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Flinders Ranges SA The best travel deals are in the bag

Flinders Ranges Holiday Destinations & Towns
South Australia

ARKAROOLA

Arkaroola is a 61,000 hectare privately-owned wildlife sanctuary in the rugged northern flinders Ranges just to the east of the Gammon Ranges National Park. It shares features seen in that park - including spectacular arid zone mountain terrain, picturesque gorges, water holes and wildlife unique to the area.

Arkaroola Village, a motel, caravan and camping complex, is the focus for the sanctuary, purchased by the current owners in 1968. Until then, the area was made up of a series of degraded pastoral leases infested with vermin; these were eradicated, and today Arkaroola is a fine example of a privately-run sanctuary. The scenic waterholes of Nooldoonooldoona, Bolla Bollana, Arkaroola, Stubbs and Bararranna are well worth a visit.

BELTANA

Beltana is an old railway town on the western fringe of the Flinders Ranges. Today, it is a historical reserve off the main Hawker-Leigh Creek road.

The detour is worth it. Many of the town's buildings are being or have been restored, making Beltana a time-capsule of the I9th century. These include the original Beltana Homestead (1855), Police Station (1881), Post Office and Telegraph (1875), Bush Hospital (1898) and School (1882).

The "Smith of Dunesk Mission Church" was opened in 1895 and was the base from which Rev. John Flynn pioneered the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Australian Inland Mission.

Beltana was also the base for pastoralists Thomas Elder and Robert Ban-Smith, co-founders of Elders. In the early days it was a camel breeding station. When the railway was replaced in 1956, Beltana slowly fell into disuse. Note: the buildings in Beltana are privately-owned and are generally not open to the public.

BLINMAN

At the northern end of the Flinders Ranges National Park, Blinman was a thriving copper town between 1862 and 1830. Robert Blinman's discovery of the metal in 1859 built up high hopes for the future of the town that bears his name.

Some old mine machinery, early buildings and an historic cemetery remain as a reminder of the town's history.

BOOLEROO CENTRE

Population: 333
Booleroo Centre is the centre of a thriving wheat and pastoral district in the southern Flinders Ranges.

HAWKER

Population: 302
The locals call this the hub of the Flinders, with some justification - it is the junction of roads from Port Augusta, Orroroo, Marree and Wilpena Pound. It was once a thriving railway town, a typical outback town, but when the line was re-located. Hawker's pace slowed somewhat. It is, however, an important tourist town servicing the traffic into the central and northern Flinders Ranges and has all necessary facilities.

LEIGH CREEK

Population: 1,635
Leigh Creek's enormous brown deposits of brown coal were first mined in 1943. The Electricity Trust of South Australia operates the mine and currently extracts 2.3 million tonnes every year. Once reduced to small pieces, the coal is loaded onto special trains which take it to a power generating plant at Port Augusta at the head of Spencer's Gulf, a distance of two hundred and fifty kilometres.

Book a tour of the coalfields, visiting the mine site viewing area and Aroona Dam.

LYNDHURST

These days it's famous for being the beginning of the Strzelecki Track, but last century Lyndhurst was an important outback railhead. The large area of ochre cliffs ranging from reds, browns, yellows and whites on the outskirts of the town on the Marree road are a colourful attraction.

MELROSE

Melrose is the oldest town in the finders Ranges and has been used as a movie set on several occasions. The discovery of copper gave birth to it while today it services a large and prosperous grain growing industry. It is also one of the most beautiful towns of the Flinders Ranges, nestled at the foot of Mount Remarkable and next to the Mount Remarkable National Park. Climb to the War Memorial for a panoramic view over the Willochra Plain, or to Lookout Hill near the water tanks. Cathedral Rock is a spectacular formation along the edge of Mount Remarkable Creek west of the town. Day trips in and around the area lead to some of many scenic areas of the finders Ranges via the National Park and gorges.

PETERBOROUGH

Population: 2,239
Peterborough is a historic railway town and an important stop on the way to the Flinders Ranges, It is one of only two railway junction towns in the world where three railway line gauges meet.

PORT AUGUSTA

Refer to "South Australian Outback Towns"

PORT GERMEIN

Population: 218
This once-busy wheat shipping port had the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere, but storms in 1881 and several times this century damaged it. The jetty has since been repaired and anglers are now frequent users.

QUORN

Population: 1,073
Quorn, an old railway town was once an important junction for east- west and north-south rail traffic in the days of narrow gauge rail lines. The construction of a new standard gauge railway line from Port Augusta to Marree in 1956 bypassed Quorn and lessened its importance, but the re- opening of part of the Pichi Richi line has introduced tourism as a new industry.

Quorn is nestled in the beautiful finders Ranges and has lost none of its enchanting old world character.

WILMINGTON

Population: 233
Wilmington's early settlers called it Beautiful Valley, and the name says it all. Located at the top of Horrocks Pass, close to stunning Alligator Gorge, the town shares its main attractions with nearby Melrose and Mount Remarkable National Park.

