I was over in the Flinders Ranges recently and was reminded what a great 4WD region it is. And it seems I’m not the only one to think the same. In a recent survey of the 100 best 4WD destinations in Australia by Hema Maps, the Flinders was voted as the 5th best region to visit in Australia, behind such iconic destinations as Cape York and the Kimberley.
Not that I was surprised, I love the Flinders. But I’m probably biased because that’s where I grew up. As a very young kid I caught tadpoles in the creek at Warren Gorge, just outside Quorn, and later shot bunnies in the farming country along the edge of the ranges both north and south of Quorn and out on the Willochra Plain. Later still, but before our teens, we drove clapped-out farm jalopies, rounding up the sheep and chasing kangaroos. It was a good life, with bush kids even today enjoying such adventures.
But there wasn’t much 4WDing. Not many people owned 4WDs back then and the only tourist destination was Wilpena Pound, run by the legendary Rasheed family.
Today, the scene has changed greatly and there are a whole host of 4WD tracks to enjoy. My favourite gravel road drive, in among a lot of strong competition, is taken in the early morning, north from Wilpena and out along the Bunyeroo Valley Road. Once through the gorge, the route heads north along the edge of the ABC Range and then west through Brachina Gorge; it’s a drive I never get sick of and we’ve done it dozens of times.
For those looking for more adventures there are a number of designated enjoyable Public Access Routes (PARs) that lead to historic mining ruins which are well worth doing and include the track to the Nuccaleena ruins, the impressive Sliding Rock ruins and the Cooper King mine site. One of the best PARs encompasses in the Artimore and Patawarta Gap tracks, which take you through some of the best country in the more remote central Flinders.
But the big change in the last decade or so is the number of station properties that have opened their doors and are providing access to impressive country to four wheel travellers.
Many also offer camping and while some properties only have one track to enjoy other properties have a range of tracks and camping sites to keep you entertained for days, if not longer.
We’ve listed a few below that will get you started in your exploration of the Flinders Ranges. Over the years we’ve done all of them and while some are better than others and others more challenging than most, there is not a bad one, or an uninteresting trip, amongst them.
Don’t forget many of these routes are in rough and remote country where the temperature can get bloody warm, so be prepared and carry recovery gear and water. If you have the misfortune to get stuck somewhere DON’T leave the vehicle. And remember, very few of these places have mobile phone reception!
So go on, get out there and have a ‘real’ outback escape that isn’t that far from the more settled areas of southern or south-eastern Australia. One visit won’t be enough!
Moonie’s pick of the best tracks in the Flinders Ranges:
- Almerta Tracks
- Bartagunyah 4WD Trail
- Bendleby Ranges
- Echo Camp Backtrack
- Horseshoe Rim/Top End
- Moorillah 4WD Track
- Merna Mora Tracks
- Mt Arden Track
- Mt Deception Tk/Copper King Tk
- Mt Samuel Track
- Stirrup Iron Range
- Warraweena 4WD Tracks
- Mt Freeling will allow access/accommodation to Hamilton Creek Loop on a case by case basis