Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours for the best Outback Desert & High Country 4wd Tag Along Toiurs

Australian 4x4 Travel - Flinders Ranges

Australian 4x4 Driver Training home page Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours home pageAustralian 4x4 Driver Training biuttonAustralian 4x4 Driver Training course testimonials from customersAustralian 4x4 Driver Training gift certificates for 4wd driver training coursesContact details for Australian 4x4 Driver Training

Call John or Amanda today on (02) 4739 8034 or mobile 0408 245892 for all enquiries, bookings or map purchases.

Australian 4x4 Travel sells several excellent quality 4wd maps and guides that cover this area. Make your selection in our Maps Shop

Button to Acess Australian 4x4 Travel Map Shop

Flinders Ranges - Australia

The Flinders Ranges, a great 4wd destination as visited by Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours 4wd Tag Along Tours

The Flinders Ranges extend just under 500 kilometers from Crystal Brook, south of Port Pirie at the head of Spencer Gulf, to north of the Arkaroola - Mount Painter Wildlife Sanctuary in the north, flanked by Lake Torrens on its west and Lake From on its east.

The area abounds in 4wd tracks and is a paradise for many four wheel drivers. Many of the private properties along the ranges have constructed drive yourself 4wd tracks through their properties, many of which lead to spectacular vantage points.

The tracks are graded from easy to hard and are accessed by arrangement with the property owners or managers.

The Fliders Ranges consist of hard quartzite and granite outcrops that have evolved from what was a broad plateau millions of years ago. Having been squeezed into a rugged mountain range rivaling the Andes time and weather has considerably lessened its towering peaks as well as rounding its edges.

There is a striking difference between it relatively moist south to its dry and arid north, with the eastern boundaries receiving more rain than the west. A wide variety of flora and fauna abounds throughout.

Early settlers left the area badly scared with over grazing of cattle and sheep and wheat farmers regularly cleared vaste tracts of natural vegetation to plant crops. It is a legacy that largely remains today with much of the region never fully recovering from those early farming practices.

Beginning as low ridges near Crystal Brook, the Flinders Ranges really become visible as you head north towards Mount Remarkable to the east of Port Pirie and Germain Bay. If you have some time to spare, and like walking, there is a walking trail from Melrose to the top of the peak towards the north of Mount Remarkable National Park. The walk takes five to six hours return.

North of Mount Remarkable and a little south east of Port Augusta is Wilmington, originally known as Beautiful Valley, a thriving community with a significant historical past.

From Wilmington the more popular route heads north to Hawker via Quorn, whilst the alternate route is to the north east via Carrington and Craddock.

Nowhere near the size of Quorn, Carrieton and Craddock, with their less hustle and bustle, do provide accommodation and supplies are available. There are a couple of small mining sites in the area as well as a few tourist attractions and things to do.

They are in a region that provided much optimism in the past as farmers took up small packages of land many of whom ended up in despair. Carrieton and Craddock have survived unlike the virtual ghost towns in their vicinity of Eurelia, Hammond, Johnburgh, Moockra, Belton and Bruce.

Quorn on the other hand is a major tourist destination and is a popular base for a holiday in the region. It is within easy reach of both the north and south of the Flinders Ranges and with the Buckaringa Gorge and Warren Gorge within an easy drive there are some excellent destinations in the area.

Within a few kilometers north of Quorn is the Arden Hills property owned by Graham and Inge Stokes. It has been owned their family since Graham's grandfather purchased in the area in 1913. It is a 4WD drivers paradise, with tracks varying from easy, and suitable for soft roaders, to those suitable only for more experienced four wheel drivers and vehicles with low range.

Mountain bikers, bush walkers and those wanting to go on horseback find this property equally appealing.

The scenery on the Arden Hills property is spectacular. Arden Hills is a working property and you will see sheep in many of the paddocks that you pass through, so please leave the gates as you find them, don't deviate off the marked tracks, respect the water storage areas and take your rubbish with you when you leave.

The first, Nathaltee Track, takes about one and a half hours and, in order to gain access, you will need to book with, and collect keys from, the Austral Hotel in Quorn. The Austral's phone number is 8648 6017.

The other is the Arden Hills Track and you should allow at least half a day for this one. Again the Austral Hotel have the keys and will handle your booking. You will need a little more driving experience however you will be rewarded with some of the most stunning scenery in the Flinders Ranges as you tackle the exhilarating climbs and breathtaking descents.

