Pay for use 4WDing in the Flinders Ranges

Note: fees and details may change at anytime - please check with the contacts noted.

A panorama of a section of the Flinder Ranges, taken from a peak on a pay for use track not far from Wilpena Pound.

The Flinders Ranges have long been a drawcard for campers and bushwalkers. But now there is a third major focus, four wheel drive treks. Several station owners have placed increase emphasis on the 4WD tourists and opened up vast tracts of new land for exploration. The range of four wheel drive treks in the Flinders Ranges covers areas from near Wilmington in the Southern Flinders, to Arkaroola, in the rugged Northern Flinders. Camping is also available (of varying facilities) on some stations.

The Outback Communities Authority's website has a brochure (pdf) called "4WD TRACKS & REPEATER TOWERS" showing Public Access Routes (PARS) and Pay For Use tracks for both the Flinders Ranges and the Eyre Peninsular.

This map from Station Stays SA also provides a good view of SA's outback locations.

Here are some details of a few treks. (Fees and details below are subject to change without notice, information has been reviewed as at the start of WInter 2020, however please verify all information with the properties involved for the most accurate and uptodate information).

A Pinch of Salt

We understand that this is now closed. The presence of Ediacaran fossils on Nilpena and their protection may have lead to this this (Nilpena West which includes the fossil site has been aquired by The Nature Conservancy). Previously this tour started from the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna and went to Nilpena Station and then to Lake Torrens. It took about three hours.

Arkapena Scenic Adventure

Starts following the foothills of Chace Range and end on the top of the ABC Range. Keys for the trek can be hired from Rawnsley Park Station. About 40km taking 3 hours. The cost is $40.00 or $50. Several new tracks have also been opened. The Arkapena contact is Steven Gregory (08) 8648 0034 (08) 8648 0700 .   

Alpana Station

Mt. Samuel is a self drive track which is rated challenging - high clearance vehicles with low range capability essential. It covers about 70k. The cost is $50 a vehicle (cheaper if staying or larger vehicle groups such as a club trip). Driven as well as tag-a-long tours are also available. Website alpanastation.com.

Arden Hills

Self-drive – 4hrs minimum. With full and half day tracks to suit all skill levels.  Access to this private track is through a locked gate in Warren Gorge, and requires all drivers to register and pay a fee at the Flinders Ranges Visitor Information Centre, Quorn Railway Station, Quorn. Phone 1800 220 980 or 08 8648 6419.  Website: www.frc.sa.gov.au/tourism/what-to-do/four-wheel-driving.

Argadells

There are a variety of easy to hard treks. One is well worth the trip, and provides access to Mt. Arden, highest point in the Southern Flinders Ranges (1,000m). The trip to the top is not for the inexperienced or faint hearted. Camping areas are available, but have no facilities apart from long-drop toilets. A shower for a fee can be had at the amenities block located near the homestead. Caravans are are accomodated. Signposts and detailed maps keep you on the trail. Cost is $50.00 per vehicle. Bookings are essential and can be made by ringing Malcolm or Judy on 08 8648 6246. Website.

Arkaba Conservancy

Arkaba Conservancy is a luxury property in the Flinders Ranges. Self drive tours are among the options for those staying. Website: www.arkabaconservancy.com

Arkaroola

Run by the Sprigg Family, Arkaroola resort offers some of Australia’s toughest foure-wheel driving. There are a number of self drive treks to various places, there is also a catered tour in a 4WD called the Ridge top tour. All details can be obtained from the resort's visitor Information centre.

Beltana Station

Following its sale in late 2017, Beltana Station is still currently closed (as at June 2020) to the public while refurbishments take place.  All camping, accommodation, four-wheel drive tracks, and meals are currently not available until further notice.  Website: www.beltanastation.com.au

Bendleby Ranges

Bendleby Ranges (3½ hours from Adelaide, 50km north-east of Orroroo) has a range of self-drive 4WD trips, varying from 1-5 hours. The scenery and ridge-top views are spectacular. Choose tracks to suit your experience. Maps supplied. Terrain varies from hills to plains, excellent views towards Lake Frome & Wilpena Pound. Camping available. Website: www.bendlebyranges.com.au.

Horseshoe Top End

Breathtaking scenery of the Horseshoe Range - the track climbs to the top of the western rim of the Horseshoe Range where two further options are provided. Self-drive, unaccompanied 4WD tour costs $50 per vehicle. Homestead and camping guests who book the self-drive 4WD tour have access to all of the tracks and lookouts for the duration of their stay. High clearance vehicles with low-range 4wd are essential.  Details at www.horseshoetopend.com.au

Horseshoe Rim 4WD Adventure Track

This 4WD track runs along the rim of the Horseshoe Range located 18km west of Carrieton and 40km east of Quorn and takes 3-4 hours. Magnificent views of the Flinders Ranges from Mt Remarkable in the south to Wilpena in the north. Lookouts along the way provide many spectacular photo opportunities. A highlight is the challenging section to the top of Mt Stokes – the highest point in Horseshoe Range. The track can now be enjoyed by drivers of all skill levels. Booking required.  Website: www.horseshoerim.com.au.

Merna Mora Station Drives

4WD tracks West of Flinders Ranges NP.   All self drive tracks begin and end at Merna Mora Station.  They have four tracks Bunbinyunna Track (Bunbinyunna Range against the western wall of Wilpena Pound), Historic Track, Lake Torrens Track, Wowee Track (Bourneburra range and ridges) from around $50 per vehicle per track. Camping and statioin stays available.  Website: www.mernamora.com.au.

