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The Central Flinders Ranges
 
flinders rangesThere is no other place that combines ancient landscapes with ancient aboriginal history quite like the Flinders Ranges. It is located just over 200km inland from Adelaide and is an ideal destination if you are looking for the adventure of a lifetime.

Port Augusta is regarded as the gateway to the Flinders Ranges and is a fantastic place to start. What is unusual about this city is that the main highways which enter South Australia from Western Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales all meet here, so it really is a central hub that can easily be accessed. It is a perfect base to experience all that the city and surrounds has to offer. A great attraction for the family to start with is the Wadlata Outback Centre, offering interactive displays and a thorough history of the area. This is perfect for your pre Flinders experience. Before you leave, make sure you visit the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. This offers great changes for you to understand more about the vegetation and animals in this region. It is great for a relaxing stroll, and guided tours available to make your experience a little bit more interesting.

If you head north from Port Augusta you will come across the country town of Quorn. It is a quaint outback town and is the perfect base to explore the Warren Gorge and the Dutchmans Stern Conservation park. The Pichi Richi Railway is a favourite with children and extremely popular with tourists. The incredible historical buildings are quite a contrast to the surrounding outback landscape, with art galleries and museums adding to the cultural essence of this town. The Kanyaka Ruins are also worth a visit just out of town.

There are some fantastic walking trails to the south of Quorn which will take you on a number of treks to Devils Peak. There are panoramic views of the entire area from here, and you can often see the majestic Waukarie Falls. Come prepared though, as you can choose from an eight hour or six hour trek to the peak and back.

One ‘must see’ town in the region is Hawker, known as the most beautiful of the Flinders Ranges. You can access the Flinders Ranges National Park if you are travelling here from a northerly direction, so it is ideal as a base if you would prefer to be close to the shops and conveniences.

Once you have entered the park, you will discover Wilpena Pound. This is a tourist destination in itself, with plentiful wildlife including emus and kangaroos, and an extensive visitor centre which is worth a visit for an insight into the area.

Often indescribable, the Flinders Ranges National Park is simply breathtaking, with stunning mountainous scenery, vegetation and all types of wildlife that will keep you captivated. There are bush walks for all fitness levels, including a walk to Rawnsley Bluff, and another to Wilpena Lookout. The trek to Ferntree Falls is just as beautiful as the destination, and if you are quiet enough you will come across some native wildlife, and hear the twitter of birdlife in the trees.

Although longer and more challenging, the Wilcolo Creek bush walk, which take five hours, includes some brilliant scenery. This walk will take you on a circuit that will bring you face to face with wildlife, panoramic views, winding creeks and much undiscovered terrain.

For the more adventurous at heart, the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail has been mapped out to trace the geological history of the region. These maps can be picked up at the Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre. The Bunyeroo Gorge is another great walk and is relatively mild and enjoyable for the family, taking you around two hours to complete. If you take the creek through the Heysen Range you end up at waterholes and cliff faces that will simply take your breath away, and is also a great spot for a relaxing picnic.

This area is also the end of Australia’s most extensive bushwalking trail, which covers the beauty of the South Australian landscape close up. The Heyson Trail begins at Cape Jervis and spans to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges. This is a track that visitors from all over the world come to experience.

What is most impressive about the Flinders Ranges is that it is so extensive, gigantic and overwhelmingly magnificent. If you want to escape from the everyday hassles of life, start making plans to visit a place where time seems to stand still.

Christine Barton




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