Tour Description

Pichi Richi Railway

(Combined Departure)
Four Days: 30th August – 2nd September 2024

Twin Share: $1729 per person. Sole Use: $1979 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
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

Discover the timeless beauty of South Australia’s scenic landscapes and historical landmarks on this unforgettable four day tour. Experience the charm of heritage rail along the historic Pichi Richi Railway. Journey through picturesque valleys and quaint towns, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of local history, and marvel at the stunning natural wonders of the Southern Flinders Ranges.

 

Day One – FRIDAY 30 AUGUST 2024

Our tour begins as we depart northward, leaving Adelaide behind us. Our first pause is in Gawler for morning tea. As we traverse through the picturesque towns of Auburn and Clare, the famed Clare Vineyards unfold before us, a tapestry of green and gold stretching towards the horizon.

Lunch awaits in Gladstone, nestled in the tranquil Rocky River Valley at the southern end of the Flinders Ranges. Post-lunch, we visit Wirrabara, a town celebrated for its forestry heritage and the home of Australia’s first Government Forest nursery in the 1870s. Here, we admire a stunning silo artwork by Sam Bates, known as ‘Smug’, which beautifully depicts the local flora and fauna alongside the town’s forestry legacy.

Our scenic drive then takes us closer to the coast along Germein Gorge Road, revealing picturesque countryside views. In Port Germein, we take a leisurely stroll along the state’s longest wooden jetty, stretching over 1.5 kilometers into the blue, a relic from the 1880s when this was one of the largest grain loading ports in Australia.

By evening, we arrive in Port Augusta, a pivotal transport hub with a rich history dating back to its colonization in 1852. Here, we settle into the Standpipe Golf Motor Inn (Ph. 08 8642 4033) for the next three nights, where we’ll gather for dinner and share stories from the day’s adventures.

Day Two – SATURDAY 31 AUGUST 2024

After a hearty breakfast, we eagerly make our way to the Port Augusta train station to embark on a memorable ride aboard the historic Pichi Richi Railway. Spanning a 78-kilometer return journey along the original Ghan route to Quorn, this excursion offers a unique window into Australia’s pioneering past. We step aboard the restored ‘Afghan Express’. The immaculate timber carriages, up to 100 years old, have been carefully restored and are pulled by the original steam or diesel locomotives.

As the train chugs along, weaving through the striking red earth, the Pichi Richi Pass comes to life with its rugged rocky outcrops, ancient dry riverbeds, and timeless hills that tell stories of the land’s ancient geological past. Upon arrival in Quorn, a historic rail junction since 1917, we immerse ourselves in the town’s old-world charm. Here, we stroll through the quaint streets and enjoy a leisurely lunch, relishing local flavors in this picturesque setting.

The return journey on the Pichi Richi Railway in the afternoon is equally enchanting, as we retrace our tracks back to Port Augusta. This part of the day highlights the tremendous efforts of the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society’s volunteers, who tirelessly work to preserve this vital piece of Australian heritage.

Once back at our accommodation, the evening offers a well-deserved break for relaxation. Later, we gather for a delightful dinner, a perfect close to a day filled with historic exploration and scenic beauty.

Day Three – SUNDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2024

Today’s journey unfolds amidst the dramatic landscapes of the Southern Flinders Ranges. Starting with the ascent past Mount Brown, named after the botanist companion of explorer Matthew Flinders, our route winds gracefully through the Richman Valley. Here, the striking silhouette of Devil’s Peak looms ahead, setting a rugged backdrop to our drive.

As we navigate past the formidable Dutchman’s Stern, we approach Warren Gorge, where the landscape dramatically transforms. The gorge’s jagged orange rock formations rise starkly against the lush greenery of native Cypress pines, creating a vivid contrast that is a photographer’s delight. Here, we pause for morning tea, an idyllic moment to absorb the serene and rugged beauty of our surroundings.

Our reflective journey continues with a visit to Proby’s Grave, where we pay homage to the pioneering spirit of the early settlers, marked by the solemnity of the site. Our travels then take us along Buckaringa Scenic Drive, which unfurls panoramic vistas that captivate and inspire.

Our lunch stop in the outback town of Hawker provides a hearty refuel, setting the stage for an afternoon of exploration.

We then delve into the history of Kanyaka Station, where the ruins stand as a testament to the harsh realities and historical endurance of pastoral life in the region.

Concluding our day’s adventure, we loop back through the rugged landscapes of the southern Flinders, returning to Quorn for a brief exploration before heading to our accommodation in Port Augusta.

Day Four – MONDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 2024

On our final day, we bid a warm farewell to our gracious hosts and commence our homeward journey through the stunning Horrocks Pass. The drive encapsulates a beautiful blend of farming landscapes and the stark ruggedness of the surrounding ranges.

Our first stop at Hancock’s Lookout provides an opportunity for one last sweeping panorama of the breathtaking terrain that has been our backdrop over the past days.

We continue to historic Melrose for morning tea, before our journey progresses through the picturesque towns of Laura and Clare, where we indulge in a delightful lunch.

Our travels take us through Sevenhill and Auburn, where the lush vineyards and quaint settings invite reflective conversations about our adventures. Discussions of the memorable Pichi Richi Railway ride and the awe-inspiring vistas of the Southern Flinders Ranges enrich our exchange, weaving the final threads of our journey together.

As we approach Adelaide, the shared experiences of our tour culminate in a profound appreciation for the region’s rich history and stunning natural beauty, marking the end of an unforgettable exploration.