Small group Motorcycle tour of South Australia
- 1. See, learn and develop an understanding about Indigenous Aboriginal culture in the Flinders Ranges management.
- 2. Ride the length of the Oodnadatta track.
- 3. Appreciate the difficulty of early British explorers venturing into the outback of the Flinders and beyond
- 4. Visit and learn about Wilpena Pound and its geological history.
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Ends 05 May 2022 • 18 days
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Ends 19 October 2022 • 18 days
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Small group Motorcycle tour of the Oodnadatta track and Flinders Ranges.
Odyssey Traveller is pleased to announce our small group Outback Australia Motorcycle tours of South Australia that includes the Oodnadatta track and the Flinders ranges. This is for senior motorcycle riders, typically aged 55 years and over.
Our Outback Australia tours of the Flinders Ranges are an eighteen-day outback Odyssey, starting and finishing in the city of Adelaide. We take you on a small group outback tour with a maximum of 8 riders, through the rugged, weathered peaks and rocky gorges of the Flinders Ranges in outback South Australia. Some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes in all of Australia with an amazing sunset often at the end of each day. Fortunately, the majority of this lies within South Australia 's magnificent Flinders ranges, extensive and acclaimed National Park networks, providing easy access to the outback by day tour.
The tour supplement for a BMW GS850 Adventure or equivalent is $7,000 which covers the transfer of bike and riding equipment to and from Sydney to Adelaide. This option of renting a bike for this and any other tours is available to International riders and domestic travellers.
This, like all Odyssey Traveller small group Motorcycle tours is limited to 8 people. This Motorcycle tour can be offered as a private tour guided or unguided, for these enquiries please email us for details and pricings.
This outback adventure takes you to the well-known sights - Wilpena Pound and Flinders Ranges National Park - but also to lesser-known gems, including Brachina Gorge, Parachilna Gorge, Bunyeroo Gorge, which we see and explore on a collection of day trips through the Flinders regions. Our small group Australian Outback tour of the Flinders Ranges allows you to see and explore an ancient landscape more than 600 million years old. We learn about the Aboriginal culture and history, dating back 60,000 years, and reflect on the history of European settlement in the 18th and 19th centuries. We also see not just a diversity of natural wildlife but abundant wildlife all in their natural habitat in this extraordinary landscape of the Australian outback.
Leaving Adelaide, our escorted tour into the outback first explores Port Augusta, stopping briefly in Port Wakefield, a historic port that extracted copper ore and livestock in the Victorian era. Port Augusta is regarded as the crossroads of Australia, where rail, road, and sea intersect and is the gateway to the Flinders Ranges. Before we head deep into the Australian outback, we spend time at the 250-hectare Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden to prepare ourselves for our Flinders journey by understanding with our tour guide the natural habitats of the Australian outback.
On a road trip through the outback, the times between destinations are typically large - so it's good to have some understanding to make the most out of the many extraordinary landscape settings you will see from our bus. Hopefully, through our time in Port Augusta, we will have set the scene for our two-hour trip to Woomera, and four-hour trip to the opal mining settlement of Coober Pedy on the third day of our tour.
Journey into the Australian outback
After Port Augusta, this trip spends two nights in Coober Pedy as part of our trip through the outback. Described by writers in the British Telegraph as the 'world's strangest town', Coober Pedy is a fascinating place where half the town's residents live under the earth. Built around opal mining, the town's residents dealt with the arid climate by moving their residences underground. Today, residents can even play golf underground! Sure, the course has no grass and is played on in the dark -- but it offers reciprocal golf course rights with Scotland's ancient Royal golf course at St Andrews. Coober Pedy has also been the background for many Australian films, so you may recognise the scenery! Today, Coober Pedy is a thriving town, home to some fifty different nationalities.
These Australian outback tours are where you will see the world's largest continuous construction - a 5600 km dingo fence spanning Queensland's east coast to the cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain - can be seen near Coober Pedy. It was built in order to protect sheep from dingo attack.
After a tour of Coober Pedy, during which we explore the opal mining activity that made the town famous, we visit the John McDouall Stuart Monument. Stuart (1815-1866) was the most accomplished and most famous of all Australia's inland explorers. Stuart completed the first European crossing of Australia from Adelaide to Van Diemen's Gulf in the Northern Territory in 1862, charting new territory and routes into the outback. His explorations eventually resulted in the building of the Adelaide- Darwin telegraph through the town of Oodnadatta, and the establishment of the main route from Port Augusta to Darwin, now known as the Stuart Highway in his honour. Despite his fame, he never made the fortune he aspired to through pastoral leases in South Australia, and returned to his native London, where he lived out his remaining days.
