Flinders Ranges South Australia

04th, June 2014

 


This week...

 

...we have been exploring the great Flinders ranges, the biggest mountain ranges in South Australia and...we got a pretty awesome tour guide for that in name of Greg Snell, my bestjobs' colleague from South Australia.

 

He is the “wildlife caretaker“ and he has showed us around his state.

 

Check it out here what we have been up to!

One week in

Flinders Ranges Map

with Greg Snell

The Flinders Ranges

Check out our Roadtrip Video:

Map Flinders Ranges

STOP N°1:   Bendleby Ranges 

To actually get to the Flinders, better be driving a 4WD! Once the car picked up at Complete Four Wheel Drive Hire in Adelaide, we make our way to the Bendleby Ranges.

 

Lamb Australia

Here they got sheep, a lot of sheep...like more than 4000! Jane and Warren run their pastoral business and an eco tourism accommodation. They receive a bunch of backpackers at the farm and these days, Anna from Germany, Katherine from the States and Clare from Australia are working.

 

Great international atmosphere, they explain to us what's like to take care of thousand of sheep.

Such a hard life, between the shearing, the mustering and castrating, there is not really a chill day down here ever...tough life and you need to be passionate!

 

As for Greg, Max and myself, we just fall in love with the cute little lambs and could have spent hours taking pictures !!  

 

Bendleby Ranges
Bendleby Ranges

Enough sheep, we take the car for a bit of 4WD action out in the ranges! Man, beautiful scenery!! But pretty serious tracks though. We go for a little hike to the top of the hill, yeah!  

 

Bendleby Ranges
Bendleby Ranges

STOP N°2:   Rawnsley Park Station 

Further north is Rawnsley Park Station, our next destination. To get there, we cross open plains, and absolutely stunning scenery. We are just the 3 of us, and the Land Cruiser. Nobody around, behind or wheresoever.

 

Since we arrived to SA, the weather is windy and stormy witches pretty rare for the dryest Australian State. Today, the sky is building up, it's gonna rain. Because of the wind, the dark thick clouds move very quickly in the sky, which is amazing to watch! We stop in Hawker, a little tiny town to have some lunch. Here the supermarket, the bar and the restaurant are all in the same place along with a bank office desk and the post office! And it almost is runned all by the same person almost!  

 

4WD Australia

About 40 minutes later, we get to the Station, here they get all you need and more: eco villas or camping under the stars, a restaurant called the Woolshed, Wifi, pool and the possibility to go mountain bike tours, bushwalking tours etc. As for us, we just get on time for a sunset tour. Anne from the resort picks us up and drives to a perfect spot : Pugilist Hill Lookout:

 

 

Pugilist Lookout

The only thing is that the wind is really blowing us away (first sense)!! The cheese and wine can't happen on the pic nic table!

Winter is coming and for the first time (except the cruise on Bruny island Tasmania) I put all my jumpers, jackets, scarfs on, haha!

Not used to that anymore, fortunatly we could warm us up in the nice Woolshed restaurant, great fireplace , so cosy :-)

 

Rawsley Park Station
Rawnsley Bluff

On the day after, we get up early for sunrise and join Tim for climbing the Rawnsley Bluff, about 10km return and 4 hour walking. I really enjoyed this morning work out and tried to soak up the view as much as possible along the way. Love playing with the cliff edge.  

 

Time to leave again, we drive with amazing sceneries, stop and check out some impressive gorges and meet some wildlife!

We make our way to Arkaroola. The route to take us there is a great journey!  

 

Lizard Australia
Flinders Ranges
4WD Australia

STOP N°3:   Arkaroola, Wilderness Sanctuary 

Next stop, Arkaroola, a small village located in the Flinders Ranges, we are now 600 km north of Adelaide, pretty remote and isolated from the nearest town. Most of the village is actually a resort, which has all the facilities to make you feel at ease for a unique Outback experience.

 

Just checked in that we are already off for a sunset walk. Definitely worth climbing the hill when it's to find such a crazy beautiful sunset over the rugged hilly terrain!!