WIRRABARA

Population:273
State-owned pine forests surround Wirrabara, first settled in 1844. There is a timber mill near the town, and a steam engine which once used to cut timber can be seen in the main street.

WILPENA

Wilpena Pound is arguably the Flinders Ranges' single greatest natural asset, certainly its best-known. The Pound's upturned hand and gnarled fingers are a part of the Flinders Ranges National Park and offer the visitor magnificent scenery, bushwalking trails aplenty, Aboriginal and white history, abundant wildlife and dense native vegetation. There are no cars in the Pound and entry is through a narrow gorge above Sliding Rock while walking trails crisscross its floor, slopes and ridge-tops.

Out from Wilpena, there are numerous scenic drives to other natural features in the national park - including Sacred Canyon with its Aboriginal carvings, Stokes Hill Lookout, Aroona Valley, Brachina Gorge, Bunyerxo Valley, Wilkwillana Gorge and the Aboriginal carvings at Arkaroo Rock.

AUBURN

Population 325
Auburn is a pretty town at the southern gateway to the Clare Valley. It dates from the 1840s, when it serviced the bullock wagons travelling between Burra's rich copper mines and the coast.
A walk along its back streets is like taking a step back in time - many of its original buildings remain, especially St Vincent Street. Walking tour guides are available from the National Trust or Aubum Stores. Famous colonial bard CJ Dennis, author of 'Sentimental Bloke' was born and spent his early years here.

BALAKLAVA

Population: 1,365
Balaklava, named after the battle in the Crimean War, was established by Adelaide grain merchant Charles Fisher in 1870 when he built large grain stores as an inducement to farmers to open up the land. The town services a rich pastoral area today.

BURRA

Population: 2,225
Copper was discovered around Burra in 1845, and soon a bustling town had grown around the site. The Burra, as it was known, consisted of a series of small townships based around the nationalities of the miners who lived there. Kooringa and Redruth were Cornish, Aberdeen- Scottish, Llywchwr- Welsh and Hampton- English. Although the mines were spent in little more than thirty years, the character of Burra remains intact thanks to a caring community. While the town economy is today based on the pastoral industry especially merino sheep farming, the copper heritage is evident everywhere.

Several museums interpret the old mines site, and numerous historic residential and public buildings have been restored and put to contemporary use. Burra's Passport system is an inviting and novel way to see the town's many attractions - simply collect your key from the Burra Tourist Office, and head off at your own pace on an eleven kilometre tour of heritage buildings, museums, mine shafts and lookouts .

CLARE

Population: 2,591
In the beautiful northern Mt Lofty Ranges, Clare nestles among wooded hills and orderly vineyards. Its earliest settlers were Irish, and it's one of the few South Australian districts where an Irish influence can be detected in the lifestyle and culture.
Clare is the centre of a prosperous pastoral community and an important wine industry. The Clare Valley's slopes and valley floors provide a cooler climate for later maturation than in the Barossa Valley, and the district's wines have a reputation for quality and character. It's one of the most picturesque wine producing areas in Australia.

CRYSTAL BROOK

Population: 2,100
Indomitable explorer Edward John Eyre named the creek which runs into the River Broughton the 'Chrystal Brook'- the spelling is his. The name stuck and a town grew near the spot where his party camped in 1839. Before the town grew, however the site was swallowed up by the huge pastoral landholding belonging to William Younghusband and Peter Ferguson. Crystal Brook today is a nature lover's mecca. The Heysen Trail runs past the town and Bowman Park.

JAMESTOWN

Population: 1,300
When expansion on the land gathered pace in South Australia in the mid to late I9th century, scores of ambitious farmers followed the trail northwards. The area around Jamestown was opened up in the 1870s, and it soon became an important grain district. It remains so today. There are also extensive forests nearby at Bundaleer.

KAPUNDA

Population: 1,622
Kapunda was the site of Australia's first viable copper mine. Its economic significance to the young colony was enormous. In near bankruptcy due to speculation, the discovery of copper gave South Australia the leg up it needed. The mines operated between 1844 and 1912, and produced 14,000 tonnes of copper metal. Kapunda's streetscape reflects this prosperous past, with numerous historic buildings, museums and churches. Many wear the characteristic old 'Kapunda Lace' on their verandahs, intricate decorative ironwork designed and manufactured in the town last century.

The Cattle King, Sir Sidney Kidman also lived in Kapunda for many years. His home Eringa is now part of the high school.

A one-and-a-half kilometre walking trail takes visitors past the old mine site and its surroundings. A booklet of the town's significant buildings is also available.

PORT PIRIE

Population: 15,114
This is the region's largest centre. It has always played a crucial role in the state's economy. Broken Hill silver, lead and zinc deposits have provided significant earnings for the city for generations, while grain from its hinterland has been shipped from the port for over a century.

Contemporary Port Pirie has a rich cultural life, and its location near the Flinders Ranges makes it a good base for visitors intending to explore further afield.

For more travel information on Flinders Ranges & Top Destination Flinders Ranges

Photo courtesy SATC

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