From Coober Pedy, we make a day tour to the Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, which overs almost 15,000 hectares of majestic arid desert scenery. The park is home to almost 60 native flora species, including acacias, mallee and eremophilia. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including the red kangaroo, echidnas, rock wallabies, numerous bird species, and the fat-tailed Dunnart, a mouse-like marsupial. The groups tour guide and local guides share with us their knowledge of the park along the walking trail as we take a short hike in the park.
After Coober Pedy, our small group tour of the Flinders Ranges makes its way via the Painted Desert to Oodnadatta, where we start the track heading further into the Australian outback, with most sections of road being unsealed, especially between Oodnadatta and Wilpena. After a night at Oodnadatta the small group tours travels south to William Creek and then we head to Lake Eyre (North) National Park (and yes - there is also a Lake Eyre (South)). Lake Eyre itself - known by local indigenous people as Kati Thanda - covers an area of 11, 000 square km, and the surrounding National Park covers 13.5 thousand square km. A unique salt lake, the lake bed is recorded as being the lowest part of The Australian continent, 15 metres below sea level. Lake Eyre is normally dry, filling completely on average twice a century - though partial, minor fillings happen much more often. When filled completely (as happened in 1950, 1974, and 1984), the lake takes about two years to dry up again. To explore the northern part of Lake Eyre, we base ourselves in William Creek, and explore the southern part of the lake on our way to Marree. The group takes a scenic flight over Lake Eyre to understand the vast size of the lake system, putting it into perspective within the national parkland Australian outback, as the landscape rolls away underneath the plane.
Our Outback Australia tours for small groups then proceeds to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. The National Park forms the traditional country of the Adnyamathanha people, and retains a cultural importance for the local Aboriginal communities. The spectacular terrain can be explored on many hiking trails leading into spectacular gorges, including Italowi Gorge, Mount McKinlay Spring, and the Weetootla Gorge, taking you deep into the heart of the rugged landscapes of the Flinders Range outback. The Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is a privately-owned 610 square kilometre (236 square mile) wilderness sanctuary at the far northern tip of the Flinders Ranges National Park. The scenery is impressive: soaring granite peaks, deep gorges, and waterholes - and the sanctuary is one of the best places to see the rare yellow-footed rock wallaby. On our visit, we have a guided tour and understand the diversity of plants and animals observed, discussing those that are rare and endangered and their conservation within the network of Flinders Ranges National Parks.
From the Arkaroola Wilderness sanctuary, your small group tour visits the Ediacaran fossil site at Nilpena Station, and then makes the trip on to Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges National Park, stopping off at Brachina Gorge on the way.
Brachina Gorge is one of the Flinders Ranges National Park's most popular and spectacular tourist attractions. The Brachina Gorge Geological Trail is a 20-kilometre self-guided trail that passes through 130 million years of natural history. Trail signage provides an insight into past climates, the formation of the ranges, and the evolution of early life forms, making the gorge one of the highlights of the Flinders Ranges national park network.
Wilpena Pound (Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park) is our last overnight stop in the outback. Some six hundred kilometres away from Adelaide, Wilpena Pound (also known by the Adnyamathanha people's name of Ikara, meaning 'meeting place') is a truly extraordinary landscape, a natural amphitheatre of mountains. Geologists believe that this landscape is the remains of a mountain range that was once as high as the Himalayas.
After Wilpena the small group tour of the Flinders range makes the trip to Adelaide via Hawker, Wilmington, Orroroo, and Burra. On our return to Adelaide, we enjoy a final dinner at the group's selected hotel.
On our return journey, the group passes through mallee country. ‘Mallee woodlands’ have been listed by the Australian Department of Environment and Energy as one of the 32 ‘Major Vegetation Groups’ of Australia. Mallee country is defined by the predominance of the mallee eucalyptus, a stocky eucalyptus with several stems, which grows on semi-arid soil. Mallee country spreads in a belt across the south of Australia, centering around the Murray River in western Victoria and eastern South Australia, the Eyre Peninsula west of Adelaide, and the 'wheat belt' of Western Australia.
