Five Days: 20 – 24 September 2021
Twin Share: $1695 per person. Sole Use: $1845 per person.
- 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 Gawler Ranges landscape is a majestic natural wilderness and home to volcanic rock formations believed to be over 1500 million years old. The vast expanses of hills and gullies, with rocky gorges and seasonal water flows create a stunning environment and a unique outback experience. Staying in Wudinna, we explore the natural attractions that surround, as well as visiting the nearby towns and villages, including Streaky Bay, where coastal views provide a contrast to the hills and rocky landscapes we experience inland.
Day One – MONDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2021
(includes light lunch and two course dinner)
After completing home pick ups (limited areas*) we begin our journey north, with a stop at Dublin for morning tea. As we continue through Port Wakefield, the Hummock Ranges that extend north from the eastern edge of the Yorke Peninsula rise to our left. We pass salt lakes and open farming country before the Southern Flinders Ranges start to become evident. Our lunch stop today will be in Port Augusta, at the top of the Spencer Gulf.
During the afternoon we travel west to the Eyre Peninsula. Once again, we enjoy wide open views, interrupted only by the hills that dominate sections of the landscape. Iron Knob stands dramatically beside the road showing clear evidence of its mining past, and we continue our journey through Kimba and on to Koongawa. Here we visit Waddikee Rock; a small granite dome that provides an excellent view of the surrounding landscape. A monument to explorer John Charles Darke is located at the base.
Travelling on, we arrive in Wudinna, the ideal location to base ourselves to explore the surrounding area known as ‘granite country’. Our accommodation for the next four nights is at the Gawler Ranges Motel (Ph. 08 8680 2090). (Please note: There are varying standards of accommodation at the motel, with limited rooms available. Deluxe, standard and economy rooms will be allocated according to the order of booking.)
Day Two – TUESDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2021
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)
Today we explore the areas near Wudinna and Minnipa, but before departing, we stop to view the Australian Farmer Statue. Standing at 8 metres tall and weighing around 70 tonnes, the granite sculpture celebrates the life, spirit and soul of rural farming communities. Artist Marijan Bekic, with the assistance of his son, took two years to carve the magnificent piece.
The local landscape that surrounds Wudinna features incredible granite monoliths and massive wave-like formations, similar to the famous ’Wave Rock’ in Western Australia. Others have fascinating tafoni; huge boulders weathered away from underneath to form cave-like structures similar to the Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island. These outcrops are amazing and quite spectacular, and well worth a visit.
During the morning we travel to the town of Minnipa. This area was first discovered by Europeans in 1839 when Edward John Eyre was travelling through the country.
Just out of town is Pildappa Rock. This impressive granite outcrop has been weathered over time to create a wave like formation and early pioneers constructed guttering systems around the base to collect water that fell from the rock, for their properties and livestock.
We will stop to enjoy morning tea while here, allowing plenty of time to explore this amazing monolith. For those who are keen, the rock has a low, sloping section that we can carefully climbed to admire spectacular views of the surrounding Gawler Ranges.
Afterwards we make our way to Tcharkuldu Rock, another granite outcrop covered in the largest and most spectacular tafoni and boulders in the district. At one stage channels were also built around this outcrop to catch the rain and we can see the remnants of these.
After lunch we visit more of the spectacular natural rock formations near Wudinna. Mount Wudinna is amongst one of the largest granite monoliths in Australia, and Ucontitchie Hill is a granite outcrop of international geological significance. Standing in complete isolation, this rock formation can be seen for many kilometres around.
Late afternoon, we return to our accommodation for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day Three – WEDNESDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2021
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)
This morning we make our way west towards the coastline of the Great Australian Bight, stopping at Port Kenny. Here we see Murphy’s Haystacks, a collection of ancient wind-worn boulders of pink granite set in the middle of a wheat farm surrounded by mallee scrub. These majestic rocks are easily accessible and we have time to look around this unique outcrop.
After morning tea we head to the picturesque town of Streaky Bay. This lovely coastal town, situated on the West Coast of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is the fifth largest town on the peninsula.
We enjoy lunch before meeting our local guide who takes us for a comprehensive and interesting look around the town and its attractions. We experience some truly wonderful locations and develop a better understanding of Streaky Bay’s place and importance in South Australian history.
We make our way back to the Streaky Bay National Trust Museum for a look around. The building is situated in the old school building circa 1901, showcasing many displays including a collection of bird’s eggs, furniture, clothing, sporting history and antiques amongst other nostalgic items.
This afternoon we return to Wudinna through Poochera, a small grain belt town. When we arrive back at our accommodation there will be time to relax and freshen up before dinner.
Day Four – THURSDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2021
(includes cooked breakfast, picnic lunch and two course dinner)
Today we journey into the spectacular Gawler Ranges National Park. This park, formerly known as Paney Station and Scrubby Peak, was proclaimed a national park in 2002. The mountain range is one of the oldest in Australia.
Volcanic activity and erosion over thousands of years has created a magnificent and rugged area for us to explore. Vast hills, gullies, rocky gorges and seasonal water- flows create a stunning landscape of natural beauty. The park is home to a diverse array of plants and animals, including a number of rare and threatened species.
We explore many of the features of this national park, including the rock structures, salt lakes and farming heritage. After a picnic lunch at the Old Paney Homestead, we make our way past the Stone Dam, through to Yandinga Gorge. Here we can view the rock structures which were formed over millions of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions. They are a prominent feature in many locations throughout the park.
During the afternoon we take a scenic drive through the park, before returning to Wudinna.
Please Note: As the Gawler Ranges is an outback area, some attractions are subject to road and weather conditions and the tour does involve some walking on uneven terrain. The well-known ‘organ pipes’ in Gawler Ranges NP can only be accessed by 4 wheel drive vehicles, so unfortunately we are unable to visit them. However, the park does feature a variety of other spectacular rock structures which we are able to access and view.
Day Five – FRIDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2021
(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)
Today, we begin our journey back across the eastern Eyre Peninsula. As we travel, we pass through Kyancutta, before arriving in Kimba. We stop for morning tea and take time to look at the silo art mural completed in September 2017 by Melbourne artist, Cam Scale. The mural stretches across five and a half silos, measuring over 60m wide and 25m high, making it one of the biggest canvases in the world. It took the artist 26 days to complete this magnificent work.
We continue to Port Augusta for our delicious two course lunch, before commencing our afternoon drive homeward.
Travelling alongside the Southern Flinders Ranges, past Port Pirie and continuing on Highway One towards Port Wakefield, it’s not long before we sight the Gulf of St Vincent once more.
The scenery becomes more familiar as we head towards Adelaide’s outer suburbs. It won’t be long and we will be making our way home with memories of the spectacular landscapes of South Australia’s picturesque Gawler Ranges.