Okay, so you’ve fallen head over hiking boots for the Flinders and are now looking for somewhere to stay.
Flinders Ranges accommodation has come a long way since Rawnsley Park Station first opened its doors to tourists in 1968.
Rawnsley started with basic cabins and sheep shearing demos to generate extra income, but these days, myriad options cater to every taste, style, and budget.
Want a luxury stay that combines history, food, and conversation? Try Arkaba.
Prefer to stay in a well-equipped home away from home? Flinders Ranges Bed and Breakfast in Hawker can’t be beat.
There are also, of course, more campsites than you can shake a marshmallow stick at, and many spots where furry friends are welcome.
To help you find your perfect base camp, let’s dive into accommodation in the Flinders Ranges.
In my mind, camping is the best way to experience the Flinders Ranges.
You’re truly immersed in the landscape and connected to nature. You can sleep under the starriest of skies. You can share stories with friends around a campfire, or enjoy some much-needed outback solitude and isolation.
Let’s take a look at where you can camp and what’s on offer.
Rawnsley Park Station
One of the most popular places to camp is the aforementioned Rawnsley Park Station. Nestled amongst native Callitris pines and the archetypal river red gum, the station’s caravan park offers powered and unpowered sites for campers.
What I like about Rawnsley Park is the unique view of the southern side of Wilpena Pound. You won’t see this anywhere else. There’s also a very handy kiosk that sells fuel, food, and other bits and pieces which save you from making the 30-minute drive to either Wilpena IGA or Hawker.
Wilpena Pound Resort
Wilpena Pound Resort is the other destination of choice for those who want to camp near Wilpena Pound. The resort’s campground offers 40 powered sites, over 300 unpowered sites, and 15 glamping tents.
The best thing about this campground is the proximity to Wilpena Pound. While Rawnsley’s campground is a kilometre or two from the Pound, Wilpena is nestled right up against the mountains and near a natural entrance.
On that note, the trailhead for all walks heading into the Pound is just across the creek from the main camping area. Ditto for the well-stocked Wilpena IGA and informative visitor centre.
Camping in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
If caravan park-style camping isn’t your cup of tea, why not choose from 10 other campgrounds interspersed across the national park itself?
Some of these are close to major attractions such as Brachina Gorge, Bunyeroo Gorge, and Aroona Valley. All are peaceful for the most part and are situated in beautiful areas, whether that be a tree-lined creek or towering rock face.
You must book and pay for a site online before you arrive. Most campgrounds have long-drop toilets, fire pits, and a water tank. But this is not a hard and fast rule, so it always pay to check the national park website first.
Here is a brief look at how each of the 10 campgrounds stack up.
1) Acraman Campground
Close to Bunyeroo Gorge with four spacious campsites. Book early if your heart is set on staying at Acraman.
2) Aroona Campground
This is one my favourite places to camp or just to visit.
Located in the beautiful Aroona valley and close to pastoral ruins, several loop hikes, and the Heysen Trail.
3) Brachina East Campground
Near Brachina Gorge is the 14-site Brachina East Campground.
Half are 2WD accessible and suitable for caravans and camper trailers. The remainder are located across the creek and are accessibly by 4WD only.
4) Cambrian Campground
A cool and shaded location near the Bunyeroo Gorge road that feels more isolated than some of the others on this list.
Thirteen sites are available for both 2WD and 4WD vehicles.
5) Dingley Dell Campground
Dingley Dell is located next to the main Wilpena to Blinman road.
It’s not the most attractive campground in the Flinders, and you may experience road noise during the day.
Dingley Dell is ideal for an overnight stay and is close to the Brachina Gorge access road.
6) Koolamon Campground
The Koolamon Campground is highly rated by campers and looks out on to much of the scenery that inspired artist Hans Heysen.
Koolamon Campground is around 2 kilometres from Aroona Campground, with both serving as entry points to the Yuluna Loop hike.
7) Teamsters Campground
Teamsters Campground is located just off the Brachina Gorge access road on the western side of Brachina Gorge.
Teamsters is set on a rise to some of the sites are somewhat exposed. The flip side is you’ll have superb views of adjacent peaks.
8) Trezona Campground
Trezona is a spacious campground that is also set off the Brachina Gorge road. Quite a few of its sites can accommodate up to 3 vehicles, which makes it ideal for large groups.