For European settlers, the mallee was a 'dreadful country', desolate and inhospitable, but Aboriginal Australians made a home in these areas for at least 40, 000 years. In South Australia, Aboriginal people lived by the Murray River, which provided fish, meat, and plant life, including the kumpung, which had an number of uses, with the roots used to create a carbohydrate starch akin to flour, and the leaves to create twine, used to construct fishing nets and accessories. In more remote and arid areas, Aboriginal groups such as the Ngargad dealt with a lack of surface water by digging soaks into impervious clays that collected underground water.
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
Articles about Australia published by Odyssey Traveller:
- The Kimberley: A Definitive Guide
- Uncovering the Ancient History of Aboriginal Australia
- Aboriginal Land Use in the Mallee
- Understanding Aboriginal Aquaculture
- Mallee and Mulga: Two Iconic and Typically Inland Australian Plant Communities (By Dr. Sandy Scott).
- The Australian Outback: A Definitive Guide
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to the Flinders Ranges and South Australia:
Day 1: Adelaide
Accommodation: Adelaide. TBA
The group meets in the afternoon at the hotel for a tour briefing and group introductions. This evening there is a group welcome dinner.
Day 2: Port Augusta
Accommodation: Port Augusta - TBA
Leaving Adelaide, our escorted tour into the outback first explores Port Augusta, stopping briefly in Port Wakefield, a historic port that extracted copper ore and livestock in the Victorian era.
Port Augusta is regarded as the crossroads of Australia, rail, road, and the sea intersect and is a place of importance today as it has been for almost 200 years. In the afternoon the group tours Port Augusta by small coach.
Port Augusta is also the gateway to the Flinders Range.
Day 3: Port Augusta
Accommodation: Port Augusta - TBA
This morning we spend time at the 250-hectare Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden to prepare ourselves for our Flinders journey by understanding with our tour guide the natural habitats of the Australian outback that are presented in this park. This afternoon we have a session including tuition about riding in the outback and on unsealed roads.
Day 4: Coober Pedy
Accommodation: Coober Pedy -TBA
This morning we head deep into the Australian outback, to Coober Pedy. Our initial journey is a two-hour trip to Woomera where we stop and explore with a short exploratory tour. We continue on for a further four-hours to the opal mining settlement of Coober Pedy. We spend two nights here.
A late afternoon tour of Coober Pedy, during which we explore the opal mining activity that made the town famous, we then visit the John McDouall Stuart Monument. Stuart (1815-1866) was the most accomplished and most famous of all Australia ‘s inland explorers we learn about his stories of exploration. Stuart completed the first European crossing of Australia from Adelaide to Van Diemen’s Gulf in the Northern Territory in 1862, charting new territory and routes into the outback.
Day 5: Coober Pedy
Accommodation: Coober Pedy - TBA
From Coober Pedy, we make a day tour to the Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, which overs almost 15,000 hectares of majestic arid desert scenery.
The park is home to almost 60 native flora species, including acacias, mallee and eremophilia. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including red kangaroo, echidnas, rock wallabies, numerous bird species, and the fat-tailed dunnart, a mouse-like marsupial. The groups tour guide and local guides share with us their knowledge of the park.
We return to Coober Pedy overnight.
Day 6: Coober Pedy
Accommodation: Coober Pedy - TBA
Today is a rest day and as we prepare to to travel to Oodnadatta early next day.
Our journeys from here until Wilpena Pound will be mostly on unsealed roads, and depending on weather or road conditions we may need to occasionally detour from our original path to reach our next destination.
Day 7: Oodnadatta
Accommodation: Pink Roadhouse
Depending on the road conditions we’ll detour via the Painted Desert a region that has taken over 80 million years to evolve from the time of the ancient inland sea. This area has eroded away over time, and combined with the leaching of minerals from the soil, create this magical area where colours change during the day. Oodnadatta’s crossroads were once thronged with drovers, cameleers, gold Depending on the road conditions we’ll detour via the Painted Desert a region that has taken over 80 million years to evolve from the time of the ancient inland sea. This area has eroded away over time, and combined with the leaching of minerals from the soil, create this magical area where colours change during the day. Oodnadatta’s crossroads were once thronged with drovers, cameleers, goldminers and Aboriginal people and the outpost became a rollicking railhead when the transcontinental railway ceased its construction in 1891. Until completed in 1929, mail, freight and travellers were carried six days on camel back to Alice Springs. miners and Aboriginal people and the outpost became a rollicking railhead when the transcontinental railway ceased its construction in 1891. Until completed in 1929, mail, freight and travellers were carried six days on camel back to Alice Springs.
