The Flinders Ranges are the largest mountain range in South Australia, and one of the top places to visit in this state. Stunning views, spectacular gorges, bumpy roads, and abundance of wildlife. This is exactly what you can expect here. Flinders Ranges National Park 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. Let’s go!
HOW FAR IS THE FLINDERS RANGES FROM ADELAIDE?
Flinders Ranges National Park is located in South Australia, around 450 km north of Adelaide. The main road that goes through the national park is sealed, and fully accessible for 2WD vehicles. The other roads are unsealed with changing surfaces that can be affected by weather conditions. According to the official information, a 2WD car is sufficient to explore this region. However, the roads are bumpy, and very often sandy. With that being said, I do think that a 4WD car would be safer, and more reliable for this adventure.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?
I would recommend visiting the Flinders Ranges between April and October. During this time, temperatures range around 20 – 30°C, and this is the best hiking weather you can get here. At the same time, June, July and August remain the wettest months of the year. Try to avoid visiting Flinders Ranges 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 you even in summer, and especially if you go camping.
IS THERE AN ENTRY FEE?
Vehicle entry fee to Flinders Ranges National Park is 12.50 AUD per day, and it needs to be paid before entry to the park, preferably online. 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 multiple entry park pass. They both give you unlimited access to multiple national parks across the state. It’s worth mentioning that separate fees apply for camping in national parks regardless of having this pass.
WHERE TO SEEK INFORMATION?
Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre is the place to go in case of any questions about outdoor activities in Flinders Ranges National Park. They operate daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Close to the Visitor Centre, there is also a small petrol station and a 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. Looking for some paper maps? No worries at all. You can grab them at the Visitor Centre too, and use Internet, if needed. Free wifi is available for all visitors.
WHERE TO STAY OVERNIGHT?
Wilpena Pound Resort is the main tourist center in Flinders Ranges National Park. They offer standard accommodation, and a well-structured campground, with powered and unpowered sites. It includes toilets, showers and a laundry room. Telstra Internet works fine in this area. You won’t be having issues with reception either. Other campgrounds that belong to the national park (Acraman, Aroona, Brachina East, Cambrian, Dingley Dell, Koolamon, Teamsters, Trezona, Wilcolo – for hikers only, Youngoona), have basic facilities such as toilets and picnic tables or don’t have any facilities at all. Booking is required, and it can be done online. Camping fees vary from 24 AUD to 35 AUD per night for an adult (except Wilcolo, 10.50 AUD).
IS IT SAFE?
Flinders Ranges National Park is outback Australia, so you should be well-prepared for this adventure. However, as mentioned before, Wilpena Pound has a petrol station, a grocery shop, and there is no issue with reception, Internet, and power. The place is remote, that’s true, but it’s quite civilised too. And that’s a rare thing when it comes to the Australian Outback. Many remote destinations in Australia, even if open for tourists, have no infrastructure, and no access to those resources. Therefore, in my opinion, Flinders Ranges National Park is a great idea for people who would like to visit outback Australia for the first time.
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. How much time should one spend in the Flinders Ranges? It pretty much depends on your preferences. I do love hiking, so I took advantage of the number of walking tracks there, and spent five days in the national park.
There is a decent number of walking trails in the Flinders Ranges, but only two of them are challenging enough to satisfy people who enjoy hiking rocky and exposed mountains. I’m talking about St Mary Peak and Rawnsley Bluff. They are definitely my favourites. It takes a little bit of effort to climb those mountains, but the views from the top are very rewarding. The other hikes in the national park are much shorter, and easier. Find out more about the hikes I did 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 people 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 196 AUD per adult, and the 30-minute flight costs 231 AUD per adult. Make sure to book it at Visitor Centre or Wilpena Pound Resort.
Scenic Drive runs through two picturesque gorges in Flinders Ranges National Park, Bunyeroo Gorge and Brachina Gorge. This memorable ride starts only 9 km from Wilpena Pound, and you won’t be waiting too long for some mind-blowing views. It takes less than 20 minutes to get to Razorback Lookout that offers a panoramic view of the Flinders Ranges. Further along, it’s also beautiful. I really liked the colour of the rocks in Brachina Gorge. The entire road is unsealed, and according to the official information, accessible for 2WD cars. Nevertheless, I think that a 4WD vehicle is a better choice for that ride, especially after a heavy rain.
Arkaroo Rock is a cultural site of great significance for Aboriginal Australians where you can view original cave paintings created by the Adnyamathanha people. It takes 30 minutes to get there from the carpark. Simply follow the path until you see a wooden platform with a cage. The rock engravings show some aspects of the Yura Muda, the creation story of Wilpena Pound. According to Aboriginal beliefs, a powerful water snake created the features of the Flinders Ranges, and formed the landscape in a serpentine shape.
HUCKS LOOKOUT & STOKES HILL LOOKOUT
What is the best place to watch a sunset in Flinders Ranges National Park? I highly recommend checking Hucks Lookout, located only 15 km away from Wilpena Pound. The view up there is spectacular during the day, and in the evening too, especially when the sky is turning red. Hucks Lookout is quite popular in the national park, so it can get a little crowded. If that’s the case, jump back into the car, and drive straight to Stokes Hill Lookout. That’s another cool sunset spot. Once you get there, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
- 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!
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