"From Adelaide to the Outbback and. . . . . . back!" Flinders Ranges by kokoryko

Flinders Ranges Travel Guide: 76 reviews and 322 photos

Just a taste of the outback

Let me begin with a quote: It was in the Flinders Ranges that I was made curiously conscious of a very old land where the primitive forces of Nature were constantly evident. The barren hillsides, incised and torn by Nature forces, hold a peculiar attraction. Their geological structure is seldom obscured by foliage, and in great parts where great masses of stone are piled layer on layer in regular formation, as if built by very ancient people, their appearance is given an architectural order. The far northern interior of Australia with its stern reality of desert country holds a peculiar fascination for many who have come under its spell, and I must confess to having fallen a victim. Hans Heysen (1877-1968), painter.

In April 2008 I attended a convention in Perth, and a week later had a working meeting in Canberra; this gave me a long free week end free in between, and I planned to spend it half way between the two cities in the Flinders ranges, and to make a sort of a pilgrimage at a special (for me!) place I dreamed to visit since long time: Ediacara Hills.
The rugged beauty of the Flinders was of course another reason for my trip there, and I had four wonderful days in the Flinders and on the way getting there.
The Flinders stretch over 350 km from the Northern end of Spencer Gulf, 200 km North of Adelaide, to Lake Blanche; they are mainly made of late Precambrian rocks folded during the Cambrian (540-480 million years ago), and since, have been subject of uplift and erosion giving the landscape they show today; well, Heysen describes it better. . . . The best known landscape feature is the famous Wilpena pound, a perched syncline, having the shape of a spectacular amphitheatre dominating the surrounding plateaus. There are famous trails (Heysen trail, Mawson trail. . . . ), which I walked only for a few kilometres, and famous (a bit disappointing for a “Pyrenean” hiker) gorges crossing the highest ranges.
The time when I visited (end of down under summer) was not favourable for enjoying the flora of the ranges, but the gum trees are wonderful here, and only them deserve a visit! It was very dry in fact, the area having undergone severe droughts. Observing the fauna was a real pleasure, with the birds, wallabies, kangaroos. . . . . I write here about the Flinders Ranges, which extend far beyond the limits of the Flinders Ranges National Park; so not only the National Park, but also a few villages, gorges in the mountains, the roads I used to get there and back, they also are worth visiting.
Except if you plan a long trek (easy walks, but you have to carry a lot of water supply), it is not bad to have a car and drive to some places and then spend a few hours on feet, discovering the gorges or walk on some ridges. I spent three nights in the Flinders, and the most memorable was under the stars of the southern hemisphere.

Adelaide to Adelaide

Before going to the Flinders, I started in Adelaide, and visited the wonderful South Australia Museum, I read about beautiful and enthusiastic accounts before; coming back from the Flinders, I had a few hours left before taking the next plane and had a short visit to the St Peter Cathedral and the very interesting botanical garden of Adelaide.
The museum and the botanical garden are part of my trip to the Flinders, it was a bit a natural history trip, and I had an introduction to it in the museum and a conclusion at the botanical garden. Adelaide seems interesting to visit and if there is a next time, I will visit this city more “seriously”.
Flinders? The name comes from Matthew Flinders, an English sailor and explorer, who learned sailing with Bligh (yes, the famous one, featured by Trevor Howard in the “Mutiny on the Bounty” movie, who navigated 3600 miles from Tahiti to Batavia on a small longboat, bypassing the Philippines (Spain at the time)!), and wrote his famous “A voyage to Terra Australis”, following a circumnavigation of the Australian continent. A great man, who for a time, left the Oceans and walked in the South Australian Outback. The ranges have been named after him, but the people who lived there, the Adnyamathanha aborigines have been forgotten in some way, many small places have aboriginal names, but. . . . I could not find an aboriginal name for these mountains as a whole. . . . .
The main subject of these lines are the Flinders Ranges, but as my trip there (and probably the trips of most of people going to the Flinders) started and finished in Adelaide, I wrote a few lines about the capital city of South Australia.


West of the Flinders are the Ediacara Hills; they do not look really “special”, from far, but it is here that the Ediacaran fossils have first been found, and I have a special relationship with old life; here, multi cellular life began to take the forms we know today, and I wanted to see the rocks where the traces of our very far ancestors are preserved (I admit I have that sort of glitch, liking to look at rocks, which, like us are only stardust). Ediacara is “hidden” since a few years and I had a beautiful walk in the desert, getting there, to see what I wanted to see, and. . . getting to a place you dream of since so long time has something special, even there is nothing spectacular for the tourist; even for me it was not really spectacular, but feeling the rocks and fossils with the tips of my fingers. . . . . . . This here is just a personal story! A sort of a private path. . . . . , I am the only one to beat.

My photographs are not works of art, my writings are not literature.
Be kind, I posted them here, and I would appreciate you ask if you intend to use them elsewhere!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nature, nature like at the beginning. . . .
  • Cons:Dust, haha, but only for those who like clean cars. . . .
  • In a nutshell:Beautiful days and nights. . .
  • Last visit to Flinders Ranges: Apr 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (28)

Travelogues (1)

Comments (13)

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    FANTASTIC page and MOVING tips; who says that Australia does not have history? Just ask the rocks . . . Great Aboriginal masks, I want to know more ;-) Thanks for sharing XX

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2010 at 6:32 AM

    Just spent another three days there, wish I'd reread your pages before I went. Cheers.

  • fachd's Profile Photo
    Aug 22, 2008 at 2:50 AM

    Tuan Hermann, after reading your walkabout at the outback, made my mouth drool with envy, I must go there. Hans Heysen great landscape artist. Did u see any of the dot paintings. Were u in Canberra?

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2008 at 2:46 PM

    Hi Hermann, you've made another fantastic page here, with evocative photos and brilliant, insightful tips! So much to see in the Outback!

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2008 at 4:25 AM

    I have spent the last little while totally immersed in the Outback with you! Wonderful images, evocative text - a VT page to treasure :-)

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Aug 14, 2008 at 10:28 AM

    Great to see this page here, Hermann. You certainly seem to have had a real taste of what the outback has to offer. leyle

  • adelaidean's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2008 at 4:30 PM

    Hermann...wonderful pages on the flinders...Im going there in October. Glad you like my state :-)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jul 26, 2008 at 12:01 PM

    A masterpiece Hermann!! Amazing photos and descriptions of such a wide range of things to enjoy - rocks, trees, birds, the old 'Ghan', museums, botanical gardens and just the Aussie Outback in general. Thanks

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Jul 26, 2008 at 6:51 AM

    Fanastic pages Hermann... it seems you were somewhat captivated by the spirit of the outback :~)

  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2008 at 12:11 AM

    Excellent page!! Makes me want to go there! Thank you for birthday wishes. Ulrike


“Il me plait de courir sans but et sans raison . . . .”

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