Quorn is by no means the most central town in the Flinders Ranges, but it is one of the best placed, nonetheless.
You can be in the quaint town of Melrose in less than 45 minutes and Port Augusta in about half an hour. Wilpena Pound is also a very easy day trip of about 90 minutes each way if you don’t get distracted by all the cool things to see along the way.
True, Quorn is further from the Central Flinders Ranges than, say, Hawker.
But many travellers book accommodation in Quorn because there’s more to see and do in and around the town. As you’ll discover, there is also more diversity in terms of accommodation type.
On that note, here are your options for where to stay in Quorn.
Quorn Caravan Park
Quorn Caravan Park occupies a 10-acre site on the banks of Bitheeowie-Pinkerton Creek. It is not a huge park by any means, but the native gardens and towering Eucalypts make this a tranquil place to pitch a tent or reverse the rig.
The caravan park in Quorn is located on the edge of town, but no more than a five to ten-minute walk into the CBD (for want of a better acronym).
The caravan park offers two types of cabins:
Standard ensuite cabins
Standard ensuite cabins are fully self-contained with linen and towels provided. These cabins accommodate up to 4 adults or a family of 6.
The standard rate is $135 per night, with a $40 per night discount for stays booked over the summer.
Two-bedroom ensuite cabins
Nestled between trees and with larger decks, the two-bedroom cabins can accommodate up to 4 persons.
Each bedroom contains a double bed, with a fee applicable for the second bed to be made up. The standard rate is $175 per night, with the same $40 discount applicable for stays booked over the summer.
Powered and unpowered campsites are also available.
There are a limited number of drive-thru powered sites ($42 per night) for larger rigs, as well as unpowered ($32 per night) and more spacious campsites ($25 per night) for those who want to pitch a tent.
Campers have access the caravan park’s laundry, camp kitchen, camp lounge, and small amenities block. Many rejoice at the abundant water pressure in the showers after a hard day’s hike or a cold night spent under the stars.
Is Quorn Caravan Park pet-friendly?
Yes, pets are permitted in the park if you stay in your own accommodation.
They must be kept on a lead, picked up after, and are not allowed inside facilities or amenities blocks.
Do I need to book in advance?
The owners prefer that you book ahead, which can be done via their website portal.
You can also email email@example.com or dial (08) 8648 6206.
Flinders Ranges Motel
The Flinders Ranges Motel is hard to miss as you drive up the main thoroughfare of Railway Terrace.
Set on the corner immediately opposite the school, the motel offers 12 rooms inside the old Quorn Mill – itself built in 1879 to mill flour after a string of good cropping years.
Don’t let the motel’s website put you off. Owners Kylie and Paul (together with feline reception attendant Fez) are currently modernising each of the spacious, air-conditioned rooms with ensuite, fridge, smart TV, and comfortable beds.
You’ll also appreciate the dark, quiet nights here which are conducive sleep.
The owners are friendly and offer many suggestions on what to see and do, and may even show you around the Mill itself if you ask nicely.
Proximity to Quorn attractions
The Flinders Ranges Motel is within walking distance of most of Quorn’s attractions.
Flinders Gin and Teas On the Terrace are practically next door, while the Quandong Café, Silo Light Show, and Railway Museum are less than 10 minutes away on foot.
Pro tip: head to Scruffy Fella at 39 First Street for the best coffee in town and pick up some beard oil or quirky gifts while you’re at it.
The sweet, sweet aroma of coffee beans will probably lead your nose here anyway, but it’s well worth a stop to meet the owners and Harry the sheepadoodle.
Great Northern Lodge
If you’re looking for a more premium Quorn hotel, why not consider the 4-star Great Northern Lodge?
The hotel is a relatively new addition to Quorn and does not have the historical charm of the Flinders Ranges Motel. But it is spacious, clean, quiet, modern, and extremely well-rated by guests.
Before you book, these are the important things to know about the various accommodation types on offer:
- Luxury apartments (from $210 per night, max. 2 persons) – the king-size bed and the balcony are the best parts of the luxury apartments.
- Premier loft apartments (from $165 per night, max. 2 persons) – why not treat yourself to a double rainhead shower?
- Standard loft apartments ($150 per night, max. 3 persons) – in the standard loft apartments, note that the loft bedroom ensuite does not have a door. Ensure you are comfortable with your travelling companions!
- Apartments ($170 per night, max. 3 persons) – these apartments are located on the ground floor with both a queen and single bed. Like the other apartments, they also offer undercover parking and Wi-Fi.
- Motel rooms – nine of the 31 rooms available at Great Northern Lodge are motel-style. Of those nine, six offer double beds (from $110 per night) while the remaining 3 offer king singles (from $80 per night). Since these are ideal for families or large groups, three rooms must be booked to stay in this accommodation type. A shared communal area is also available with cooking facilities and a 60-inch flat-screen TV.
- Full House Stay – for groups of up to 5 persons, the Full House Stay is a 3-bedroom option with a bathroom, lounge, and kitchen. Two bedrooms feature queen-size beds, while the third features 2 king singles. Prices start at $200 per night.
Quandong Apartments is one of those places in the Flinders Ranges where you wish you could have stayed for longer.
Next door to the evergreen Quandong Café are three well-appointed apartments to choose from:
Named after the 1960 film The Sundowners with Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr.
The Sundowner has a queen-size bed, full kitchen, TV in both the lounge and bedroom, and reverse cycle aircon.
The rate is $160 per night for a maximum of 2 persons.
To accommodate up to four people, the Shiralee offers a queen-sized bed in the living room and two singles in the sole bedroom. One thing to note about the Shiralee is that the bathroom is only accessible via the bedroom.
