Flinders Ranges National Park

 Bunyeroo Valley Scenic Drive starts just north of Wilpena

Please take note of following information regarding fuel in and around the Flinders.  Thanks to Michael for the update:

" We recently stayed at Little Paddock Homestead just out of Blinman, one of our group was looking for fuel, the only place in the general area was at Angorichina Village. Parachilna no longer has fuel, I didn't see any pumps at Blinman, Copley now doesn't have pumps. It appears that it is Hawker, Angorichina & Leigh Creek are the only fuel stops." - (added to site 2/09/2014).

.....and thanks to Caroline for the reminder that fuel is also available from the Wilpena Pound Resort.  (added to site 11/09/2014)

The Flinders Ranges is a vast region and generally refers to three main areas.  The Southern Flinders Ranges around the Mount Remarkable National Park, the Central Flinders and the Flinders Ranges National Park, and the northern Flinders, which encompasses the Gammon Ranges National Park.  All three are distinctly different and are must sees.

The Flinders Ranges National Park is arguably the most spectacular and certainly the most popular.  The gateway to this area is Hawker, which lies about 400 kilometres north of Adelaide.  If travelling from Adelaide, you can either utilise Port Wakefield Road and go through Port Wakefield, on to Port Augusta, up to Quorn and then Hawker.  Alternatively, you could drive along Port Wakefield Road, turn right onto the Northern Expressway and travel up through Clare and the mid north, through Jamestown, Orroroo and through to Hawker.  This route is about 50 k's shorter and probably more picturesque, but the roads are not as well maintained as the National Highway.   

From Hawker, it's 50 k's to Wilpena.  The entrance to the Flinders Ranges National Park is a few k's before Wilpena, so you will need to pay your $10 entrance fee if visiting the park - which if you are camping here you will be.  (You can also pay your $14 a night camping fee here).  If travelling through the park on your way to Blinman or Parachilna (or anywhere else) then there is no need to pay the fee. 

To be clear on the fees, for one car it will cost $10 to enter the park and then $14 a night to camp at any one of the numerous sites throughout the park - except for Wilpena campground.  Wilpena is privately owned and separate fees apply for their unpowered and powered sites.

The road from Hawker all the way through to Blinman is sealed.  Just north of Wilpena is the turn off to the Bunyeroo Scenic Drive.  This is 30 kilometres of dirt road that leads to Bunyeroo Gorge.  It is rough in places and a 4WD is the way to go if you have one.  It can be done in a 2WD vehicle, but care will need to be taken.  After rain, it's 4WD only, although I would give it a miss altogether after heavy rain.  It's a great drive with spectacular views and a trip through the gorge itself.  The last time I travelled through here, there was a fair amount of water in the gorge, which added to the driving experience.

Acraman and Cambrian camping ground can be found along this scenic drive and both are excellent sites.  Both have toilets (a single long drop) and limited rainwater.

The Bunyeroo Scenic Drive ends (or starts - depending on which way you're heading) at the Geological Trail. 

Looking west along the Geological Trail.

This trail extends from the Wilpena to Blinman Road to the Hawker to Parachilna Road (B83).  It is unsealed with numerous creek crossings and is slippery after rain.  There are signs along the trail advising of the age and names of certain rock formations - some over 600 million years old.  It also travels through the Brachina Gorge, which is another spectacular drive.  The colours and contours of the different rock formations contrast well with the lighter colours of the trees and rocks in the creek beds.  It really is a rugged but beautiful landscape.

Along this trail numerous campsites can be found.  Teamsters is situated at the western end of Brachina Gorge, Brachina East has 2WD and 4WD sites and Trezona and Youngoona sites are at the eastern end of the trail.  Once again, all are terrific sites.  All have toilets but no other facilities.  All sites have areas for campfires, which are allowed out of Fire Danger Season.

Camping - Brachina East Campground

Just east of the Geological Trail and Bunyeroo Scenic Drive Intersection, a road leads north that takes you to the Aroona Heritage site.  There are two campgrounds out here - Aroona and Koolamon.  Koolamon has 2WD and 4WD sites. whilst Aroona is quite a large area.  Both have toilets and limited rainwater.

Another popular spot is Dingley Dell campground.  This lies on the Wilpena to Blinman Road so there is no need to travel over rough dirt roads or negotiate rocky creek beds. 

