Off The Beaten Track: 7 Memorable Things To Do In The Flinders Ranges

By Morgan Reardon

Dreaming of your next escape but not sure where to book that plane ticket to? If unique experiences merged with breathtaking landscapes that look like something from another planet gets your wanderlust flowing, then a trip to Flinders Ranges and Outback in South Australia is an absolute must.

Simply jet into Adelaide and set your sat nav for 500km north—about five hours’ drive—to uncover a vast landscape more than 600 million years old, rich with diverse cultural heritage of the First Nations peoples and brimming with once-in-a-lifetime adventures. 

To help you plan your dream trip, we've teamed up with South Australia to share the best things to do in the Flinders Ranges and Outback you probably didn't know about. 

Discover The Extreme Beauty Of Wilpena Pound

Spanning 8,000 hectares, it seems silly to call Wilpena Pound a hidden gem, but South Australia’s relatively unknown icon needs to be seen IRL to be believed—or truly appreciated. The Traditional Owners, the Adnyamathanha people, say the area was formed when two Dreamtime serpents carved up the landscape on their journey south. A mix of craggy mountains and sunken craters, there’s many ways to explore this otherworldly place—one of the most thrilling things to do in the Flinders Ranges.

On the ground, lace up your sneakers and tackle the three-hour return walk from the Wilpena Visitor Centre to Wangara lookout to score incredible views. For a true ‘pinch me’ moment, try the nine-km Wilcolo Loop to see St Mary Peak. For those more experienced or looking to step out of their comfort zone, opt for the four-day Arkaba Walk (dubbed one of Australia’s Great Walks), or the Heysen Trail, a whopping 1,200km walk. You can also traverse the rugged terrain on a 4WD tour or see it from above on a scenic flight ranging from 20 minutes to full day explorations. 

Wilpena Pound at sunset.

Immerse Yourself In Indigenous Culture

The Flinders Ranges is a region steeped in First Nations culture, so go a little deeper on your visit here with Wadna Aboriginal Cultural Tours. Run by Adnyamathanha man Kristain Coulthard and his wife Gabrielle, you can peruse and purchase their range of hand-crafted woodwork, bags, and jewellery—as well as other local First Nations artisans selling paintings and woven items—before heading off on one of their tours. Opt for the Dingly Deli Tour which will see you discover 40,000-year-old engravings and carvings. Along the way you’ll be treated to authentic bush tucker while Kristian shares creation stories that shaped the area.

Man doing an Aboriginal smoking ceremony.

Climb Aboard An Outback Safari

You don’t have to head overseas to go on safari—you can immerse yourself in nature right in the heart of the Flinders Ranges at Arkaba, a private wildlife conservation park. Nestled amongst great salt lakes carved over millions of years, etched with deep valleys lined by cypress pines, this incredible spot only hosts 10 guests at a time so you’ll feel extra special. When it comes to things to do in the Flinders Ranges, it doesn't get more special than this.

Stay overnight in a luxury converted 1850s homestead, while during the day you’ll traverse the park’s sprawling 60,000 acres with an experienced guide aboard an open-top 4WD safari looking out for ‘roos, emu and native plants. There’s also a walking safari and photography course to check out, plus the chance to walk on country with Adnyamathanha woman Pauline McKenzie and learn about the Traditional Owners deep and enduring connection to the land. 

Arkaba Conservancy.

Roll Out The Swag While Heli-Camping

Sure, you might have camped before, but have you ever heli-camped? For true bucket-list vibes, make tracks to Rawnsley Park Station, where you’ll depart on a late arvo helicopter ride, copping stunning views of Wilpena Pound before landing at Chace Range. The sunsets here—where the sky turns into a technicolour rainbow of burnt orange and purple—is goosebump-inducing to say the least.

While the crew set up your swag for the night, you’ll indulge in a two-course camp oven meal before falling asleep under a canopy of stars. The following morning, after refuelling with a gourmet camp brekky, you’ll be whisked back to base on a helicopter so you can continue your Flinders Ranges exploration. Trust us, this is absolutely one of the things to do in the Flinders Ranges that you want to splash out on.

Two people walking through national park.

Pull Up A Stool At The Prairie Hotel

Is it even a visit to the outback if you didn’t sink a cold one alongside locals at the pub? The Prairie Hotel is an institution in the region and is a must do on your Flinders Ranges getaway. Nestled in remote Parachilna, the family-owned and operated hotel serves their drinks frosty, their meals large and their hospitality with a big smile and hearty outback welcome. A meal here is one to be remembered with the menu boasting both native and feral produce. Nope, that’s not a typo.

Step out of your comfort zone and devour everything from roo schnitzel with crunchy slaw, to camel sausage rolls with bush tomato relish and emu pate. Wash it all down with a cold beer brewed in the pub’s onsite microbrewery. Post meal, be sure to peruse the pub’s Indigenous art collection dotted around the establishment. On the food front, this is one of the most memorable things to do in the Flinders Ranges.

Outback pub at golden hour.

Go 4WD’ing Through Bunyeroo Valley

If you only have time for one 4WD adventure in the Flinders Ranges, make it a trip through Bunyeroo Valley. Winding through peaks and valleys of rocky earth in the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park, prepare for a visual feast of geological history dating back hundreds of millions of years. Stop for jaw-dropping views at Razorback Lookout (the highest point in the Flinders Ranges) before cranking up the playlist and continuing on to the depths of Bunyeroo Valley and Brachina Gorge. Keep your eyes peeled for wild yellow-footed rock wallabies—this area is home to Australia's largest population. 

Bunyeroo Valley at sunset.

Cool Off At Blinman Pools

Natural wonders can be found at every turn in the  Flinders Ranges—case in point, the Blinman Pools. A crystal clear oasis encased by an ancient rock face, a dip here is one you won’t soon forget. Starting out at Angorichina Village, follow the path as it winds through rugged country, with cliffs rising up before you creating a backdrop that looks like something out of a movie set. There’s two pools to cool off in, the first you’ll find at five kms into your walk, the second, is just a further two kms along.

Pack a floaty and bliss out in the calming waters with nothing but nature acting as your soundtrack, while curious ‘roos stop by for a drink. Your return trip—which is mostly downhill—is dotted with waterfalls and wildflowers (if you head here in spring) meaning you’ll likely be stopping for a few photo opps. At the end, reward yourself with a scoop of ice cream back at Angorichina Village’s general store. 

Ready to take a trip to the dreamy Flinders Ranges? Learn to travel the South Australia way.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by South Australia and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Images: South Australia

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