Australia is chock-full of national parks; there are literally hundreds. I’ve already covered some great ones that I visited while driving across Australia. Now, I would like to talk about one of my favorites: Flinders Ranges National Park. I spent several days there, hiking, camping and driving around.
An Introduction to Flinders Ranges National Park
This fantastic park is located in the Outback of South Australia, about 450 kilometers north of Adelaide, the state’s capital. The national park is part of the Flinders Ranges, the longest mountain range in the state. Its real Australian Outback landscapes consist of gorges, canyons, wild mountain ranges, dry plains and hidden creeks. It’s a wild, semi-arid place. However, the area is in fact full of wildlife. Plants that have adapted to these dry conditions are river red gums, black oaks and cypress pines. I spotted several wedge-tailed eagles soaring high in the blue skies, and emus and kangaroos running and hopping around. Animals that I didn’t see, but are around, are dingoes, countless snakes, echidnas and wallabies. And those are only the high-profile animals…
The heart of Flinders Ranges National Park is that is of major importance to the local Aborigines. St Mary Peak, the highest mountain in the Flinders Ranges, is located on the edge of Wilpena Pound and a sacred mountain.
A campground and visitor center near Wilpena Pound is the perfect base to explore the region. The visitor center has plenty of information on the park’s history, hiking trails, scenic drives and Aboriginal culture. The campground is large and has excellent facilities. The showers, for example, are fabulous after a long and hot day of hiking. Hiking, by the way, is the most popular and recommended thing to do in . There is also a good range of alternative accommodation near the Flinders Ranges.
There are numerous fine hikes in Flinders Ranges National Park, ranging from short strolls to challenging day hikes. A great bushwalk is the Wangarra Lookout Walk, 7.5 kilometers long and leading to a lookout point that offers spectacular views of Wilpena Pound. The St Mary Peak Loop is a challenging nine-hour hike through the bottom of Wilpena Pound and up to the summit of the mountain. Let me assure you that the views from the top are unbeatable. It feels like the top of the world up there. When I was hiking, the temperature exceeded 40°C, so bringing a hat and plenty of water and food is not only suggested, but mandatory if you want to get back safely and healthily.
Another great hike is the Arkaroo Rock Walk, a two-hour walk to 5,000-year-old Aboriginal rock paintings that tell the story of Wilpena Pound’s creation. The Brachina Gorge Geological Trail is 20 kilometers long and one of the most spectacular attractions in Flinders Ranges National Park. It is a self-guided walk and there is a big chance of spotting reptiles, birds and rare wallabies.
I also strongly recommend driving the Moralana Scenic Drive. It is 28 kilometers long, leads through the Outback and offers fantastic views of the park’s scenery.
Again, the Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre has all the information you could possibly need during your visit to Flinders Ranges National Park.
I loved it and it is in my top 3 of Australian national parks.