 

Arkaroola Village
Arkaroola

After a delicious dinner in the Native Pine Restaurant, where we taste kangaroo (I feel terrible to eat these guys..good that it's not my favourite meal) we go on a special tour...The Astronomical Observatory Tour.

 

Arkaroola is indeed one of the best places in the Southern Hemisphere to gaze at the stars as the area has a dry climate, very stable air conditions, got some hills and has up to 300 clear nights per year! Remote place so no light pollution either.

 

Doug, our guide, drives us up to the Observatory, located on a hillcrest. The view over the small village is fantastic, but the show here is the sky! Doug open the doors and I feel like in a James Bond movie. The roof turns around, the telescope is giant and we listen to Doug's explanations while watching through the lens a few nebulae, clusters, galaxies and planets. My favourite is Saturn, with its ring. So impressive! We do feel so small in the world when we start looking into that! There is a second observatory next to the first one and here it's surreal! Nice comfy chair with huge binoculars ready to use. The roof can be sliden and the show starts! So cool !! I wish I knew more about astrology at this precise moment.

 

Arkaroola scenic tour
Arkaroola Stars

After a good night, we embark in the morning for the 4WD Ridgetop tour. We are surprised by the vehicle, a built ridgetop safari car. Such a good idea, like this, the views of the landscape are uninterrupted.

 

The region is unique by its geology, fauna and flora. To reach Sillers's lookout, the rewarding part of the tour, we need to drive for 1h30 on pretty rugged terrain and tracks. I'm happy I'm not driving, that's for sure!! The Land cruiser goes everywhere, uphill downhill, climb stairs... I'm so impressed! I try to hold on firmly and go go to the top of the lookout.

 

No disappointment once there, 360 degrees view, stretching across jagged mountain peaks, vast salt lakes and red soil plains. Max and Greg get the good surprise to be able to go back to the village by helicopter to take pictures! It will take them 5 minutes whereas we will spend 1h30 in the 4WD. No worries it's such a breathtaking scenery!

 

Arkaroola
Greg Snell

This afternoon will be spend on the internet, catching up on social media and blogging. Arkaroola resort has one of the best, (if not the best) wifi in whole Australia! Very impressive ! Haha, it may sound funny to you, but in 9 months we have been struggling with the internet in Australia!

 

STOP N°4:   Wilpena Pound Resort 

Our trip in the Flinders ranges finishes in the Jewel of the crown, Wilpena Pound, an impressive natural amphitheatre with red remparts, measuring 8 by 17 kilometres!

 

To see all its splendor, we go hiking for 5 hours departing at the resort, climbing sandstone rocks and playing with the cliff edges again... but once at the top of Saint Mary peak, its highest point (1170m) we touch the clouds... It seems like the Pound doesn't want to reveal its beauty to us, 2nd hikes no success! What else we can do?!? We go back the same way we came up and even if we didn't see the view, we had a great time walking together.

 

The rest of the day is spent between watching the ringneck parrots flying around (they seem to be the rainbow lorikeets of the Flinders) and chilling next to the fireplace at the restaurant, tasting delicious soup and steak. Umhh, it feels good to be in winter for a while!

 

St Mary Peak Australia
Ringneck Parrot Australia

The clouds have finally decided to go away on the following morning and fortunately we can experience the scenic flight over the crater shape mountain...I'm so excited! The plane is very tiny and we seat, fasten tight the seatbelt waiting for the show to begin!

 

Thanks to the rain, the fields are covered with lush grass, it's very pretty! Just a few minutes after the take off and the Pound appears majestic through the window, 7km wide per 17 km long, this is impressive! The few low clouds give it a special mystic touch! I enjoy every single moment of this 20 minute flight. So glad we could make it at the really end :-) Once back to the ground, we hop on the car and drive back direction Adelaide! Happy!    

 

Wilpena Pound

We have had such an amazing time in the Flinders Ranges, a special part of the country and the world. Time now to head back to Adelaide and explore more about this city which made the top 10 cities to visit in 2014 by Lonely Planet :-)

Let's check it out!  

 

 

 

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