Unique Nature Experiences in the Flinders Ranges and Outback
Lesser-known locations and memorable experiences for every budget. These hidden gems and quirky tours offer a fresh perspective of the region’s awe-inspiring natural wonders.
Flinders Ranges and Outback South Australia is a destination that rewards trailblazers. There's no need to rush, just slow down and take the time to disconnect from your inbox, and reconnect with nature. When you look a little closer, you'll find there is no limit to the unexpected wonders you can discover.
Explore the Moon from Mars on Earth
Visit the Andamooka Observatory during NASA's Observe the Moon week, held annually in October during the full moon. The Andamooka Observatory team offers expert guidance, world-class equipment and Moon Maps to help visitors identify incredible locations on the moon's surface, including the Apollo landing site.
Sleep Under the Stars
Even without special equipment, the outback skies are so enthralling that you won't want to go inside for bed. Book a secluded spot to decompress in the quiet of the evening bush, roll out the swag and drift off under glittering night skies (just make sure you have permission to camp first). For an incredible morning view, book the Rawnsley Park Heli-Camping experience and wake up to a breathtaking sunrise from the Chace Ranges.
See the Earliest Known Forms of Life on Earth
The Nilpena Ediacara National Park holds monumental international historical significance. Recognised by Sir David Attenborough and NASA as the site of the earliest known signs of life on earth, and now open to the public by guided tour. See fascinating Ediacaran fossils up close and learn about the geological and cultural history of this incredible site.
Travel Back in Time on Geological Trails
For self-guided adventurers, the Geological Trail through Brachina Gorge offers an immersive adventure into our planet's captivating past. Take the trail to see the Golden Spike, a Global Stratotype Section and Point, which marks the beginning of the Ediacaran Period some 570 million years ago.
The Arkaba Walk
Recognised as one of the Great Walks of Australia, the 4-Night Original Arkaba Walk is a guided ecoluxury experience through the Ikara-Flinders Ranges and Elder Ranges. An invigorating walk of moderate difficulty, you will be immersed in spectacular natural beauty and interesting stories. Enjoy the challenge and recover with a night of luxurious comfort and delicious South Australian food and wine at Arkaba Luxury Lodge.
Town Walking Trails
Several towns have created gently-paced trails through local sites and gardens. The Bush Food Walking Trail in Quorn is a 2km loop from the town, through the native plant display in the community garden and along Pinkerton Creek. Orroroo offers the Magpie Trail, a geocaching walking trail that winds through the quaint historic town sites. Hawker offers the Hawker Heritage Walk (also Cradock Heritage Walk) and the Heritage Walk of Port Augusta explores the role of this once major shipping port.
A good winter rain will bring on stunning displays of native wildflowers, especially in the walking trails through Mount Remarkable, Witjira National Park and Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. Keep an eye out for the Nodding Chocolate Lily, the Poached Egg Daisy, Mulla Mullas and the iconic Sturt Desert Pea.
Aussie Travel Code Tip: Resist the urge to pick the wildflowers – it's best for the land and wildlife if we leave them where we see them, and it means more people can enjoy the show.
Heritage Rail Trail from Broken Hill to Port Pirie
This 395km rail trail offers striking scenery, a wealth of history and a colourful scavenger hunt through 14 Heritage townships. Uncover the fascinating story of the early years and rise of BHP, the mining behemoth of today that was formed in the 1880s after three men discovered one of the world's largest sources of lead, zinc and silver in the Australian outback.
Float in Peaceful Outback Waterholes
The Witjira National Park, around three hours north of Oodnadatta, is home to more than 100 springs including the spa-like Dalhousie Springs. Soak in the tranquil waters surrounded by picturesque greenery and enjoy the spa-like temperatures of the Artesian spring water which maintains a steady 37-degrees all year round.
South of Oodnadatta towards Lake Eyre, you’ll find Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs, including the picturesque Coward Springs. Closer to the Flinders Ranges, experienced hikers will enjoy the walk from Parachilna, past scenic ruins to the Blinman Pools. Take the kayaks for a paddle on Aroona Dam, or book a cultural tour of the Akurra Trail with an Adnyamathanha guide for the best experience and insights into this stunning ecosystem located near Leigh Creek.
Even if you're an experienced outback traveller who has seen everything on our list of Signature Experiences, we encourage you to return, slow down and settle into outback time. It would take a lifetime to discover everything these three regions have to offer, so we just have one piece of advice to help you enjoy your trip; the deeper you dig, the more treasure you will find. Discover more travel recommendations.