In the immediate area is the Trezona Loop hike and Ediacaran Golden Spike.
9) Wilcolo Campground
Wilcolo is a hikers-only campground that sits in a peaceful and very secluded location near the base of St. Mary’s Peak. Mountain bikers who are traversing the Heysen and Mawson Trails can also stay here.
The location of Wilcolo is hard to beat and it’s also close to Cazneaux Tree and Old Wilpena Station.
10) Youngoona Campground
With only four, relatively exposed sites, Youngoona is a small and quiet campground located near the eponymous Youngoona waterhole.
If you can get over the lack of shade and facilities, Youngoona is a nice place to spend a while and explore the spring-fed creek.
Want to learn more?
Read my detailed explainer about camping in the Flinders Ranges here.
You’ll find each campground reviewed in more detail plus advice on the best places to stay outside the national park
There’s not a town I don’t enjoy in the Flinders Ranges, and I’m sure it’s the same for many of you also.
Most towns, at the very least, offer a caravan park, hotel or motel, and handful of self-catered accommodation that enables you to live like a local.
Here are some well situated towns you should consider.
Perched at the highest elevation of any South Australian town, Blinman is a beacon for adventure.
The town’s rich mining past and proximity to natural attractions such as Parachilna Gorge and Glass Gorge make it well worth the trip. History buffs, nature enthusiasts, and outback lovers will all enjoy their time here.
Check out my Blinman accommodation guide here.
Hawker is the hub of the Central Flinders Ranges and offers a tantalising preview of the serrated peaks to the north.
This quaint town feels more remote than it is for some reason and serves as the perfect base for exploring natural attractions like Wilpena Pound, Dutchman’s Stern, and the Yourambulla Range
If you do choose book accommodation in Hawker, you absolutely cannot miss the Jeff Morgan Gallery for a fully immersive Flinders experience.
At the foot of Mount Remarkable lies Melrose, the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges.
With its well-preserved heritage buildings and charming main street, Melrose blends old world feel with a modern vibe.
Many people visit each year to use the hiking and mountain biking trails that surround the town, and various shops have popped up to cater to the needs of these adventurers.
Melrose is a fantastic place to spend a few days, even if you don’t want to hike or bike.
Melrose accommodation includes historic hotels, quirky units built on the back of old trucks and peaceful, sedate stays in the bush.
Quorn captivates many travellers the moment they hear the frantic steam whistle of a locomotive on the Pichi Richi Railway.
But there’s so much more to Quorn to experience – as fantastic as the railway is. Check out the town’s new distillery called Flinders Gin and tour one (or all) of the three native that surround it.
Like Melrose, the town has a number of heritage buildings that now serve as accommodation. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Quorn, try the Flinders Ranges Motel (inside an old flour mill) or the Quandong Apartments.
Once the lifeblood of South Australia’s coal industry, Leigh Creek now serves as an outpost for tourists in the remote north-western extremity of the Flinders Ranges.
There’s not a lot of Leigh Creek accommodation left, but what does remain is run by resilient and welcoming souls who are interested in the town’s future.
You can also choose to stay in the nearby hamlet of Copley where, at the hotel, you will experience Australian outback charm at its finest.
Glamping offers spacious tents, luxe furnishings, private bathrooms, and intimate wildlife encounters if you’re lucky.
Flinders Bush Retreats
One of the best-rated glamping experiences in the Flinders Ranges is at Flinders Bush Retreats. The boutique farm stay offers a solitary eco-tent with gas hot water, solar panels, and a composting toilet.
The eco tent is located 21 kilometres east of Hawker in an area few visitors to the Flinders rarely venture. Perfect if you like to be able to hear a pin drop at night.
If you’re reasonably fit and can appreciate a traverse of the Flinders on foot, it is hard to go past Arkaba Conservancy.
The three-day guided Arkaba Walk covers around 10 to 15 kilometres per day, and on each of the two overnight stays, you’ll camp in a deluxe swag with a private deck, shelter, and bush shower.
Both campsites are located in the most picturesque areas the 60,000-acre property has to offer. Imagine falling asleep under the Southern Cross and waking up to the sound of all your favourite Australian birds.
