As you plan your holidays in South Australia it's easy to just focus on your destination. We sometimes think of our holidays as only starting when we arrive and unpack. But why waste the journey by not enjoying yourself as you travel on an Adelaide to Flinders Ranges road trip?
The Flinders Ranges are a spectacular place of natural beauty, but there are many other things to do along the way. Whether you're speeding along the A1 with a brief stop at Port Wakefield, or heading up the Barrier Highway through the Clare and Gilbert Valleys, there are plenty of things to see.
Why not take a brief break in your trip? You will feel all the more refreshed when you're back in the car.
Burra and Beyond
Burra Antiques and Great Coffee at Gaslight Collectables
If you have time to spare then do get a Burra Heritage Passport - it lets you explore three museums and eight locked sites including Redruth Gaol free of charge. It costs $25 for adults ($20 concesssion), but only $5 for National Trust SA members.
After leaving the many Burra attractions you drive through the tiny town of Mount Bryan and its country pub. Across the road is a giant 44 metre long wind blade, and the hills are well populated with wind farms which look spectacular in the setting sun as you approach the hamlet of Hallett.
Terowie Railway Station & 4WD Park - Flinders Ranges Attractions
Terowie, Peterborough and Quorn These three iconic railway towns in South Australia are bursting with railway history. Now something of a ghost town Terowie is well worth a visit. There's a free 4WD park and free camping available too. Pick up a Tour of Terowie brochure from any of the neighbouring visitor centres, it lists nearly 40 free things to see and do in Terowie.
See a 1960s Baby Health Railway Carriage at Steamtown Peterborough
Read about the top 10 Peterborough attractions before you travel, or call in to the unique visitor centre for even more ideas for what to do in Peterborough. It's a popular town to visit due to its proximity to the Flinders Ranges. Depending on the season Peterborough accommodation can fill quickly, so if you plan to stay then consider booking first.
Derelict Factories - a Former Butter Factory in Orroroo
On your way to the Flinders Ranges you may pass two key Wilmington attractions - perhaps the most unusual museums in South Australia. The Sansouci Puppet Museum and Gallery has more than 1,000 puppets in its collection, and the Wilmington Toy Museum which also has a collection of Land Rovers on display.
Transcontinental Hotel Quorn - Near Flinders Ranges Attractions
The beautiful backdrop of the Flinders Ranges is one of many Quorn attractions, and the town has a real outback feel. There are several hotels in Quorn including the grand Transcontinental Hotel, or you can grab a tasty bite at the Quorn Cafe.
The Ghan Steam Train - Originally Hauled by Steam Locomotive NM25
Quorn railway history is centred on the Quorn railway station, home to the hugely popular Pichi Richi Railway. This year Pichi Richi Railway is celebrating the Anzac centenary with a special troop train experience - definitely worth a special visit. Don't miss the chance to see inside their massive workshops with many heritage railway carriages and steam locomotives.
Port Augusta and Port Pirie
Port Pirie Railway Station Museum Operated by National Trust SA
Driving to the Flinders Ranges from Adelaide to Port Augusta via Port Pirie is a very different experience. There are fewer things to see and do along the way, but many ineresting things to do in Port Augusta and Port Pirie.
Port Pirie History Display at the Museum in South Australia Mid North
Port Pirie has a rich built heritage, and the striking Port Pirie railway station has been converted into a museum by the National Trust SA. It must be one of the most ornate museums in South Australia, and has a large static display depicting life in the mid north. The Port Pirie National Trust Museum also incorporates the old Customs House and the former Central Police Station, making it one of the largest Port Pirie attractions.
Anyone visiting Port Augusta must visit the Wadlata Outback Centre in the Visitor Information Centre. It may look like a cave in the corner of the room, but it's one of the best things to do in Port Augusta for visitors. While the entrance is deceptively modest, it's almost a portal to another universe - a tunnel of time that circumnavigates the visitor centre. Children love the colourful interactive displays with plenty of activities for kids and fun things to do.
Discover the History of the Flinders Ranges at Wadlata Outback Centre
Visitors wander through a sequence of themed galleries exploring the history of the Flinders Ranges and surrounding districts. Learn about the culture of the original peoples, and the trials of early settlers from Europe. It's fun for all ages.
Flinders Ranges at Sunset From Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
Another of the awesome things to do in Port Augusta is visit the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. I visited the Matthew Flinders Red Cliff Lookout at sunset just before the park closed, and the late afternoon sun bathed the Flinders Ranges in beauty. At other times of the day the garden Visitor Centre is open and you can take guided tours.
View From Matthew Flinders Red Cliff Lookout. Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
Port Augusta accommodation is easy to find even for budget travellers. The Visitor Information Centre recommended the Flinders Hotel which includes free wifi and has great meals too, but there are many other choices listed here.
I used to go to the flinders ranges most September / October school holidays , but then my son got older and he didn't want to go camping with his mum lol . Loved Warren Gorge , Aligator Gorge , and all the bits in between , we went on a 3 day camel trek a very long time ago . Not sure my old bones will cope with camping but I would love to take my grand kids to all the places . We also went on the gypsy wagon for 3 days but that was on York peninsula .
I am very much a novice when ti comes to country SA. But am planning a grip to the Arid Land gardens in April. So standby for an article and pictures. Thanks for the tips on what to do around this area.
Having been brought up in Wilmington, Alligator Gorge was an often visited spot, and I'm surprised that it's not promoted very much. It's an exciting place for kids, lots of steps to get down into it, rocks to climb, and water in the creek in winter. There's also a newly opened coffee shop in Wilmington next to a popular op shop. Definitely worth a visit.