Image: the view from Razorback Lookout
The Flinders Ranges are though to have been formed during the Cambrian period, some 450 million years ago. Their folded quartzite and sandstone formations have since been subject to heavy and persistent erosion, which has helped to shape the undulating landscape we see today. If you hit The Outback Highway and travel roughly 400km north of Adelaide, SA, you'll arrive at the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, where you'll find well-maintained gravel tracks and walking trails that will take you deeper into majestic Ranges.
The best time to visit the Flinders Ranges is between April and October, so as to avoid the scalding conditions of the warmer months. Nevertheless, with temperatures as low as -8°C on a winter morning and summer days that regularly exceed 38°C, be sure to check out weather trends for your chosen times.
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
The Ranges have acted the Ikara (or meeting place) to the land's traditional owners, the Adnyamathanha people, for more than 500 generations, and have played a central role in their beliefs and traditions. Examples of their deep history can be seen in areas such as Arkaroo, where for thousands of years ancient cave paintings have whispered the story of Wilpena Pound – a large natural amphitheatre that plays a significant role in the lore of the land.
Wilpena Pound features some of the regions most spectacular peaks, including the Range's highest point, St Mary Peak, which rises to 1171m. It and Beatrice Hill are said to be the heads of the two Akkuras (dreaming serpents) who ate so much they were unable to move from their tucker spot, before they were consumed by time to form the ridges of the Pound. The nearby Cazneaux Tree will be a familiar vision for fine-art appreciators and a worthy stop on the way to Williow Springs station, the jump off point for the Skytrek 4WD trek.
Image: the Cazneaux Tree
Further north the Vulkathuna-Gammon Ranges National Park is a rugged area comprised of dramatic chasms and gorges, which plays home to a variety of wildlife. Access is limited to some of the more entrancing locations, but if you're prepared to tackle a remote walking track then it's well worth the effort – just be sure to take plenty of drinking water, as you're unlikely to find anywhere to top up along the way. The Italowie and Weetootla Gorges are two of the easier areas to get to. Both feature camp-sites that are easily accessed by vehicle and offer a selection of less challenging walks that lead to the heart of the Park.
Images: a local larrikin (left), Blinman central (right)
Mount Remarkable National Park is a semi-arid conservation area that hosts a mixture of flora and fauna. This mountainous area is less rugged than it's northern counterpart, and so provides an expansive network of easy walking trails, including the Heysen Trail. The Winninowie Conservation Park is an enchanting area with 28km of coastal frontage that sits along the Spencer Gulf. Here you'll find pristine protected mangroves, seagrass and mudflats that flourish along the precarious line where dusty desert dips into salty sea.
Image: the Spencer Gulf
Stretching a full 430km from north to south, the Flinders Ranges offer countless unique experiences and near-endless potential for adventure. Whether you're looking to test your mettle against the rocky summits or you're just after a picturesque camp ground to kick your feet up on the Esky, be sure your South Australian wanderings lead you to the Flinders Ranges.
Check out Hema's range of Flinders Ranges maps and guides to find out more