Day 8: William Creek
Accommodation: William Creek Hotel
In the morning we visit the Railway Museum (the museum is not staffed, but a key is available at the Pink Roadhouse). The museum contains a series of interesting photographs chronicling the history of the town, local Aboriginal artefacts, an exhibit of the role of Oodnadatta in the history of the Australian Inland Mission and much more. You and your Leader can then decide if you will stay around Oodnadatta for a bit longer people watching and resting or proceed to William Creek, located about 200km south on the Oodnadatta track. We pause at the half-way mark in the Algebuckina region and view the Neales River and the railway bridge, the longest in South Australia spanning 578m.
Day 9: William Creek
Accommodation: William Creek Hotel
Today we’ll enjoy morning scenic flight over Lake Eyre followed by free time to rest from our travels so far. We meet again in the evening for a group dinner at our hotel. The scenic flight over Lake Eyre will show us the vast size of the lake system, putting it into perspective within the national park and the Australian outback, as the landscape rolls away underneath the plane.
Day 10 : Marree
After breakfast we continue on to Marree, with a short trip to Curdimurka as we travel South.
Marree is the end of the line for the rail from Port Augusta and the long journey from channel country for the cattle driven down the Katherine track. This historic town is explored in the afternoon. We take a walk to tour the township with our guide, enjoying the stories from the towns history.
Day 11: Parachilma
Accommodation: Paraire Hotel.
From Marree we head south to Parchilna, with a stop at the ghost town of Farina on the way.
Day 13: Arkaroola
Accommodation: Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
After an early breakfast we depart for Nilpena Station to explore the Ediacaran fossil site on a guided tour.
The small group heads from Parachilna to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. We spend two nights in Arkaroola.
The National Park forms the traditional country of the Adnyamathanha people, and retains a cultural importance for the local Aboriginal communities . The spectacular terrain can be explored on many hiking trails leading into spectacular gorges, including Italowi Gorge, Mount McKinlay Spring, and the Weetootla Gorge, taking you deep into the heart of the rugged landscapes of the Flinders Range outback.
We spend the afternoon learning about the wilderness sanctuary.
Day 14: Arkaroola
Accommodation: Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Arkaroola wilderness sanctuary is explored by the group for a full day with a guide today. There will be a short hike to key parts of the sanctuary.
Day 15: Wilpena
The small group continues towards Wilpena. Stopping off at Brachina Gorge on the way to Wilpena. Brachina Gorge is one of the Flinders Range National Park ‘s most popular and spectacular tourist attractions. The Brachina Gorge Geological Trail is a 20-kilometre self-guided trail that passes through 130 million years of natural history. Trail signage provides an insight into past climates, the formation of the ranges, and the evolution of early life forms, making the gorge one of the highlights of the Flinders Ranges national park network.
We continue on to Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges National Park.
Day 16: Wilpena Pound
Accommodation: Wilpena - TBA
Today we spend the morning exploring Wilpena Pound with a local guide.
Wilpena Pound (also known by the Adnyamathanha name of Ikara, meaning ‘meeting place’) is a natural amphitheatre of mountains. Geologists believe that this landscape is the remains of a mountain range that was once as high as the Himalayas. There is an opportunity to take a private flight over Wilpena as part of the tour program.
Day 17: Wilpena - Adelaide
After Wilpena the small group tour of the Flinders range makes the trip to Adelaide via Hawker, Wilmington, Orroroo, and Burra. We arrive in Adelaide mid afternoon or thereabouts. On our return to Adelaide, we enjoy a final dinner at the group’s selected hotel.
Day 18: Adelaide
Tour concludes after breakfast.
- The order of the itinerary is subject to change depending on local accommodation availability and road conditions.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 17 nights accommodation.
- 17 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 15 dinners.
- Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
- Sightseeing flight over Lake Eyre.
- Sightseeing flight over Wilpena Pound.
- Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- Detailed Preparatory Information.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return airfares to Adelaide.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry
- Motorcycle rental, GPS, suitable rider jacket and pants, helmet, gloves, boots, airbag inner jacket, Panniers X 2 plus top box or roadside assistance.
Participants must be in excellent health, extremely mobile and live an active lifestyle. Program activities may include up to 6 hours of continuous strenuous, moderate-to-fast paced activities per day on varied terrain.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Yura and Udnyu: A history of the Adnyamathanha of the North Flinders Ranges
The beautiful, rugged north Flinders Ranges is the home of the Adnyamathanha. Their creation stories tell of their physical and cultural longevity in the region. However, their lives and community were seriously disrupted with the advent of British colonialism from the mid-nineteenth century.
