I've been to Angorichina Village a few times with the family to stock up on supplies and taken the kids down to the creek bed nearby to see the crystal clear waters of the small creek that runs nearby. Parachilna Creek seems like an improbable oasis hidden deep in the Heysen and ABC Ranges as it cuts an ancient path to the plains.
Recently I had the opportunity to head up to the Flinders with a mate who enjoys wilderness hiking as I do and did the Blinman Pools Walk, following the creek from Angorichina Village to the Blinman Pools. The walk is described by Trails SA as one of South Australia's great short walks and is a 12-kilometre return journey from the Angorichina Village carpark which takes around six hours to complete.
Winter and Spring are the best times to get out walking in the Flinders Ranges. Spring wildflower season is particularly good as everything is still green from winter and the mild sunny days make for comfortable walking conditions. There also seems to be less of a problem with flies during spring, as the sheer number of them during other times of the year can make life difficult.
There's a small trailhead and information bay next to the carpark at Angorichina Village and from there, the trail drops into the gully behind the buildings to the creek bed. You'll be amazed at the transformation in the landscape and clarity of the water in the creek as it bubbles on toward Parachilna Gorge. Towering gum trees, green grass and wildflowers compete with the red rock walls and bright blue skies for attention as you follow the meandering path upstream past ruins of settler dugouts long abandoned.
The ancient enormity of the landscape around you becomes apparent as you head further into the steep-sided gorge and begin the rock hopping and creek bed following part of the hike. There are trail markers every now and then, but this is a real adventure and sometimes you just need to follow your own path along the creek bed.
A few things will dawn on you at this part of the walk, about an hour in. One is the awesome beauty of the creek bed. The size and shape of it, the huge rocks strewn around, the deep cuttings, the islands and the tree trunks lying around all speak of powerful and intimidating flows of water at some point in history. Yet the creek now gently rises from the dry creek bed to form crystal clear pools filled and surrounded with aquatic plants and connected by waterfalls, then soaks away again to disappear back into the dusty creek bed. The next thing that will strike you is the silence. You're now completely isolated from the world, there are no planes overhead or road noises nearby, just the sounds of nature. Then you'll see it, a kangaroo grazing further upstream as it spots your party and hops away. Soon, you'll hear the faint sound of goats bleating at each other and you may be able to spot them high up on the walls of the gorge.
The creek twists its way further into the wilderness and breathtaking new vistas await around every corner as you make your way up to the pools. There's a lot more rock hopping to be done in this section (and little bit of easy climbing) before you get to the first of the Blinman Pools. It's an ideal spot to sit and enjoy a picnic as there's plenty of places to sit in the shade. There is another pool further upstream but this is as far as we went. The signage says to allow eight hours in total to reach the second pool and return. We figured it'd be safer to head back with plenty of time before sunset.
The return walk is just as much fun (as it's now mostly downhill) and you get to revisit some of the idyllic little groves and waterfalls you passed on the way up.
It isn't an easy walk, but I wouldn't say it is a hard walk either. The made path only lasts a kilometre or so and then there's quite a bit of scrambling over rocky ground. Just make sure you are fit and prepared for the conditions with appropriate clothing and boots, You should also carry a first aid kit along with enough food and water for six hours.
The Blinman Pools Walk is an adventure deep into the dry Flinders landscape where few dare to travel but stumbling upon such a green oasis in dry country like the Flinders Ranges is one of the true joys of hiking.
Yes Mike, a great walk.......did it in the early 1960's .... it used to be a WW1 Tuberculosis Hospital. When I was there the WW1 soldiers were still maintaining the place. I spent 15 years of my holidays searching for old copper mines ...David W.
I did the walk about 15 years ago ..it is one of the best long walks in the Flinders.Can not get lost,but there are places that could be signposted to help what path to take.Best to go with 2 others in case of an accident etc.I was told that it is possible to start the walk from the upper end,but do not know where.