Nestled within the Flinders Ranges in South Australia and framed by the walls of Wilpena Pound and the Elder Range, Arkaba offers some of Australia’s most spectacular outback scenery. Here, surrounded by the arid wasteland of the great salt lakes, an ancient seabed has been sculpted by millions of years of rain and sun into a fractured, furrowed landscape of deep valleys covered with casuarinas and cypress pines which fall into creek beds lined with river red gums.
There are a huge variety of landforms in the area, including high ranges, plateaus, gorges, valleys and creek lines as well as floodplains. The intriguing blend of semi-arid to temperate habitats within these mountain ranges that cut into deserts of Outback South Australia has encouraged a huge diversity of wildlife and plant life, with about 1,200 species of plants and nearly 300 species of birds recorded within the ranges.
The road to Arkaba is pretty. Very pretty. You’ll travel through the boutique wine country of the Clare Valley specialising in Riesling. The ‘Riesling Trail’ links towns, restaurants and more than 30 cellar doors over 36 kilometres. The oldest vineyard dates back to 1848 when the Jesuit priests fled religious and political persecution in Silesia, migrated to Australia and established Sevenhill Cellars.
You’ll have the chance to admire many gorgeous outback towns with Quorn retaining much of its old world character. There’s wide streetscapes and charming heritage buildings, interesting bric-a-brac stores and art galleries. Warren Gorge is home to a colony of Yellow-footed rock wallabies and for the energetic there is a hike to the summit of Devil’s Peak, 670m above sea level. The town of Wilmington was named “beautiful valley” by the pioneers who settled the region in the mid 1850’s and offers views of the southern section of the Flinders Ranges to the west and Willochra Plain to the east. Red canyons and unusual rock formations can be found in the stunning Alligator Gorge.
Melrose is cradled at the base of impressive Mount Remarkable, is the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges and arguably one of the prettiest in Australia, while the pioneering town of Stone Hut began its life as a stagecoach town with Cobb & Co calling in on its way from Clare to Port Augusta. Today the town includes a collection of stone cottages mapped out on a gorgeous heritage walk.