If one were to list the luxury accommodations in the Flinders Ranges, it would be hard to ignore Arkaba for the top spot.
Once a sheep station, Arkaba is now an immense restoration project that also hosts travellers in style. Each room in the original 1850s homestead has been thoughtfully designed to offer an air of history and romance.
Picture high ceilings, comfortable beds, period furniture, and private terraces overlooking Arkaba Creek. Many places in the Flinders off a similar experience, but Arkaba excels with exceptional local cuisine with a focus on locally sourced and produced ingredients.
The wine selection is also exceptional, and there’s also a pool. Enough said.
Flinders Bush Retreats
If Arkaba is a little pricey for your liking, why not consider a similar offering at Flinders Bush Retreats?
Like Arkaba, guests can stay in a station homestead brought back to its former glory with tasteful renovations. The property sets a high standard for private, self-catered luxury stays, with the Mt Scott Homestead equipped with three spacious bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a cosy living area.
While the homestead preserves its original charm, the owners have not been afraid to incorporate modern comforts. The outdoor dining area will be your favourite spot for barbeques day or night with phenomenal views of Elder Range and its jagged sentinel Mount Aleck.
Rawnsley Park Eco-villas
Rawnsley offers a diverse range of accommodation, but what excites me the most are its luxury eco-villas.
Perched on a range of small hills on the southern side of Wilpena Pound, each villa offers panoramic glass windows and a verandah to take in the views as you please. Each is also surrounded by low, open woodland and spaced far enough apart to offer privacy.
The eco-villas offer luxurious bathrooms, full kitchens, and spacious living and dining areas. But arguably the best feature is the skylight fitted in the bedrooms that allow you to stargaze while in the horizontal position.
While the walls of these villas are made from straw bales, Rawnsley’s luxury accommodation embraces sustainable design without skimping on comfort or elegance. Speaking of walls, each villa features the work of local artists and there are one and two-bedroom varieties depending on the site of your travelling party.
Looking for a Flinders Ranges hotel? In truth, there aren’t many. But let’s detail what’s available in any case.
Wilpena Pound Resort
The aforementioned Wilpena Pound Resort is not a hotel in the traditional sense. There’s no sweeping staircase, ostentatious décor, or lobby with immaculately presented bellhops at the ready.
But I suppose it is a hotel because it does have a central check-in area, concierge service, and attached restaurant and bar.
Anyhoo, the resort offers 60 different rooms that meet a variety of needs and group sizes. I’m loathe to call them hotel rooms since most resemble motel rooms and are laid out as such. Nevertheless, many have been recently refurbished (or are in the process of refurbishment in 2023).
Broadly, there are three categories of rooms on offer:
- Aroona – for couples and small groups.
- Heysen – for small groups or friends travelling in convoy.
- Edeowie – for families and groups. These also come with a small kitchenette for those who like to cook their own meals.
All room types come with small indoor and outdoor dining areas, reverse cycle air conditioning, televisions, refrigerators, and bathrooms.
The Prairie Hotel is best known for its uniquely Australian menu and iconic outback location in Parachilna.
But there’s also the Prairie Outback Lodge with 12 country chic rooms with easy access to the restaurant, brewery, art gallery, outdoor sculptures, and Nilpena National Park.
Like Wilpena Pound Resort, Prairie Outback Lodge has three room types:
- Heritage – these are the original rooms located within the Prairie Hotel itself. Each offers access to a private guest lounge and outdoor courtyard area
- Deluxe – these rooms were built relatively recently as part of an extension of the Prairie Hotel. Inspired by the colours and hardness of the outback landscape, the Deluxe Suites features an ensuite, king-size bed, and private living area.
- Executive – the sole Executive Suite offers panoramic views of the Flinders and even features a bath! Like the Deluxe Suites, the Executive Suite accommodation is semi in-ground.
While pets are not permitted inside Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, there do exist several pet friendly options elsewhere. In truth, you’re going to have the most luck with pets if you opt to stay at a working station.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of pet-friendly station stays in the Flinders.
Willow Springs Station
In addition to its campsites, pets are also permitted in the self-contained Jillaroo’s Hut.
Bendleby Ranges is an ideal pet-friendly option in the Southern Flinders Ranges.
Pets are allowed at the station’s campsites as well as at its Acacia Cottage accommodation. Please seek prior approval before you travel, however.
