Drive just under 200 kms (120 miles) north of Adelaide in South Australia and you will find yourself at the southern point of the Flinders Ranges. Semi-arid undulating hills lay before you clothed in barley and wheat, and scattered with large numbers of cattle and sheep from horizon to horizon.
Once part of a large, thriving sheep station, this land now services many farmers from the small town of Crystal Brook with its population of around a thousand people. Greeted by a giant goanna lizard statue up a tree and widely promoting their historic bakehouse museum, you get a sense that this place wants to be taken as more than just any old country town.
Proclaimed in 1874 Crystal Brook is very active in many forms of sport including football, hockey, tennis, golf, netball and soccer, just to name a few. And being located on the 1,200 km (746 mile) Heysen Trail, it is often a handy stop-off point for tired walkers and travellers.
Surrounded by a bevy of small and large country towns such as Jamestown, Port Pirie and Port Broughton, visitors to the region get a sense of never being very far from anywhere. Talk to anyone around the town and they all seem to be from somewhere and have tales of adventure from having travelled from Perth to Sydney and everywhere in between.
While in Crystal Brook, do make sure you check out Bowman Reserve just a few kilometres out of town. You can have a great picnic there and enjoy some lovely walks including the Heysen Trail, which cuts through the park. You can also look over the ruins of the original Bowman family residence.
Other places of interest nearby include: 1. Gladstone – Historic Gaol and Trend's soft drink factory 2. Whyalla – Annual Easter snapper fishing competition 3. Laura – Childhood home of poet CJ Dennis and location for the annual Folk Fair each April 4. Redhill – Craft shop and museum
5. Port Broughton – Excellent fishing, crabbing and caravan park
South Australia has so much to see and do, and what better place to explore the famed Flinders Ranges than from here. Head some 160 kms north from Crystal Brook and you are able to experience the largest mountain range in South Australia with all its beauty and splendor.