Exploring the Northern Flinders Ranges
“So what brings you out here?” The question I am asked on a daily basis. I think people are generally quite surprised to see a young, solo female working and living in such a remote location in the Northern Flinders Ranges where there are no shops, no phone service and where ‘Netflix and chill’ isn’t really an option with the WIFI connection constantly dropping out.
I first discovered this special part of South Australia in 2008 and have found myself returning every year since. Being an outdoor lover and adventure seeker I feel very fortunate to have seasonal work in the outback where there are endless rugged mountains to climb and an abundance of untouched beauty to admire. If you are anything like myself and enjoy hiking and exploring the wilderness this place will not disappoint.
One of my favourite hiking trails in the area is the ‘Acacia Ridge Trail’. I have lost count of how many times I have tackled this hike, but I can tell you it is really something special. Not only because of the spectacular 360-degree mountain views you are rewarded with when you reach the summit, but also because of the tranquility you feel when you take a look around and realize you are miles away from the hustle and bustle of any city.
Acacia Ridge is a 5.8km Hike and is located in Arkaroola, Flinders Ranges SA. There is a drop-off service to the beginning of the hike as it is one way, or alternatively, you can depart from Arkaroola Village and return along the unsealed road. The altitude gain from the beginning of the walk to the summit is only 270m, but a reasonable level of fitness is required.
Although the scenery from the ridge is stunning at any time of the day, hiking this trail at sunrise is an unforgettable experience. Quite often my work colleagues and I will hike up in the dark and reach the summit in time to watch the sun rising over the rolling hills and on a clear morning you are able to see Lake Frome in the distance. Being a geological wonderland it isn’t too difficult to find a nice, large rock to get cosy on whilst sipping coffee and soaking up the magic.
It’s highly likely you will encounter an array of wildlife on the hike including the adorable yellow-footed rock wallabies and if you’re lucky you may see a couple of wedge tailed eagles circling above in search of prey. You may also come across kangaroos, euros, echidnas and some reptile species.
You could say I am a bit of a globetrotter and have been fortunate enough to travel to many different countries, but my soul often craves the peace and serenity that the Northern Flinders Ranges offers. There is something very unique about the area, it’s a place to heal your spirit, unplug and find your inner wildness. It’s a place where you don’t need TV or the Internet to distract you because the wildlife and natural landscape surrounding you does a pretty good job of keeping you entertained.
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is 600km North of Adelaide, SA and 130km east of Leigh Creek, the drive will take you roughly 8 hours. Hiking is only one of the many activities available in Arkaroola, the Sanctuary also offers Astronomy Tours, 4WD tours, Self 4WD and scenic flights. Some other activities include bird watching, mountain biking and camping.
If you want to experience the true Australian countryside and need some time away from civilization, the Northern Flinders Ranges has a lot to offer the ‘thrill seekers’ and the ‘nature lovers’.
See you in the outback!
Follow Lisa Fox on Instagram: @walkingthewilderness