Located in the northern reaches of the Central Flinders Ranges, Blinman is a quaint outback town that is known (like many others) for its rich copper mining history and rugged natural beauty.
Blinman is the highest gazetted town in South Australia. Walking down the mostly deserted main street, you will feel more immersed in the ranges themselves and notice a distinct chill in the air in winter.
Booking Blinman accommodation ahead of time is perhaps more crucial than other towns in the Flinders Ranges.
While Blinman is more accessible now that the road from Wilpena is bitumen, accommodation in and around the town is limited – especially if you don’t intend to camp.
With that in mind, here are your options.
North Blinman Hotel
The North Blinman Hotel has been serving hearty pub fare since it was opened in 1869. Think schnitzels, steak, pizza, and homemade meat pies. You can tell this place is popular because there is always a row of 4WDs parked out front.
Accommodation-wise, the North Blinman Hotel has six hotel rooms and 4 motel rooms. Both types have satellite television, ensuite, aircon, and basic, somewhat dated décor.
For the most part, however, rooms are clean, comfortable, and surprisingly spacious.
Pets are not permitted, and it is recommended you call the hotel to book ahead on (08) 8648 4867. There is also a small caravan park area out the back of the hotel.
The Miners Crib Café Bakery & Accommodation
How lucky Blinman is to have a high-calibre café and bakery that also offers very nice accommodation!
There are so many food choices in the bakery that you won’t know where to start.
Cornish pasties and quandong pie are the perennial favourites, but why not try a goat curry pie, wattleseed scone, or lemon myrtle cheesecake? Mercifully, the bakery also makes a mean coffee.
Out back there are two self-contained units with full full-sized kitchen, living and dining area, TV, aircon. Each has two bedrooms (the first with a queen, the second with 2 singles) that sleep up to four.
Host Amy also provides boxed drinking water which is very much welcome in this neck of the woods.
These spacious, well-equipped units are the best accommodation in Blinman itself, with easy access to the bakery just the cherry on top (no pun intended). But since there are only two units available, you will need to book ahead or be flexible with dates.
Prices start at around $170 per night, and pets are allowed. Good times!
ONYA Eco-Camping Park
ONYA Eco-Camping Park offers private bush campsites for self-sufficient, off-the-grid travellers. The park was designed for retirees, couples, van lifers, and anyone else who wants to camp in a secluded part of the Flinders Ranges.
Co-host Mike is a top bloke who cares about his visitors and also runs tours in the nearby Blinman Mine.
Sites are available for $20 per vehicle per night (maximum 5 guests) and are large enough to accommodate groups of family and friends.
Additional guests in other vehicles are charged at $2.50 per night. Amenities are currently limited to clean (and recently constructed) long-drop toilets.
The campground lies in a mostly flat area with rolling hills, but there are also great views to the east of the mountains around Parachilna Gorge.
ONYA is also unique in the sense that it does not enforce strict check-in and check out times, instead affording guests the freedom to explore without a schedule.
Air mattress let you down in the middle of the night? Forget to pack the mozzie repellent? ONYA also has a basic camping supplies store on site.
Need something to amuse the kids? There is also a community lending library with board games, DVDs, and books.
You can find ONYA Eco-Camping Park at Lot 3 Hancock Street, Blinman.
Look for the entrance around 800 metres from the T-junction of Hancock Street and Arkaroola Road (N Flinders Road).
ONYA is closed during the summer months and re-opens on March 1.
Alpana Station is another option for accommodation near Blinman. Though you’ll be staying on a working sheep property, you’re just 5 kilometres south of the town on an access road suitable for 2WD vehicles and standard caravans.
Alpana was founded in 1878 by Irish immigrants and initially earned its keep by growing fodder for the bullock teams that hauled copper out of Blinman’s mine.
Tourism started on the 60,000-acre station in 1994 with two camping areas and the shearers’ quarters made available to travellers.
Four years later, the first 4WD track was opened and Alpana’s Mount Samuel track remains extremely popular with enthusiasts today.
