Flinders Ranges National Park - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT
Flinders Ranges NP marker on Hawker - Wilpena road
Flinders Ranges National Park - FURTHER INFORMATION
Flinders Ranges National Park - Flinders Ranges visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Flinders Ranges National Park' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from South Australia.
The Flinders Ranges is South Australia's largest mountain range which starts approximately 200 km north west of Adelaide. The discontinuous ranges stretch for over 430 km from Port Pirie to Lake Callabonna.
Several small areas in the Flinders Ranges are protected as National Parks. These include the Flinders Ranges National Park near Wilpena Pound and the Mount Remarkable National Park in the southern part of the ranges near Melrose. The Flinders Ranges National Park covers 95,000ha and is located in the northern part of the Flinders Ranges 450km north of Adelaide. The park includes the most characteristic landmark Wilpena Pound, a large, sickle-shaped, natural amphitheatre covering nearly 80 square kilometres, and containing the range's highest peak, St Mary Peak (1170m). The northern ranges host the Arkaroola wilderness sanctuary and the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. The southern part of the ranges are notable for the Pichi Richi scenic railway and Mount Remarkable National Park.
The flora of the Flinders Ranges is comprised largely of species adapted to a semi-arid environment such as cypress-pine, mallee, and black oak. Moister areas near Wilpena Pound support grevilleas, Guinea flowers, lilies and ferns. Reeds and sedges grow near permanent water sources such as springs and waterholes.
Since the eradication of dingos and the establishment of permanent waterholes for stock, the numbers of red kangaroos, western grey kangaroos and euros in the Flinders Ranges have increased. The yellow-footed rock-wallaby, which neared extinction after the arrival of Europeans due to hunting and predation by foxes, has now stabilized. Other endemic marsupials include dunnarts, planigales and echidnas. Insectivorous bats make up significant proportion of mammals in the area. There are a large number of bird species including parrots, galahs, emus, the wedge-tailed eagle and small numbers of water birds. Reptiles include goannas, snakes, dragon lizards, skinks and geckos. The streambank froglet is an endemic amphibian.
The first humans to inhabit the Flinders Ranges were the Adnyamathanha people (meaning 'hill people' or 'rock people') whose descendants still reside in the area. Cave paintings, rock engravings and other artifacts indicate that the Adnyamathana people have lived in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years.
The first European explorers to the region were an exploration party from Matthew Flinders seagoing visit to upper, Spencer Gulf aboard The Investigator. They climbed Mount Brown in March 1802 . In the winter of 1839 Edward John Eyre, together with a group of five men, two drays and ten horses, further explored the region.
There are records of squatters in the Quorn district as early as 1845 , and the first pastoral leases were granted in 1851. William Pinkerton is credited as being the first European to find a route through the Flinders Ranges via Pichi Richi Pass. In 1853 he drove 7,000 sheep along the eastern plains of the range to where Quorn would be built 25 years later (Pinkerton Creek runs through the Quorn township).
During the late 1870's the push to open agriculture land for wheat growing north of the Goyder's Line had met with unusual success, with good rainfall and crops in the Flinders Ranges. This, along with the copper mining lobby (copper was mined in the Hawker-Flinders Ranges area in the late 1850's and transported overland by bullock dray), induced the government to build a narrow gauge railway line north of Port Augusta through Pichi Richi Pass, Quorn, Hawker and along the west of the ranges, eventually to Marree.
Mining exploration continued in the region, but coal-mining at Leigh Creek and barytes at Oraparinna were the only long-term successes. Pastoral industries flourished, and the rail line became of major importance in opening up and servicing sheep and cattle stations along the route to Alice Springs.
How to get there:
Car: 53km from Hawker, 450km from Adelaide
Bus: Premier Stateliner