Australia Bushwalking

South Australia

The remote Flinders Ranges loom above one of the oldest landscapes on earth. Lying on the southern fringe of the seemingly endless plains and deserts of the Red Centre, 450 km (280 mi) north of the state capital of Adelaide, the Flinders are gateway to Australia's outback. The razor sharp ridges extend hundreds of kilometers north into the desert, dissected by giant pounds (land basins surrounded by the remaining outer walls of once-massive mountains) and rugged gorges cut deep by ancient streams. The most popular area within the Flinders Ranges is Wilpena Pound, a large natural amphitheatre, 16 km (10 mi) long and 6 km (4 mi) wide. Viewed from the air it is one of the most striking geological features in Australia.

The standard walk takes two days following well-marked tracks. The most popular trek is a one-day climb to St Mary's Peak, a 17.5 km (11 mi) circuit passing through Wilpena Pound. Walkers will need to carry their own drinking water. A complete fire ban operates in the region during summer. A large campsite within the pound comes equipped with toilets, showers, and a kiosk. Walking permits can be obtained from the ranger on site. The area is at its most welcoming between May and October when temperatures are milder and water more readily available.

The Gammon Ranges National Park, 679 km (422 mi) north of Adelaide, is a rugged wilderness with hot springs and excellent birdwatching for experienced hikers. Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island has superb wildlife viewing and coastline views, while Deep Creek Conservation Park, on the south coast of the Flerier Peninsula, has beautiful walks highlighted by surfing beaches.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 16 Jun 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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