Mt Little Station
Located a short drive north of Hawker on the Leigh Creek road, Mt Little Station is pet-friendly with a variety of accommodation options, hikes, and self-guided drives.
Alpana is a farm-stay just south of Blinman in one of the more elevated areas of the Flinders Ranges.
Visitors can bring their pets when staying in the powered and unpowered sites, ensuite sites, and also Nungawurtina Hut – built in the traditional style from local pine and stone.
More station stays that may accept pets are listed in the next section.
Rawnsley Park Station
Rawnsley Park – which sits just outside the park boundaries – allows pets on both its powered and unpowered sites. There are also 2 pet-friendly cabins which are available for an additional charge of $10.
Want to head into the national park for the day? No worries! The park offers a pet minding service between 8 am and 6 pm. Booking ahead is strongly recommended.
Station stays are the perfect way to experience the Flinders Ranges and outback from the perspective of the locals.
There is usually plenty of room to stretch out on a pastoral station, and the views are endless. You can camp, stay in a renovated homestead, or enjoy other attractions such as 4WD tracks, hiking trails, and other natural features that are off-limits to the public.
Above all, perhaps, is the chance to stay on an active station and learn about day-to-day operations from the owners.
There are approximately 20 station stays in the Flinders Ranges – a choice that may prove overwhelming for some.
To help you out, I’ve listed my top picks below.
Situated in the Southern Flinders Ranges about 20km north of Carrieton, the 32,000-acre Almerta Station features 13 campsites in locations the owners call “special spots”.
There’s also Hender’s House (a fully renovated cottage) and the Shearer’s Quarters – ideal for families and large groups.
Guests love the spotless facilities and generous, helpful staff.
Merna Mora Station
Merna Mora is renown for its 4WD track which has been described as scary, superb, breath taking, challenging, and fun (depending on who you ask).
The location on the Western side of Wilpena Pound is another tick in the box for this station stay. It’s central to the towns of Hawker, Parachilna, and Blinman as well as Brachina, Parachilna, and Glass Gorge.
The station offers bush camping, powered sites, and basic, single-person dorm-style rooms with communal kitchens and eating areas.
Located about 32km north of Quorn on the Arden Road Vale, it is hard to imagine a more beautiful setting for a station stay in the Flinders.
There are the obligatory campgrounds and caravan park at Argadells, but you can also opt to stay in the renovated overseer’s cottage with room for up to five people.
To truly get the most out of the picturesque location, I urge you to take your 4WD to the top of Mount Arden for the best views around.
On the hunt for self-catered accommodation in Flinders? You may be happy to know that there are a plethora of choices.
Flinders Ranges Bed and Breakfast
The aptly named Flinders Ranges Bed and Breakfast somewhere I have stayed on several occasions. Owner Nigel is a true blue character who has spent fair a bit of time living in Central Australia. He is also a gifted storyteller with a talent for sound effects.
Nigel is extremely welcoming and always has a loaf of fresh bad baking when guests arrive (plus practically everything else). He now has two highly-rated properties in Hawker – check them out here and here.
Is this the best accommodation in Hawker? It would be hard to argue otherwise.
I mentioned earlier that Rawnsley offered powered and unpowered campsites as well as eco-villas, but there are also numerous holiday units for those who desire a mid-range option.
Rawnsley offers standard holiday units with either 1, 2, or 3-bedrooms. These units are on the older side but have always been clean, comfortable, and functional when I’ve stayed in them. Each has a full kitchen, private ensuite, and deck that overlooks Wilpena Pound. Guests also have use of picnic BBQ areas and a pool.
For something slightly more modern, try the 4-star Superior Holiday Units which were built in 2018. These are clearly popular with guests as there seems to be a unit or three added to the property every time I visit.
Superior units are offered in 1-bedroom (“Chace”) and 2-bedroom (“Prelinna”) varieties. They’re not much different to the standard units, but some will appreciate the modern appliances and layout. These units are deeper than they are wide so the deck is smaller and there may be more noise heard from the guests next door.
Last (but certainly not least) in this list of Flinders Ranges accommodation types is the perennial Aussie favourite: caravan parks. The above-mentioned Rawnsley Park is in a prime location in the Central Flinders and is a good place to start.
