer, and more reliable for this adventure.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?
I would recommend to visit Flinders Ranges National Park between April and October. During this time, temperatures range around 20 – 30°C, and this is the best weather you can get here for hiking. At the same time, June, July and August remain the wettest months of the year. Avoid visiting the national park from November to March as temperatures go up to 45°C during the day. Nights can be cold regardless of the season. Make sure to have some warm clothes with yourself even in summer, especially if you go camping.
IS THERE AN ENTRY FEE?
Vehicle entry fee to Flinders Ranges National Park is AUD 11 per day, and needs to be paid in Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre upon arrival. If you wish to avoid paying entry fees for accessing national parks in South Australia, a purchase of periodic pass is a smart choice. You can choose between a 2 or 12 month national park pass. They both entitle you to unlimited entries to multiple national parks in South Australia. It’s worth to say that separate fees apply for camping in national parks regardless of having this pass.
WHERE TO SEEK INFORMATION?
Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre is a place to visit in case of any questions about outdoor activities in Flinders Ranges National Park. They operate daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Looking for national park maps? No worries. You can grab some here, and also use Internet, if needed. Free WiFi is available for all visitors. Next to Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre, there is also a small petrol station and very well-supplied grocery shop. Opening hours are the same, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm every day. Fuel is to be paid at the grocery shop.
WHERE TO STAY OVERNIGHT?
Wilpena Pound Resort is the main tourist center in Flinders Ranges National Park. They offer standard accommodation, and a very well-structured campground, with powered and unpowered sites. It includes toilets, showers and a laundry room. Internet works fine in this area. You won’t be having issues with reception either. You can also find accommodation somewhere else, for example at Rawnsley Park Station. The national park offers some basic campgrounds too, with limited facilities such as toilets and picnic tables. The camping fee is AUD 11 per night for an adult. Online booking is required. The choice is yours!
IS IT SAFE?
Flinders Ranges National Park is outback Australia, so you shouldn’t travel there without preparation. However, as mentioned before, Wilpena Pound has a petrol station and grocery shop, and there’s no issue with reception, Internet, and power. The place is remote, that’s true, but it’s pretty much civilised. Many remote destinations, open for tourists in Australia have no infrastructure at all, and no access to such resources. Therefore, I think that Flinders Ranges National Park is perfect for people who would like to visit outback Australia for the first time. It’s been adapted for tourists but remains wild, so you’ll get the vibe.
WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO?
Flinders Ranges National Park is an immensely beautiful place. It has several walking trails perfect for all hiking enthusiasts. If bushwalking is not your cup of tea, you can take a scenic drive and explore the national park in a 4WD vehicle. Last but not least. A scenic flight is definitely well-worth doing. It’s hard to say how much time do you need to explore Flinders Ranges National Park. It’s up to you, and depends on your preferences. I spent 5 days here and managed to see pretty much all the places on my itinerary.
There is a decent number of walking trails in Flinders Ranges National Park, but only two of them are challenging enough to satisfy people who enjoy hiking rocky and exposed mountains. St Mary Peak and Rawnsley Bluff are definitely my favourite hikes. Don’t miss them out if you love rock climbing. It takes a little bit of effort to climb those mountains, but you will be rewarded with fantastic views from the top. Find out more about hikes I did during my trip in a separate post about walking trails in the Flinders Ranges.
Scenic Flight is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Flinders Ranges National Park. It gives you the opportunity to view the majestic Flinders Ranges from the air. Just image boarding a small plane with only three other persons plus the pilot. I truly recommend booking a flight at 8:00 am. The mountains are beautifully illuminated with early morning sunlight. The 20-minute flight costs AUD 185 per person, and the 30-minute flight costs AUD 220 per person. Make sure to book it at Visitor Centre or Wilpena Pound Resort.
Scenic Drive takes you through two picturesque gorges in Flinders Ranges National Park, Bunyeroo Gorge and Brachina Gorge. This memorable ride starts only 9 km from Wilpena Pound. You won’t be waiting too long for mind-blowing views. It takes only 20 minutes to get to Razorback Lookout that offers a panoramic view of Flinders Ranges. Going further, you won’t be disappointed either. Rocks in Brachina Gorge are simply beautiful. The road is unsealed, and according to the official information, accessible for 2WD cars. Although I think that a 4WD car is a better and more reliable choice, especially after a heavy rainfall.
Arkaroo Rock is a cultural site of great significance for Aboriginal Australians. You can see here cave paintings created by the Adnyamathanha people. Take a short walk (3 km, both ways), and follow the path until you see a platform built next to the cave. These rock engravings present some aspects of the Yura Muda, the creation story of Wilpena Pound. According to Aboriginal beliefs, a powerful, water snake created many features of the Flinders Ranges, and therefore, formed the landscape in a serpentine shape.
HUCKS LOOKOUT & STOKES HILL LOOKOUT
What is the best spot to watch the sunset in Flinders Ranges National Park? I definitely recommend Hucks Lookout. It’s just a 20-minute drive from Wilpena Pound. Enjoy this spectacular view during the day and in the evening, when the sky turns red and orange at the sunset. What if you are already here, but it’s getting crowded? Well… it may happen as this lookout is quite popular! Don’t stress too much though. Jump into the car again and drive a bit further to Stokes Hill Lookout. This one gives you some amazing views too.
- Moralana Scenic Drive (unsealed road)
- Sacred Canyon (guided tours only)
- Prairie Hotel (a famous pub with feral food)
These are the best things to do in Flinders Ranges National Park. Are you going to take a scenic drive or scenic flight? Let me know by leaving a comment below!