Tour Description

Flinders Ranges and Arkaroola

(Combined Departure)
Seven Days: 20 – 26 September 2021

Twin Share: $2595 per person. Sole Use: $2995 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

The Flinders Ranges is one of the oldest landscapes on Earth; a part of South Australia that was shaped by the ancient serpents and giants of the Aboriginal Dreaming. Renowned for its natural, cultural and geological significance, it is considered to be one of Australia’s premier natural environments. Not only do we explore the magnificent country of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, but we also venture further north to Arkaroola to discover the rugged mountains, towering granite peaks, magnificent gorges and mysterious waterholes of Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. With an abundance of breath-taking vistas, birds and wildlife, this tour is a great way to discover the stunning beauty of the Flinders Ranges.

 

Day One – MONDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2021

(includes light lunch and two course dinner)

We depart this morning at approximately 8am after home pick ups*. While settling in and becoming acquainted with those around us we quickly leave the coast behind. After a comfort stop, we take the Southern Expressway and make our way through Adelaide to Two Wells. Following morning tea, we travel through Port Wakefield, following Highway One as we venture north.

We arrive in the seaport of Port Pirie, on the east cost of the Spencer Gulf. It is here we stop for lunch before our afternoon journey.

Turning off the highway, we travel on Flinders Ranges Way, following the general route of the Pichi Richi Pass and arriving in Quorn early afternoon.

From here we take a scenic drive visiting Warren Gorge Lookout, with its red rock rising vertically from the tree lined creek before continuing to Buckaringa Gorge Lookout. This route will also take us past Proby’s Grave, the site of Hugh Proby’s drowning when he attempted to cross a creek on horseback after flash flooding. Proby was the founder of Kanyaka Station, and we will visit the homestead ruins later in our tour. After returning to the main road, it is not long before we arrive in Hawker and our accommodation for the evening at the Outback Chapmanton Motor Inn (Ph: 08 8648 4100).

Day Two – TUESDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

This morning, before leaving Hawker, we will have the opportunity to visit the Jeff Morgan Gallery. An internationally acclaimed artist, Jeff has lived his entire life in the Flinders region and is inspired by the landscapes that surround him. His gallery features the Wilpena Panorama, a 30 metre, 360 degree painting of the magnificent landscape as seen from St Mary’s Peak, the highest point of the Wilpena Pound. The most recent addition to the gallery is the Arkaroola Panorama, a huge 5.5 metre high, 46 metre long mural that is displayed in a 360° circle. We have time to soak up the beauty of these and other paintings, as we listen to special sound effects of birds of the area.

From here we travel further into the Flinders, taking in the vibrant, stunning landscapes that surround us. We enter Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park and make our way to the Visitors Centre, situated near Wilpena Pound. The Pound is a natural amphitheatre of awesome proportions, with a circumference of 35 kilometres, its length stretching 11 kilometres and a width of nearly 5 kilometres. This is truly an inspiring landscape.

After a light lunch, this afternoon provides opportunities for a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound (at passengers own expense), a walk or stroll around the area or the opportunity to relax in our rooms. Tonight we will be staying at Wilpena Pound Resort (Ph: 08 8648 0004), located on the banks of Wilpena Creek.

Late afternoon, we set off to a lookout to admire the spectacular changing colours of the sunset over Wilpena Pound. We marvel at the panoramic views of this vast ancient landscape before returning to the resort for dinner.

Day Three – WEDNESDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Today we make our way north through the National Park. As we travel, the road winds an undulating course between ancient hills, many deeply scarred by outcropping in horizontal layers. We pass Oraparinna Station and the Great Wall of China, stopping at opportune times to admire the spectacular landscapes that surround.

We arrive in Blinman, a small town with a population of just 22 that services the surrounding pastoral community. In 1859 Robert Blinman discovered copper here and the mine that emerged became the largest in the Flinders Ranges. Today we join a guided tour of the Heritage Blinman Mine to discover what it was like mining copper in this era and learn about the lives of the miners and their families. This is more than just a tour: there’s an innovative sound and lights system that includes storytelling, light boxes, music, and a mix of theatre and mining history.

After lunch at the Blinman Hotel, we turn west and travel through the beautiful Parachilna Gorge with its layers of steeply tilted limestone rising at an acute angle from the broad creek bed. As we wind through the rocky surrounds, you will notice the Parachilna Creek that has cut its way through the landscape. While there may not be water in the creek, its path is obvious from the majestic river red gums that line the banks at the bottom of the gorge.

After travelling through the gorge, we arrive at Parachilna home to the well-known Prairie Hotel one of the few remaining buildings in the township. We will stop to stretch our legs and enjoy a cool drink at this Flinders Ranges icon.