Mt. Caernarvon 4WD Track (Bunkers Conservation Reserve)

Mt Caernarvon Track is the highest self drive 4WD track in the Northern Flinders Ranges and located on The Bunkers Conservation Reserve. The 4WD track takes you to the top of Mt Caernarvon (931m).  Self-drive 4WD tour $60 per vehicle, plus camping fees (if required). Details at www.caernarvontrack.com.

Oratunga Track (Angorichina Station)

This track is on Ian & Di Fargher’s Angorichina Station located 10 kilometres east of Blinman. The Oratunga Track leads to the scenic highlights on Angorichina: Artimore Ruins, Patawarta Hill and Nildottie Gap. There are two loops, and a day should be set aside to see some of the best country the Flinders has to offer. Camping and statiion stays available. Bookings can be made on 8648 4863.  Details at  angorichinastation.com.

Skytrek (Willow Springs)

Note that Mt. Caernarvon (932m) is no longer part of Skytrek.

It is a full days drive (80km) including to Upalinna Lookout (750m) in the Flinders with views of the Chace and Bunkers ranges, and Wilpena Pound. Skytrek Willows Spring Station is run by Brendan & Carmel Reynolds. Bookings can be made on (08) 8648 0016. Directions are given when the keys for the route are hired, cost starts from $65.00 for 4WDs (see here for full details). Camping is also available.

Witchelina Nature Reserve

Witchelina extends from Lake Torrens in the south to Marree in the north, and previously a cattle station is now owned by the not-for-profit Nature Foundation.

There are several self-drive tracks:

  • The Ridge Top Nature Drive from Witchelina Homestead
  • Two Nature Drive loops through the magnificent Old Mt Nor’ West Gorge, one from Marree and one from Farina
  • Dunes-Wildflower drive from Witchelina Homestead

Website: www.naturefoundation.org.au/visit-nature/visit-witchelina-nature-reserve. They have a brochure (pdf) for Witchelina.

Worumba Experience 4WD Track (Worumba Station)

Self-drive 4WD track; 30km East of Hawker.  There are panoramic views of the Flinders Ranges to as far north as the Bunkers and south to Quorn’s Devils Peak with Wilpena Pound and the Elder Range in the middle. There are two loops on this track. The first loop of the track (35 km) takes about 3 to 4 hours plus.  Cost is $50 per vehicle. Bush camping available (some with drop toilets), numbers limited, booking advised.  Website: worumba.com.

Wilmington

A trip to Mt Horrocks is available with spectacular views overlooking the northern Spencer Gulf. Bookings David and Heidi Freeman, (08) 8667 5057.

Warraweena Conservation Park

Warraweena encompasses 355 sq km in the heart of the northern Flinders Ranges. It is owned by by Wetlands & Wildlife, a non-profit company. Many of the park's features are remote and accessible only by foot or by four wheel drive tracks suitable for experienced drivers and high clerance 4WD.  There is a variety of accomodation options including bush camping.  There are three main self-drive tracks: Copper Track (67km/Blinman, 77km/Parachilna - easy to moderate) Rates were $50 per vehicle in 2018.   Website: www.warraweena.com.

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Leigh Creek, Aroona Dam

A specially constructed 5.5km walking trail is now a feature of the Aroona Dam Sanctuary near Leigh Creek. The trail traverses wetlands below the dam, mountainous terrain, rocky outcrops, saltbush rangelands and red-gum lined creeks. The sanctuary itself represents 44 sq. km of restored natural Flinders ranges beauty and following a major pest animal and pest plant eradication program, is home to Yellow-footed rock wallabies, other animals and birds, and a vast range of native plant species. (1)

Access off the Birdsville Track

Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary

Please note that the camping  sites are closed until further notice (as at June 2020).

Kalamurina exetnds from the north shore of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre to the southern boundary of the  Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert  Regional Reserve, 667,000 hectares (1.7 million acres) at the intersection of three of Australia’s central deserts: the Simpson Desert, the Tirari Desert and Sturt Stony Desert.

Kalamurina was acquired in December 2007 by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy to become a nature reserve (Kalamurina Sanctuary) for biodiversity conservation and wildlife management.  For more information contact Mark or Tess on 08 8675 8310 or email kalamurinasanctuary@australianwildlife.org.  Website: www.australianwildlife.org/where-we-work/kalamurina/visiting-kalamurina-wildlife-sanctuary

Etadunna Station (Bethseda Mission)

Pronounced "Etha-dinna”, this is a large cattle station on the Birdsville Track taking in a lot of land along the Cooper Creek. They have bush camping with Cooper Creek frontage.

The old Bethseda Mission, showing a grave stone and Lake Killapaninna which was dry at the time of the photo taken in 1998.

From Etadunna, there is a 20k track to the old Bethseda Mission, situated on the shores of Lake Killapaninna which fills with water when the Cooper floods. Permits and keys have to be collected from the station and access/camping costs apply. Etadunna Station is managed by Jason and Patsy Dunn. Contact on (08) 8675 8308. 

SA Govt has produced a Mission information document (pdf) for visitors to the Bethseda site.   Also www.mungeranniehotel.com.au/etadunnastation.html has background information on the Etadunna station.