The start of the track takes you past an old marble mine, through stands of native pine and into the spinifex and grass tree habitation. As you head out on the track you will do creek crossings and see the remains of the damage that devastating bush fires caused in 1987.

Once over the creek the track starts its climb into the high country. The highest point on the track gives you a spectacular 360 degree view that takes in Lake Torrens, Mount Remarkable, the Willochra Plain and Wilpena Pound, on a good clear day, with Wedge Tailed Eagles frequently in your view.

As the track winds on there are several more climbs, descents and creek crossings through very interesting and varied natural vegetation until you end your journey through Arden Hills near Warren's Gorge.

The Nathaltee Track starts about 8 kilometers out of Quorn heading westward off the Warren's Gorge Road and is suitable for all 4WD's and is rated easy. The track is 9km long and ends back on the Warren's Gorge road about 1.5 km north of where you started.

As you enter the Arden Hills Property you travel along their southern boundary and past the ruins of the Havelberg family homestead. The Havelberg's occupied this homestead until 1946 when their farm was purchased by the Stokes family and consolidated into their own property.

Having passed the ruin you will pass through the Back Lucerne and Nathalee paddocks, with their vegetation ranging from large Red River Gums to Spinifex before you start climbing higher to to spectacular views and Depot paddock. This leads you to the highest point on the track, an excellent spot for a break, with an outlook over Arden Vale, a cuppa and great scenery.

The commanding view of Mt Arden to the north, Dutchman's stern to the south west, Devils Peak and Mt Bowen to the south and the Horseshoe Range to the east, with Ragless Range and the Willochra Plain between you, is a photo shoot opportunity that those who haven't been on this track will envy.

From here the track wanders past another home ruin and various paddocks with a great variety of flaura and fauna before you arrive back at the Warren's Gorge Road, and back to Quorn or on to Warren's Gorge.

For bush walkers there are the popular destinations of The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, Mt Brown and Devils Peak. The district around Quorn also offers places of historical interest such as Simmonston, also know as the town that never was.

Land was advertised in Simmonston, a little over half way between Quorn and Hawker, to coincide with a proposed railway line through the area and, whilst development was started on a pub and store, the railway line was re-positioned elsewhere and none of the buildings were completed.

North of Simmonston is Hawker and the gateway to Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges National Park. It is also in close proximity to the ghost towns of Hookina, to its north west, Wilson and Gordon, which are both to its south on the road from Quorn to Hawker.

Originally settled in the late 1800's Hawker became a major center with the arrival of the railway. The town was a major rail terminal until the trains stopped running through here in the early 1970's.

Today the town is a major tourist destination and has an ample supply of all mod cons. On its outskirts is the excellent vantage point of Jarvis Hill whilst displays of Aboriginal rock art can be found at the Yourambulla Caves.

There are several properties in the Hawker district that offer self drive four wheel drive tracks, most of which won't leave you disappointed. Tracks are available to suit, regardless of your driver skill levels. Many of these properties also offer camping facilities.

For those not looking to do, or don't feel up to, long four wheel drive trips many of these in the area can be done in a time frame of a couple of hours up to a day or so.

North of Hawker the Flinders Ranges National Park, Wilpena and the well known Wilpena Pound, a vaste natural, oval, amphitheatre. Once much deeper than present, and originally thought to have been caused by a meteorite, the 'bowl' has been partially filled with rock and vegetation waste over the years.

It derives its name from the Aboriginal term Wilpena, or bent fingers and cupped hand, and pound which was a term given to a stock enclosure. The perimeter of Wilpena Pond is made up of high and rugged ranges and offers a spectacular show of changing colours as the day progresses and the light angles change.

Whilst farm stock is prohibited in the area these days there were earlyattempts at farming here in the early days, particularly by the Hill family. The Hill Homestead is accessible via a walking track which leads from the Wilpena Resort Visitor Centre. Beyond the homestead it is a short walk to Wangarra Lookout. Although steep and strenuous the end of the walk provides a spectacular of the entire Wilpena Pound.

There are many lovely gorges and lookouts in the area, certainly enough to keep one busy for several days. Many say the best way to truly appreciate the magnitude and splendor of Wilpena Pond is from the air and, yes, there are scenic flights available.

The Wilpena Resort, located within the park, offers variable accommodation from four star motel lodgings in the resort itself to facilities for caravanners and campers. There is a well stocked store and fuel is available.