Continuing towards Leigh Creek, we turn off the main road to travel to Aroona Dam. This huge 5,000 megalitre dam was built across Scott Creek to provide water to the nearby town. A massive community effort has brought life back into what was a badly degraded area, as it became home to feral goats, rabbits and foxes. Now, in the place of those feral pests there is a reintroduced colony of the shy and timid Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby, along with other wildlife, birds and a vast range of native plant species. The wallabies, which became extinct in the area in 1980, were bred at the open range zoo at Monarto and reintroduced to Aroona in 1996.

Leigh Creek was established as a company town, providing housing and services for the people who worked at the nearby coal mine. With the closure of the mine in November 2015, the population is now less than 250. On arrival we check into the Leigh Creek Resort (Ph: 08 8675 2025), where there will be time to relax and refresh before dinner.

Day Four – THURSDAY 23 SEPTEMBER  2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

This morning we have some time to look around and learn more about Leigh Creek before beginning our travels east along the Gammon Ranges Road.

Late morning, we arrive at Iga Warta, a centre completely owned, managed and staffed by the local Adnyamathanha people who wanted to be able to share their culture and heritage with the travellers moving through the Northern Flinders Ranges. A local member of the community will provide a special cultural experience, before enjoying a delicious lunch, including the opportunity to taste some real bush foods.

This afternoon we continue our journey east towards Arkaroola, through Vulkathunha/Gammon Ranges National Park. Rich with cultural significance, the park forms part of the traditional country of the Adnyamathanha people and boasts spectacular terrain, with deep gorges, towering mountains and tree-lined creeks.

It is not long before we reach Arkaroola and our accommodation for the next two nights at the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary (Ph. 1800 676 042 or 08 8648 4848). We will be staying in Mawson Lodge, the best accommodation in the sanctuary, where all rooms have an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning and mountain views.

Day Five – FRIDAY 24 SEPTEMBER  2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

It’s a wonderful experience to wake this morning in the Wilderness Sanctuary, looking out to the rugged mountain range. Following an early breakfast, we begin one of the highlights of our holiday, the famous Ridgetop Tour, unique to the Flinders Ranges.

We travel in four-wheel-drive tour vehicles on this rugged journey, open at the back to ensure uninterrupted views of the stunning surrounds. Please note, that this tour traverses rough country on side-facing seats, which means that as the vehicle climbs or descends, we may slide into each other even with our seat belts on. This is not a journey for the faint-hearted! However, the experience and views are incredible. We travel along razor-back ridges and across the peaks of rugged mountains to the climax at Sillers Lookout. Here we feel on top of the world with awe-inspiring views of the Northern Flinders Ranges and across the white expanse of Lake Frome to the desert beyond.

Please note: As it can get quite windy and cold in the open vehicles on the Ridgetop Tours, we strongly recommend bringing a warm coat, hat and gloves so you can enjoy this wonderful experience in comfort.

We return to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in time for a light lunch.

Following our adventure this morning, we have free time this afternoon for rest and relaxation, or for those who are feeling energetic, we can explore the local area on foot.

Once again we enjoy dinner in the restaurant before retiring to our rooms for the last night in this beautiful wilderness setting.

Day Six – SATURDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

This morning we say farewell to our hosts at the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and make our way back through the spectacular countryside of the National Park.

We will continue to Copley where we stop to enjoy our morning tea before making our way back through Leigh Creek and Parachilna. Around lunchtime we arrive at Hawker, where we stop to enjoy refreshments before our afternoon journey.

As we travel the Flinders Ranges Way towards Quorn, we detour to visit the Kanyaka Station ruins. Hugh Proby founded this property in July 1851 after arriving from Scotland, but the ruins we see today were from buildings constructed by a later tenant. The structures have survived better than the neighbouring properties and restoration work has now prevented further crumbling of the stone buildings that harbour a long and impressive history. There is time to wander around the remains of the 16 room homestead and outbuildings before we continue our travels.

This afternoon we can sit back and relax as we journey south through Quorn to Port Augusta where we will stay tonight at the Standpipe Gulf Motel (Ph: 08 8642 4033).

Day Seven – SUNDAY 26 SEPTEMBER  2021

(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)

We farewell our hosts this morning and begin our journey home. After leaving the Spencer Gulf behind we take Horrocks Pass across the range, to take the more scenic route south. Passing through Melrose, the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges, we continue to Jamestown for morning tea and the chance to stretch our legs.

Continuing our travels, we pass through Spalding and the Clare Valley on our way to Kapunda where our lunch will be waiting for us.

Our afternoon journey leads us through the hills east of Adelaide and on towards the south coast. By late afternoon the scenery becomes familiar and as we head for home, there is time to reflect on the natural beauty of the stunning Flinders and Gammon Ranges.

Please note: Unsealed roads in the Flinders and Gammon Ranges can be adversely affected by weather conditions. While we endeavour to follow the itinerary as closely as possible it may be necessary to find alternative routes or activities should our intended plans not be possible.