This apartment is also named after a film. This time, it’s the 1987 drama The Shiralee starring true-blue Aussie actors Noni Hazelhurst and Bryan Brown. The movie was filmed in Quorn and if you’re interested, there’s a small memorabilia display to peruse in the Quandong Café.
The rate for the Shiralee is $160 per night for 2 persons with a fee of $20 per extra person per night.
The Flinders is a two-bedroom apartment suited to families with a queen-sized bed in the first bedroom and 2 singles in the second. There is a three-way bathroom in this apartment with 2 toilets and also an undercover outdoor area with a table and chairs.
The Flinders can be booked for $210 per night for 2 persons. Again, the charge for additional guests is $20 per person per night.
Make a point to chat with Pat Gilbert, manager and owner of the apartments and adjacent café. She has a wealth of knowledge about the Flinders Ranges and is known to go the extra mile to make her guests feel at home.
On a semi-related note, I certainly would not blame you if you ate at the Quandong Café for breakfast and lunch every day.
The Quorn-er House
The Quorn-er House is a self-contained holiday let for up to 7 people and is one of the few pet-friendly accommodation options in Quorn.
The house is an older transportable style with 70s décor, but it’s clean, comfortable, and has a huge, fenced backyard for your furry companions. The owner of the property, Margaret, is also a gem to deal with and responsive to your needs.
What about location?
Well, the Quorn-er House is situated on the northern side of Quorn over the railway line. It wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to walk into town and you could even do so via the the Pithi Kawi Bush Food Garden.
Westone Cottage is a historic 3-bedroom cottage built in the 1890s and can accommodate groups of up to seven.
Some of the best features of this stay are the wood combustion heater, timber floors, old-school kitchen stove and the lush, lawned backyard with beautiful landscaping.
Those who know homes of the era will also be happy to know that Westone Cottage has an inside toilet – though you’re more than welcome to use the outhouse while you chuck some washing in the machine!
Westone Cottage is also pet-friendly.
Located on the southern side of the town square is Birdsong Gardens. Wow, what an oasis in Quorn for bird and plant lovers!
For starters, you can barely see the house from the street because of the established garden out front.
The greenery continues around the side and out the back to form a little oasis, and one can easily hear numerous species of birds whilst enjoying a coffee under the verandah.
The accommodation is a homestay in the sense that you share some common areas with the wonderful host Clarinda. But you do have access to a private bathroom, a basic kitchenette, and private access to the backyard.
Bikes are also available for hire, and there is access to secured, garage parking.
Pets are not allowed, sorry!
There used to be several hotels in Quorn, but the Transcontinental Hotel is one of only two that remain.
Established in 1878 and one of the town’s first stone structures, the “Trans” is everything you’d expect from a classic Australian pub. Decent meals, cold beer, friendly service (and indeed patrons), and a solid wine list.
It does get quite busy here – particularly on weekends – so it’s good practice to book ahead and be patient with staff once you order your meal.
The hotel also offers basic but clean accommodation for budget-conscious travellers, with off-street parking, all-important air conditioning, and shared common room and bathroom facilities.
Pichi Richi Park
Pichi Richi Park is not located in the Quorn township itself, but I’m throwing this one out there as a left-of-field option.
Located around 14 kilometres south of Quorn on the Port Augusta road, Pichi Richi Park is a 1000-acre bush retreat with superb views of Devil’s Peak and, as the name suggests, the Pichi Richi Railway.
The park is wonderful because you can essentially have your cake and eat it too. It’s far enough out of Quorn to be peaceful and remote-feeling, but not so far out that it would be a hassle to drive there (or Port Augusta) to grab supplies.
I once stayed at Pichi Richi Park on a university geology camp, but the quarters were more basic then and have since been renovated. Now, accommodation has diversified somewhat and the owners cater to special events, weddings, and other functions.
Bush Retreat Cabins
Pichi Richi Park offers two self-contained Bush Retreat Cabins. Each of these sleeps up to 6 people and comes with a private firepit, BBQ, and undercover outdoor area.
Prices start at $175 per night for 2 adults with an additional charge of $22 per night per extra adult.
Children 12 years and under are charged $12, and all prices include linen and towels.
For budget-conscious travellers, there are also two single-room cabins set up in the group accommodation area. Each is air-conditioned and guests can use communal bathrooms and kitchens.
The price of a transportable cabin is $90 per night for 2 adults, and each sleeps up to 4 persons.
The old dorm-style quarters have been given a new lease on life and, with 12 rooms that can accommodate up to 60 people, are perfect for functions and events.
There is also a substantial recreation room that offers AV facilities for seminars or even movie nights.
The rooms are arranged around a central courtyard with separate male and female amenities blocks. Bring your own linen (pillowcase, bottom sheet, sleeping bag, and towel) or hire linen for $20 per person per stay.
Prices for Pichi Richi Park’s shared quarters start at $40 per person.
People rave about the campsites at Pichi Rich Park, and for good reason.
They’re scattered over the property in secluded locations that afford terrific views of the valley, Devil’s Peak, and Mount Brown to the south. Some are suitable for 2WD, while others can only be accessed by 4WD.
For even better views, campers can hike the Pichi Rich Park trail to the Heysen Range up on the ridgetop. There, outside of the fire ban season, you’ll be able to see (and hear) the passing steam trains as they huff and puff their way between Quorn and Port Augusta.
Tip: ask helpful owner Hamish about exploring the serene Jacob’s Gully and say hello to station dog Binky while you’re at it.
All sites are unpowered and are available for just $15 per adult and $8 for each child under 12 per night.
Quorn is a town with a lot on and it should never be treated as a place simply to refresh or refuel. There’s a lot to see and experience here as well as much country hospitality to be enjoyed.
Book accommodation in Quorn and make the town your base for a few days. Three to four days would probably do it before you venture north to Hawker, Wilpena, Blinman, and beyond.