Flinders Ranges & Outback
Riding through the Flinders Ranges and Outback, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were navigating the unexplored face of Mars.
Towering ancient cliffs and deep craters border dusty red roads. Take an aerial tour of Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre or ride along the Aboriginal Dreaming Trail.
Marvel at Wilpena Pound, a shockingly large amphitheatre, created through erosion over millions of years, or look up at night for a sky show like never before.
Be surrounded by ancient mountain ranges, spectacular gorges and sheltered creeks only five hours ride from Adelaide. Embark on the ultimate road trip along the Explorer's Way.
Cradled by ancient mountain ranges on the edge of the desert, Wilpena Pound is the crowning jewel of the Flinders Ranges.
Also known by its Adnyamathanha name of Ikara, meaning meeting place, Wilpena Pound rewards the intrepid.
Pitch your tent and fall asleep under a blanket of stars or retreat in secluded luxury at Rawnsley Park Station before rising at dawn to traverse the ancient peeks of 800-million-year-old Wilpena Pound.
Jump on a scenic flight to appreciate its magnitude and beauty from above then learn about the area's cultural significance with Aboriginal Cultural Tours. Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park is also home to Rawnsley Bluff, Razorback Lookout in Bunyeroo Gorge and Stokes Hill Lookout.
Ever eaten emu egg omelette? How about kangaroo tail soup or camel sirloin?
After working-up an appetite in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, hit the road for an hour before arriving at the Prairie Hotel: a quintessential outback pub with a few surprises up its sleeve.
Listed as one of the top 100 gourmet experiences in Australia, the Praire Hotel’s Feral Menu gives you a slightly bizarre, yet totally exclusive chance to chow into some seriously left-of-centre dishes only found in the depths of the outback.
Some 800 kilometres and a few playlists later, you’ll be cruising the final South Australian stretch of the Explorer’s Way road trip.
Welcome to Coober Pedy, where you can sleep deeply (underground) after your epic road trip.
The backdrop to many movies, the underground mining town is famous for its sun-baked lunar landscape, fascinating history and quirky lifestyle. Descend beneath the ground and discover a labyrinth of underground houses, hotels and even shops. Other must-dos while in town include visiting Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest, Umoona Opal Mine and Museum, Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage.
Check out our guide to the best things to do in Coober Pedy, then head to bed 25 metres below the earth’s surface. From modern dugouts, to hotels tucked inside hills and campsites burrowed into the red dirt of the Outback, unearth the best places to unwind underground while visiting this quirky Outback town with our guide to Coober Pedy’s best accommodation.
ANNA CREEK PAINTED HILLS
And from one natural wonder to the next… Hidden in the South Australian Outback lies one of nature’s greatest and oldest masterpieces.
The vast, magical landscape of Anna Creek Painted Hills is a spectacular outcrop of otherworldly deep orange mountains that emerge from the flat desert landscape.
Carved out in the red earth of the Outback, it’s hard to believe this 80-million-year-old beauty is actually an extinct inland sea.
Only accessible by air, jump aboard a Wrightsair tour from Coober Pedy, William Creek or Arkaroola and you'll not only see this ancient landscape from the air, you’ll also get to land among it and explore on the ground.
Alligator Gorge is within the scenic Mount Remarkable National Park, in the Southern Flinders Ranges. Over millions of years the Alligator Creek cut the gorge though ancient rocks. You can easily walk into the gorge along a short walking trail. You can also take longer hikes. Toilets, a picnic area and barbecue facilities are provided.
You can see birds including emus and kookaburras, wildflowers, and animals such as kangaroos.
Exploring the Flinders Ranges by foot is one of the best ways to experience the rugged beauty of this ancient landscape.
Dust off your hiking boots and hit the track on a three-day walking tour through some of Australia’s most breathtaking bushland. Traversing Wilpena Pound and 60,000 acres of private wildlife conservancy, the Arkaba Walk takes in some of the most spectacular scenery from rugged mountain ranges to dramatic gorges. Learn about the ancient Aboriginal culture of the area and the unique geology, flora and fauna of the outback.
Fall asleep under the stars in your cosy swag camp and wake up to jaw-dropping views. Kick back in luxury on the final night at the beautifully restored Arkaba homestead.
Continue on the Explorer's Way to the largest inland salt lake in Australia. Stretching a mind-boggling 144 kilometres by 77 kilometres, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is a natural wonder. Its seemingly endless expanse of shimmering salt crystals lure travellers year-round, but the real magic happens when, on the rare occasion, the lake is filled by flood waters.
From across Australia’s four states and territories a network of channels, streams and floodplains converge in Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park, bringing with them an abundance of wildlife, stunning natural beauty and dreamlike pink and orange hues.
Experience the beauty of Lake Eyre – be it wet or dry – on a guided tour or scenic with Chinta Air Tours. Take off from a red earth runway, soar higher than flocks of native birds and take-in views of endless, still water and gleaming salt crystals.
ARKAROOLA WILDERNESS SANCTUARY
Ride deeper into the wilds of the Flinders Ranges and arrive at your next destination, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.
Pull up the bike and pitch your tent, you’ll want to spend a few days exploring this fully accredited ecotourism hot spot known
for its wild landscapes and prime stargazing opportunities.
Famed as having some of the Southern Hemisphere’s clearest skies and home to one of Australia’s largest privately-owned astronomical observatories, Arkaroola has front row seats to the most spectacular lightshow on earth.
With camping and caravan facilities plus rooms available, spend a weekend with the stars and during daylight hours, explore the 63,000 hectares of rugged Australian bush abound with wildlife and adventure.