In relation to the roads, it is possible to negotiate them all in fair weather when the roads are dry in either a 4WD or a 2WD.  However, they are rough in parts and it is much more comfortable in a 4WD.  If using 2WD then travel slowly and don't take your vehicle anywhere that you are unsure about.  The last time I visited the area, there was still an amount of water in the creek beds.  This necessitated numerous creek crossings, some which were surprisingly deep.  The creek beds consist almost entirely of small stones, so they are not too taxing.  There are several creek crossings on the Geological Trail and, as stated above, there is sometimes a lot of water lying in the Bunyeroo Gorge.  Please take care no matter what vehicle your are travelling in.

A bit further out, along the road to Arkaroola there is another spot to camp.  It's called Wilkawillina Gorge and it is isolated.  A track leads from the Arkaroola Road (which is unsealed) to the Gorge.  It is quite rough in places and the creek crossings here are likely to be quite sandy.  You will probably need 4WD for this.  It is necessary to camp a few hundred metres back from the carpark above the creek.  It's then a walk up the creek to get to the Gorge itself.  When there is water in it, it is a haven for local wild life and it's a very, very peaceful spot. 

Wilkawillina Gorge

The Flinders is one of those areas where it is possible to sit around the campsite and enjoy the solitude, exploring the campsite and surrounds.  If you get bored with that though, you can visit and walk through one of the gorges mentioned or travel to Blinman and follow the Blinman to Parachilna Road through the Parachilna Gorge, which is where the Heysen Trail starts.  Other areas of interest include Wilpena Pound itself, Sacred Canyon and the many hikes.  Scenic flights can be booked to take you over the area and this offers the best view of Wilpena Pound.

The landscape of the Central Flinders is unique.  Ancient it most certainly is, with it's sparse vegetation, massive red gums and harsh rock formations. 

During spring, the wildflowers are out and this adds some colour to the landscape. 

Flinders Ranges wildflower

Wildlife is always present, with kngaroos and wallabies in numbers.  Snakes and lizards are common.  There are many species of birds to be seen too.

A Rufous Whistler - common in the Flinders Ranges.

Flinders Ranges National Park can be visited all year round.  Spring is by far the most popular time of the year, due to the milder conditions and the abundance of wildflowers.  However, spring can be a time of very heavy rain, as seen in September, 2010, when the Hawker to Parachilna Road was flooded in several places and creek crossings in the park were impassable.  Water does not hang aroung long though, due to the sandy soil, so you'll only be stranded for a few days. 

Summer is probably too hot, but most camp grounds have plenty of shade, so it would be possible to shelter from the worst of the heat.  The dust and the flies might get you though.

Winter can be very cold at night, but the days are relatively comfortable, allowing for ideal conditions to tackle some of the longer hikes.  The landscape will be tinged with green too and there might be a bit of water in the gorges and creeks.

Autumn, after spring, is the most popular time, once again due to the mild days and cool nights.

All campgrounds have areas for lighting campfires (out of Fire Danger season of course) - please utilise these areas.  You will see that all sites are well used and most people do the right thing.  It is horrible to arrive at a site and find several different mounds of charcoal right where you want to put your tent.

Rainwater is available at most sites, but obviously this depends on season and recent rainfall.  Treat this supply as emergency use only.  Take your own water, enough for all your washing, coooking, cleaning and drinking.  Don't rely on the rainwater.

Please consider other campers.  The last time I visited, it was quite busy being the school holidays.  We were camped in the 4WD part of Brachina East campground.  About 7.00 p.m. each night we were there, someone camped in the 2WD area, about 500 metres south along the creek, would start playing music.  I had a couple of issues with this - one, it was too loud and, two, it  was Abba.  Give me strength, I had Momma Mia stuck in my head for days after.  Surely you go camping to have some peace and quiet.

Another group across from us decided the bonfire they had burning wasn't light enough so they erected a spotlight on a pole and this, along with the lights they had strapped to their heads, lit up the entire campsite.  They must have been scared of the dark.

Please remember to bring you own firewood.  I know it's a pain to pack and carry, but it's necessary if you want to have a fire.

Although the sites are generally well spaced and well screened from one another, please consider other campers.  Noise carries very well along those creek beds and I'm worse off for some of the conversations I heard.

The Flinders Ranges National Park is a magnificent area and one that you will return to again and again.  Although popular, it is still quite a remote location, so it pays to be totally self sufficient.  Fuel is available from Hawker, Wilpena, Blinman and Parachilna.  it is probably one of the best camping experiences in the State.

For more information on fees, walks, places to visit, please see

http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/sanpr/flindersranges/index.html