Accommodation at Alpana Station has also diversified over the years. Here is what you can choose from and what to expect.
The aforementioned shearers’ quarters is set on the banks of Alpana Creek and can sleep up to 15 people.
There are 7 bedrooms in total – 6 of them with 2 singles and the seventh with a queen and single bed above. Also available are three showers, four toilets, and a full kitchen with dual fridges and gas stoves.
Note that power is supplied by a 24/7 diesel generator, so you’ll need to leave your appliances at home. Mattress covers are supplied, but all other linen (plus toiletries) will need to be packed in your vehicle.
Having said that, you can hire linen and a towel for $30 per bed if required.
The rate for 4 adults in the shearers’ quarters is $200 per night, with additional adults and kids charged at $35 and $25 respectively.
Pets are not permitted.
Nungawurtina Hut is a fabulous option for couples or for those who desire privacy. The pine and pug hut was built in 2002 but in the 1880s style, and honestly, one could be forgiven for thinking it was over a century old.
Nungawurtina Hut is around 7 kilometres from the owner’s residence and is warm, dry, cosy, and very rustic. It sleeps up to six people on three double bunks and there is also an open stone fireplace, table and chairs, gas stove top, camp shower, pit toilet, and, weather permitting, all the rainwater you need.
You could be quite happy here simply watching the world go by, but if you’re feeling energetic, walk up the small summit just west of the hut and enjoy the splendid views. Otherwise, the Blinman Pools are just 4 kilometres away return.
A few things to note. You’ll need a 4WD or high clearance AWD to access the hut and electricity is limited to a 12V solar system that runs the lights and shower.
This means there is no fridge or other such comforts, but Nungawurtina Hut is really about disconnecting from modern-day life and enjoying this peaceful, unspoilt region of the Flinders Ranges.
Pets are not allowed, and guests must bring their own linen and means of keeping food and drink chilled. The rate is $70 per night, twin share, with extra adults $15 and extra kids $5 per night.
If the hut is booked solid, why not try one of Alpana’s campsite?
There are four powered sites with modern, clean ensuite bathrooms nestled between the homestead and Alpana Creek. Each bathroom has a shower, toilet, hand basin, and wash trough with hot water on tap.
Note that these are easily accessible by conventional 2WD sedans with just a short 300-metre stretch of dirt to negotiate.
The price is $45 per night, twin share, with a $10 surcharge added if you only want to stay the night.
Trees Area Campground
In addition, there are four powered sites located in the Trees Area Campground.
These are strictly for self-contained vans at $35 per night, twin share. One attractive quality of Alpana is that the hosts limit the number of guests which guarantees that each will enjoy a peaceful stay.
For all powered sites, the charge is $15 per extra adult and $5 per extra child.
If bush camping is more your jam, you have two options.
The Horse-yards Campground features four campsites along Blinman Creek.
Accessible by high clearance vehicle only, the site is a fair distance from the homestead at 17 kilometres. However, you’re just one kilometre from Angorichina Village should you need supplies.
Horse-yards is popular with guests and it is not hard to see why. Each site has its own fire pit, pit toilet with a view, and ample shade. The area is also closed off to the public so it feels like you have the entire Flinders Ranges to yourself.
Within the campground itself, individual sites are separated by at least 300 metres and each is more than capable of supporting multi-vehicle travelling parties.
You can camp at Horse-yards for $25 per vehicle per night, or $50 per site per night over public holiday long weekends.
Tip: don’t forget to collect your access key at the homestead before you arrive!
Bill’s Paddock Campground
Bill’s Paddock is just 5 kilometres south of Blinman and thus closer to Alpana Homestead.
While each site has its own pit toilet at Horse-yards, the pit toilets are shared at Bill’s Paddock. However, this is still the best (and only) option for bush campers with conventional vehicles.
Bill’s Paddock is surrounded by river red gums and native Callitris pines. Although the camp area is substantial, Alpana similarly restricts the number of guests by only allowing six sites to be booked at any given time.
$20 per vehicle per night, and you can also bring your pets.
