Being South Australia’s largest mountain range makes the rugged Flinders Ranges one of the most visited places in the country of Australia.
This stunning and ruggedly beautiful ranges spread over a large area and has numerous attractions around it. Unfortunately, some people are unaware of all the beautiful things that can be found here. It is for this reason that we have seen the need to take you on a journey of the area so you too can explore their rugged beauty.
Top things to do in the Rugged Flinders Ranges,
mid-north of South Australia
So here are the things we believe you should do when you get there:
Check out the Pink Lake – Lake Bumbuga
Lake Bumbuga is actually on the way to the rugged Flinders Ranges from Adelaide, so you have a fun treat even before you hit the ranges themselves. The ‘Pink Lake’ has become popular among tourists for its seasonal change in colour. Its salty plains are known to change from blue or white and pink. The change in colour is believed to be influenced by a fluctuation in water salinity. Its uniqueness attracts large crowds of photographers who find it to be a perfect place for a photoshoot.
So, if you are excited about this place, you might want to make sure you don’t forget your camera behind. This is definitely a place you should not miss on a tour of the ranges. Do not worry about accessibility; the bubble gum shores of Lake Bumbuga is safe and easily accessible. It is a 15 minutes’ drive north of the equally popular Port Wakefield into the rugged Flinders Ranges.
Make sure you are on the lookout for the Lochiel Monster too which is located just out of the township of Lochiel.
Visit the Famous Stone Hut Bakery
You cannot have fun exploring on an empty stomach. So, when that time comes when you see the need to fill your stomach, we recommend you walk into Stone Hut Bakery and have a break from your journey here.
This restaurant is loved for its delicious sausage rolls and pies. Therefore, if you love pastries, then this is more reason why you have to stop here.
You will also find local wines as well as cakes and tasty cuisine. There are many other delicacies that you might want to try. Just pick up the menu and have a look at it. Hope you don’t get spoilt for choice. Enjoy your meal and have enough to keep you energized and active for the next stop.
Stone Hut Bakery Petting Zoo
But there is more to Stone Hut Bakery that the quaint decor and delicious food! They also have a fabulous petting zoo at the side and back that has three sections and a large walk-in aviary, petting enclosure, and a reptile room. Just be careful as the cockatoo might want to land on you! He took a great liking to my sunglasses strap from Kenya and decided he would try to eat it.
Port Germein Jetty
If you have kids that enjoy seeing the biggest and best things in the world, then make sure to digress to Port Germein en route to the southern Flinders Ranges. Here you will find the longest jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also a quaint town and if the weather is good, there is a great ice cream van just by the jetty shed.
Dinner at the Wirrabara Hotel
You should visit the Wirrabara Hotel for their famous Wednesday night Schnitzel Special. Their meals are delicious and it is a traditional country feel. They also have a wide variety of cold wines and beers to quench your thirst. This might be that one place you will want to find yourself in, before your good night’s sleep. So, try it out and tell us your experience.
Port Germein Gorge
Those coming from the rugged Flinders Ranges and staying at Yacca Valley Cottage will have the best experience of the Germein Gorge by driving towards Port Germein, which happens to be a few minutes away – West of Yacca Valley Cottage to be precise. Or if you head to the coast first, be in for a treat as it welcomes you to the Flinders Ranges with a powerful surprise!
As you drive on, have a look at the Historic Bangor.
One thing that is really fun to do is to discover the creative side of country folk. On the road to Blesings Garden Winery, you will find these fun letterboxes. There is a lot to see and do for the kids in the rugged Flinders Ranges!
Blesings Garden Winery And Cellar Door
Head off the road for five minutes and you will find Blesings Garden Winery and Cellar Door. Here, if the lady of the house is in residence on the day you will be able to enjoy Afternoon Tea or enjoy wine tasting beside the grand piano. The kids will have fun exploring the garden with their creative art pieces too. And the rugged Flinders Ranges makes a fabulous backdrop.
Hire an Off-Road Bike
Over The Edge is found in Melrose town and can easily be accessed by anyone staying at Yacca Valley Cottage. To be precise, it is roughly 20 minutes north of this cottage. It is the perfect place where coffee lovers meet to have a sip of some good coffee. It has a perfect view of the famous Mt. Remarkable. You should hire a mountain bike and explore the area as we did around Mt. Remarkable National Park. There are great bike tracks near this park. It is more or less an exploration.
Lately, I’ve seen parents with mountain bike seats designed for children, similar to the seats found here which would make exploring these areas with the young ones achievable too.
There’s no excuse here. Simply a must-do!
So be ready with your hydrating water for a fun and different way of exploring the area.
Over The Edge Café
After a long ride, nothing beats a fantastic iced coffee or chocolate and a gourmet croissant as you relax in or out at the Over The Edge Café. I enjoyed smoked salmon and creamed cheese in lightly toasted my croissant – it was so filling I actually couldn’t finish it!
Hike From Warren Gorge
If you are an environmental enthusiast, then Warren Gorge is for you. It is located north of Appila and has clear signs that point you towards it. This is a great place to go camping or have a picnic. When the weather is warm, you might want to take a dive into the springs and enjoy swimming. You will be surprised at how close this site is to some of the well-known historic towns in the region. So, you can move from here and visit any of these towns – which include Jamestown, Laura and Wirrabara.