Using firsthand accounts from Adnyamathanha and archival sources this book traces the history of colonial incursion and Adnyamathanha responses from 1840 to the era of native title in the twenty-first century. From early violent encounters between Adnyamathanha and colonists looking for land to graze their stock, employment of Adnyamathanha in the pastoral and mining industries, through hard times during droughts and economic depression, the establishment of the United Aborigines Mission at Nepabunna, to the era of self-determination in the 1970s, Adnyamathanha have shown great resilience in their ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining a strong sense of identity and community. Throughout, they have seized opportunities to inform the wider society of their cultural knowledge and maintain their rights to country.
By Peggy BrockAmazon
Flinders, the man who mapped Australia
The fascinating story of the exceptional maritime explorer, Matthew Flinders - the man who put Australia on the map.Shipwrecks, storms, death and danger - Matthew Flinders encountered it all on his courageous quest to circumnavigate and chart the treacherous Terra Australis coastline.From the drama of epic voyages and devastating shipwrecks; his part in the naming of Australia; his cruel imprisonment by the French on Mauritius for six long and harrowing years; the heartbreaking separation from his beloved wife; and the comfort he got from his loyal cat, Trim; to his tragic death at just forty.This is a gripping adventure biography that details the life of Flinders, a true hero whose name is forever woven into the fabric of Australian history.
By Rob MundleFishpond
A History of South Australia
A History of South Australia investigates South Australia's history from before the arrival of the first European maritime explorers to the present day, and examines its distinctive origins as a 'free' settlement. In this compelling and nuanced history, Paul Sendziuk and Robert Foster consider the imprint of people on the land - and vice versa - and offer fresh insights into relations between Indigenous people and the European colonisers. They chart South Australia's economic, political and social development, including the advance and retreat of an interventionist government, the establishment of the state's distinctive socio-political formations, and its relationship to the rest of Australia and the world. The first comprehensive, single-volume history of the state to be published in over fifty years, A History of South Australia is an essential and engaging contribution to our understanding of South Australia's past.
By Paul Sendziuk, Robert FosterFishpond
The Crow Eaters: A journey through South Australia
Outsiders think of South Australia as being different, without really knowing much about it. Combining his own travel across the million-square kilometres of the state with an investigation of its history, Ben Stubbs seeks to find out what South Australia is really like.
In the spirit of the best travel writing and literary non-fiction, he lingers in places of quiet beauty and meets some memorable people. Along the way he debunks most of the clichés that plague the state. Travelling to Maralinga, Ceduna, Kangaroo Island, the Flinders Ranges, Coober Pedy, the storied Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth and the once-mighty river that is the Murray, Stubbs brings this diverse state to life. He even addresses head-on the question ‘Is South Australia weird?’
Readers will find it hard to resist the book’s implicit invitation to take a look at places much closer to home, to take the time to drink in dramatic landscapes that are slow, deep and speckled with unforgettable characters.
By Ben StubbsAmazon
The Ship That Never Was: The Greatest Escape Story Of Australian Colonial History
The greatest escape story of Australian colonial history by the son of Australia’s best-loved storyteller
In 1823, cockney sailor and chancer James Porter was convicted of stealing a stack of beaver furs and transported halfway around the world to Van Diemen's Land. After several escape attempts from the notorious penal colony, Porter, who told authorities he was a 'beer-machine maker', was sent to Macquarie Harbour, known in Van Diemen's Land as hell on earth.
Many had tried to escape Macquarie Harbour; few had succeeded. But when Governor George Arthur announced that the place would be closed and its prisoners moved to the new penal station of Port Arthur, Porter, along with a motley crew of other prisoners, pulled off an audacious escape. Wresting control of the ship they'd been building to transport them to their fresh hell, the escapees instead sailed all the way to Chile. What happened next is stranger than fiction, a fitting outcome for this true-life picaresque tale.
The Ship That Never Was is the entertaining and rollicking story of what is surely the greatest escape in Australian colonial history. James Porter, whose memoirs were the inspiration for Marcus Clarke's For the Term of his Natural Life, is an original Australian larrikin whose ingenuity, gift of the gab and refusal to buckle under authority make him an irresistible anti-hero who deserves a place in our history.
By Adam CourtenayAmazon