Tip: if you own a 2WD vehicle and want to bush camp with an ensuite, here’s what you can do. Book a place at Bill’s Paddock and then ask Alpana to reserve a bathroom for your personal use back at the powered site area near the homestead.
This so-called “Best of Both Worlds” option is $35 per night, twin share, plus $10 for extra adults and $5 for extra children.
Not to be confused with Angorichina Village, the 500-square-kilometre Angorichina Station is another accommodation option just outside Blinman that is worth a look.
Like Alpana, Angorichina is a working sheep station. But owners Di and Ian Fargher only accept one booking at a time. That means guests have the station to themselves.
So where does one stay?
Little Paddock Homestead
Little Paddock Homestead is a gorgeous stone homestead with a wrap-around verandah that sits on a hill just 2 kilometres from Blinman.
There are commanding 360-degree views across the landscape and an outside BBQ and entertaining area to enjoy them.
You will not be wanting for anything at Little Paddock Homestead. It’s fully self-contained with a large open-plan dining and living area that also features a combustion fire.
Wood is provided at no extra cost to get you through those cold Blinman winter nights!
The four-bedroom set-up has the following configuration:
- One queen room
- Two king rooms, and
- 1 bedroom with 4 singles.
The beds are comfy and both the queen and king rooms have electric blankets.
Prices start at $300 per night irrespective of the number of persons. There is also a minimum 3-night stay for Little Paddock Homestead.
Main Homestead Lodge
Main Homestead Lodge was the original Angorichina Station homestead that was built in the 1860s. One look at this place and you’ll fall in love with its solid stone walls, sweeping verandah, tasteful décor, and antique furniture.
As you might expect, the homestead is situated on the station itself and owners Di and Ian Fargher only accept one booking at a time. That means guests have exclusive access to both the owners and the station itself.
Main Homestead Lodge can cater to eight guests at a time. Here is how the sleeping arrangement is configured:
- Homestead Room – recently renovated with a modern ensuite and views over the gardens and tennis court.
- Blue Room and Red Room – twin guest rooms that are perfect for the children. Each offers a private bathroom.
- Garden Cottage – once the Fargher children’s school room, the Garden Cottage is another historic building at Angorichina. It offers a queen bed and a spacious bathroom.
All rooms are airconditioned but it’s important to note that there is no mobile phone reception at the lodge. If you absolutely need to be connected, there is free WiFi available.
The Main Homestead Lodge is a wonderful place to stay and an important part of South Australia’s history. But it is Di and Ian’s country hospitality, sense of fun, and openness that makes this an experience rather than simply a place to stay.
Please contact Angorichina Station for current pricing and what is included.
The Shearers Quarters is a comfortable, practical, and dare I say more affordable alternative to Main Homestead Lodge.
But that’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of history here. Guests can stay in the original quarters from the 1850s which is adjacent to the oldest working woolshed in Australia made from native pine.
The Shearers Quarters are perfect for larger families or groups of up to 16 persons. On offer are one queen room, five twins, and a four-bed “bunkhouse” with two bathrooms.
Each room has a ceiling fan for those warm summer nights, a fully equipped kitchen to cook up a storm, and indoor and outdoor dining areas to satiate your hunger or enjoy your morning cuppa.
The minimum rate is $250 per night for a minimum three-night stay.
Angorichina promotes its Point Well accommodation as perfect for novice or fair-weather campers who enjoy a home comfort or two.
Point Well is an isolated small hut made from corrugated iron and offers a donkey boiler for hot showers and a gas oven. You can choose to sleep inside or out, depending on your preference and the weather.
While Blinman accommodation is a little on the scarce side, the town does manage to cater to most tastes.
If you’d prefer to stay in the town, it is hard to go past the Miners Crib and its self-contained units. Stay there, and you can access everything else Blinman has to offer with your own two feet.
Alpana Station is also worth a look because it enables you to enjoy the best of both worlds. You’re not so far out of Blinman that it would be inconvenient, and you still get to enjoy the palpable sense of being immersed in the bush.