Note, Warren Gorge access is a paid access, but they have a great system where you put the money in an envelope and display a ticket on the vehicle dashboard. Camping is also available here too.
Wirrabara Painted Silos
The Wirrabara painted silos are just finished and well worth a visit. Turn up the side street from the Wirrabara pub and you will find them. They are so new, we found many locals did not even know where they were!
Mt Remarkable and Melrose
Get your hiking boots ready because this will be one of the most memorable hikes of your life at Mt. Remarkable. Hope you will love the beautiful views of the historic towns that can be seen from different vantage points on this hike.
There is a point on this mountain in the rugged Flinders Ranges where an aircraft crashed in the year 1980. There were no survivors in the crash. As you pass this spot, you will see some of the remains of this plane still in the area. It ends up being a walk into and through history. Hope you will take time to reflect on how far we have come. While there are areas on the trail with ‘scree’, most of it is great assures you of a great hike.
So, go ahead and enjoy it.
Although Alligator Gorge has numerous rocky paths that make it look like a hard place to hike, many people find it fun. The hardest part of it all is probably at the beginning there are many rocks and creeks. But then again, a hike is made up of such challenges.
The Terraces are a pretty riverbed that is well worth hiking too and is a natural wide slow step formation here in the rugged Flinders Ranges.
The Gorge also offers you an opportunity to take nice photos that will preserve a memory that would otherwise be erased as soon as you are done with the hike and the fatigue melts away.
The only downside to visiting the gorge that we found was that it is required to have a National Park pass prior to entering the park, but this is only made evident when you have driven nearly all the way there. AND, there is no ticket office or drop point to leave money like other National Parks in the area. It only takes a credit card and has to be booked on a website, except if you have a phone with no signal in the area, then you can’t book.
Several people including us, were caught out with no phone reception, no credit card (who brings credit cards on a hike?), and no way to pay. It made me very fearful to leave our 4WD and head off on our hike in case I returned to a hefty fine. So hop online, and pay first.
Just like most of the places mentioned, Baroota Reservoir is only minutes away from Yacca Valley Cottage. It can easily be traced through Google maps, making it easy for a non-local to reach.
What makes this spot unique is its history. It dates back to 1921 when its construction was completed and it was expected to be a source of water supply to Port Pirie as well as some other parts of Beetaloo Distribution System. You will find this dam on Baroota Creek. This is a good place to learn more about the history of the region. So, visit it with the intention of learning a thing or two.
When it is summer then you probably know that it is time to drive through the Bridle track. It has some nice views that will definitely blow up your mind. Other than some few steep climbs, the drive is quite easy and fun. It is advisable that you avoid it during wet seasons as it becomes very slippery and confusing to manoeuvre through. Try approaching it from the Melrose area of the rugged Flinders Ranges since there are signposts from that end. Bridle Track starts from an area near Baroota and stretches all the way to Bangor a total of 15 km. Enjoy the ride.
Wildflowers and Wildlife
You will find these along Flinders Ranges. Wildlife is known to exist and thrive here. It is the most popular route used by people heading towards Lake Eyre. While it is some form of a desert, green vegetation blooms up with beautiful wildflower and business begins to boom. The environment becomes more sustainable to wildlife as well as business communities in the area. You will love driving through it as there is so much to be seen.
The Wirrabara Forest is FREE and just out of Wirrabara township en route to Stone Hut and Laura.
It boasts the King Tree and also a gorgeous forest that has wonderful and easy hikes. Quite a few places you can drive right into as well.
We actually did three different hikes here in the rugged Flinders Ranges with the forest around us. We had a great time here as a family leaving behind our troubles in the forest.
Stay off the Grid
Yacca Valley Cottage is a perfect accommodation for a family getaway for those who wish for a total relaxation experience. It is located at the foot of a Valley an is surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna. It gives easy access to numerous attraction sites, most of which have been mentioned in this article. Just to recap, these attractions include though are not limited to Stone Hut, Port Germein Gorge and Wirrabara. More are listed above.
The cottage also has a beautiful history behind it that can be spotted in its ancient architectural design merged with modern design ideas. Some of the activities that can be enjoyed here include a bonfire, BBQ and nature trails. It is a home far away from home and a peaceful place to go relax and bond as a family. We enjoyed our stay here and our hope is that you too will enjoy your stay.
Now that you know everything that you ought to know, we believe that you will make wise decisions regarding your next family getaway to the Flinders Ranges. Why don’t you start packing then and go on a trip of this area?
At least you know where to stay, places to visit and how to visit them. Wishing you all the best on your next vacation.
Where to Explore
Flinders Ranges is a huge area with many towns. Here is a great list of them and more ideas on places you can explore too.
Comments and Questions
As always, we do appreciate hearing from our readers. So, feel free to engage us through comments or questions by leaving a message in the comments section.
This article is dedicated to Victor Joppich
Time Remembering My Friend VICTOR
Our trip to The Flinders Ranges also allowed us time to remember my friend Victor Joppich who recently passed away. It was wondeful to spend time with some of his family. Victor grew up in the area in the town of Wilmington, just north of Melrose.
My sister worked as his Chiropractic practice receptionist for many years, and he and I were friends for about half of my life. I was blessed to spend time with Victor just prior to his unexpected passing away.
Victor: your huge smile will always be remembered. Thank you for your friendship.