North of Wilpena Pond is the Vulkathuna - Gammon Ranges National Park. This is a rugged region with few roads and tracks but lots of walking tracks as much of the area is inaccessible by vehicles of any kind.

On the way between the two is Blinman, which is a historic mining town. Now days it is a tourist town with good food and accommodation.

Between Blinman and the Vulkathuna - Gammon Ranges National Park is the Mount Chambers Gorge which is certainly the most spectacular gorge in the whole of the Flinders Ranges. Parts of the gorge are accessible by conventional vehicle with care but a 4wd would be needed to penetrate deeper. There are several places to camp but there are no facilities.

On the eastern edge of the Vulkathuna - Gammon Ranges National Park is the old Balcanoona Homestead where accommodation is available in the converted shearers quarters.

Camping spots are also to be found at Italowie and Weetootla Gorges. These are spectacular gorges with relatively easy access, particularly by four wheel drive. There are several other locations within the park that have the remnants of dwellings and homesteads along with their historical significance.

Balcanoona is also the access point for the 4wd track that leads to Lake Frome on the eastern edges of the national park. Lake Frome is one of the last drainage lakes in the chain that drains from Cooper Creek to the north.

On the northern edges of the Vulkathuna - Gammon Ranges National Park is the Arkaroola - Mt Palmer Wildlife Sanctuary run by Douglas and Margaret Sprigg.

Douglas is a descendant of Reg Sprigg, a South Australian geologist, who, with his wife Griselda purchased a run down sheep station in the late 1960's after becoming fascinated with the regions landscape.

After purchase they proceeded in removing the properties stock and started the transformation into a nature reserve. They also had an enormous task of ridding the property of thousands of wild goats and rabbits.

There are camping and caravaning facilities available at Arkaroola as well as many excellent sightseeing points. Quite a bit of what is to be seen here is by 4wd track only and permission from the owners is required before proceeding. Today the sanctuary, with its very revitalised landscape, is probably the closest one will ever get of seeing how the Flinders Ranges were before the original farmers and graziers made their farming mistakes in the early days.

West of the Vulkathuna - Gammon Ranges National Park is Leigh Creek, roughly half way between the western edges of the park and Lake Torrens.

Although first established in the early 1950's, the town of Leigh Creek was relocated by the Electricity Trust of South Australia in the early 1980's to a little south of the original position to make way for extended coal mining.

The town is situated adjacent to the Old Ghan Railway Line and there are some good historic and sightseeing spots in the area, particularly if you are interested in mining, as the Leigh Creek Coalfield mine run regular tours as well as the workings being able to be seen from the observation platform.

**** Latest News - December 2015 - Leigh Creek Mine has closed so the fate of the village of Leigh Creek is unknown at this stage. ****

Apart from Leigh Creek Coalfield there are relics of old gold and copper mines in the area, many of which are a stark reminder as to the harsh conditions that these early miners worked in.

South west of the town is the Aroona Dam Sanctuary and Aroona Dam. The access road winds through rugged country towards the dam. Constructed in 1955 it is the main water supply for Leigh Creek and the coalfields. There are some excellent spots to camp and there are some very pleasant walking tracks as well as walks up to Mt Aroona and Mt Scott

Much of the area is accessible by 2wd although a 4wd will take to remoter areas. Although the Strzelecki Track starts from Lyndhurst, to the north of here, Leigh Creek is the last major place for repairs and major supply replenishment before starting on a journey along the Strzelecki.

Many people undertaking the Strz don't start from Lyndhurst but choose to travel up through the eastern side of the Flinders Ranges through Hawker, Wilpena, Blinman and Balcanoona to join the track east of Mount Hopless.


The information provided on this web page is for use as a guide only. If you are planning to undertake this trip you must seek out other authorative advice and information. Desert and Outback travel can be very hazardous and should only be undertaken after lengthy and careful planning. The owners of this website shall not be held responsible for any damage or injury that you may experience during any conventional vehicle or four wheel drive trip, desert or otherwise. Distances between places mentioned on this page are as a guide only. You must verify these details yourself using professional maps and/or mapping equipment before you set out on a the trip. Do not attempt to access desert or other remote regions in an ill-prepared vehicle and without adequate communications equipment. Do not under estimate the
limited supply of fuel, water and provisions in these areas as well as the possibility of encountering extremely harsh elements and conditions.

return to the top of the page button

Sitemap           Privacy Policy

Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours - Flinders Ranges Information

Copyright Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours 2016