18 days
Duration
Destination
PDF of Tour
Lake Eyre and Flinders map

Important commentary on Covid-19

For all travellers joining an Odyssey small group tour we ask for respect for all member of the group and yourself and the communities we are visiting and that:

  1. If requested by Odyssey Traveller you will undertake to take a Covid-19 test and share the result with Odyssey no more than 72 hours before a tour commences.
  2. You respect the communities you are visiting and the Covid-19 directions issued including social distancing.
  3. You will advise your program leader/Odyssey of any underlying change in your health whilst on tour and up to 14 days after the tour.
  4. Odyssey and its suppliers will observe as a minimum the WTTC guidelines and those of the region you are visiting their Covid-19 requirements, the higher standard of the two instructions will be applied for a small group tour.
  5. We remain aware, vigilant and empathetic to the need to change arrangements in response to the challenges of managing Covid-19 before and during a small group tour for the benefit of all in the internal and external Odyssey Traveller community.

Travellers should also familiarise themselves with our Peace of mind travel policy for Covid-19 as well as the terms and conditions applicable at the time of booking.

Small group tour of the Oodnadatta track and Flinders Range.

Small group tour now extended to 19 days to include Marla, Mt Dare, Dalhousie springs and then the entire length of Oodnadatta track, including 2 nights in Oodnadatta. 

Odyssey Traveller is pleased to announce our small group Outback Australia tours of the Finders Range, South Australia. Our Outback Australia tours of the Flinders Range are a 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 12 travellers, through the rugged, weathered peaks and rocky gorges of the Flinders Range 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.

This, like all Odyssey Traveller small group tours is limited to 12 people.

This outback adventure takes you to the well-known sights - Wilpena Pound and Flinders Range 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 Range 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 Range. 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 Range pushes North to Marla, Finke, Mt Dare and then the Oodnadatta track heading further into the Australian outback. After two nights at Oodnadatta the small group tours travels south to William Creek and then Small group tour now extended to 19 days to include Marla, Mt Dare, Dalhousie springs and then the entire length of Oodnadatta track, including 2 nights in Oodnadatta. Small group tour now extended to 19 days to include Marla, Mt Dare, Dalhousie springs and then the entire length of Oodnadatta track, including 2 nights in Oodnadatta. Small group tour now extended to 19 days to include Marla, Mt Dare, Dalhousie springs and then the entire length of Oodnadatta track, including 2 nights in Oodnadatta. 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 lakebed 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 from our stay in Maree. 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 parkand Australian outback, as the landscape rolls away underneath the plane.

After seeing Lake Eyre, these Outback Australia tours for small groups 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.

A key attraction in this part of the outback is the stark wildness and landscape of Lake Frome. This ephemeral salt lake stretches 100km long and 40km wide and plays an important role in the lives of the Adnyamathanha people. The 'Plains Block' leading out to the edge of Lake Frome remains a traditional hunting ground for the Adnyamathanha people.

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 Range National Park, stopping off at Brachina Gorge on the way.

Brachina Gorge is one of the Flinders Range National Park's most popular and spectacular tourist attractions. The gorge is an important refuge for the yellow-footed rock-wallaby as well as many species of birds and reptiles. 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) 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, centring 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.

Odyssey Traveller acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and emerging.

Articles about Australia published by Odyssey Traveller:

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 Range and South Australia: 

Articles

FAQs

Odyssey has a collection of Australian Outback tours that seek to provide an outback experience that foster a greater understanding of the outback, the communities who live here today and in the past, the landscapes and the wildlife. The Australian outback tour collection are an adventure with people who know and understand Outback Australia. Each outback tour is different. For example Odyssey will take the senior traveller on a guided tour into the Northern territory with a tour of Australia’s red centre and the Canning stock route or up into Kakadu national park. The Dubbo to Dubbo outback Australia tour is an Australian adventure that takes the senior traveller up through outback Queensland via Winton to Hughenden and then back to Cathedral gorge to see some incredible Aboriginal rock art as you pass through to Lightning ridge and to Dubbo. Then in Western Australia our Outback tours of Western Australia include a tour of the Kimberley region featuring the bungle bungle range. The Western Australia tour is a trip that starts on the west coast in Broome on the Kimberley coast. These tours of Western Australia on the Kimberley coast introduce the traveller to the pristine beaches before turning inland across Western Australia to Kununurra close to the border with the Northern Territory. From here our tours of Western Australia head to the bungle bungle and then returns across the Kimberley region to Broome over several days where this western Australia tour finishes. From Broome there are regular connecting flights to Perth and across to Sydney or Melbourne. The Outback Australia tours from Broken Hill take the traveller on a outback adventure across three states, New South Wales, South Australia & Queensland. The outback experience included on this trip includes time in Birdsville with guided tour of the surrounding desert environments, before returning back along the Birdsville track to Broken hill via Aarkoroola.

At the moment Odyssey does not offer adventure tours to Uluru (Ayers rock) or Cairns to reach the Great barrier reef. There are many many choices of tour operators who can provide experiences such as an Uluru tour to here and other high demand destinations than Odyssey can provide as an experience in the “aussie outback“.

