Key information: Flinders Ranges
- Exciting walking in these rugged, ancient mountains, classic Australian scenery of a kind.
- The great walk here has to be the extraordinary high basin of Wilpena Pound.
- This can be tough walking in remote mountains, on which you will have to be self-sufficient. Come prepared.
- ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!
- Walkopedia rating80
- Natural interest16
- Human interest2
- Negative points0
- Total rating80
The Flinders Ranges run north-south in the centre of South Australia, for some 400km north of Adelaide. They comprise of numerous sub-ranges.
This is an area of very rugged, very ancient hills (mountains in the British not Himalayan sense) whose geological history stretches back some 600 million years. Geological highlights include extraordinary Wilpena Pound and the Edeowie and Brachina gorges.
This is very dry, very hot countryside, with classic Aussie wildlife to match: wallabies and kangaroos, snakes, and a wide variety of birds. The seemingly oppressed vegetation explodes with colour in spring - if the rain falls.
The highlight, Wilpena Pound, is reminiscent of the South American "lost worlds" on their towers of rock: a huge amphitheatre surrounded by sharp ridges which reserve their steepest slopes for the outside.
Fine walks include:
- Parachilna Gorge
- Wilpena Pound. There are various excellent walks within the pound, including the clamber to the Wangarra lookout. The best must be a 17km circuit which climbs St Mary's Peak (at 1,150) on the rim and traverses the Pound floor. The Wilcolo Valley on the Heysen Trail is well spoken of.
- Mount Remarkable, and other trails in the southern end of the range.
- Brachina Gorge, a spectacular if faintly haunted-feeling gash in the range. On the Heysen Trail.
- Edeowie Gorge
- Arkavroo rock, a climb to an aboriginal site.
- The Arkaroola - Mount Painter Wildlife Sanctuary
- Stretches of the Heysen Trail, such as Melrose to Woolshed Flat and Hawker to Parachilna.
The Arkaba Walk would be a wonderful way of experiencing the Flinders; a 3 day walk across Wilpena Pound and on through varied and exciting country to Arkaba Station Homestead. www.arkabawalk.com. This is proper glamping, the evenings as delightful as the days are thrilling. But it is not for the financially fainthearted.
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Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist.
Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.
Books and Maps
Books on this walk
Adelaide & South Australia – Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet Central Australia (Adelaide to Darwin) – Lonely Planet
Decent maps are reasonably easily available locally.
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
During the cooler months (April-Oct)
The summer heat isn’t as extreme as further north, at least toward the coast, but avoiding summer when inland (e.g. The Flinders ranges) is still a good "idea". There is little rainfall once inland, with what can be had low and spasmodic. A good sleeping bag is advisable as it gets cold at night.
Nearest airport: Adelaide – flights from every Australian city.
Those on organized expeditions will be transported from/to arranged start/departure points.
No permits are needed to do this/these walks (as at 2014), but park and camping fees can apply.
See Walk Summary above.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
· Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself. But gets cold at night.
· Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
· Dangerous animals of all shapes and sizes (this is Australia, Mate), including snakes, stinging/biting insects and plants. Take all appropriate precautions.
· Gorge and riverbed dangers: gorges can be lethal, particularly as a result offlash floods. Assess and prepare for all risks on those walks involving gorges. In particular, check the weather carefully and don’t go after rain or if it is possible. And don’t camp in river beds.
· This can remote country: food and other supplies will not be readily available once on a trail and help may be hard to get if things go wrong.
· Be sensitive in dealings with Aborignal people: don’t photograph them without permission. Ask permission if in doubt about whether they would mind.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and problems can arise on any walk. Many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks and possible problems. This website cannot, does not purport to, identify all actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to a walk or a country. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
You can do these walks independently, but you will need to be self-sufficient, so come fully prepared.
Many people form or join organised/supported expeditions when doing multi-day walks. Given the remoteness of the country and difficulty of getting supplies, many will prefer to do it this way if going on multi-day expeditions, and travelling here with a knowledgeable guide has real advantages and this can give you the ability to move between the very best (and most varied) walks.
If hiring a guide locally, meet him/her and get comfortable before committing. Make sure all requirements are understood and agreed – including how you will eat and overnighting and, of course, remuneration!
Expedition organisers include:
· Great Walks Of Australia http://greatwalksofaustralia.com.au/
· SEIT Outback Australia http://www.seitoutbackaustralia.com.au
· Heading Bush Outback Adventures http://www.headingbush.com/
· The Heysen Trail http://heysentrail.asn.au/
· Holiday in Australia http://www.australia.com/en/itineraries/sa-heysen-trail.html
PLEASE HELP Walkopedia by recommending any reputable tour organizers that you know of – local or otherwise.
Once out on remote trails, camping only.
There are various accommodation websites for towns such as Alice Springs.
See what the commentary on Tripadvisor is on possible places to stay – although do take their reviews with a pinch of salt, as they can be “interested”.
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
The Heysen Trail Website (http://heysentrail.asn.au/heysen-trail/) has information on campsites and accommodation, a service directory and transport information.
· http://www.wikipedia.org. As usual, a good starting place.
· Try www.flickr.com for pictures of this walk.
Other things to do in the area
Australia has a huge variety of great walks.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more