Flinders Ranges National Park

Flinders Ranges – Rich in history

Escaping Adelaide I arrive in the Flinders Ranges on my 32nd birthday. Unfortunately by the afternoon I was feeling increasingly tired and unwell. I managed to get myself the flue, probably from staying a week in Adelaide backpackers. I almost never get sick unless I’m attacked by some foreign flu strain.. so my first several days in the Flinders I stayed in bed at the Dingley Dell campgrounds reading and sleeping.

When I finally felt well enough I spent the day exploring all the homesteads and ruins from the early pastoral days. Old Wilpena station like many in the area was built on the sheep’s back suppling the early wool industry. The landscape out here is so dry in most parts its hard to imagine that at the peak of production something like 200000 head of sheep were grazed on these lands. Needless to say the overgrazing and a drought wiped out much of the early industry.

The Wilpena station has examples of early pug styled huts of timber and mud. Also many rough rock buildings built from local stones and held together with lime rock cement. Still standing over 100 years later so they did something right.

A small track leads off the road so I take it to see what’s there. A 100m path leads to this sign and tree. It’s impressive how old and how strong these trees area. And there’s many more like them throughout the park.

A road to Sacred Canyon took me along a gravel road to a creek where there are Aboriginal rock engravings. It was wonderful to actually see some evidence of Aboriginal occupation, and to know that someone stood where I stood potentially over 10000 years earlier, smashing a rock on another rock so as to leave a story or directions for later tribes to follow. All the art was simple circles, kangaroo or emu prints or semi-circular “windbreaks”.

Appealinna ruins were quite interesting, build around 1856. There was the Wills homestead part of a small sheep run, and a short distance away a more elaborate copper miners village. The tales of these 2 waring parties over the water supply was interesting, involving lawsuits, burning huts and death threats.

Two day later I finally felt well enough to tackle a hike in to Wilpena Pound. I was determined not to leave the Flinders until I completed at least one walk. I decided on the Wangara lookout which is probably the easiest. This gravel track leads in to another homestead and has views of the surrounding country.

On the way out I took the Bungeroo Valley track which has some incredible mountain views. This is 4wd only as the gravel track is rough in sections and there are a few gravel creek beds to pass. Towards the end are the Aroona Ruins.

I always thought the Flinders Ranges was a 4wd mecca, though the majority of the national park is 2wd accessible. There are a couple private stations that have 4wdriving and camping available so these may be an alternative for the adventurous.

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Brett is a film maker, hiker, adventurer and Defender owner. He loves the outdoors and feels most at home travelling remote outback places in Australia. The idea of waiting till retirement to begin exploring Australia is not the path Brett has chosen, instead choosing to live life now. Join him on his adventures.

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