There are other possibilities, of course. Some of them are small and/or off the beaten track, but we like that sort of thing here.
Try one of these on for size.
Quorn Caravan Park
Quorn Caravan Park is a decent choice if you want to base yourself in the Southern Flinders and enjoy what the town has to offer.
I have stayed here on several occasions and been greeted with country hospitality each time. The park is set amongst beautiful native landscaping and is a short walk to the Quorn Silo Light Show, Pithi Kawi Bush Food Garden, and the town’s main street.
The caravan park offers spacious caravan sites with water, power, partial shade, and easy access to spotless amenities if required. There are also a few sites that are large rig rig-friendly.
Beautiful Valley Caravan Park
It’s hard to go past a place with a name like Beautiful Valley. Guests love the park because it provides good, clean, facilities that do not detract from the feeling of being in the bush. The hot showers with good pressure might have something to do with it also.
The park has several large drive-through sites in addition to a dump point, laundry, and camp kitchen. Power and water are available.
Beautiful Valley is just under 5 kilometres from Wilmington on the Port Augusta road. From here there is easy access to the popular Alligator Gorge as well as Hancock’s Lookout and Port Augusta itself. What’s more, Quorn is just 28 minutes down the road.
If the place happens to be full, check out the nearby Stony Creek Bush Camp Caravan Park.
Spear Creek Holiday Park
Spear Creek Holiday Park could also be classified as a station stay since it’s located on a 21,000-acre sheep station. The park provides powered, unpowered, and bush camping with showers, flushable toilets, and a laundry.
Spear Creek also offers self-contained 2-bedroom Bungalows with private enclosed patios. Smaller groups, or those who are more budget-conscious, can stay in log-cabin-style shearer’s quarters or one of two units huddled between two eucalypts.
The thing I enjoy most about Spear Creek is its location. It’s nestled against the western escarpment of the Southern Flinders Ranges where the mountains are steepest and the most eroded.
Anyone who has driven on A1 between Port Pirie and Port Augusta will know what I’m talking about.
Angorichina Village is pretty much your only option for caravan park-style accommodation in the Blinman area. The owners, Dave and Carolyn, have lived in the area for near on 40 years and have a wealth of knowledge and advice to share.
Angorichina is somewhat remote but offers various facilities. There is no phone or internet, but the owners do provide fuel, food, alcohol, and guided tours.
The walk to the popular Blinman Pools also begins here.
So what’s available in terms of a place to stay?
Powered and unpowered sites for campers and caravanners for starters with plenty of shaded areas for meals. For those who want something undercover, try the Heysen Cabins (max 5 persons), Chalets (max 6 persons) or Sunset Cottage (max 8 persons).
There is also the 43-person capacity Hayward Hall, which offers dorm-style accommodation and is ideal for social clubs and other special interest groups.
Carrieton Caravan Park
Carrieton Caravan Park is located in the Southern Flinders and is a great stopover if you’re travelling north (or south) to Hawker and beyond.
Run by the Carrieton Progress Association and set on the grounds of the town’s old primary school, the park has 16 powered sites (from $25 per night) with half of those gravel sites and the other half grass. There are also 20 unpowered sites available for $20 per night.
Facilities include coin-operated laundry, toilet and shower block (including disabled facilities), and dump point. The former arts shed, now named “Red Wine Central” is also a great place to mingle with other travellers. Inside the cosy space, you’ll find a TV, lounge, wood heater, and kitchen.
Carrieton Caravan Park takes full advantage of the fact that it’s located on the grounds of a former school. There is plenty of room for caravans and the kids will love the tennis courts and playground.
Whether you stay a long while or a short while, Carrieton is a peaceful place to unwind and explore. History buffs will love Johnburgh Loop self-guided drive which passes through Carrieton and the abandoned towns of Johnburgh and Belton.
Pets are welcome at Carrieton Caravan Park!
Flinders Ranges accommodation offers something for every traveler, from luxurious villas to convenient caravan parks and various self-catered stays.
Each of the options listed above is steeped in local charm or history and offers excellent amenities. I’ve also tried to ensure that they are close to popular Flinders Ranges attractions.
Do note, however, that these are just a select few of the multitude of accommodations available in the Flinders Ranges. If you have any questions or need further assistance in choosing the best fit for your needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.