ORROROO TO ARKAROOLA VIA LEIGH CREEK
Start: Orroroo, SA
Finish: Arkaroola, SA
You can just head straight for the Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound, and have a quick getaway there like many people do, but there's plenty of reward for a more leisurely migration through the region, that takes in some of the southerly towns and continues on into the even harsher land in the north. After all, the Flinders Ranges themselves extend a fair way either side of the National Park!
A true tour starts down south in one of the towns that way, say Orroroo. There's some cool corrugated sculptures of horses in the main drag, a heritage cottage and a lookout surveying the town from the height of one of the early outcrops of the ranges. Other towns you can start at, or dip into, include Wilmington, which features a rainbow of old Land Rovers out the front of a museum, or Melrose, with an authentic old brewery (Jacka Brothers) and the annual Fat Tyre Festival for cycling enthusiasts.
Continuing onward and upward towards Leigh Creek, you'll soon come onto the Outback Highway, which runs through Parachilna and grants you access to the national park to the east. A few must-check-out places include Razorback Lookout, the drives through Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorge (a geologist's delight), Pugilist Lookout, Parachilna Gorge, the Cazneaux Tree, the pub at Parachilna, the ruins of Kanyaka Homestead, and of course, the unavoidable Wilpena Pound.
Winter really is the best time to be at this last place, because pulling up your camper and setting up in one of the many spaced-out sites at the resort here will put you in perfect position for a few days of bushwalking. The walk to St Marys Peak, or just shy of it, starts on the outside here and continues on, to deposit you over the rim of the soapbowl and down into the Pound below. It's a dry place, but even in the rain (and especially in the thunder), the atmosphere is electric.
There's a few tracks that could test your 4WD in the Flinders, but only really if you seek them out. Higher up though, in the Gammon Ranges and in Arkaroola (which is known for its 4WDing), having a capable 4WD, and planning to leave your camper behind when you take on the tracks, will enable you to properly experience these rugged roads. A day drive out to Lake Frome or to one of the waterholes in Gammon Ranges, and a stay at the friendly station, round out this trip.