South Australia: Flinders Ranges

one of Australia's most scenic and wonderfully diverse regions, the Flinders Ranges are probably the most accessible outback region of Australia. This accessibility however, does not alter the beauty or majesty of this wonderful mountain range area. In fact, many sites are very significant to both pastoralists, and environmentalists. The Flinders Ranges National Park conserves the central section of these incredible ranges. Walking tracks criss cross the park, including the challenging climb to St Mary's Peak, one of the highest points along the rim of Wilpena Pound.

South Australia's Outback

South Australia's Outback is one of the world's truly unspoilt areas. The region is easily accessible from Adelaide and features vast dramatic landscapes; deserts as far as the eye can see, gleaming salt lakes and endless red sandhills. The Outback beyond the coastal strip is very hot for more than half the year and rainfall is uncertain. However there are permanent springs, palm trees and, when it does rain, a riot of wildflowers spring to life.

Stopping for a cold beer and a chat with the locals in an Outback pub is a truly Australian experience. Many of the pubs date back to the nineteenth century, when they played an important role in the lives of the early settlers who opened up the interior of Australia. Most Outback pubs serve more than beer, many offering good, basic meals and hospitality. Some are now famous for their more sophisticated and imaginative Outback cuisine.

The Flinders Ranges, a major part of the South Australian outback experience, has been named one of Australia's outstanding national landscapes - recognised as an emotionally uplifting destination, where adventure, spirituality and tranquility co-exist.

How to Get There

Port Augusta, known as the gateway to the Outback, is located at the head of Spencer Gulf just a three hour drive north of Adelaide. A regional airline and numerous charter operators provide scheduled and charter flights to Coober Pedy and Olympic Dam (near Roxby Downs) with scenic flights are available. Daily coach services operate from Adelaide to selected towns in the outback.

Travelling through the region by train is also very popular. The Ghan from Adelaide passes through Port Augusta on its way through outback South Australia to Alice Springs and then Katherine and Darwin. Many tour operators also run short and extended tours into the Outback from Adelaide including trips all the way to Alice Springs. Visitors self-driving the Australian Outback need to plan their trip carefully as the distances between towns can be long and road conditions can change quickly.

Best Time To Go

The Outback is desert country and, therefore, has mostly a dry heat. The days are usually sunny and warm, but the nights can be cold, so dress accordingly. It's a good idea to wear layers of clothing and add/subtract for your own comfort. During summer, daily temperatures range from 30 to 35 degrees Celsius, dropping to 17 to 20 degrees Celsius in the evening. During winter the average daily temperature is 20 degrees Celsius.

The best time to visit the Outback is in Autumn, Winter and Spring, when the days are warm without being too hot. It is still possible to visit the region during Summer, however visitors need to be prepared for the possibility of extremely high temperatures.

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