6 national parks to visit in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges

6 national parks to visit in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges

Ven­tur­ing out to SA’s Flinders Ranges and Out­back? Make a stop in one of these nation­al parks while you’re there.

A vis­it to the Flinders Ranges and Out­back region of South Aus­tralia pro­vides a dra­mat­ic depar­ture from the hec­tic pace of city life.

Once you’re there, you’ll expe­ri­ence a dif­fer­ent kind of seren­i­ty and wit­ness jaw-drop­ping scenery so unique it will make you think you’ve trav­elled to anoth­er planet.

Here are our picks of parks for you to explore on your next vis­it to the region:

1. Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park

Locat­ed 95 kilo­me­tres north-east of Hawk­er, Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park is full to the brim, with rugged moun­tain land­scapes, peace­ful tree-lined gorges and wildlife.

Bush­walk­ing is one of the many activ­i­ties you can enjoy in the park, and there’s a range of walk­ing trails on offer.

If you’re look­ing for some­thing quick and easy, the Hills Home­stead Walk is a 6.6 km return track that should take you about 2 hours to complete.

For those look­ing for an activ­i­ty to get the legs prop­er­ly stretched and the heart pump­ing, the Aroona to Youn­goona Hike might be for you.

This 15.4 km hike tells the sto­ry of the region’s rich pas­toral her­itage, with beau­ti­ful views and con­trast­ing rock for­ma­tions, and will take about 7 hours to complete.

If you’re look­ing for some­where to put your feet up for the night, the park has sev­er­al accom­mo­da­tion options rang­ing from camp­sites, some acces­si­ble only by 4WD or by foot, to resorts and even work­ing sheep stations.

Top tip: Before your vis­it, down­load the free Dis­cov­er the Flinders Ranges mobile app for iOS or Android for nar­rat­ed dri­ving and walk­ing tours and guides to geol­o­gy, birdlife and wild­flow­ers found in the park.

2. Kati Than­da-Lake Eyre Nation­al Park

Kati Than­da-Lake Eyre Nation­al Park is locat­ed 60 km east of William Creek and is home to Australia’s largest salt lake – Kati Thanda/​Lake Eyre.

When there’s water in the lake, usu­al­ly between April and Octo­ber, the park becomes a won­der­land for bird­watch­ers as thou­sands of water­birds, includ­ing pel­i­cans, sil­ver gulls, red-necked avo­cets, band­ed stilts and gull-billed terns, turn the lake into a breed­ing site.

Sit­ting 15 m below sea lev­el, the park is one of the dark­est spots in all of Aus­tralia – mak­ing it the per­fect place for stargaz­ing.

Set up camp at Hal­li­gan Bay Point Camp­ground and be pre­pared for an awe-inspir­ing show in the night sky.

6 national parks to visit in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges

3. Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park

Sit­u­at­ed 45 km north of Port Pirie, Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park is an ide­al place to take the fam­i­ly, with bush­walk­ing and moun­tain bik­ing trails for all ages and abilities.

The easy 400 m walk to Ali Look­out takes you to the top of the stun­ning Alli­ga­tor Gorge.

From there, if you’re feel­ing like some­thing a lit­tle more chal­leng­ing, head down the 250-or-so steps into the gorge and fol­low the 2 km Gorge Cir­cuit Hike along the bot­tom of the gorge.

If bikes are more your style, hop on the 6.5 km Mon­i­tor Loop and ride along the foothills of the Mount Remark­able Range and to the high­est areas of Wil­lowie Forest.

When you’re done explor­ing, make your way to the Mam­bray Creek Day Vis­i­tor Area or Blue Gum Flat and set­tle down for a pic­nic or barbecue.

6 national parks to visit in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges

4. Witji­ra Nation­al Park

A 306 km trip from Coober Pedy, Witji­ra Nation­al Park fea­tures more than 120 mound springs, includ­ing the Nation­al Her­itage-list­ed Dal­housie Springs.

Dal­housie Springs has been used by Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple for thou­sands of years as a source of food, shel­ter and medicine.

With a year-round tem­per­a­ture of about 37 degrees, the Dal­housie Springs’ Main Pool is the per­fect place to relax after tak­ing a walk around the main springs and out to King­fish­er Springs.

And after trav­el­ling all that way, why not spend a night (or more) in the park? The Dal­housie Springs Camp­ground has 20 camp­sites that are suit­able for tents and camper trailers.

Top tip: access to this park and trails with­in it is sub­ject to weath­er and road con­di­tions in the area. Check the lat­est Desert Parks Bul­letin before vis­it­ing for the most up-to-date infor­ma­tion on access­ing the park.

6 national parks to visit in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges

5. Innam­inc­ka Region­al Reserve

Innam­inc­ka Region­al Reserve is locat­ed 571 km from Mar­ree and cov­ers more than 1.3 mil­lion hectares of land.

Immerse your­self in the his­to­ry of the area by vis­it­ing the sites where explor­ers Burke and Wills’ trag­ic end­ing played out along Coop­er Creek.

For a relax­ing and reward­ing expe­ri­ence, hire a canoe from the Innam­inc­ka Hotel and set off along Coop­er Creek to enjoy the out­back from the water.

Enjoy the park by night and set up your tent, camper trail­er or car­a­van at the seclud­ed Minkie Water­hole Camp­ground. This site is set amongst riv­er red gums and the water­hole wel­comes an abun­dance on birdlife.

6 national parks to visit in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges

6. Munga-Thirri – Simp­son Desert Nation­al Park

Sit­ting 286 km north-east from Ood­na­dat­ta is Munga-Thirri – Simp­son Desert Nation­al Park

The area is home to the world’s longest par­al­lel sand dunes, and fea­tures a vari­ety of desert wildlife pre­served in a land­scape of var­ied dune sys­tems, exten­sive playa lakes (or dry lakes), spinifex grass­lands and aca­cia woodlands.

From mid-March to mid-August the tem­per­a­ture in the area is milder, mak­ing it the best time to take your 4WD and explore the Simp­son Desert.

Head to Poep­pel Cor­ner, in the Munga-Thirri – Simp­son Desert Nation­al Park, and stand in three dif­fer­ent states at once.

For a camp­ing expe­ri­ence like no oth­er, head towards the salt lakes in the cen­tral region where gidgee wood­lands pro­vide shade, shel­ter and soft ground for pitch­ing a tent.

Top tip: a Desert Parks Pass is required to enter and camp in this park, so be sure to pur­chase yours online before you go.

6 national parks to visit in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges

Keen to explore more of region­al South Aus­tralia? Check out these parks to vis­it in the River­land, Barossa, Lime­stone Coast and Yorke Penin­su­la.

Main image: Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in July 2020.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living