Surround yourself with the rugged scenic beauty and rich First Nations culture of the Flinders Rangers in South Australia.
The Flinders Ranges are the largest mountain range in South Australia and home to the traditional owners, the Adnyamathanha peoples. The dramatic mountains and rugged peaks that make up Ikara (Wilpena Pound) stretch 17 kilometres across the russet red landscape at Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park and have a curve that creates a natural eight kilometre wide pound, or enclosure. The Flinders Ranges are the perfect spot to connect with First Nations culture and explore the tourist road less travelled. Here are 6 of the best things to do in the Flinders Ranges on your next trip.
1. Take in the stunning outback scenery
Embrace the beauty and adventure of real outback driving as the road unwinds like a long, red ribbon in front of your vehicle, holding the promise of adventure and a couple of bumps and bounces along the way. As you roll along, look up to spot kites and eagles soaring high above the landscape. In the distance, emus dot the grassy plains and take a bath in waterholes alongside the road, and kangaroos poke their heads above the grass as they try (unsuccessfully) to stay hidden amongst the trees. The Flinders Ranges go to show that sometimes it’s the journey, and not just your final destination, that make travelling in Australia such a rewarding experience.
2. Stay a while at Iga Warta
Meet your Adnyamathanha guides and learn about their culture, history and connection to the land at Iga Warta in the Northern Flinders Ranges. This family run cultural centre and accommodation spot offers an immersive introduction to Adnyamathanha culture with a Welcome to Country followed by a yarn and the chance to learn about the surrounding landscape. Tuck into bush bananas roasted over the fire, dunk juicy kangaroo meatballs into homemade dipping sauce, and finish with freshly baked scones slathered in quandong jam. This peaceful location is the ideal spot to settle into the rhythm of local life and embrace the culture and beauty of the Flinders Ranges.
3. Explore natural wonders at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Go on a rollicking 4WD adventure that takes in science, education, and conservation and showcases the incredible and unique wilderness at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary on a Flinders Ranges Explorer adventure. Offering some of the most extraordinary outback landscapes you’ll ever see, Arkaroola is full of breathtaking peaks, valleys, gorges, and creeks and home to plenty of native flora and fauna. When night falls, there are not one, but three, state-of-the-art astronomical observatories where you can watch the night sky. One of the observatories at Arkaroola sends data back to NASA so this star gazing destination is very special indeed.
4. Hike the Flinders Ranges
Hike the Flinders Ranges with a local leader who will share little-known facts and stories of the ancient landscapes and help you spot the unique Australian wildlife. When you walk the Flinders Ranges, you don’t need to worry about crowds as this off-the-beaten path destination doesn’t get the same number tourists as other scenic and culturally significant outback destinations like Uluru. When you visit this part of South Australia, it feels as if the stunning landscape is yours alone to enjoy. Whether you are an expert hiker or prefer to take things easy with a stroll or two, there are walks at the Flinders Ranges to suit your level of fitness and hiking expertise.
5. Discover Ikara (Wilpena Pound) with an Adnyamathanha guide
Discover Ikara on a First Nations tour that shines a light on Adnyamathanha history, uncovers the park’s more recent past, and looks towards the future. In the Adnyamathanha language, the name Ikara means meeting place and it continues to be a destination where people can come together to learn and share stories. Your expert First Nations guide will share ancient stories of the landscape that have been passed down from generation to generation, provide insight into the biodiversity of the region and the life it sustains, and explain the relationship between the land and the Adnyamathanha people.
6. Climb up Mt. Ohlssen Bagge
Are you up for a challenge? If you love walking and wonderful views and want to hike your way around Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, then Mt. Ohlssen Bagge is the trail for you. Prepare yourself for a rocky and continuously uphill 6km walk and get ready to sweat it out, taking in breathtaking scenery every time you look up. While the Mt. Ohlssen Bagge trail will push you to your limits (and then some), the view from the top is well worth the struggle it took to get up there. The best way to tackle this challenging yet rewarding climb is with an expert guide on a Walk the Flinders Ranges tour.