The Flinders Range are home to abundant wildlife including a notable population of kangaroos and wallabies. Perhaps surprisingly, this population has increased since European settlement, as the eradication of dingos and establishment of permanent waterholes for stock has allowed the land to support a more permanent population. The Flinders is home to the red kangaroo (the largest of the kangaroo species), western grey kangaroos and wallaroos. The yellow footed rock wallaby neared extinction after the arrival of Europeans (due to hunting by foxes), but has since recovered in numbers.

The Flinders ranges national park is also home to several lesser-known marsupials, including the dunnart, and the planigale. There are a large number of bird species in the region, including emus, parrots, galahs, and wedge-tailed eagles. Reptiles include goannas, snakes, dragon lizards, while the streambank froglet is an amphibian found only in the Flinders Range and Gammon Ranges.

Yes, it is possible to drive into the central part of Wilpena Pound, (Ikara Flinders) which is where the Wilpena PoundResort is located. Ikara Flinders has a sealed road network, though be warned that you will likely encounter unsealed road while exploring the region.

 

The Flinders Range are approximately 450 kilometres north of Adelaide, around a five and a half hour drive. Take one of several routes to Hawker, then follow the signs to Wilpena Pound.

Odyssey Traveller’s tour of the Flinders Ranges approaches the region from the north, after we explore Coober Pedy, Lake Eyre and the Australian outback. Following our time in the Flinders Ranges, we return to Adelaide.

Mild temperatures from April to October make this period the best for walking. In summer, temperatures can reach extreme highs of 35-40 degrees, and the park can get crowded. Reflecting this, Odyssey Traveller’s tours are currently scheduled for July – October 2020 and March – April 2021.


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Overview: The group meets in the afternoon at the hotel for a tour briefing and group introductions. This evening there is a group welcome dinner.

Accommodation: Adelaide. TBA

Overview: 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

Accommodation: Port Augusta – TBA

Overview: 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. 

Accommodation: Port Augusta – TBA

Overview: This morning we head deep into the Australian outback, too 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 .

Accommodation: Coober Pedy -TBA

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Coober Pedy – TBA

Overview: Leaving Coober Pedy in the afternoon, this small group heads north to pause at Marla.

Accommodation: Marla roadhouse or similar

Overview: Today we travel to Mt Dare. Along the way we take time to inspect two icons. The physical centre of Australia. And the 50 metre high Chambers pillar, both are on our way today.

Accommodation: Mt Dare. Possibly shared accommodation at Mt Dare.

Overview: From Mt Dare this small group tour heads towards Dalhousie Springs where we stop. There are some120 hot springs bubbling ups from the Artesian basin here.The springs have been enjoyed for all sorts of reasons for centuries. From the Witjira national Park where the springs are located we carry on to join the Oodnadatta track.

We enjoy 2 nights in Oodnadatta. exploring the history and probably helping with the mail run!

Accommodation: Oodnadatta

Overview: Our second day exploring the old rail head and historic settlement as well as the possibility of helping deliver the mail. Or just relaxing in the Pink roadhouse.

Accommodation: Oodnadatta

Overview: Our base overnight is William Creek.

From William Creek in the afternoon, 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.

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 park and Australian outback, as the landscape rolls away underneath the plane. 

Accommodation: William Creek

Overview: From William Creek we head to Lake Eyre (South) to further explore and learn about Lake Eyre. In the early afternoon we arrive in the small township of Marree.

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.

Accommodation: Marree Hotel.

Overview: The small group heads from Maree to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. We spend two nights in Arkaroola. On our way we pause to visit the ruins of Farine, a ghost town today.

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

Overview: 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 as we explore using our coach.

A key attraction in this part of the outback is the stark wildness and landscape of Lake Frome which we visit. This ephemeral salt lake stretches 100km long and 40km wide and plays an important role in the lives of the Adnyamathanha people. The ‘Plains Block’ leading out to the edge of Lake Frome remains a traditional hunting ground for the Adnyamathanha people.

Accommodation: Arkaroola wilderness sanctuary.

Overview:

From the Arkaroola Wilderness sanctuary, this small group tour visits the Ediacaran fossil site at Nilpena Station. 

 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 gorgeis an important refuge for the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby as well as many species of birds and reptiles. The Brachina Gorge Geological Trail is a 20-kilometre self-guided trail that passes through 130 million years of natural history. Trailsignage 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 Range National Park. 

Overview: Today we spend the day 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, this is at your own cost.

Accommodation: Wilpena- TBA

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Adelaide-TBA

Overview: Tour concludes after breakfast.

1
Visit the unusual towns of Coober Pedy, Marree, Oodnadatta and Woomera
2
See, learn and develop an understanding about Indigenous Aboriginal culture in the Flinders ranges management
3
Visit and explore Lake Eyre
4
Appreciate the difficulty of early British explorers venturing into the outback of the Flinders and beyond
5
Visit and learn about Wilpena pound and its geological history.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 17 nights accommodation.
  • 17 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 15 dinners.
  • Transport by modern and comfortable 4wd or other vehicle suitable for the highway conditions.
  • Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
  • 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
Dingo, Oodnadatta Track
Oodnadatta
Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, Coober Pedy
Dingo, Oodnadatta Track
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Emus, Wilpena Pound Resort
Old Ghan Railway Station Ruins
Wilpena Pound
The Breakaways, situated near Coober Pedy
Australia, Coober Pedy cemetery
Serbian Orthodox underground church, Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy, mine tunnel
Flinders Ranges.