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Top 7 Things to Do at Bendleby Ranges

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by Steve Hudson (subscribe)
Inspired by Australia's natural, developing and fun environments. Join me. 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, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Sunset over Bendleby Camp - Steve Hudson


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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Property signage - Steve Hudson


4WD'ing

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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Quartz Gorge - Steve Hudson


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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Hidden Valley Road - Steve Hudson


Photography

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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Sunset - Steve Hudson


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 Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Acacia Cottage - Steve Hudson


Mountain Biking

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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Hungry Ranges - Steve Hudson


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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
North Track - Steve Hudson


Bushwalking

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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Hidden Valley - Steve Hudson


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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Hidden Valley Peak - Steve Hudson


Camping

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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Bendleby Camp - Steve Hudson


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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Campfire - Steve Hudson


Stargazing

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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Northern Star - Steve Hudson


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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Milky Way - Steve Hudson


Animals

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.

Bendleby Ranges, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Kangaroos - Steve Hudson


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, Hungry Ranges, Acacia Cottage, Ridge Top Track, Builly Goat Track, Hidden Valley Walk, Orroroo, Bendleby Mine, Gumdale Cottage, Crotta Homestead
Wedge Tailed Eagle - Steve Hudson


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.
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Why? So many things to do
When: Any time
Phone: 8658 9064
Where: Bendleby Ranges, South Australia
Cost: Daily visit and camping fees apply as per website
Your Comment
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.
by noelp (score: 3|1166) 870 days ago
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