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Published October 21st 2014
A Dutchman and some hills, surely not possible ?
The Dutchmans Stern (without an apostrophe) was named by Captain Matthew Flinders when he chartered the nearby Spencer Gulf in 1802. Flinders noted a significant bluff as part of a range (to eventually become known as the Flinders Ranges), and thought that there was a large similarity with the Dutch sailing ships of the 18th century with the rocky outcrops and slopes appearing to resemble the reverse stern of these ships.
Later in the 20th Century, the Dutchmans Stern became the showpiece for the Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park. Today the park comprises almost 3,500 hectares of natural habitat, some walking trails, and some accommodation for whole family.
There are many marked and unmarked walking trails within the park for walkers and families to explore. Several short trail-marked walks exist within the park to the Dam or the Terraces Lookout. The main walking trail in the park is a 10km loop trail that takes in an ascent to the Dutchmans Stern viewpoint followed by a descent down the slightly shadier and cooler southern side of range.
The ascent is a gradual climb, and would be considered as moderate. Once at the viewpoint, there are some close and exciting views of the Dutchmans Stern. The descent is less arduous than the ascent, and features many more different types of flora due to the slightly cooler conditions on this side of the range. During the whole walk there are good views of Mt Arden and Warren Gorge in the north, Port Augusta in the west, Quorn in the south, and Hawker in the east as well as surrounding ranges and plains.
Accommodation in the Park is available at the Dutchman Hut and Shearers Quarters. The shearers' quarters can accommodate up to nine people and The Dutchman Hut sleeps up to six people with all amenities provided except food and bedding. Bookings are available through the National Parks website. And while there are no designated camping areas, backpackers are able to pitch their tents on the (sheltered) western side of the park.
The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park is located on an unsealed, but good quality, road just 2km from the bitumenised Arden Vale Road near Quorn. Access to the park is available all hours, however backpacking is not permitted during fire danger season.