I’m fresh back from a weekend at the Flinders Ranges and wanted to share with you what I got up to while I was there. Hopefully, this will inspire some of you to head there, return there or at least give you a couple of laughs along the way!
The decision to head to the Flinders was really a spur of the moment type of thing. I saw the Travel Auctions package to the Wilpena Pound Resort and thought to myself: ‘Ooh that would be a nice little adventure! Sam (my partner) will love that!’ Sam has previously tackled Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in the British Isles) so I knew that exploring the Flinders Ranges would be right up his alley!
We set off on our adventure (from Grange, SA) on a Thursday afternoon around 5.30pm, but decided to break up the 5 hour trip by spending a night in Port Pirie – what a friendly little town!
After a lazy holiday morning, we embarked on our journey towards the Flinders Ranges at around 10am on Friday. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and it was a very pleasant and peaceful drive. We didn’t see too many other vehicles but noted that all we did see were 4WDs and trucks; my Suziki Swift must have looked very out of place!
We decided to stop off at Port Germein to check out one of the longest jetties in the Southern Hemisphere! As we were walking along the 1.5km jetty, I remember thinking even that was an accomplishment! Little did I know what would be in store further along the line…
It took around 4 hours from Port Pirie (with a few scenic stop offs) to reach Wilpena. The stunning scenery made the trip feel a lot quicker though; so much greenery at this time of year, so peaceful and serene! There was also a handy fuel station and general store near to the entrance.
We checked in and were given a quick run down of the park’s facilities. The receptionist gave us a booklet which outlined the walking trails and gave us information regarding booking scenic flights, 4WD tours, sunset tours etc.
Armed with our booklet and room keys, we drove around to our room (parking was right out front!) and made ourselves at home. The room was clean and very comfortable.
We sat down on the edge of the bed and took a quick look through the booklet to see what walk we fancied embarking on the next day. We noticed that the bar had a happy hour between 4-5pm (also mentioned in the booklet) so we didn’t waste much time in getting ready and heading on over! We then hit the hay for an early night in preparation for our epic adventure the next day.
We awoke early the next day and headed straight to the buffet breakfast! Bacon, eggs, toast, yoghurt etc – the perfect preparation for the Ranges!
After popping on my non-regulation-hiking-boots (proper foot wear is a must for the terrain!) we made our way on a trail towards ‘Mallooga Falls’. Our general thoughts were, ‘Oh how lovely, I bet there is a really pretty waterfall at the end of that trail! Let’s give that one a shot!’
We naively set off on our adventure at around 10am. We did read that there was a shuttle bus that could take you to the beginning of the walking trails (cutting off an extra 4km) but hey we didn’t need that! The bus trip only costs $5 for adults and in retrospect, we really could have done with that head start!
The first couple of hours were very pleasant; the weather was very kind and we were walking through some beautiful lush green meadows. We saw only two couples right at the very beginning of the walk. After that, we didn’t see a single soul! It was very refreshing and peaceful.
We followed signage that took us in a different direction from all the other walks and before we knew it, the terrain had changed from wide, flat paths to rocky narrow trails. This continued for a couple more hours until we reached a sign that said 100 metres to our destination.
From there, it got even rockier and the path started to descend. Basically, the path had come to an end and the only way was down! I’m not going to lie; there may have been a couple of tears shed but Sam convinced me to keep going in the end and patiently guided me down the rock face.
It wasn't long after the steep descent that we arrived at the falls. We didn’t see a waterfall as such; more like a charming, picturesque creek. It was still a lovely sight though!
Sam (who I considered my very own Bear Gyrlls by this stage) headed off to see if he could find another way back to the Resort. After his own 10 minute adventure, Sam returned and despite there being some magnificent views ahead, he made the executive decision that that particular way would be too much of a stretch for me - so back the way we came! Luckily, I was slightly better at climbing up rocks than I was going down them.
We arrived at the Resort after the 12km trek back, just before 6pm. The sun was setting (the sun setting over the ranges is a sight to see in itself!) and collapsed on the bed. The 28km trek and winter sun had taken it out of me and I slept like a log!
We awoke to the sounds of nature, checked out and made our way to spend our last day of holidays in the Clare Valley. After the 28km adventure, it was time to reward ourselves with wine and cheese by enjoying a hamper for lunch at one of the infamous wineries – there are so many fantastic spots in Clare for a picnic!
We arrived home in the late afternoon, excited to tell our family about our adventures and how we became Bear Grylls over the weekend (probably more Dora the Explorer in my case…). After a little research, we found out after that the “walk” we embarked on was for “experienced bush walkers with good navigational skills” and that we were meant to check in with reception before we left – next time we might take a little more notice to signage and perhaps ask a few questions before taking off!
The Flinders are incredible; we are definitely keen to head back! I would recommend the region and property to just about anyone. All you need is a sense of adventure (and maybe sunscreen and more common sense than we had!)
We often have packages available for the Flinders Ranges; get bidding and embark on the adventure of a lifetime!
Be sure to check out our current package to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary!
Until my next adventure,