Inspired by Australia's natural, developing and fun environments.
Get some inspiration.
Published July 5th 2015
So many things to do, so little time
Located in the Southern Flinders Ranges and spread over several pastoral properties, Bendleby Ranges Station is a dream destination for adventure seekers, dreamers and pleasure seekers alike. Rarely accessible natural beauty on this property creates an opportunity for singles, couples or families to experience a true outback environment only 3.5 hours north of Adelaide.
Bendleby Ranges Station is situated between the Bendleby Ranges on the west and the Hungry Ranges on the east. There are numerous activities to do while at the Station, and the following represents what I believe are the top 7 things to do.
Without a doubt the most popular activity on site is 4wd'ing. Over 150km of station tracks across the plains, through the gorges, and across the ranges offer challenges for even the most experienced drivers. Most of the tracks are former station tracks used when mustering sheep around the properties, including the seriously rocky and exciting Ridge Top Track in the Hungry Ranges.
A training track close to the main entrance gives novice drivers a chance to gain and hone their skills before starting on a tour of the slightly easier Bendleby Ranges. The beautiful Gum Creek Drive, Eagle Orchard Drive and Eastern Boundary Track traverse oft-dry gum tree laden creek beds in an environment akin to the Flinders Ranges National Park.
Clear skies, open plains, gum trees, stunning vistas and natural light are a photographer's dream and these Station in abundance. Daylight photographers are surrounded with much natural beauty in the creeks or on the ranges, with walking paths often within viewing distance of colourful flora and bountiful fauna.
Nighttime photographers are in for a real treat, as the absence of artificial light means an opportunity to use the camera's best features to capture some stunning sunrises, and equally satisfying sunsets. Cloudless evenings also sees the multitude of stars in our skies come to light, often with magnificent effect.
Bendleby is close to mountain bike heaven. Wide gorges, river beds and 150km of 4wd tracks make great foundations for bike trails, albeit some more challenging than others. On our recent trip we found the easiest tracks to cycle on were the "moderate" 4wd tracks as they tended to be made from light ruts and / or small climbs. A number of cycle only tracks also make for some great riding as well.
By contrast the 4wd tracks defined as "challenging" contained parts that were simply too difficult to ride, so walking the bike became the norm. Notwithstanding that, these were short in distance, and did enable us to cycle to parts of the ranges that we would have otherwise been unable to see.
In an effort to attract all visitors, Bendleby Ranges also has a number of defined walking trails. In the Hungry Ranges, the walking trails take you along the magnificent Yakka Gorge, or alternatively to the peak of Eke's Hill, the highest peak in the area. The 360 degree views capture views across the plains towards Broken Hill, Peterborough, and across the milder hills towards Orroroo, Wilmington and Hawker.
The Hidden Valley walk at the northern end of the Bendleby Ranges takes walkers through an expansive gorge by following an oft-dry creek bed. The walk has a steady climb and eventually leads walkers to the top of the ranges for some panoramic vistas.
While Bendleby has some accommodation, the majority of visitors elect to camp in the 15 designated campsites throughout the property. Most campsites are located alongside a local attraction and all are surrounded by shady trees. Each campsite has a long-drop toilet nearby, and showers are available at the centre office should that become a necessity.
The Bendleby Camp is the largest campground and closest to the centre office. A large shed also provides shelter for school or other large groups in cases of inclement weather. All the other campsites are smaller, and are often booked to a single (extended) family or group thus providing further peacefulness and serenity.
Every so often we all need to take some time out and just watch the stars. Always a difficult activity in the city because of clouds, wind, and external lights, this activity is much easier to do in the outback. Watch as the northern star appears over the horizon, and then cast the eyes towards the south for the appearance of the Southern Cross.
The campfire, with free firewood provided by the proprietors, keeps the warmth while the eyes move to the sky and ponder the meaning of the universe. Combining this activity with your camera gives rise to some stunning starlight vision, as the Milky Way transcends across our skies.
As with any outback adventure, the constant traffic of animals creates great conversations, especially for the younger ones amongst us. Apart from the sheep on this sheep station, there are numerous kangaroos and wallabies bounding around the hills. Feral goats also live in some of the gorges as they seek water.
Around the areas where there is some water, the birdlife is abundant. Multitudes of galahs announce their arrival each morning, while the odd crow and kookaburra attempts to seek some attention. Each of the dams on the property has attracted some ducks, while back in the campsites the flocks of minor birds become friendlier every time food appears.
Bendleby Ranges is located 50km northeast of Orroroo, and has accommodation and adventure options all year round. Further details can be found on their website, their facebook page, or by ringing Jane or Warren at the main office.
Another well presented article Steve.Having been there myself,when it was almost unheard of..at the time the S.A.Tourist centre did not know of it;s existence:I can concur with your appreciation of this mini flinders ranges area.Now that it has become better known,I imagine the best time to visit for a couple of days,would be during the week..weekends are possibly now overcrowded with vehicles.