Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

The Flinders Ranges National Park

All Over Australia REPORT

approximate Population: Nominal

The semi-arid Flinders Ranges National Park includes an outstanding portion of the Central Flinders Ranges. It is about 450 kms. north of Adelaide, South Australia. It is nearly 97,000 hectares in size and includes some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in Australia.

The Flinders Ranges are well known around Australia, partly as a result of the paintings of Sir Hans Heysen, South Australia's most well-known artist. He painted in the Aroona Valley as well as in many other locations in the Flinders Ranges. A section of the Heysen Walking Track cuts through the park.
A program to remove feral animals and conserve native animals has been effective.

Things to do and see:
There are numerous scenic routes, gorges, walking and bushwalking trails, and a variety of wildlife may be seen. Small colonies of yellow-footed wallabies are to be found in the park. 4 species of bats have been recorded in the park.
The geology is varied, with rocks mostly ranging from some 500 to 1,000 million years old. Brachina Gorge contains the 'Corridors through time' interpretive walking trail which looks at the region's geology, including ancient archaeocyatha fossils.

Camping is permitted. Visitors should bring their own firewood, since trees are protected. The park headquarters and main visitor centre are at Wilpena. The Chalet here opened in 1947.

Rain is rare, but flash floods can result when it rains. Summers are hot; winters are mild with cold nights. Click on Wilpena for a Temperature - Rainfall chart for Wilpena.
The wildflowers are prolific in spring. May to October is the best time for bushwalking. There are many walking tracks in the park, ranging from short walks to lookouts to day walks.

Natural Features:
About 500 million years ago the land here was pushed upwards and the rock strata was folded and fractured. Valleys and domes were created, which have eroded away, leaving only the harder sandstones and quartzite ridges. St. Marys Peak (1200 m.), on the pound's northern rim, is the highest point in the park.
Wilpena Pound, a great oval basin, is an interesting geological formation that is probably the park's best known feature. The pound is a natural amphitheatre 5 kms. wide and 11 kms. long with only two exits, through Edeowie Creek (which creates Edeowie Gorge at the western end of the pound) and through Wilpena Creek.

Brachina Gorge is an area of important fossils as well as a colourful and spectacular gorge. Rocks in Brachina Gorge were once sediments deposited in a shallow, elongate basin known as the Adelaide Geosyncline 650 to 500 million years ago. 

Wildlife in the park includes emu, red kangaroo, euros, and yellow footed rock wallabies. Smaller animals include bats, frogs, and snakes. Birds found here include galahs, corellas, parrots, and many birds of prey. Smaller birds are found near rock pools.
Vegetation in the park includes river red gums and South Australian blue gums along watercourses. Coolabahs, drooping she-oaks wattles and grass-trees are found elsewhere. Introduced plants like hops and Salvation Jane (also known as Paterson's Curse) are colourful in spring.

Human History:
The Adnyamathanha Aboriginal people have lived in the region for at least 10,000 years. They moved according to the availability of food and water and met for ceremonies. High quality red ochre was mined on the plains at Parachilna. Aboriginal People from as far away as southern Queensland came here to trade for the ochre.
Sacred Canyon, just outside the park, is the location of 20,000 year old Aboriginal rock carvings, including animal tracks, circles and other symbols. They are located on both sides of the rock walls of the canyon.

In 1840 Edward John Eyre was the first European to visit the region. Wilpena Pound was found by Europeans in 1850 and pastoralists came soon after. Conflict between Aboriginal and Europeans came next; many Aboriginal People died of introduced diseases. Many European settlers were then forced to abandon their properties after a series of bad years.

ACCESS: Car via Highway 47 to Wilpena, or via Brachina Gorge from the, Hawker-Lyndhurst Rd. From the north access can be gained via, Balconnen Homestead to Blinman or the Parachilna Gorge from the, Marree Rd, (both unsealed). Travel within the park is on unsealed roads.
ACTIVITIES: Bush Walking. (Bushwalkers should notify Ranger. Permits obtained from Hawker or Wilpena.)

Royal Automobile Association of South Australia, Robin Road Software and its suppliers, 1996 - 2000


Sources & Further reading


  1. Australian National Parks
  2. Australian National Parks - South Australia
  3. Australia - The Geology, Climate & Ecology
  4. Photos of Australia


Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading